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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Neil Young’s Journey Through the Past | The Nation - Updated

"Lookin' for a Leader" by Neil Young (2020)
An extensive overview of Neil Young's career through the lens of the recent release of his album 'Homegrown' and how it has impacted his "his own lost history".
Young’s on-the-sleeve politics, meanwhile, have always seemed a bit evasive.
Anti-Nixon protest songs led, in the ‘80s, to wishy-washy support for some Reaganomic policies (predictably, Young seemed to double down on this the instant he was called out for it); lifelong activism around stewarding the environment was undercut by the post-9/11, pro-war torch song “Let’s Roll.” More recently, in addition to threatening to take the President to court (embracing the tradition of eager American litigiousness), he has expressed support for Joe Biden, and for Black Lives Matter, writing on his website that America needs to “deal with our white insecurities.” He also, even more recently, vowed to uncouple his Archives website from Facebook, claiming that “the corrupt social platform” was “screwing with our election.”

Even that one word—“our”—is significant. It suggests that Young, a newly certified American, self-described “old white guy” consummate artist of disillusionment, hasn’t succumbed to the cynicism that US politics seems to encourage.

U.S. Republican Presidents Richard Nixon, George Bush, Sr. (#1), Ronald Reagan

We bring this all up because -- as we mentioned in a recent posting "Battle of Two Songs: Anti-Trump Neil Young vs. Black Pro-Trump Lloyd Marcus" |, we know that Neil Young has practically built a career on going after Republican Presidents -- from President Richard Nixon in 1970 with the CSNY song "Ohio" to President Ronald Reagan in 1981 with the album "REACTOR" [ed - see comments below]  to President George Bush #1 with the iconic song "Rockin' In The Free World" and on to President George Bush #2 with the album "Living With War" and the oh-so inflammatory song and subtle as a flamethrower song "Let's Impeach The President".

And Neil has weighed in on the DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION SUCCESS | NYA, where his longtime friend and bandmate Stephen Stills lip synced to "For What It's Worth".



  "For What It's Worth" by Stephen Stills

But Neil Young is clear in his response to Lindsey Graham Thinks It's A Good Thing That Neil Young Is Suing Donald Trump | NYA that "I don't hate Trump".


Lindsey Graham Thinks It's A Good Thing That Neil Young Is Suing Donald Trump | NYA

Neil replies: "I don't hate Trump"


For more, see Neil Young’s Journey Through the Past | The Nation by John Semley.

Neil Young "On The Beach" @ The DNC - TODAY Show 

Also,  "Battle of Two Songs: Anti-Trump Neil Young vs. Black Pro-Trump Lloyd Marcus" |,


Labels: , , ,


At 8/18/2020 07:28:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

“the director did not cue the speeches at the right time”

come on

the speeches were taped


the Democrat Party = all lies all the time

enjoy serial rapist Bill Clinton tonight, Neil

great job, Invisible Joe

At 8/18/2020 08:21:00 PM, Blogger Sedan Delivery said...

I love Neil, but he is gone.

I did not watch the convention so I can’t comment on it, but the constant assurances that it was a great success leads me to believe that it was not.

“Biden obviously thought this through and did a great job.” Does Neil really think Joe had any part in planning the convention? Vote Dem all you want, but at least be real with us.

I did however watch the clip of FWIW. Did anyone here actually enjoy that? It was one of the most cringeworthy things I’ve ever seen. It was like a bad MadTV skit. The only good thing was that Stills was involved first hand. Glad it was good enough for him.

At 8/18/2020 09:47:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

I didn't watch the convention either, so like Sedan, can't comment. However, to invert the logic, if Neil said it went shitty, would we all assume it was fantastic? You see-- there's no winning with that mindset.

Otoh, goading about taped speeches (*gasp*, the horror!) and "serial rapist Bill" is, frankly, weak and evading actually issues that matter and are on the line. If, however, anyone thinks the Republicans have any sort of moral higher ground--or, alternatively, that voting for President Trump is somehow not voting for the Republican Party--they are fooling themselves. Any elected official, regardless of party affiliation, carries into office with them the interests of those who got them elected, and that includes being tied to the party aparatus that facilitated getting them elected in the first place.


At 8/18/2020 09:50:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/18/2020 10:01:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/18/2020 10:28:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Trying to fit my remaining thoughts into a single comment here, since I don't have an edit function on TW and feel obnoxious posting multiple times.

Just today, a bi-partisan, Republican-led senate investigation report confirmed and reaffirmed that Paul Manafort and other Trump campaign operatives had/have extensive links with the Kremlin. While, of course, there's no singular smoking gun, what is more believable: that everyone else is lying and/or deluded, or that one man is beyond reproach? Sorry, but POTUS is every bit as slimy and stagnant as the swamp he promised to drain.

As to Stills: his heart is in the right place. Bless him for having the moral courage to do what he believes is best, and I appreciate Neil's loyalty to a friend.


At 8/19/2020 09:21:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Jonathan - how should we put this?
while we like to try and be open, a political (ha, right), you bring a balance here to blog comments.
but some don't feel that you represent your side very well as a patriot. taunting the opposition is not particularly effective.

consider upping your game here in the final innings. just a suggestion.

we love America, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness.

@ ALL - it has come to our attention that the embedded video above of Stills FWIW is not what was broadcast but a mashup. apologies.
that said, many find it to be much better and more effective than what DNC offered up.

so what will neil bring? LFAL 2020?!

At 8/19/2020 09:27:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

btw, we find it somewhat amusing that Neil Young "On The Beach" photo @ The DNC was so prominently featured on TODAY Show. hmmmm

Thanks Mr H & HtH for submissions!

At 8/19/2020 10:14:00 AM, Blogger hawkeye said...

Serial rapist? Lies all the time? Jonathan = lost cause.

At 8/19/2020 11:57:00 AM, Blogger NYBD11-12 said...

A few follow up items.
1. Neil did not "go after Ronald Reagan in 1980 with the album 'Hawks and Doves.'" The LP was released on 11-2-1980 -- the day BEFORE the 1980 election.
2. As all Thrashers know, side 1 was recorded between 1974-77.
3. Side 2 was recorded early in 1980 -- before Reagan had won the GOP nomination.

It's a misrepresentation to say that H&D was Neil going after Reagan.

RE: Stills. His music hasn't moved me since Manassa,and he sometimes seems like the quintessential asshole diva rock star (See: 1974 Dylan/Nash incident in "Shakey.")

However, stills walks the walk -- raising hundreds of thousands of $ for progressive candidates over the past 40 years. In 1985, I met Stills at a $ raiser for a very progressive Dem running for US Senate in PA. I didn't know what to say to him ("I love Neil Young's music" seemed rude), so I said "We used to sing your songs at summer camp." (True). Maybe the NY comment would have been better?

At 8/19/2020 12:38:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ NYBD11-12 - point taken and well noted.

back to the research and timelines on that and we'll issue a correction update.

So help us out here NYBD11-12.

Maybe we're mixing up REACTOR w/ H&D here?

How about the song TBONE? Isn't that about "supply side/ trickle down economics" and mocking Reagan econ policies?

Please clarify. Appreciated.

We did a bunch on this previously here which might help us thrashers sort out.

this page has a bunch of interviews w/ Neil and the subject of conservatives which we need to re-read, but pls check out.

Right now we're working on a major article, so we'll have to get back.

the early 80's were definitely weird w/ Reagan & MTV in some sort of culture war.

At 8/19/2020 01:17:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Pt. 1 of 2


Thanks for your balanced responses here. Although I've been vociferous with my own views, it's not with the intent of running people off or stifling open conversation. There's a time for speaking difficult, inconvenient truths, as I see them. The fact is, some people are clearly willing to take POTUS' word over and above any evidence to the contrary, whether it be about covid-19 or Russian election interference.

While I can understand folks being leery about conclusions presented by other elected officials, why this same standard does not apply to the things that come out of President Trump's mouth, I do not understand and no one has been able to rationalize it to me. So I'm left to conclude that it speaks, in part, to an authoritarian streak in certain individuals, to the extent that they are looking for a beacon in the darkness of our current political climate: a wish to believe there is an all-powerful, benevolent figure out there who can come to the rescue and use their power to quickly and simply wash away all of our problems.

Unfortunately, that line of thinking, looking for "the one", tends to lead to extreme ideologies, dictatorships, totalitarian states. What really feeds into this problem, in my opinion, is a certain religious ideology that overlaps with this latent authoritarianism, wherein adherents tend to think constantly in black and white, good vs. evil, devil vs. messiah thought patterns. When you project that kind of moral and ideological absolutism onto geopolitics, the result is 9/11, among other things.

What's the difference between a superhero and a tyrant? It may depend on whether you approve of how the individual in question uses their power. Otoh, President Obama disappointed a lot of folks by not being a superhero, and perhaps when President Trump's time is up, hindsight will eventually have people looking at him in the same way. If that's not already happening.

At the moment, a large number of people have intimated that Trump and his backers have been party to some shady things, some which may possibly rise to the level of attempting to subvert the course of democracy. Individuals on all political sides have suggested as much. So I return to my question: do we assume that all of these people are corrupt liars and pawns, while the president is the only honest man standing?

Dismissing out of hand the notion that President Trump could be meaningfully in the wrong seriously strains credulity. Based on the current evidence, he's either not discerning enough to distance himself from unethical people or he just doesn't care--neither possibility speaking well to his character or fitness to hold office.

I believe, perhaps naively, that there are some folks even in federal government who are honest, decent, conscientious,and hardworking--regardless of any serious disagreements I may have with some of them. Are they enough to overcome the self-preserving inertia and partisan paralysis of the government as a whole? At the moment, the answer seems to be "no", but I remain cautiously optimistic that this can change, or improve, at some point.

At 8/19/2020 01:18:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Pt. 2 of 2:

To add to NYBD's corrections of the Nation's Article, I don't hear Let's Roll as an entirely, unambiguously "pro-war" song. Neil has maintained it is about Flight 93, and I read the lyrics as his effort to write the POVs of those passengers. However, it does sound different post-War on Terror than it would in the weeks and months immediately after 9/11. Neil famously doesn't edit himself, and it would especially unrealistic to expect people to be perfectly measured in their words immediately after the attacks, but I do wonder if the song could have had a clearer and stronger message with just a bit more restraint and subtlety put into the words. As it stands, people looking for a fight probably find the song easy to cast as a battle march. For what it's worth, the line that's always given me goosebumps is "I hope that we're forgiven for what we've got to do".

Which leads me back to Stills. Can we please give the man some consideration and respect? I simply need to emphasize here that Stephen has a son on the autism spectrum, just as Neil has kids with cognitive/neuro-motor deficits. I'm sure we all remember the clip, endlessly repeated on TV, of then-candidate Trump mocking a disabled reporter. Yeah, I would not be surprised if Stills has strong feelings on that one. Wouldn't you?

Context is key, folks.


At 8/20/2020 06:42:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ NYBD11-12 - again, thanks for catching this and updated above.

oddly, we've had similar observations on H&D here for awhile now and you're the 1st to note the discrepancy. So gold star for you.

@ Meta Rocker - regarding your questions on corruption, Trump and honest Federal workers.

we could say a lot here, but we'll try to brief in that our direct experience here in DC is that it's both -- a small, but massively effective contingent of corruption among the vast majority of bureaucrats trying to do the right thing.

probably our main comment that we've concluded after a lot of observation and analysis is the whole Blue-Red/Right-Left/Dem-Repub is a big smokescreen game. Sadly, both "sides" work for "The Powers That Be" that Neil specifically cited in "Children of Destiny".

It's playing both sides off the middle.

So follow the money ... that was the lesson of Watergate. The $'s control both sides. The lesser of 2 evils is still evil.

Regarding Stills, agree whole whole-heartedly on his personal situation. But sadly, a highly song of a generation was pretty squandered by what we see in the video. That's the tragedy. The abuse of an iconic song.

But -- like you say - context is key.


At 8/21/2020 05:20:00 PM, Blogger Sedan Delivery said...

I too appreciate the balanced responses in this post, though I strongly disagree with much of it.

I am happy that everyone agrees that FWIW was a jaw droppingly bad moment. Was that part of the success Neil was talking about?

I am also glad that no one has disputed my notion that Neil is either a fool or straight up lying when he says that Biden did a great job planning the evening. In Joe’s words ‘cmon man!” That sentence didn’t even need to be written, but was just a chance to artificially shore up concerns about Biden’s current abilities. This is what I’m talking about when I say the constant reassurances of the convention’s success are suspect. An actual example. Don’t just flip my logic and act as though you are disproving it.

There is no moral high ground in politics. To me, claiming to have it is a trait of liberals, but I suppose when you’re on the other side it looks like that’s what the republicans are doing. Every clip I’ve seen from the convention is talking about Joe’s heart and his empathy, his kindness, blah blah. In govt policy those words mean nothing. Every goal they want to achieve involves forcibly taking people’s income to give to others. Nothing you do with it after that can be considered moral or empathetic. The big lie is that we just need to elect “good people.” Power corrupts. The sooner you accept that, the more sense politics makes. All the original platitudes about America’s greatness were specifically because of its minimal federal govt. Not because we had magically moral politicians that would help fix all aspects of our lives. More freedom is always the answer.

I’m always fascinated by the obsession that Trump is destroying democracy. The DNC stole the nomination from Bernie in 2016 and 2020. This year was especially fun with Warren staying in just long enough to rob him of a couple primary wins, dropping out, and then still refusing to support him, even though she stole all of his policies. It’s all coordinated, folks. Is that not subverting democracy? Would love to hear Neil write a song about that. In fact, Neil’s current home state is having rolling blackouts and wildfires because of its failed liberal energy and land management policies. That would make for a good song as well.

As for the Russia stuff, feel free to cling to that as long as you wish. Same as with obsession that Trump is some sort of fascist. He has let states control their responses to both COVID and the peaceful riots. No situation could better prepackaged for a dictatorship, but that liberal dream simply has not come to pass. But people also think he called Nazis fine people, so anything is possible.

As for Neil, I still consider him to be a hypocrite until he issues a public apology for asking Trump for an investment and taking a smiling photo with him. I hope he realizes that photo is enough to destroy all of his credibility with the woke mob should the issue ever arise.

At 8/21/2020 06:17:00 PM, Blogger NYBD11-12 said...

Perhaps you and I shouldn't have lunch.

At 8/21/2020 11:17:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@Thrasher, Again, I appreciate your considered input. At the same time, I think it's clear there are differences in policy agenda and professed ideology between the two major parties. At some level, they share an interest in keeping electoral power consolidated between just the two of them, but that doesn't make them absolutely equivalent in all other ways, so each of us is left to make the best decision we know how to from the available choices.

@Sedan, Sorry, but I don't think you fully read or digested my comments... which is your right, of course. However, what is your alternative to "electing good people"? I have said before, kvetching about how awful the government is, is meaningless, unless you make some effort to step up and figure out your own role in the mess, determine what you can do-- compassionately, proactively, and without hurting yourself or anyone else-- to improve things.

Do I need to repeat that these people wouldn't be in office, had they not been voted for at some point? It's hypocritical to call for greater personal responsibility and individual initiative, while ostensibly denying--or relegating as worthless--the principle that the people can and should have influence in choosing leaders and lawmakers--a principle, I would add, that is the foundational tenet of democracy.

Do you think elected officials are another species? They come from homes and families, towns and cities, go to school and church like the rest of us, eat, drink, sleep, shit, and pray like the rest of us. Neither does simply getting elected magically change one's moral character.

In other words, the hard divide between "us" (the people) and "them" (the elected few) is an illusion, one not least of our own collective making. I have said before, "divide and conquer" begins in the head.

"Government is the problem" is, and always has been, simple-minded and not a particularly helpful attitude in trying to solve our problems. It's especially distressing, again, in a democracy, when we should be celebrating and pushing mightily to assert and strengthen our right to take part in the decision-making via democratic processes. To turn one's back on the opportunity to contribute, to hear and be heard, simply due to an article of faith stating that any kind of governmental body is always and inevitably bad isn't merely simplistic... it's actually sad.

And hell, maybe if folks had embraced a few "liberal" policies, some of the laws that make it much more difficult for average people to enter politics wouldn't have surfaced. So government regulation is bad, but then what mechanisms are in place to hold back the moneyed interests you rightfully complain are running the show?

This mindset simply does not make sense unless one doesn't care to participate, which again, is a depressing, sucky attitude. It's anyone's right to take that attitude, but it isn't necessarily an appealing look.

Moreover, no, Neil Young isn't a hypocrite for changing his mind about Donald Trump. Re: Donald and Neil, I'll withhold judgement, as I wasn't actually there. As far as I know, neither were any of us. However, if changing one's mind is hypocritical, you can take that up with some of the folks planning to vote differently in 2020 than they did in '16.

At 8/22/2020 12:40:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Afterthought: If I sound annoyed or testy, it's usually because I feel like I'm putting myself out there and not being heard, or understood, properly--or worse, that someone is deliberately misrepresenting, ignoring, or blowing smoke up my ass in the guise of platitudes.

While there's plenty of good discussion on TW, it's frustrating at times to go the extra mile in sharing my thoughts, only to be answered with what reads as petty condescension, endless reiteration of beyond-tired, one-sided talking points, plus a few scattered articles of faith.

When I think about packing it in as far as TW is concerned, it's simply because I wonder whether it's worth the energy, or am I pissing in the wind in regards to thinking and hoping that more folks are capable of taking ideas onboard, as opposed to immediately reverting to the simplistic comforts of thinking inside the box?

"There's so many answers, but where is the question? Maybe it's just you and me."

Lastly, and for the final reiteration of this point, I refuse to mourn or moan about what Stills does with his own song. I don't know Stills' current health, but maybe he'd actually have played live if not for the pandemic. Maybe not. Regardless, I dissent from this piling on, as I find it lacking in both empathy and perspective, excessively self-centered in regards to our own feelings of ownership over and identification with the song in question.

Peace and blessings to all.

At 8/22/2020 01:02:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

"There was comfort in the garden, in the apple blossom time. The Golden Book was black and white. It kept us all in line. But when the walls come tumbling down like castles made of sand, it's time we were going back to where it all began."

At 8/22/2020 06:13:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Meta Rocker - please don't pack it in and buy a pick-up and take it down to L.A.

You're not pissing in the wind, definitely.

Listen, we know the feeling.

We've put blood sweat & tears into posts only to be met with a shrug, silence or worse.

But these are tactics.

In the early days as we hovered over target, we got a lot of "Get a life dude." A classic minimization technique.

You're know you're over target when the flak is heaviest.

Fortunately for us and TW, when we were down on a frown the messenger brought us a letter ...

The Vista and The Muse

We were raised by the praise of a fan.

the rest is history as they say. we'll continue to keep on bloggin' until the power goes out and our battery's dead, trust us.

At 8/25/2020 09:37:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@thrasher, wow, the "Vista the Muse" was a blast from the past! A few names I had not seen or thought of in quite a while--I hope some of them are still out there. Maybe some are right under my nose, under different handles now and I'm not aware of it.

I think I was very new to TW when all this was going down, certainly didn't catch all of it at the time. On one hand, I miss some of the vibrancy and vitality this place had when there was a larger cast of regulars. On the other... the expression "too much of a good thing" comes to mind, reliving some of the offensive, asinine, and outright bizarre shenanigans that clearly reached a tipping point. Had always heard about "sock puppets" online, but this was the first time I truly witnessed them at their best/worst.

I suspect a lot of it was trolls playing both sides against the middle (TW), but it must have been difficult to tell at times which comments were genuine and which were counterfeits, with the unfortunate price that innocent parties likely got caught up in some of the purging/moderation. Which, of course, could only inflame things even further re: the censorship debate, creating a breeding ground for all sorts of miscommunications and unintended ill will. What's more disturbing is that at least a few folks obviously took pleasure in deliberately manufacturing such conflict.

I know that you and I have had our moments, mainly over cotm. I will admit that, from time to time, you choose to highlight comments I struggle to see the value in. However, that is your call and with as many shout-outs as I've received over the years, I should be the last one complaining. If it's any consolation for my occasional fickleness, it's abundantly clear to me that your heart is in the right place.



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