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Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Sonic Youth & Neil Young: Tales From WELD Tour

Sonic Youth & Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse - 1991

"Last night I dreamt I kissed Neil Young
If I was a boy I guess it would be fun."

-- Sonic Youth, Creme Brulee, 1992

In 1991, Sonic Youth opened for Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse on the 1991 WELD Tour.

In an interview in MELODY MAKER in 1991, Neil Young said about the selection of Sonic Youth as an opening act:

    NEIL YOUNG: "I didn't want acts that people were going to say "Oh, I can take them or leave them". I wanted to get somebody that people were going to love or hate. And I think we did a good job there. Sonic Youth are way out there on the cutting edge with what they're doing. And it's also extremely similar to what we've been doing for a long time.

In the book "I Dreamed Of Noise" written by Ignacio Julia and Jaime Gonzalo, Sonic Youth's Kim Gordan said:

    KIM GORDON : "That was the first time (the 1991 Neil Young tour) I ever felt what it was like to be a girl in a band, I really felt sorry for like Joni Mitchell.

    I mean, he's [Neil] very sweet and everything but he's part of that generation and that way of thinking. It sounds like it's changed, but in certain level, in rock, it's just there."


Sonic Youth

In an interview in Exclaim (June 2004), Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo had this to say about Neil Young when asked "What's been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?"

    Lee Ranaldo:"That's a hard one.

    Being someone who plays gigs and finding many, many memorable ones in different ways - I guess I'd have to say I don't really have a single favourite one that I could pick out. As far as seeing other people, I wouldn't say it's the most memorable one but a memorable gig would have to be Neil Young's recent Greendale show."

In an interview in MOJO Magazine with Neil Young in 1995, he was asked about recording with Sonic Youth, possibly for the album that became Sleeps With Angels.

    YOUNG: "With Sonic Youth?

    Well, that sounds like it came from a news story that was in fact wrong. Hell, if they wanted to play, I'd be there. It sounds like too much fun to pass by. Sonic Youth are great. Same with R.E.M.: I'd love to work with those guys if the right conditions prevailed. "

Over on Blogcritics' StarPolish Interview with Sonic Youth, some interesting comments by Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo guitarist on alienating fans with musical experimentation:

LEE RANALDO: "I don't think that's true.
In fact, I think it sort of happens in a kind of the reverse -- it's easy to alienate the fans that have kind of come recently and sort of dip in and check it out, and then move on to something else. I think especially for a band like us, our hardcore fans are really interested in the different directions that we go, and the same goes for us; if we like an artist, even if they go through a period that has you scratching your heads and wondering, 'What the fuck are they doing?' -- like with Neil Young or someone like that when he goes off on these crazy tangents -- you still like something about who they are and what they're enough doing that you keep coming back to see where they're going.
Hopefully they come around and do stuff you really love again, as Young has for sure. So I think that because we've been around for so long, there have been fans that have been with us for a really long period of time, and in general they look for us to do different things and sort of challenge their expectations of who we are and what we are."

NEIL YOUNG (Guitars Magazine 92) : "Obviously I like Sonic Youth. They are definitely a modern rock'n'roll band in my eyes. They make some beautiful music. Have you heard "Expressway To Your Skull"? It's unbelievably good. So beautiful! It's classic. Magnificent melody, and to hear it live, especially, it's awesome. They have several songs of that quality. So they're a great band."

Confusion is Next: Sonic Youth on Neil Young by Alan Foege

More on Sonic Youth and Neil Young by Alan Foege.

Kim Gordon - Sonic Youth
(Click photo to enlarge)

Kim Gordon has a new autobiography titled Girl in a Band: A Memoir which chronicles her career as the bassist, vocalist and founding member (with now ex-husband Thurston Moore) the ground breaking band Sonic Youth.

More @ Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon on Neil Young’s ‘Out of My Mind’

Also, see Sonic Youth and their influence on Neil Young (and vice versa) from excerpts of "I Dreamed Of Noise", The Sonic Youth Biography.

Labels: , ,


9 Comments:

At 8/05/2020 04:46:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I was lucky enough to see two shows from this tour and I have to say that Sonic Youth were a absolute treat live. Very experimental and joyful both in their performance and their music. Not everyone around me liked them but I was duly impressed. As loud as Sonic Youth attempted to be, they could not compete with Neil & the Horse those two nights. Yikes. Not sure how many new fans they acquired by touring with Neil, but I do know they made at least one for sure.

Peace 🙏

 
At 8/05/2020 06:26:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

random post, Thrasher?

I recall in Shakey the Sonic Youth members saying they barely saw Neil on the entire tour

 
At 8/05/2020 07:19:00 PM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis; The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Neil does have an instinct for picking interesting openers. When we saw him in Philly on the Le Noise Tour in spring 2011 (days before Jonathan Demme shot "Neil Young Journeys" at Massey Hall, if memory serves...), the opening act was John Renbourn, who formerly worked with Bert Jansch in the English folk/blues/jazz outfit Pentangle. Sadly, we've lost both Jansch and Renbourn since then. I regret to say, we got stuck in traffic on the way into Philly, consequently missing most of John's set.

If anyone wants a real different trip, try Renbourn's solo album, The Lady and the Unicorn. The Pentangle, imho, were easily up there with Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span for those of us who enjoy that sort of thing.

 
At 8/05/2020 07:23:00 PM, Blogger John said...

Lee Ranaldo covered “Revolution Blues” the last time I caught him solo and Sonic Youth famously covered “Computer Age” on the tribute album “The Bridge” (it’s also a bonus on the deluxe reissue of their “Daydream Nation”).

 
At 8/05/2020 09:30:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

We were lucky enough to see Neil Young play Bass Hall in Austin Texas on the tour he was introducing the songs from Le Noise and Bert Jansch opened. He was remarkable. Probably one of my favorite shows of all time.

Peace 🙏

 
At 8/06/2020 09:41:00 AM, Blogger Maheto said...

Didn't Kim Gordon give NY that goofy bowl haircut on that tour? I think he said he loved it.

 
At 8/06/2020 10:35:00 AM, Blogger Hbheel said...

Ditto to that Dan!!! I saw the two of them in Durham, NC for the LeNoise tour and yes it would be very hard to EVER beat that!!!!!!

 
At 8/06/2020 05:06:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I saw this tour. Social Distortion went on before Sonic Youth and the combination definitely befuddled the aging hippies in front of us who came to hear 'Old Man' and 'Heart of Gold'. Their mouths were literally hanging open while Moore rolled around on the stage getting increasingly tangled in his mic and guitar cords while releasing alarming noises. Then Young came on and continued the blast. No 'Heart of Gold' that night.

 
At 8/07/2020 10:56:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Dan - yes, that's pretty much how many recall the opening bands on WELD.

Did you know that instead of SD & SY as opening bands that Nirvana was originally planned? But just as tour was set to go, Nirvana started breaking out just a bit and wanted to headline their gigs.

Can you imagine musical history if Nirvana has opened for Neil & The Horse?

@ Jonathan - nothing is random. Actually we just stumbled across the backstage photo for 1st time and thought it was noteworthy.

As for Sonic Youth members saying they barely saw Neil on the entire tour, see above link by Alan Foege:

"Neil Young didn't socialize much with the band, although he'd occasionally visit the Sonic Youth dressing room to praise the night's version of 'Expressway to Your Skull,' a song which he's referred to on occasion as the greatest guitar song ever written. From an interview in a 1992 French Guitars Magazine in response to the question "about what groups he classifies as rock and roll, Young said:

"It's obvious that I like Sonic Youth. In my book, they really do modern rock. They make magnificent music. You know that one, Expressway to Your Skull?

It's incredibly good, so beautiful. It's a classic. Superb melody, and even better live. They have quite a few that are that good. So that's one great group."

Young's roadies, holdovers from classic rock's dark ages, were less predisposed to what they perceived as to be Sonic Youth's art-freak eclecticism. 'The Neil Young tour was actually the first time I encountered so-called sexism,' Kim Gordon said. 'Every time it was somebody's birthday, there'd be strippers hanging around.'

"For most of the dates in the South, Sonic Youth played half-hour sets to disinterested crowds who used the band's time onstage as an opportunity to purchase Cokes; at some shows, the band went so far as to confiscate chairs from the front rows of the audience and bring the chairs onstage, a gag that perplexed the fans but amused the band.

Neil Young cancelled the tour's LA dates, one of the main reasons Sonic Youth had stuck things out, when he developed an ear infection."

@ Meta Rocker thanks suggestion of Renbourn's solo album. we'll put on list.

@ John - yeah, great covers. diff for sure.

@ Maheto - really???

@ Unknown - yep, no HoG on that tour!

 

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