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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tweet From Neil Young on "Hitchhiker" Release

UPDATE: Hitchhiker in its entirety is now streamable on NPR: (Thanks Scotsman!)

Here's a tweet from Neil Young on the upcoming "Hitchhiker" release.

It has been a long time, no see for Neil and tweeting.

Also, see UPDATE ON NEW ALBUM: Neil Young's "Hitchhiker" Now Due September 8 + Preview Track.

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At 8/30/2017 10:45:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

Neil's doing the Facebook thing, right on! If i had any clue, or desire, on how to join the facebook family, I guess I'd be right there with bells on, anxiously waiting on his every word.

I'm hoping he's gonna weigh in with his opinion on the "Neil vs Jerry" conversation from the other day.

At 8/31/2017 05:32:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/31/2017 05:36:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

When I was in college in Ypsilanti, Michigan I used to hitchhike back and forth to my parents home all the time. Must have done that 120 miles back and forth fifty times because that is how a broke college student rolled then. One time there was a huge snow storm so I got about ten rides because people went in the ditch (is that a Neil reference?). They would be too far in to help, always said to keep going and the next car would slow down but not stop because they'd get stuck. My last ride was in a military half-track in two and a half feet of snow. Could have died pretty easy that night out on a highway but made it home in like six hours. Should have wrote a blues song about that experience.

So, I relate "big time" to Hitchhiker as does my wife. People thought we were brother and sister. She is drop dead gorgeous so when we were hitching together never had a problem getting a ride. Think it was almost always guys picking us up but a rare single girl at times usually when my Irish face was seen as someone they knew.

Chatting it up with Warner Brothers and John Prine's manager about the book so thank you so much Thrasher. Your encouragement really means a lot and I'm going to put some energy into getting it all transcribed now and get an editor. Going on a "book tour" vacation soon...all over the world.

"if I only had some cash," in those days like Neil sings. That guitar was like your heart is trying to get a ride, opening the door and then using discernment if you wanted to get in or not. Always a risk out on the open road. You could always say where ever they were going wasn't far enough to accept or some other excuse with a real big thanks!

On the way to a Crosby and Nash concert at Pine Knob got picked up by their black manager (the called their manager's sharks but they had so much soul and compassion for me) and he brought me into the backstage area and said, "you are in the rest is up to you."

Cool, I got a hidden Neil Young track in my post here...let the meaning chats begin again.

At 8/31/2017 06:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hitchhiker in its entirety is now streamable on NPR:

I've listened to a couple of songs but am going to try to save the rest for release day. We'll see how long that lasts! Probably about 3 hours. :-)

I'm sure Neil has some really great memories of this period. And we'll hear what Neil has to say on the subject, but I'll hazard a guess he sees this tape as a very fond tribute to David Briggs and the Briggs/Young method. Of recording great songs in the most undiluted way possible, capturing a great performance that gets to the heart of the matter in a very intense fashion.

David Briggs knew that the magic of a great Neil Young project was in the songwriting and the emotional intensity of Neil's performance. "Nobody gives a s*^% about anything else" (as quoted in Waging Heavy Peace). And so he did his best to encourage Nell to bring those very qualities to the surface, to magnify them and light a fuse under them, at the expense of anything else that could potentially get in the way.

Briggs's records with Neil might not be the most slick or commercial, but they were often the purest. His influence is there even on the records he didn't produce, with the sparse and funky production of Peace Trail being a recent example. His production method was often to do as little as necessary, other than to inspire and encourage Neil Young to go that extra mile, to write some magnificent songs and then perform them as intensely as possible. And that definitely will come across listening to these recordings, which are a real treat for us all to hear 40 years later.


At 8/31/2017 06:48:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/31/2017 06:57:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Well said Scotsman and I went back to something I wrote about David Briggs on Rust when he passed. Echoes what you've said and I agree completely. Here is some of what I wrote but edited for space:

The passing of David Briggs, age 51, on November 26th, 1995, from lung cancer could have a similarly profound effect on Neil Young's recording career, just as the passing of Jerry Garcia did with the Grateful Dead's live performances.

One thing is for sure, David Briggs enjoyed the anonymous nature of being a producer. There was almost a transparent feature to his production work that focused more on bringing out the best of what a particular "group" had to offer than any signature his production values might have imposed.

"In an age when records are put together with extreme artifice David's mission was to break through that," explained Joel Bernstein who is the Neil Young tape archivist, musician and photographer. "He not only tried to bring out the best performance out of the artist he also wanted to present the listener with a realistic true picture of music being played in a room. He went after that live in a room sound! There was no technical trick that he and Neil wouldn't do to get that live feel, however."

David Briggs the producer always preferred a very emotional "live" sound that he could capture best in living rooms, basements, big barns and rehearsal warehouses like Studio Instrumental Rentals .

Very little is known of the David Briggs that worked with Neil Young. Briggs was born on February 29th, 1944 in Douglas, Wyoming. He worked for a time as a staff producer for Bill Cosby's label, Tetragrammaton. David Briggs met Neil Young when he picked him up hitchhiking in Topanga Canyon. Shortly after that meeting Briggs produced several cuts on the debut solo album by Neil Young that was released after he left the Buffalo Springfield. It wasn't till their second album together, "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere," that the live sound that he pursued with Neil Young came to the fore.

David Briggs was often confused by fans and journalists alike as being the same session musician and producer who owns "House Of David" in Nashville. Since parts of the country album by Neil Young called, "Old Ways," was recorded at "House Of David" this only added to the confusion. The David Briggs who played keyboards for people like Elvis Presley, J.J. Cale, Arthur Alexander, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez was the "other" David Briggs and he lives in Nashville.

"They are both David Briggs, they both produced records, and they both always got miscredited," Bernstein insisted. "If you look in the "Record Producers File," that came out like twelve years ago in Scotland, they put under David Briggs name all the albums they both produced. Our David Briggs (who lived in California) always referred to him as the 'other' David Briggs."

"He was very passionate about his work," Joel Bernstein told the online Internet magazine ATN. "He never did anything halfheartedly. He was very direct, very opinionated, and told you to your face what he thought and expected you to do the same. He'll be sadly missed."

By Jim Mckelvey (c) 1995

At 8/31/2017 07:08:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great stuff, Jim, thank you very much for sharing!

"David Briggs met Neil Young when he picked him up hitchhiking". Yet another reason why this record has a very apt title!


At 8/31/2017 07:16:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

And don't forget Briggs produced the magnificent Spirit record Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus

At 8/31/2017 09:30:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Here is the link to the entire obit but so much more was turned into Rolling Stone on my first assignment there but it was on the wrong David Briggs. Joel Bernstein, a dear friend who I haven't seen in decades, figured I had interviewed the "other" David Briggs for two hours thinking he was "our" David Briggs. Was instrumental in getting Joel Bernstein involved in cooking some of those bad tapes for a project on Sandy Denny. Thought I should have gotten a thank you on the release because I knew they were doing it for the archives project and they were stuck on the Sandy Denny project. Who knows where the time goes, indeed. Hat in hand I had to pull that back from publication but it was my best work sadly.

Used to get a lot of crap when I spoke like I've been doing like this on Rust. The best way to be a music fan was to be a journalist back in the day. Got to be like Woody Allen's Leonard Zelig and loved every single minute of it. I'd watch my three kids during the day and hang with artists at night. Told them it was so nice to look at someone eye to eye instead of down on them when they are only four feet tall. So many tours started in Detroit I always got plum assignments but there are two that hurt not to fulfill. The January after John Lennon died I was all set with a press pack to interview him on the start of his tour that was going to be incredible. Then I got assigned with the largest press pack I ever got for Led Zep but then the drummer died. Think they were starting the tour in Detroit. Next got "The River" tour opener and stops by after work at the hospital and found myself with Bruce Springsteen shooting the breeze in the locker room at Crisler Arena. Memories...

At 8/31/2017 09:34:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Oops, here is the link to the full obit on David Briggs...

Is "Hitchhiker" the time travel stuff that I have a feeling Neil got by doing Past Life Regression (PLR) that I highly recommend? All your peculiar interests that sometimes don't make any sense to the conscious mind fall into line when you do PLR.

Hard to tour Peru but I bet he wanted to go there based on past lives that he sprinkled all over the place in his emotional music. Hint, hint for the fans to do, too.

At 8/31/2017 01:34:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Scotsman - thanks on stream details. now that's really something about Briggs meeting Neil when he picked him up "hitchhiking". Did not know that. Or forgot. Yes, "Hitchhiker" is a very apt title.

@ Jim - Thanks for all of the Briggs comments. Looks like a Comment of the Moment potential.

Off to stream "Hitchhiker".


At 8/31/2017 03:43:00 PM, Blogger joe lookout said...

'Red men run' instead of 'Red means run...., Hey Thrashers, I think we can open another debate on the real meaning of Powderfinger!!!!!


At 8/31/2017 04:48:00 PM, Blogger Jim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/31/2017 08:39:00 PM, Blogger Robert said...

Every year is a good year to be a Neil Young fan

At 8/31/2017 09:24:00 PM, Blogger Peacelover Doc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9/01/2017 02:04:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Do hope Neil Young does an interview, maybe just one, where he gets "naked" about the writing of the "time travel" songs on "Hitchhiker." Have a strong feeling after the CSNY '74 tour or after the Crazy Horse tour in '76 that Neil either had a hypnotist help him do a past life regression or he had some life readings done by a trusted friend who is "gifted" that way. Would love to hear about that experience and the reaction of his pals to that and maybe what they did after they had heard he did it.

Really think right now it is important for people to get in touch with that aspect of their past and Neil Young, if he is willing to get what Jerry Wexler told me was naked, then he could be a powerful influence on the future of humans.

I've been watching his trip since about 1969 when my elder brother, from another mother, came back from Viet Nam with Buffalo Springfield "Again" under his arm riding a Royal Enfield motorcycle. Our family owned a cabin in the woods in Hale, Michigan with another family so it was as if our families merged. Was so said when that elder brother came back so changed by Viet Nam and war in general. Went back in Neil Young's career gathering recordings and then just tried to stay current from 1969 on. Started seeing live shows in 1973 at Cobo and then went from an amateur fan to professional fan for the Rust Never Sleeps tour. Had been going to Masonic Auditorium to see Joni Mitchell, Jim Croce and Loggins and Messina's first tour but somehow missed Neil there in 1971 or 1972 sadly. Man, was that a dangerous part of Detroit a few years after the riots.

Almost always took a pal with me who got a photo pass when I was a pro and then we'd get a before show and most often after show backstage pass. Was always told no interviews but we'd almost always talk backstage. He hated weekly Variety with a passion so it was a bit of a crusty relationship but loved his dad, too. I'd sit in the 5th row and his dad would sit in the 6th row in the seat directly behind me. We exchanged addresses and would write back and forth. If you have Scott Young's "Neil and Me" there is a whole chapter about us being together called "Five concerts in December."

Want to just give a professional tip of the hat to Scott Young, Neil's dad, who out of respect for what I do didn't name me in his book. It was an honorable thing that he knew my name but didn't name me in the book. We had talked about the anonymous nature of writing for weekly Variety and he showed much respect for me. Getting a bit misty eyed again thinking about those times so long ago but he had my name and address but didn't use it in the book. That really says a lot about Scott Young.

I've done both life readings with trusted folks and past life regression so if he wants an informed person to do that one interview I'm wide open for it but maybe the songs should be just left to speak for themselves, up to him to decide on that and I can't do that for Neil Young. We've got back trouble in common, too, now.

At 9/01/2017 05:18:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ joe lookout - Oh no?! Not another debate on the real meaning of Powderfinger??!!!

Been there & done that. Again & again & over and over @


@ Robert - right, every year, month & day is a good to be a Neil fan

@ Jim - That would be pretty awesome if Neil went unplugged (or naked, as Jerry Wexler defines) on an interview.

Did you catch the end of his statement last night?

Neil: "The Visitor will be arriving soon."

Maybe we'll all be "time travelers" by the time we all shuffle off this mortal coil?

In a way, the album HitchHiker is as close to a life reading that we'll ever hear.

Looks like we've been watching Neil's trip for a very long time over the decades. We don't go as far back as Buffalo Springfield. We caught the wave in the Ohio Kent State era as we heard the drums that summer.

Very cool stories there. Especially Scott Young.

Maybe write a book someday?!

At 9/02/2017 07:38:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9/02/2017 07:45:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

My autobiography's "working title" right now is "Journalism, Like Real Estate: Location, Location, Location" So many tours in the 1970's and 1980's started in Detroit because it was a rock and roll town and venues sold out. You got a healthy dose of cash to see you through the tour from Detroit, Pontiac and Ann Arbor.

Right off the top of my head would be examples like Bruce Springsteen's "The River" tour, Prince's huge "Purple Rain" six night opening, Rust Never Sleeps 2nd and 3rd stops, John Denver, and maybe Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Dan Fogelberg and so many more. Of course, it was home turf to Aretha and all of the Motown artists, too. I've got to develop this idea given the title of my autobiography.

I moved up from the local Ypsilanti Press to the national weekly Variety pretty quick. Then I wanted to add cash flow to my exploding family, three sons one after another, so I decided I had backstage access with Variety instantly so I should do interviews. So I got signed on as a stringer for the Detroit Free Press who pretty much loved all my ideas one after the other. The best of times was working for The Face in London where they paid a dollar a word and then when it came time to be paid, as sort of a tip of the hat to me, they asked if I'd rather be paid in pounds? That would double the payday and make my wife so very happy who was my editor because I had severe dyslexia back then. Dyslexia gets way worse when you are tired and hanging out on Willie Nelson's bus till two in the morning and getting up with the kids and a Dalmatian dog, Mancha, didn't allow much sleep.

Now, so I've been in this "state" I find myself in right now listening to Massey Hall and the Canterbury House live recordings like my life depended on it. Did Neil come up with the melody of "Winterlong" onstage in Ann Arbor? Also, the amphetamine story onstage in Ann Arbor ties in directly with the song "Hitchhiker." Plus, I'd gently say be sure to listen to the two part Indigo Recording Studio talks about their experiences with Neil. Hope to have "8.5 to 12" box come in the mail today and my health kind of depends on it this holiday weekend.

By the way, my soul is kind of out of the Essene tradition and like Neil on "Hitchhiker," I have done some time travel with my life looking beyond this incarnation. When you look back on your soul's life what looks like a patchwork of zig zags or switchbacks up the mountain appear like a straight line with a purpose looking back down the mountain.

As I look back I find it interesting that I was the office manager of the Summit Medical Center in Ann Arbor that was sort of the medical side of the Canterbury House mission in the town. Honestly, I didn't do that on purpose but did note it at the time that this was an important area for Neil Young because I've always felt that the single "Sugar Mountain" was his best work, well before this week I guess, just an odd aside here. That was why I said I'd been looking for the soundboard of the full show because I knew the folks who put it on but the priest had moved out of town. Do hope "that guy" has transferred what he has because they have some incredible recordings.

Have a strong feeling Neil was one of the shinning stars in the Cathar tradition from the 1100's where the troubadour style of reflecting the news of the day made its debut that morphed into the singer-songwriter era we know. Some of you, I'm sure, will say I've gone off the rails here.

Can't believe after all these years, decades and centuries, that it is such a good time to be a Neil Young fan. Too bad the record industry has just fallen apart as this has happened.

Give me strength, indeed, and if Elliott Roberts is reading this I've got Zoom ready for ya. (c) 2017

At 9/02/2017 12:26:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Jim - Good working title and thanks for the trunk full of memories.

Listening to Massey Hall and Canterbury House sounds like some good listening medicine for healing the Essene soul.

Such a good time to be a Neil fan. Let the streams flow long and loud.

Give us strength, indeed.

At 9/04/2017 03:19:00 PM, Blogger Jim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9/04/2017 03:27:00 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Pretty sure I saw this the song "Thrasher" the first time it was sung in public at a large venue at Pine Knob outside of Detroit on what I think was opening night of the Rust Never Sleeps tour. Pretty sure he did it at the Boarding House but that was almost like a sitting room version for the royal family or something like that. Lordy, I'm going to get in trouble for that but will just leave that comment where it lays. Thought then and now this might be the best "time travel" song ever written taking into account that this lifetime isn't the only one you get. Wrote my third professional review of this show that was published in the Ypsilanti Press word for word with what I wrote that was edited by my dear wife Jan since I'm on the dyslexic spectrum.

Be sure to follow along with the lyrics posted with the link because this is a period where old Neil Young got in touch with his soul in a big way and his past lives I suspect. Well, honestly, his songwriting was always connected to his soul but maybe it took a more direct turn during this period of writing. Am surprised "Powderfinger" gets all the meaning comments but I think "Thrasher" is the one to examine, for my blood anyway, as David Siglin used to say to me who ran the Ark Coffeehouse for years and decades in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Elliott Roberts, Neil's manager and a giant help to me over the years, really supported me with my review since a lot of the songs were getting their debut on Rust Never Sleeps and must say I think I nailed this review for posterity. It is kind of interesting looking back on something you wrote almost forty years ago since you can sort of be detached from it. David Geffen and Elliot Roberts were partners so I thought he was as big a deal as Neil whenever I ran into him and introduced whomever I was with to him. David Crosby always referred to them as their "sharks" and Elliott's company was and is called "Lookout Management."

Wish I could sit by a fire with Elliot Roberts and chat about old times someday.

The sports referees had just gotten those mics that they could do stuff on the field right where they stood and then Neil Young that year incorporated that into his Rust Never Sleeps set. They had those remote mics with all the over sized standing mics, cup of water, harmonica, roadie cases, amps and speakers, just brilliant, with Jawa roadies. If anyone wants to read what I wrote all those years ago I've got it on Dropbox so just send me your email address and I'll have it to by dinner time.

When Neil went in the studio with ten brand new songs, had David Briggs to record it and I think it is very important to note that his friend Dean Stockwell (one of the cylons in Battlestar Galactica) was sitting right in front of him as an audience of one. Check out what is said about Neil and Dean in this wiki link...very interesting!

At 9/05/2017 02:03:00 AM, Blogger TOM said...

"Thrasher" first played May 24,1978 at The Boarding House in SF

I was at that show and was blown away by the crystalline, diamond-like brilliance and intensity of those shows...
I stayed for the second show that night as well and it was equally intense and focused

At 9/05/2017 02:04:00 AM, Blogger TOM said...

Saw Danny Lanois at the Ark in Ann Arbor upstairs on the tour for his first album.
It was a free concert

At 9/05/2017 06:20:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Tom, was that upstairs at the pool hall or upstairs at the current location. Have wondered from afar how David Siglin's daughter is doing running the current version of the Ark. That place has such a cool history and I think there was a cassette recorder running at every show back to the 1950's but I remember Siglin was concerned the tapes were falling apart in the 1980's.

If you live up there near Ann Arbor, Michigan they really should transfer the tapes and then donate them to the Southern Folklife Collection down here like McCabe's did with their soundboards.

Boy, if someone into music wants a rich gift to themselves doing that transfer would be like a gift from source, gives me goosebumps. For instance, David Bromberg used to end his second show at sunrise there in the house they used to have. Every major folk singer in the country stopped there at one time or another or multiple times.

Here is a partial list of the McCabe's collection at SFC at UNC-CH...

At 9/05/2017 04:45:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Jim - Thrasher as a "time travel" song fits right into the new/old HitchHiker sequence and songs like Ride My LLama.

Lots of Peru references on HH. The "old soul" gets in touch with his soul and his past lives, indeed.

As for "Powderfinger"? Well, whatever you want to say about Thrasher, PF just seems more accessible to most, we suppose. "Thrasher" does have a lot of words.


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