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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Comment of the Moment: Neil Young Interview at Farm Aid 1985

Here is an interesting look back to 1985 and the very first Farm Aid concert.

Clearly, Neil Young is quite excited about the event. Neil also wonderfully reveals his "true self" and his love of "country rock-n-roll."

What's most fascinating is his evolution in thinking about how to deal with the farm crisis in the 1980's to today's approach.

The Comment of the Moment is from the TW posting Neil Young Interview at Farm Aid 1985 by Jim McKelvey:
Wow, this brought back a flood of memories because I got to chat with Neil Young backstage after a show at Meadowbrook Theater in Pontiac, Michigan [ed. - "Grey Riders show"] just before this interview aired.

Was working on assignment for weekly Variety to do a standard concert review and Lookout Management provided two of the best seats in the house for me. During the interview after the "Grey Riders show" he told me that he was going to arrange an interview, just like this one, with Willie Nelson the following week at Pine Knob, just a few miles up the road. Neil Young said picking up the tape recorder firmly, if I didn't get it published he'd never talk to me again, ever.

Next morning I got a call from Lookout Management who had the Willie Nelson interview all arranged and I just had to show up. Called my editor at the Detroit Free Press and explained what happened and he gave me a thumbs up for the assignment. The interview on Willie Nelson's bus ended up being a three hours long with my dear friend Dave Brogren by my side. One of the most thrilling experiences of my life. There is nothing like talking to a musical artist when Neil Young arranges it for you.

Turned the Willie Nelson Q&A style interview into my editor at the Detroit Free Press and it was published under my byline in the entertainment section and there was so much information Gary Graff (is that his real name that sounds like paragraph?) used a bunch of the quotes I got in a front page article. My mom and dad read that the morning it came out. My parents are gone now but it gets me a little misty eyed thinking how proud they were of me that morning. I had been a Detroit Free Press paperboy in my teenage years so it was a huge deal to get on the front page of the paper.

So I spent all morning today writing about it and it is way too long to post here, tried, but it is too long for the system. It might be 6,000 words long.

I'll see if I can publish it elsewhere professionally but if it doesn't work I'll contact my friend Thrasher to see if we can make an exception on the length just before Farm Aid.

Wish I could sell a special 8x10 picture I have of Neil from the Farm Aid press conference in 2003 but as a rule he doesn't give image permissions per Lookout Management. Wanted to help out Thrasher's Wheat with 50% of the after expenses profits but it just is too risky for me to do without permission. We talked about doing this at Farm Aid in Raleigh but it just isn't going to work without permission as I don't have much but it is too much to lose in a lawsuit.

Do hope Neil gets the band rehearsed with a little mini-tour like he did in 1985 and would suggest he hasn't played North Carolina, other then the debut of PRTR at Farm Aid and solo show, for a long time with a band.

By the way, you have not heard "Down By The River" until you've heard it with Hargus "Pig" Robbins playing the Danny Whitten parts on piano. Neil Young and the Grey Riders' were call and response holy music, holy music!
Jim then followed up with another comment on HIGHLIGHTS: Farm Aid 2014: Raleigh, North Carolina - September 13, 2014 :
Kind of cool to have a photo in this batch and wish I was going to Farm Aid this year. BTW, my series of images from Farm Aid have been accepted by the Southern Folklife Collection at the Wilson Library housed at UNC-Chapel Hill in North Carolina. Kind of cool for future generations doing research on Neil Young and hope this area makes it through the sun's Grand Solar Minimum that we are in the midst of right now. We are in for a ride now!

Do hope Neil warms up with a little mini-tour before Farm Aid. I like to watch a rehearsal as much as the next fan but since they haven't toured in a while would like to see NY/POTR on fire at Farm Aid in the midst of a string of shows (imho).

Been listening to the Ann Arbor show from 68 or something recently. It is the one that the single "Sugar Mountain" came from as the b-side to "Heart Of Gold" back in the day. That song and "I'm Happy Ya'll Came Down" cemented my love of Neil Young's music. Honestly, forgot I had it but that is growing on me. Back in the trading days I tried to track down the guy who had the tape and was really close to scoring it but it slipped through my fingers and just as well.

Would have had to keep it to myself and that isn't the Rust way, is it?
Thanks Jim for the comments and memories! And thanks for all of your efforts over the years to support Thrashers Wheat! While we may not have been able to pull off the original plan, it's the thought that counts. That's the rust way, thank you.

ps - Happy to post the lengthy Willie interview anytime! Please get in touch.

Lukas Nelson, Neil Young and Micah Nelson
Farm Aid 2014
Walnut Creek Amphitheatre - Raleigh, North Carolina - September 13, 2014

Photo Images by Jim McKelvey Photography -
(Click photo to enlarge)

Also, see Farm Aid 2017 Scheduled for Burgettstown, PA on Sep 16.

Labels: , ,


At 8/27/2017 04:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/29/2017 10:00:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Is that the Doobie Bros?

At 8/30/2017 05:05:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/30/2017 08:51:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/30/2017 08:55:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Thanks Thrasher for the nod on something I wrote in the midst of a health crisis where I wasn't sure if I was going to see today. Not being dramatic but it was touch and go. They put me on something that let my shy guy filters disappear so just wrote from the heart. .

None of that half truth going around like a virus right now in media. None of this using Public Relations releases from corporations disguised as the truth of a real journalist. That was never my style then and now. Happens all the time now.

Sort of a dark night of the soul a week after being outside for almost the entire eclipse when the the various tribes said to stay inside. Maybe they were right.

Putting a book together and it includes Neil Young on a number of varied occasions over the years from Rust Never Sleeps on, Darrell Scott, from Band Of Joy, is going to have a big chapter that has been recorded already and just has to be transcribed. Waylon Jennings on the phone and on his bus, had a 15 minute interview scheduled with Aretha Franklin that went three hours with her PR person saying "15 minutes is over and time to wrap it up" the whole time, went with B.B. King for twelve hours for two shows at a maximum security prison, long phone calls with Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin, George Michael, Clarence Clemons and out on the ocean during Cayamo talked to Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin and Brandi Carlile. Hope it is interesting enough to sell. Steve Young will be the last chapter that runs about 3,000 words. All the chapters will be unusually long but I think interesting, too.

Not sure I'll get an editor to go along with it but if I can't I'll do it myself and keep all the money like John Prine did starting his own label. I'm writing a book about it all right now and rather than as a "this incarnation now" autobiography I'm doing a soul "Edgar Cayce style" autobiography of myself with the music interviews and incarnations at Qumran, Cathar country in the Pryenness Mountains (place with the cave paintings), Tibet in a monastery above Shambhala, Romania and Virginia Beach when I was on the board and founding member of the Association of Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.). Following link are some of the 160 concert images I've had accepted at the Southern Folklife Colleciton:

At 8/30/2017 05:39:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Jim - Sorry to hear about the troubles and hoping all is working out for the best.

And thanks for all the details on your upcoming book project. Sounds very awesome. Please keep us posted on progress.


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