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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Comment of the Moment: Neil Young Has Gone and Done Me Wrong

Charlie Brown & Lucy - "The Football Scene" on YouTube

The pain of the cancellation of Neil Young And Crazy Horse's remaining N. American concert tour dates continues for many.

While it would seem that many of the more devoted fans have taken events somewhat in stride, there continues to be those who feel just plain wronged by Neil and his decision to not to consider alternatives.

Last week in an interview, Daniel Lanois, a participant and co-producer of the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic said that he understood that "Neil's head was not there" regarding alternatives.

Which brings us to the Comment of the Moment on Neil Young News: What does Daniel Lanois do when Neil Young and Crazy Horse are forced to cancel? - The Globe and Mail by Phil who said...
"His head was not there". HA!

Yes it's Neil, and we've all learned through the years that he marches to his own tune, but I defy anyone here to use that same excuse with their boss/significant other/family member, etc when you don't want to do something. We all have bosses, as Bob Dylan said: you got to serve somebody. Neil's 'somebody' just happens to be his fans.

Imagine this scenario -

ME: Hi Boss, I'm not going to be showing up for the next 11 very crucial presentations in the coming two months. I know they're important and I know that a lot of time and effort have been expended to make these things happen, plans have been made months in advance, money spent, etc., and I'm certainly aware that I'm the pivotal member of the team and everything will fall apart without me, but my head's just not into it.

Boss: Well why won't you show up?

Me: The attorney that I always use hurt himself.

Boss: And there's no other attorney that you can work with?

Me: Duh, of course there are others, I worked with plenty of others in the past, but this attorney, it's just that we work so well together and to make a change now means I'd have to do a whole lot of extra work under a lot of pressure just to please some stupid customers that I don't care about, and well, my head's just not there.

Boss: I happen to care a lot about our customers, seriously, you can't change on the fly and accommodate someone else's needs for once, even though it's entirely possible?

Me: Yep, that's correct. Boss: Please clean out your desk and pick up your final check at HR on your way out.

Me: Phew, at least I followed my muse no matter who got inconvenienced. Luckily I'm rich so I'll certainly be fine, screw the lot of 'em if they don't like it.

First, as we've disclosed previously, we're just as bummed as many other fans on the news of Poncho's broken hand and missing out on what we hoped would be an intimate theater gig with the Horse.

But we must say that Phil's analogy is -- shall we say -- a bit flawed. As in, Phil presents a false equivalency of a typical corporate hierarchy arrangement of manager and subordinate and an artist and his work and audience.

The situations are in vastly different universes of comparison. Yes, if Neil saw him self purely in the "musical entertainment business", than well maybe the analogy would bear some merit. But we've been thru the collision of Art and Commerce analysis before and we know that Neil Young does not operate from the standard template.

So why would he handle this situation any differently?

All of this said, we can imagine that Neil and Manager Elliot Roberts possibly had a vaguely similar discussion to the one above.

At the end, Elliot says there will be lots of pissed off folks and you'll lose another segment of your fan base. And we know what Neil's response was: "Fine".

This is the story of Neil's career and that which has kept him vital. Sometimes you have to destroy to build and move forward.

Yeah, it sucks.

But. We feel -- and know in our heart -- that Neil Young will be back. And he'll make all this up by putting out more brilliant music.

Relax. Everything is gonna be alright. Just like with Charlie & Lucy. Just like with The Archives and The Buffalo Springfield.

"Some see life as a broken promise
Some see life as an endless fight
They think they live in the age of darkness
They think they live in the age of fright
It's an angry world
And everything is gonna be alright"



At 9/03/2013 06:39:00 PM, Blogger wardo said...

This is not an "employee/boss" situation -- it is what it is, and we've been lucky to have Neil around as long as we have. Hell, we've had him for over 32 years longer than we've had John Lennon.

Me, I've been re-reading "Waging Heavy Peace" and wondering if the time off the road will enable him to do a sequel, or finish Archives Vol. 2, or anything else he's dreamed of completing.

He can do whatever he wants. Anything he lets us see or hear is gravy.

At 9/03/2013 08:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 9/03/2013 08:31:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

I know Neil has another Silver and Gold in him somewhere...I just know it

At 9/03/2013 08:55:00 PM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

Neil himself has probably "lost" a lot of money for this cancellation. This demonstrates that he is very rich or has enough money for not caring it.
But Neil works in the show biz. Promoters and organisers have taken note. Elliot Roberts can have some problems to get good conditions in the future, if some promoters think that his client isn't fully committed.
Humanly and artistically the position of Neil is perfectly comprehensible, but at the end it can create problems to his manager, promoters, organisers or some screwed fans. So it's a no win situation.

So Tired.

At 9/03/2013 09:56:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

This is textbook Neil ... no way was he going to do anything but cancel ... he's been in a CH groove for over a year ... these guys are one unit and the show can't happen unless all of them can play ... Neil is so consistently great because he always plays what he feels, I've never seen a a bad Neil Young concert or even a mediocre one ... he's not going to go out there and play a solo acoustic show when his heart's on a CH show ... never ... maybe he needs the money, maybe he doesn't need the money ... my guess is his crew and their families for sure need the money but everyone knows how he rolls ... he's so clear, he works for the muse, that's his boss, the fans can come it won't influence what he does ... thats why he's put together the greatest 50 year run in rock n' roll history ... the muse is on CH now and they can't play so the right thing to do was to cancel ... I had great portchester tix, total bummer ... hate it ... but I cannot imagine anything other than a cancellation was ever seriously considered ...

At 9/03/2013 10:07:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Neil has never done me wrong, even when I thought he did and that's all I got to say about that.......

At 9/03/2013 10:08:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

Like anyone else viewing these things from a distance, without the ability to see inside Neil's head and heart, I'm just guessing, but I'm going to go ahead and say that Neil's fans are nowhere even close to being his "boss"- and thank God for that! Can anyone seriously consider it a good thing for Neil to base his decisions on anything other than the music, or "where his head is at"? Do we really want him to be rolled out there, a la Elvis, all other considerations be damned, we've got a packed house, and there's money to be made? Don't go crazy over me comparing Neil with Elvis, I'm just trying to flesh out the point, which is that it's a healthy thing for the buck to stop (no pun intended) with the artist, and not extraneous things like, yes, fans. Sorry, the art is about the artist, not the audience.

It’s equally hard to see into the hearts and minds of Neil fans (trust me, I’ve gotten myself in hot water on this account too many times for comfort), but just the same, I’m going to opine that no truly versed student of Neil's would ever make the mistake of likening his fans to his boss. We know better, and don't mind. Am I bummed to miss a show due to a cancellation, for a show to end a little early, for a period of a particular output to come to an end- for any number of things when it comes to Neil? Umm, yeah, but never bummed with Neil. It's been a part of the ride these 45 years, a ride I wouldn't trade for anything or anyone else (don’t bother, it’s already been pointed out to me that I’m a sycophant, and I’m good with it- ) Anyone who feels otherwise is probably never going to understand it, and I think at this point the wisest thing to do is to just concede the point.

A Friend Of Yours

At 9/04/2013 03:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"....the more devoted fans...." To me the main problem seems to be that some consider themselves as "better fans". To me this is thoughtless and respectless to those who are therefore judged "poor fans". It's all just opinions. I would appreciate a less disregarding wording - I mean, we're all fans and this is a great place to share our passion. Please don't spoil this in being intolerant to others and their personal opinions.

At 9/04/2013 07:23:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After Crazy Horse cancelled so many shows, they have had a huge insurance claim. HUGE!
Once that happened, there is absolutely no way Neil could play by himself. I heard he wasn't even allowed to show his face a his wife's concert/Dan's picnic. If he played he would've lost a quarter million deposit.


At 9/04/2013 09:17:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Jonathan - Let's hope so. Or a Zuma. Or a Mirror Ball II. Or...

@So Tired - Yes, Neil is "in" show biz but not "of" show biz.

@Dan1 - "he works for the muse". That sums it up.

@A Friend Of Yours - Right, we don't need no Elvis' ;)

@Anon 03:33:00 AM - no respect to any fan intended. To clarify. Virtually all of the Neil fans we've communicated with directly (f2f, phone, email) have been understanding. These are fans that have seen many, many dozens of shows over a long period.

The comments we're seeing from unfamiliar names, tweets, etc are the one's expressing outrage and feelings of being wronged and ripped off.

Not a single "more devoted fans" has expressed intense negativity.

That's just a factual observation of ours.

And we've certainly been tolerant of "The Doubters". They'll come around... someday.

At 9/04/2013 09:25:00 AM, Anonymous Doc said...

Just reading words like boss & lawyer in a story about Neil makes me fuckin sick. Do us all a favor Phil and get into something else.
Thrasher, please don't post articles like this, I don't need to be exposed to that segment of the population & they probably shouldn't be exposed to me. Thanks

At 9/04/2013 10:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Thrasher's Wheat:

Yeah, sure but it's much easier to be okay with the cancellation of the tour if you've already seen dozens of shows from this tour.

You must realise that not everybody is in the lucky position you are. That don't instantly make them less devoted fans. I don't like that kind of self-fulfilling hierarchy.

From a tweet or a single comment you judge people you don't even know. Try to be more open minded and less assuming. For example, how do you know they don't own 50 NY records or listen to tons of bootlegs?

At 9/04/2013 11:31:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Anon - not really sure what you're driving at here? Thought we were pretty clear in our reply.

But just for the record, we're not trying to divide Neil fans. ok?

At 9/04/2013 05:30:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Maybe Neil should have kissed and made up with Steven and had him fill in for Poncho with his barely recognizable voice and who knows what vibe. That would make up for Steve losing $ on the cancelled BS tour and then everyone could go to the shows and say what a f@#$!g raw deal it was to have some replacement imitator stand in. And then we could bash Neil for NOT cancelling the tour dates, and we could tell him what to do next and then again after that.

But Crosby and Nash would be happy cause Steven's not broke no more. Then they could lobby for a CSNY tour cause they deserve to have Neil come around with them cause Steven bailed him out.

Make sense?
I thought not.

Round and round and round we spin to weave a wall to hem us in....

At 9/05/2013 04:46:00 AM, Blogger erik d said...

Me: But Boss, don't you think I deserve a little bit more credit from you?

Boss: Why is that?

Me: Well, I've been in the business since the late 1960s, working hard for more than 40 years. My statistics show, that I have given 1,886 presentations, leaving millions and millions happy customers all over the world. I'm 67 years old, and nobody could blame me, if I'd decide to call it a day and go sitting at my ranch, playing all day with toy trains and electric cars. Since August 3rd last year, I've given 66 presentations on 3 continents together with the very best business partners you could imagine. Yes, in our team we had an unfortunate accident that prevented the last presentations. Very disappointing for our customers, even more disappointing for us, as we were all focused to deliver the best quality ever. It's what I call the Twisted Road of doing business.

Boss: Hmm, I see your point. Besides, working this way enables us to guarantee our customers the very best product, if we sell something to them. We won't settle with some sloppy, quickly processed, second-best alternative.

Me: That's it, boss, we aim for the best of the best.

Boss: Good. And at this point, I can't do anything else than thanking you for all that you've done for the company over the past decades. Whenever you feel like making more products: just know that the door is always open for you.

Me: Thanks, boss. You'll hear from me!


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