Neil Young's new release ""World Record" w/ Crazy Horse is now available for pre-order. Order here
(Please shop locally & independently. But if you can't, we appreciate your supporting Thrasher's Wheat by clicking this link or YOUR COUNTRY's FLAG. Thank you!!!)
<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Fan's Open Letter To Neil Young

Neil Young On The Keyboards
Neil Young on Twitter - October 24, 2012
(Click photo to enlarge)

Recently here on comments on REVIEW: Neil Young's Unearthed 1976 Recording 'Hitchhiker' Is a Lost Treasure" | Rolling Stone, the ever intrepid Neil Young fan Scotsman (aka flyingscotzman) penned the following "Open Letter To Neil Young":
Interesting that Neil is very aware of the opinionated "crap" on the blogs (guilty, your honour). Had I been aware that he reads his own reviews then I myself would have on occasion been less hasty in giving my own thoughts on Thrasher's blog (previously Neil had said that he avoids reading about himself online).

So a note for Neil, if this can be passed to him then I would appreciate it:


People are opinionated for one reason: because they care.

You have inspired many with your own talent and have always attracted intense people throughout your life. Sometimes these people do not get on well with each other, and there are fireworks. From David Briggs to your manager to the nutters who write reviews online (again: guilty, your honour). Often this has brought about some conflict, but always some very beneficial things, too.

Look on your social media pages and you will see many thoughtless comments where people off-handedly and rudely put you down for putting your politics into your music (and whatever else). Dismiss that stuff, by all means. It has no value. But don't dismiss all passionate opinions as "crap", even if they are misguided or one-sided. It's only natural that your fans will have strong opinions, as indeed you yourself do on music technology, on GMOs, farming practises etc. This is particularly true of your younger fans, including myself. And it is this intensity that has kept your own fire burning, and sometimes unintentionally hurt a few people in the process.

Yes, it is "only music", but at the same time, you are underrating its power. Music itself is a pretty potent thing that is going to reach many people, often with their own ideas and contributions and reactions. Passionate people can be pretty vocal and often they can seem pretty crazy, as well. But surely this is a better situation than one of apathy, even if it is uncomfortable for you at times.

As for the matter of artistic inspiration, I too think you were fortunate to have had it so strongly, as you said in your interview. Hitchhiker is a magical record. But the fact remains that you have still got it, as witnessed on some of your most recent projects (Earth being a wildly-creative example that you clearly put a lot of focused effort into, with the end result of creating magic yet again).

So although my own opinions here have been generally complimentary (and hopefully, interesting or entertaining to read at times), I guess this is my way of apologising if anything I have said was ever taken to heart more than I intended it to be.

Scotsman, bold words spoken here that likely resonate with other Neil Young fans. Thanks for sharing.

And we do know that Neil does occasionally drop by from time to time to check in on "The Vista and The Muse".

For us, it's all about walk on...


Labels: ,


At 9/11/2017 11:56:00 AM, Blogger dpnyfan said...

Well said, I'm one of the "old fans" haha as long as NY puts it out I'm in for the great,the bad,or the ugly it all matters! Thx NY keep on rocking in the free world

At 9/11/2017 01:32:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Here-here, Duane. My sentiments exactly.

At 9/11/2017 02:35:00 PM, Blogger Hbheel said...

Never doubt the master!!!!

At 9/11/2017 08:50:00 PM, Blogger Norman Gaywood said...

It's a fine well written letter.
But why does Scotsman feel he has to tell Neil this?
I think I've missed something.

At 9/12/2017 04:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this for me Thrasher.

Duane: I think the point about age is that fans who have been with Neil since the 70's or earlier have had plenty of time to adapt very well to Neil's ways of doing things (style changes, band changes etc), and are perhaps less demanding as a result, settled in for the ride wherever it may go. Younger fans are open-minded as well but also idealistic, seeing the history of it with more detachment and focusing on the great bits. It's musical excellence that has led them to Neil Young, and that's what they are still seeking out, even today. As for me, I'm somewhere between the two.

Norman: you can ask me yourself! Neil did a radio interview the other day in which he commented about having to "wade through" some of the "crap he reads about himself on the blogs". That is what inspired my letter. I'm guessing that if he was referring to any incident in particular, it was probably the reaction to the release Children Of Destiny, which caused quite a reaction here and elsewhere, a lot of it hostile.

Either way, I wanted to:

a) put across the hopefully valid point that not all opinionated blog posts are "crap". Not all criticism is put across for negative or hostile reasons (though some of it is). Part of being an expressive person or artist is having people engage with your work in a variety of ways. I suspect Neil is the last person to encourage people to censor themselves. Everyone has always had an opinion, it is just more obvious in the internet age. That doesn't mean those opinions are any more important than they ever were.

People are also more vocal now because Neil has moved onto more direct songwriting about issues affecting the world, which have to be thought about and grappled with, rather than just absorbed and felt.

And b) express an apology if any of my own comments have contributed to any upset.

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it.


At 9/13/2017 03:43:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Scostman, your comments are worthy.

Speaking personally, I'd count myself as another of the younger fans. But certainly buckled in for the ride. I Have found some of my most rewarding Neil Experiences in wandering away from the "great bits". I think the nature of Neil Young's body of work is to reward the curious and the adventurous. The Ditch Trilogy would be the archetypal example of work that was not highly regarded at the time, but has proved to have a substantial shelf life on closer, longer inspection. I think this also can apply to some of Neil's more (relatively) recent works, some of them quite unduly discarded. In championing Earth, you yourself light on a fine example.

Some of the things Neil shares are whimsical; some are profoundly heartfelt. And who's to say you can't have both aspects within the same piece? My point is, Neil's body of work is staggering not least because of its breadth in music and in ideas. And I don't think the Neil Young Experience is ever going to rewarding, in the long term, for the listener who can't or won't treat it as an exploratory process. Curiosity and receptivity to the novel are essential qualities for appreciating, let alone trying to understand, more than "the hits". It's a journey, and if you try to ask directions, the most you're likely to get out of Neil is the equivalent of "Follow the yellow brick road!" Not least, I think, because NY himself has been exploring, experimenting, and learning, and figuring shit out--in his own ways--as much as we, the audience, have been compelled to do.

I wonder if some of Neil's best records don't transmit this restless, unresolved spirit from artist to listener? I'm sure this quality can be both arresting and disconcerting, depending on the listener's mood and countless other factors. What it leads to, however, is that in order to gain a rich appreciation of Neil Young's body of work, a certain stamina and flexibility are essential. As with many (most?) things, a more passive approach is less likely to deliver rewards. Being a classic car nut, I'm sure Neil appreciate the maxim that at least half the fun is getting there, wherever--if anywhere--"there" may turn out to be. "If you follow every dream, you might get lost"... but isn't that the point? I can't speak for everyone, but for me, yes.


Post a Comment

<< Home

<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Willie for a Nobel!

Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize
for Farm Aid and his work on
alternative fuels, and world peace initiatives.

Farm Aid

Go Farmers Markets!

"In the >field< of opportunity
It's plowin' time again."

Silverline Communications

(Home of the FarmAidians)
Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
(519) 737-7979

This blog supports free speech!

Demand justice for Aaron:
Support "Aaron's Law" and inquiry into his prosecution

(... he didn't kill himself either...) #AaronDidntKillHimself

Induct Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Please Help Support Independent Media &
Non-Corporate Advertising
This Blog's For You!

The Hypocrisy of the Mainstream Media

It's Been Called The
"Missing Link" in the Ditch Trilogy


Sign the Release "Time Fades Away" Petition
Join The 10,000+ Who Have Already Signed


Neil Young Appreciation Society

Sugar Mountain

Neil Young Setlists
Rust Radio


Bands Covering Neil Young songs


Official Neil Young News Site

The Bridge School

The Bridge School Concerts
25th Anniversary Edition

**100% of Proceeds to Benefit Bridge School***

The Essential Neil Young

Fans Favorite Neil Albums

Top 50 MP3
Neil Young Song Downloads

Top 10 Best Selling Neil Albums Today
Support Thrasher's Wheat
via Purchases from:
United States - us.gif
Canada - canada.gif
United Kingdom - gb.gif
Germany - de.gif

Neil Young Songbook Project

In the fields of wheat

"Children of Destiny" will NOT be harvested
However, the chaff will be burned by unquenchable fire

Neil Young + Promise of the Real

Europe 2016 Tour Dates

2015 Rebel Content Tour

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Alchemy Concert Tour Reviews

Fall 2012 N. America Tour
Spring 2013 Australia/New Zealand Tour
Summer 2013 Europe Tour

Europe Summer 2014 Concert Tour
Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Thrasher's Wheat Radio Supporters Go To Europe

Neil Young Films

2010 MusiCares Honors Neil Young

Features Elvis Costello, Crosby Stills & Nash, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, Ben Harper, Elton John, Norah Jones, Lady Antebellum, Dave Matthews, James Taylor, Keith Urban, and others.
Proceeds from sales go to MusiCares,
which helps musicians in need of
financial and medical assistance.


"There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye"



Neil Young FAQ:
Everything Left to Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker
"an indispensable reference"

Paul McCartney and Neil Young


"You can make a difference
If you really a try"

John Lennon and Neil Young

"hailed by fans as a wonderful read"

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
The Supergroup of the 20th Century

Director Jonathan Demme's Exquisite film "Heart of Gold"

eddie & neil
Eddie Vedder and Neil Young

Revisiting The Significance of
The Buffalo Springfield

"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
tweeted, shared and liked
The Embarrassment of Mainstream Media

Turn Off Your TV & Have A Life

"Everything Is Bullshit" +
"Turn Off The News"
Turn Off the News (Build a Garden)

Neil Young 2016 Year in Review:
The Year of The Wheat

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain and Neil Young

Neil Young's Feedback:
An Acquired Taste?

Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years
by Rustie Sharry "Keepin' Jive Alive in T.O." Wilson

"the definitive source of Neil Young's formative childhood years in Canada"

neil & joni
Joni Mitchell & Neil Young

europe 1987.jpg

Bob and Neil

So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?

Four Dead in Ohio
kent state
So What Really Happened at Kent State?

The Four Dead in Ohio

May The FOUR Be With You #MayThe4thBeWithYou


dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

Rockin' In The Free World

Sing Truth to Power!
When Neil Young Speaks Truth To Power,
The World Listens

Emmylou Harris and Neil Young

Wilco and Neil Young


Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young


Elton John and Neil Young

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young


The Meaning of "Sweet Home Alabama" Lyrics

Neil Young Nation -
"The definitive Neil Young fan book"

What does the song mean?

Random Neil Young Link of the Moment

Bonnie Raitt and Neil Young

I'm Proud to Be A Union Man


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up

Class War:
They Started It and We'll Finish It...

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"
Full Disclousre Now

"I've Got The Revolution Blues"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize

John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel



Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what a friend had said,
I was hoping it was a lie"

We're All On
A Journey Through the Past

Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH
(we can handle it... try us)

Does Anything Else Really Matter?

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

Here Comes "The Big Shift"

Maybe everything you think you know is wrong? NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
... and symbolism will be their downfall...

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists

"Children of Destiny" - THE Part of THE Solution

(Frame from Official Music Video)

war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

"greed is NOT good"
Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”
~~ Bob Marley

The Essence of "The Doubters"

Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Even Though The Music Died 50+ Years Ago
Open Up the "Tired Eyes" & Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?


Show Me A Sign

"Who is John Galt?"
To ask the question is to know the answer

"Whosoever shall give up his liberty for a temporary security
deserves neither liberty nor safety."

~~ Benjamin Franklin


(Between the lines of age)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

~~ John & Paul

the zen of neil
the power of rust
the karma of the wheat