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Thursday, May 26, 2016

UPDATED - Neil Young on Late Show With Stephen Colbert


"Unreconstructed individualist hippie love-booster Neil Young teaches Stephen that love is still the answer, and that his music sounds better on Pono. "

Regarding why Young wouldn't allow Trump to use his music at campaign rallies:
NEIL YOUNG: "The misogyny and the racism … those two key facts are something you can't really ignore."

Things really get popping at The Late Show when Neil Young meets our intern, Corn Man.

Regarding latest study purportedly vindicating GMOs:
NEIL YOUNG: "That must be a Monsanto study that didn't notice the terrible diseases and all of the things that are happening. Why these things have been banned throughout Europe and throughout the world. Why 38 countries banned GMOs; they didn't just label them. They're concerned, those governments, about the people that live in the country. They want to protect them.

I don't generally like to label things, but you're [Corn Man, an intern] so dangerous and you're dangerous to me personally and my family and the rest of the planet."

October 14, 2014

Tonight, Late Show With Stephen Colbert will have Neil Young as a guest.

Neil Young's last appearance with Stephen Colbert was on The Colbert Report on October 14, 2014.

“Who’s Gonna Stand Up?”
Neil Young & Crazy Host

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At 5/27/2016 06:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not exactly Neil's finest hour. Sometimes it's best to let the music do the talking.

One of the youtube video comments struck me as getting to the heart of the matter. Something along the lines of "just because Monsanto is a bad company doesn't mean all GMOs are bad as well".

The truth is we just don't know the long-term safety of GMOs yet. They may yet turn out to play a crucial role in reducing starvation in poorer countries, without any real downsides. So let's not make this a "black and white" subject just because of one bad company. It's something that has to be very carefully studied. Prescription drugs can be very dangerous in the wrong hands, too. That doesn't mean there's a credible case for banning them forever.

So at least Colbert raised an interesting question about GMOs, he scratched beneath the surface.

For Neil, the elephant in the room: why go to war on Monsanto and still remain good buddies with Tyson Foods? Of the two corporations Tyson strikes me as the most overtly villainous, the most corrupt and manipulating and environmentally damaging. The full package. All subjects you've written passionately about. And yet, reading Waging Heavy Peace (as one example), you'd be misled into believing the people at the top of Tyson were saints.

No doubt it is very hard to criticise a company who has "graciously" financed your other projects (e.g Pono, Farm Aid). Tyson know this, of course. That, above all, is the real reason why the last album wasn't called The Tyson Years.

This TV appearance was completely cringe-worthy. Neil seemingly content to play the part of irrelevant naive old guy on TV, a medium that doesn't suit him in the slightest. He came on with some credibility and mystique and left without it. Traded it in. By the end he was clearly fuming, and he deserved to be. Yet more bad management from Elliot Roberts (or whoever arranged for this shambles).

PS For a truly great Neil Young tv performance: SNL 1989, of course. Back when Neil realised he had to earn people's attention, earn the right to be taken seriously. THIS is why we listen to Neil Young!


At 5/27/2016 07:58:00 AM, Blogger Peacelover Doc said...

Scotsman, I can't speak for anyone but myself and I'm pretty sure you can't either so while that may be why you listen to Neil Young it isn't why I listen therefore it isn't why we listen. My intention is not to insult you only to say you are you, I am me and neither of us are we. Regarding not knowing the long-term safety of GMOs I would mostly agree but why doesn't it say that on the labels? I say 'mostly' because if no one knew what they do after years of eating them why would Monsanto be so against the labeling issue in Vermont? The information is already on the labels in something like 15 countries? All the best to everyone

At 5/27/2016 09:24:00 AM, Blogger medward said...

Monsanto is against labeling because it will result in lower sales. It really isn't indicative of whether or not they are safe.

Anyway I didn't see the interview but I can imagine how it went. Neil should listen to Poncho and just focus on his music. Take the Horse out for one last ride

At 5/27/2016 10:53:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5/27/2016 12:54:00 PM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

nothing wrong with this interview at all. Ol N was having fun and and so was Colbert. stop being so damn critical. if you dont know by now NY wont always conform to what you like you really are a newby

At 5/27/2016 01:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm getting this massive migraine following NY as of late(2013-2016).His actions in public and on his records reeks of things that I detest about ENTERTAINERS not artist per se but damn ENTERTAINERS.You know the ones; with women it's the Divas who sell everything and sometimes music even(Taylor Swift, Beyonce'etc) then there are the men who are basically the same as the Divas but they sell their political views(and boycotts)and sometimes make music(BS,PJ,NY etc). Dylan did his thing thru his songs and he wasn't going on every talk show beating us on the head with his views. A true artist. NY fails in that category.

At 5/27/2016 06:27:00 PM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

What a week ! Graham Nash self absorbed in concert and now Young in toe curling form.

What on EARTH is going on ?

At 5/27/2016 10:12:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I watched it again. It wasn't that bad. Neil seemed to enjoy it. Loved the opening of the show. Kind of weird how they turned GMOs into shtick. Still irked about the high price for CD and vinyl. It's an overdubbed live record for God's sake. And Scotsman makes a valid point about Tyson. The hard core fans will keep watching so sly ole Neil knows what he's doing. Sigh

At 5/27/2016 11:38:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Ah, 1989 SNL indeed! Regardless of the politics and money grabs, he still brings it live. Maybe not at this level but relatively speaking, he comes pretty close! I'll take it and always want more. Hat wearing, teleprompter watching, still rocking old man! That's why I love Neil Young.

At 5/27/2016 11:46:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

It definitely wasn't one of my favorite Neil Young tv moments, he's now doing skits with guys in corn costumes, and that's rough to see.

I was hoping for a song, but not meant to be. There were a couple of cool moments, though. I really dug it when Neil said "There's more to love than just the first kiss" while discussing albums vs singles. That was the most soulful moment of the whole night.

I want to complain that it seems like Neil is just playing a character, but then I remembered that Neil has almost ALWAYS been playing a character, ever since the fringed jacket wearing fragile Indian of Buffalo Springfield. Now, he is the slightly goofy, yet earnest Obi-Wan elder of rock and roll, which appeals to a lot of casual fans, but makes some of us hardcores a bit restless.

I want to see Neil throw us some more curveballs, maybe slip into a new costume. I do enjoy POTR, but I think Neil needs a little Poncho. He needs a little Horse.

At 5/28/2016 05:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old Neg: No, it wasn't that bad, really. It wasn't that good, either. Now when curious young music fans type "Neil Young" into youtube, instead of seeing a beautiful performance of Like A Hurricane or whatever, they see this shambles instead.

I really like RichieCruz's comment above. I'm not sure the character he describes, however, is one that appeals to "a lot of casual fans". I don't think it appeals to anyone, simply because it lacks any substance; any depth. NOBODY was inspired to become a Neil Young fan after watching that interview. Nobody is going to listen to Earth because of it. He came on with more crediblity than he left with.

The subject of GMOs was raised in a way that turned what he was saying into a bit of a joke. I'm sure Neil would rather have talked about the subject in a more serious way, a way that inspired people to take a passionate interest, rather than just background light entertainment. And I'm not convinced that Neil even knows what he's talking about when it comes to GMOs. But it would have been interesting to find out in a proper conversation. I don't think Neil really enjoyed the experience. There was a slight sense of ridicule about it.

I think recently there's this been this uncharacteristic lack of confidence/focus with Neil. Kind of like he's forgotten what his strengths are, or doesn't trust them enough anymore. Neil is unquestionably one of the greatest singer/songwriters in the world. He's still a shrewdly intelligent man. Passionate, very intense. But you'd hardly know any of this from watching that TV appearance. You'd think he was just some bland, mildly funny, washed-up old hippie who once played Heart Of Gold.

Much of what we've talked about recently (the teleprompter, over-reliance on Lukas Nelson last year etc) I see as being symptomatic of this. It's not an age thing, or Neil Young losing his marbles. It's just a lack of confidence in his core abilities.

The next time we see Neil Young he will be in Europe, on tour. Back in an arena that truly suits him, the live stage. I know he is going to come out, forget all the superfluous nonsense and remind us all, once again, why WE listen to NEIL YOUNG!*


* (sorry Peacelover Doc, couldn't help it!).

At 5/28/2016 09:26:00 AM, Blogger Genghis Kon said...

I keep coming to this conclusion, and I'm starting to wonder if this is a big part of everything: The death of David Briggs. As everyone here knows, Briggs played Neil to his strengths in songwriting relentlessly. Forcing constant revisions, Briggs helped instill the confidence in Neil through the sheer brilliance of his output. However, the passion has seemed very different since Broken Arrow. It may come from an honest place, but it's often a lot more ham fisted in message. With Neil taking on more provocative topics, sometimes it seems as if he needs someone to guide him, as there have been numerous, awkward slip ups, like the one on The Late Show. Briggs would have never let this happen. I do not mean to detract anything from Neil. He is still the brilliant songwriter we all know and love, but like a diamond from the Earth, he needs to be refined before he can really shine.

At 5/28/2016 10:03:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Who is Neil listening to these days? Ms Hannah ? Neil never looks comfortable being interviewed can you imagine the access we have now back in his prime now that would've been something to listen to now we have all this immediate access for what is Neil heading out to pasture.

At 5/28/2016 10:32:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

neil's just embarrassing himself at this point. he got a standing ovation when he came out, which turned into uncomfortable silence once the crowd heard him ramble about...god knows what. he got a couple of chuckles, but mostly the crowd seemed to be thinking "grandpa has lost it".

but, the thing is, this is how neil has always been! however, he used to be smart enough to let the art speak for itself. to retain a sense of mystique. now he just goes out with a blunt object and hits people over the head. he's certainly not going to win many new fans acting like this, and he is definitely hurting his legacy with a lot of older fans.

me, i love the crazy old bastard no matter what. his music will stand the test of time, and the more people he drives away the less people i have to fight to get to the front of the stage at his concerts.

At 5/28/2016 12:53:00 PM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

His legacy is safe there's about 5-6 drop dead essential records - I'd love to know where all this wide eyed LOVE stuff is coming from if i recall he never bought into the LOVE culture - who would've thought that Stills would end up the more balanced? The Rides is an excellent record.

At 5/28/2016 03:18:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Only Love Can break Your Heart, Love and only Love, Love to burn, Love hotel (!), Love in Mind, Lotta Love, A Little thing called love, A New day for love, Act of Love, When you Dance I can really love, Feel Your love, Everybody I love you, Dont take Your love away from me.

Pretty obsessed With love :)

At 5/29/2016 06:41:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

So we'll direct this at some of the detractors above.

While we're certainly open to contrary opinions here on TW as you know, the one thing we find intolerable is posting outright falsehoods.

There are comments above which completely misrepresent the interview as anyone who views them could assert. To give the impression that Neil made a fool of himself is just flat out wrong.

Why would you post something that is so easily disproven?

And for those who will challenge this all as a mere matter of opinion, we let Neil have the last word with his Facebook post above. Obviously, if Neil thought he made of a fool of himself he wouldn't have posted what he did in order to bring more attention to an unflattering interview.

Lately, we have seen a few comments -- that while factually correct -- demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of Neil and his music. As we said, we welcome all, but really. Please do not think that you can come here and post whatever provocative opinion you have and expect to skate off unchallenged.

At 5/29/2016 07:00:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Thank you Thrasher!

At 5/29/2016 07:04:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

You're welcome Dan and others.

"See the drunkard of the village falling on the street,
can't tell his ankles from the rest of his feet."
~~Neil Young

At 5/30/2016 04:49:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Thrasher that he didn't make a fool of himself. Neil comes across as likeable, as always. It wasn't a disaster.

That said, it wasn't a good TV appearance by any reasonable standards. He had a chance to raise the subject of GMOs in an engaging way, but that was sabotaged by the format of the programme.

Perhaps some of you have forgotten just how powerful this man really is. Rest assured he doesn't need any more "yes men". He hates all that stuff, and he'd tell you so himself. He likes people who give honest, humble, passionate opinions. Then he makes up his own mind.

For me, Old Neg said it best "kind of weird to see them turn GMOs into shtick". The whole thing was laced with poor attempts at humour (not by Neil), and the uncomfortable feeling for me was that the joke was on Neil Young. People will know what I'm talking about when I say it felt like he was somehow the victim, the butt of a joke. Taking his passionate views and turning them into condescending light entertainment, with a knowing wink.

No. We've seen Neil Young give good performances/interviews on TV. Powerful, provocative, inspiring. This wasn't one of them. He lost more than he gained. That's how TV usually works. Neil Young would agree with that, as well.


At 5/30/2016 10:27:00 AM, Blogger Dan1 said...


Thanks for setting the record straight. Couldn't agree more ... its kind of painful to read some of these recent threads.
Far too much negative naval gazing for my taste ...

I'm learning to be less annoyed and more compassionate, feeling bad that so many folks come out of the last 10 years having lost "the way" ... also thinking that the return of "Thrasher" in his repertoire might be as much about Neil moving on from fans stuck in the past as anything, something we know has been a recurring theme throughout Neil's career ... In fact I've come to realize its not by accident that so many of Neil's fans become bitter at various times along the journey, but isn't that what going into the ditch is all about??

Neil himself said it so eloquently and it speaks to all these critics:

"When faceless and anonymous
Come to beat down your door
And say you're all washed up and done
You can just say they have nothing in store

To touch this soul
Because they just don't know
They just don't know
The way"

At 5/30/2016 01:04:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@Scotsman - Agree that doing Big Media is double edged. You have to accept the downsides noted here in order to get a message out to a huge audience.

You probably realize that more folks saw Neil on Colbert than total units sold of Monsanto Years. Many multiples.

It is a deal with the devil which Neil played in a calculated fashion.

Lastly, we can say that while this is Colbert, this is not the Comedy Central but big CBS network. The intern schitck wasn't just some kind of funny gag put together at the last second. Take another look.

@Dan - thanks. These things come in waves. Almost predictable cycles. As soon as Neil starts to pop up on mainstream radars you can almost plot a direct correlation to the doubters' negativity. Once the heat dies back down, all will go quiet again and we'll be back in our placid little TW world with our fan friends and buddies from around the world who do know The Way.

And we would never have it any other WAY.


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