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Monday, January 30, 2017

Neil Young: “CSNY Has Every Chance Of Getting Together” | MOJO

"The Situation: It begs to be described"
MOJO 280 - January 27, 2017

(Click photo to enlarge)

Per the latest issue of MOJO 280 - January 27, 2017, Neil Young says that a reunion of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young is not out of the question.
“I think CSNY has every chance of getting together again,” he tells MOJO’s David Fricke. “I’m not against it.”

“There’s been a lot of bad things happen among us,” says Young, “and a lot of things have to be settled. But that’s what brothers and families are all about. We’ll see what happens. I’m open. I don’t think I’m a major obstacle.”

[Regarding President Trump] “There are a lot of things about him that I just can’t buy into,” says Young. “But we also know this guy really likes to be popular. What if a lot of people didn’t like what he was doing and told him? He’s already shown a strange ability to change course. You gotta look at it like he’s impressionable.”
More on "The Situation: It begs to be described" | MOJO 280 - January 27, 2017.



At 1/30/2017 10:56:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Looks like a filler for a poor January issue of Mojo. I can't see CSNY reconvening!
Crosby seems to have a fertile furrow for his solo shows on the back of his new record.
Nash is still in love with himself and now doesn't have to compete with other more talented band members.
Stills has been rejuvenated with his band Rides

As for Young who knows - get back with Pegi?

At 1/30/2017 12:21:00 PM, Blogger Joe Werfelman said...

Forget CSNY. Three touring options
for Neil. Solo,Crazy Horse,Promise
of the Real.

At 1/30/2017 03:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think if David Briggs was still around, he'd be pushing Neil to record something with Poncho Sampedro.

Poncho is one of the last people left who can actually push Neil. The only reason Psychedelic Pill got made was because Poncho said (to paraphrase): "well, this is nice and all, but haven't you got any new songs? Why don't we just start playing and see what happens?". As much as it is possible to do so, he carries the David Briggs torch.

Nice as they are, neither CSNY or POTR have any of that hard-boiled get-down-to-business Rock 'n' Roll attitude that characterises all of Neil's best work. You either have it or you don't. The Stray Gators didn't have it. Neither did Friends & Relatives.

Even in his late-sixties, Poncho has it in spades.


At 1/30/2017 04:07:00 PM, Blogger Joel_Grant said...

Nice update. Last I heard Neil was mad at David because David dissed Daryl Hannah. Graham was made at David because - I forget - and things look bleak. But perhaps the creative urges (or desire for more money) will overcome the personal issues.

At 1/30/2017 05:13:00 PM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

I did notice that Neil has been wearing 'skinny' jeans not his usual disheveled appearance ? Crosby was annoyed at Nash for writing about the Croz in a less than appealing light during his drug days in his book 'Self Indulgent Wild Tales'- with 2 divorces in the process it may require someone to cough up the bucks but I can't see a CSNY reunion anyway let's hope not.

At 1/30/2017 08:26:00 PM, Blogger Arthur said...

Lousy movie, but Neil is in it!

At 1/31/2017 12:57:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@Scotzman: I agree about Pancho. Everything I've ever read/heard suggests he's a conscientious and flexible musician. His involvement not only with Crazy Horse, but with some other NY outfits, including the Bluenotes and later his participation with Booker T. and the MGs on Are You Passionate? leave me with a certain respect for Pancho's interest/willingness to come along on different musical adventures. Because, with due reverence to the Horse (Goin' Home is blasting as I type...), I do think an important ingredient in Neil's work is the venturing into new musical territory--trying new ideas, keeping it fresh, etc. I wouldn't want every album to sound like prime Crazy Horse. One or two in between other vast and varied excursions are welcome. So, yeah, I can see Pancho as a sort of steadying influence, while at the same time being adventurous and versatile enough to roll with that essential exploration of new frontiers characteristic of Neil's best and/or most interesting works (for recent instance, "Earth").

@Andy Walters--I think it's a little unfortunate that, simply because his songs are lighter and brighter than those of his band mates and have a little more pop sensibility, Nash would be viewed as less talented. If anything, he's always been the linchpin or facilitator in CSN&Y, providing a voice of moderation and allowing the big personalities of C,S, and Y to operate through his willingness *not* to hog the spotlight. For me, Nash has never come across as an egotist or narcissist, especially relative to others in show business. On balance, I'm inclined not to fault him if he wishes to focus on his own music and new relationship now. It must be less hectic than life with the band.

I'd suggest anyone doubting Nash's talents listen to Cracks in the City, Target, or Another Broken Heart from This Path Tonight (2016).

At 1/31/2017 04:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ian: "Poncho And The MGs" are one of my favourite live bands. The music they made together on stage in Germany (May 2002) is extremely good, and it's a huge shame they didn't do more together. Though I'm thankful for what they did do. I like the album Are You Passionate, as well, but they only really came into their own on the live stage.

If I were to pick my three most exciting live bands with Neil, the ones with the most excitingly-structured sound and best chemistry, then that band and The Bluenotes would probably be in there with Crazy Horse.

I agree absolutely that "trying new ideas" is one or Neil's strongest abilities: most of my favourite albums have been the most unusual ones. The appeal of Poncho is that he is the perfect right hand man in this task. He sounds great in various projects (with or without the rest of CH), and also provides plenty of spiritual influence and a dedicated work ethic that has largely been missing since Mr Briggs left the building.

I think he has probably been under-appreciated down the years; people who aren't musicians don't realise how much of the sound he actually makes, or how much influence he has. He's by far Neil's best backing guitarist since Danny Whitten. You get magic by mixing together the right musical elements and waiting for a chemical reaction; and the reaction between Neil and Poncho has proven itself to be a particular powerful and exciting one. And you can never predict the results.

David Briggs, on Neil's ability to chose a band for himself: "Can you imagine, Ralph and a bongo player! How would you like to play with a fucking bongo player? Neil knows nothing about chemistry or producing, he knows how to play and sing and write. Anytime he tries to do anything other than that, (the Transband) is how it turns out."

Niko Bolas said: "You can't do a Neil record without Poncho....he is the glue...without him, it falls apart". And I generally agree with that.


At 1/31/2017 09:13:00 AM, Blogger Shakey said...

I want this to happen so bad. I still love and listen to Psychedelic Pill almost daily. Love POTR but The Horse needs another ride

At 1/31/2017 10:28:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

To Ian, at the recent Nash concert I saw it was obvious that he's love if not with himself then his back catalogue. He was the lynch pin because he need the others to sustain his career.

At 1/31/2017 11:57:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I would like to echo Scotsman on Poncho. I was lucky enough to see the Horse many times throughout the years, and Poncho was without doubt the glue that held everything together. In many cases it was what he didn't play that made the difference. He always served the song first, and that is a rare talent in rock and roll music, especially during the seventies and eighties when most bands relied on flash over substance. Crazy Horse never disappointed in a live setting and are still one of the best concerts anyone could hope to see.... not to mention one of the loudest, and cleanest sounding shows I have ever experienced in 50 years of live concerts.

At 1/31/2017 05:55:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Would rather not see this reunion, and likely would not go see it. Recent exposure to CSN together and individual tell me most of their abilities are fading fast. Nash was decent solo last year, Crosby doesn't seem to have enough oomph to carry a venue and Stills, while a great player, can't seem to sing anywhere near what is necessary. Neil still has most of what he had. There is likely minimal new songs that would grab your attention, and the oldies would be just treading water. Deja Vu tour was ok a few years back but mostly consisted of Neil output. The PP tour showed that Crazy Horse still had it all, and POTR amped it up real nice and gave great new space and diversity to the set lists. a CSNY tour is beating a dead horse. Don't do it Neil.

At 1/31/2017 11:02:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Scotsman: On Poncho and the MGs, I could probably talk for ages. For some, the softer sound is not palatable. The other issue is Let's Roll. There's been plenty of discussion as to Neil's intent with the song and whether it was misunderstood, which I won't venture deeply into here. But suffice it to say, AYP? was presenting a different sound and style of songwriting from what others may have been expecting, and then you throw in a curve ball like Let's Roll, whose weighty subject matter and heavy-handed approach threaten to overshadow the entire project.

Perhaps because of these challenges, I've found myself treating this record differently from others. I've experimented with my own mixes, rearranging the tracks in an order that makes sense to me. For some reason, and with the utmost respect to the original artistic intent of the finished album, this has been a particularly fun record for me to shuffle around, maybe because it has such a breadth of material. The first four and last four tracks, respectively, hang together musically and thematically, with Quit and When I Hold You in my Arms seeming to be natural bookends to take us in and out of the soul sound, while tracks 5-7 seem to be on a separate tangent. What turned this upside down and backwards for me was, of all things, the photo on the back cover, showing note cards with the names of all the songs plus Gateway of Love. I have read in Shakey that pieces of paper were shuffled to determine the sequence for Harvest Moon, and I wonder if the same is true here. Following the AYP? note cards (minus Gateway of Love), I found an alternative sequence that works strikingly for me, especially if you conceptualize it as a double LP: Side A: 1. When I Hold You in My Arms 2. She's a Healer; Side B: 3. You're My Girl 4. Differently 5. Be With You 6. Mr. Disappointment; Side C: 7. Two Old Friends 8. Goin' Home; Side D: 9. Let's Roll 10. Are You Passionate? 11. Quit (Don't Say you Love me).

When I Hold you in My Arms and Quite now literally bookend the album, and when I listen this way, it becomes clear how much those two are sister songs: the tempo, subject matter (conversations between lovers), backing vocals, and the electric guitar/acoustic piano combo. Moreover, Side 1 of my lineup acts as an overture of sorts to the entire album, with She's a Healer's refrain of "Let the good times roll" signaling the opening of musical proceedings, rather than acting as the finale. The drawback is the "side 2" portion, in particular the fact that My Girl and Be With You sound similar enough that I'm not sure about sequencing them this close together, though I think My Girl and Differently dovetail pretty nicely, both musically and lyrically. More surreal is the heavenly organ of Two Old Friends trailing off to make way for the red-hot blast of Goin' Home. In turn the abrupt end of Goin' Home makes a striking transition to the low, ominous rumble that begins Let's Roll. Like the shocking events by which this song is inspired have stopped everything and everyone cold. The title song becomes the emotional climax of the cycle, to which Quit is the perfect intimate antidote. I hope I'm not bastardizing Neil's artistic intent here, but crazy as it may sound, the note card photo kinda seems like an invitation. I'm curious if Neil ever considered this an alternative sequence and interested in other fans' impressions, were they to listen in this order.

At 1/31/2017 11:11:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@Andy Walters: I caught that tour, too, in Philly last July. I appreciated that the set list ventured throughout Nash's back catalogue; not sure if that's what you're referring to, but Nash's choice to do this strikes me as par for the course and turned up a couple of worthwhile overlooked songs. His comments in between struck me as honest, good-humored, and relatively down to earth. Like I said, just Nash and one other guitarist must be low-key relaxation after playing stadiums with C, S, and Y. Seems odd to bother paying for/attending the show if you aren't that excited about the featured performer, but to every man his humor.

At 1/31/2017 11:23:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

As to the CSN+Y, I would read this cautiously. My takeaway is that Neil is not ruling it out, but it doesn't sound like any fixed plans. It's within the realm of possibility, but don't pin your hopes on it being the next big thing.

At 2/01/2017 12:10:00 AM, Blogger TOM said...


Buffalo Springfield?


At 2/01/2017 06:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Ian. Interesting thoughts on rearranging the album AYP. There's something about the released version, isn't there? It doesn't quite hold together; it hits a bump in the road and doesn't really recover. I think Neil would like that metaphor.

I think overall he could have trimmed it down a bit, whilst using more exciting versions of the rockier tunes. In it's released form, it lacks a bit of edge. But overall I love the sound, it was a perfect band for Neil (more exciting than the 1993 line-up with Keltner and Cropper) and it's a shame they didn't do more together.

I have always quite liked Let's Roll. I appreciate the way it captures the horror of the moment in the closing instrumental. You can feel it in your gut, this sense of dread and struggle. The problem is that the album version is too subdued; it's performed with all the intensity of someone drinking tea in their living room. I much prefer the vicious "purging of demons" that takes place during the 18th May 2002 live version in Germany. Exactly the same applies to Goin' Home.


At 2/01/2017 06:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TOM: Both those bands you mention were good (as far as I can tell from very limited recordings), and both were very short lived. And they happened a long time ago. So, as with the AYP band, there is only so much available to listen to. I'll have to seek out some more Ducks recordings, my experience with them has been limited.

Poncho And The MGs were the perfect band because they were this awesome blend of professionalism and soul, with plenty of oomph and craziness mixed in (courtesy of Steve Potts and Poncho). The chemistry was amazing. There was an exciting tension between the players, an edginess. None of the instruments clashed with each other, or occupied the same space in the soundstage. The band could have everyone playing at once and it never sounded crowded or messy. Watchtower from Germany 2002 is a great example of this. The band were like a picture frame with Neil in the centre. Perfect.

Of couse, they had their sound: rock-soul. They probably weren't good at anything else. And that's absolutely fine.

Exactly the same principle applies to the Bluenotes.

Although the sound quality is imperfect (best experienced through your TV speakers rather than revealing headphones), the HD TV broadcast of the 18th May 2002 is an essential watch. Magic happened, and (wonderfully) they caught it on film. One for the Archives Performance Series, I hope!


At 2/01/2017 07:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few more thoughts on Are You Passionate, for those interested:

At the time of it's release, a lot of people (including myself) made the mistake of assuming it was just another "genre experiement", Neil imitating the "Soul" style of songwriting without much real soul or feeling. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see how the songs were actually very honest accounts of what was going on in his personal life at the time.

The album performances of these songs can be misleading timid at times, but it's a mistake to doubt their sincerity.

And in Goin' Home (and in Waging Heavy Peace), Neil shows some animosity towards Jimmy McDonough. it seems to me that when Neil inevitably had second thoughts about releasing the very revealing book Shakey and his lawyers couldn't save him, he threw his toys out the pram and (rather than owning up to his own mistakes) he chose to pass the blame on to McDonough.

Hopefully the two of them can come to some sort of reconciliation; my instinct is that although McDonough was opinionated, he ultimately did not have macillious intentions. And keeping your promises is a virtuous trait, even in rich rock stars who are used to lawyers breaking their promises for them on their behalf.

In the meantime, Shakey remains the definitve biography of Neil Young's life up until 1998.


At 2/01/2017 07:43:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

I love reading some of you chaps/ladies and on AYP you all fail to acknowledge that the songs aren't very good - I read all this and I return to AYP and there's nothing there for me - it's a weak record that I never play until this thread

At 2/01/2017 09:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andy - if you don't like the Are You Passionate album, then try the 18th May 2002 show that I mention above. Same band, but better, and they play a lot of older songs too. Great versions of Cortez, Down By The River, Watchtower. And probably the best version of Goin' Home. If you don't like that, then I'll get my psychiatrist to give you a ring, he may be able to assist.

I don't like all the songs on the album, but there are some good ones. You're My Girl, Mr Dissapointment, Goin' Home (dull recording/great song) in particular are excellent with imaginative arrangements and generally powerful guitar playing.

As for sound quality, try playing The Monsanto Years first. Are You Passionate will be a sonic masterpiece in comparison. I'm not trying to be funny; it's notable just how much better the sound quality on Neil's records was when he wasn't quite so obsessed with it.


At 2/01/2017 04:55:00 PM, Blogger mark said...

>> it's notable just how much better the sound quality on Neil's records was when he wasn't quite so obsessed with it.

........ funny, how when you try so hard to make something perfect, you so often lose what makes it real.

At 2/01/2017 05:12:00 PM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Thanks Scotsman 'then I'll get my psychiatrist to give you a ring, he may be able to assist' = what's his number? I'm not talking about sound quality I'm talking about the quality of the songs, and on that we'll have to differ. Cheers

At 2/01/2017 07:35:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

On AYP?, the songs vary in quality. Personally, I'd put Mr. Disappointment, She's a Healer, Two Old Friends, and the title number in the definite keeps pile. Also Goin' Home, but I don't always think of that one as belonging to the same set of songs. That's half the album right there, and I'm not rushing to throw out a few others. I think the ones that resonate best for me tend to be numbers like Mr. Disappointment and the title song, where (as I hear it) the singer is delivering a soliloquy, as opposed to many of the other songs where he's clearly speaking to someone else ("baby", "my girl", and other terms of endearment). Internal conflict--conflict within or between different parts of oneself--is both meatier and more universally applicable to any audience. I don't think the "you" in the title song is the same "you" from When I Hold you in my Arms, for instance, but instead is as if the singer is looking in the mirror.

One thing I will certainly echo the Scotsman on is that, in terms of production and overall sound, Are You Passionate? has nothing if not attention to detail. It's much more layered and textured than some of the other records: the background vocals, piano and trumpet on She's a Healer, Neil's unusually sculpted guitar breaks, etc. There's a lot going on musically that can sometimes distract one from the arguable shortcomings of songwriting. Be With You, admittedly, seems pedestrian and even mediocre coming from Neil Young, but with the appropriate backing, I think it still holds together in its own right as an expression of the exuberance of love.

Booker T's funereal organ on the title song is an excellent touch, while Potts' drumming is stellar throughout.

I'd contend that on the whole, you have a stronger and more consistent set of songs here than on This Note's For You, the album most often compared. To be fair, the Bluenote Cafe archival release demonstrates, at least for me, that the Bluenotes/Ten Men Workin' were a hot live band in their own right, and that some of the more interesting and fun songs were shelved at the time (I'm Goin', Don't Take Your Love Away, Ain't it the Truth, Bad News Comes to Town).


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