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Sunday, April 12, 2020

INTERVIEW: Nils Lofgren on his return to Neil Young and Crazy Horse | Guitar World

Nils Lofgren w/ Neil Young - "Believe"
29th Annual Bridge School Benefit Concerts
Photo by thrasher
(Click photo to enlarge)

Nils Lofgren recently sat down with Guitar World to give his own warts-and-all look at the making of Colorado with Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

Nils discusses the challenges - and also the magic - of recording at Studio in the Clouds. In addition, Nils discusses the similarities and differences in playing with Young and Bruce Springsteen.

From Nils Lofgren on his return to Neil Young and Crazy Horse: "We hit this groove and nobody wanted to stop" | Guitar World by Richard Bienstock:
Nils Lofgren: "So we didn't belabor anything. There was no, 'We're going to rehearse today and record tomorrow.' As soon as we got the technical glitches out of the way and we were able to roll tape, we started tracking - even though we were learning the songs at the same time."

"But it’s not unusual to any of us. I remember way back with Tonight's the Night, Neil and [producer] David Briggs said, 'Look, this is an anti-production record. We don't even want you learning the songs too well.'

"We'd get there around dinnertime, shoot pool, sip some tequila, share a joint, talk about all our friends we'd lost and commiserate. Then around midnight we'd go in and Neil would talk us through three or four songs and we’d get on our instruments and literally start playing. And once Neil gets the vocal, you are done. No one's allowed to change a note. It was that kind of same vibe this time, only we were all a bit happier."

Guitar World: How does that sort of looseness translate when you’re recording longer format songs? For example, She Showed Me Love from Colorado - is the framework completely open-ended when you’re tracking something like that? Do you have a sense of how long the song is going to go on while you’re recording it?

Nils Lofgren: "There was zero sense of it. Zero discussion of it. She Showed Me Love, it was late at night, everyone was fried, but we thought, 'Let's get set up.' And by the time we were set up, we figured, 'Let’s get the song ready, then we’ll come in fresh tomorrow and do it.' So we started playing it to get it ready.

"We all had our amps to where we could hear each other. We had a PA system for Neil to sing through in the room. We didn’t use headphones. We wanted to hear each other. So there was a lot of leakage. But Neil was singing well despite the late hour and the jam just happened.

"We kept watching Neil, and he kept going from rhythm to lead. We hit this groove and nobody wanted to stop. So I just kind of hung on a thematic rhythm because I didn't want to break it up. And all of a sudden I felt like, 'Yeah, this is Crazy Horse. We're down in this pocket. I don't want to mess with it.' And 13 minutes later we were still playing.

"Then the next day we came in and, you know, sometimes you come in, you listen and you go, 'Okay, that's good, let's pick up where we left off.' But there was something special there. It was kind of like we were discovering each other while we discovered the song. And Neil said, 'I think we're done. Let's go on to the next song.'"
Full interview @ Nils Lofgren on his return to Neil Young and Crazy Horse: "We hit this groove and nobody wanted to stop" | Guitar World by Richard Bienstock.

More on Nils Lofgren and Neil Young.

Nils Lofgren and Neil Young
Vote For Change tour 2004
St. Paul, Minnesota
Photo by Joseph Quever

NYCH: Billy, Neil, Nils, & Ralph - April 2019
META-REVIEW: COLORADO by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Also, see The Difference in Greatness: Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young.

bruce-springsteen-electric-open.jpg neil_young_oldblack_flannel_hat
The Difference in Greatness: Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young
"You know, the difference between the greatness of Bruce Springsteen and that of Neil Young as someone once explained to me back in college: Bruce makes you think you, too, can be as great as he is; Neil makes you think he is really no better than you are to begin with. Remember that."
Dr. Eric Alterman - Altercation

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