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Thursday, July 28, 2022

Neil Young Patron ZOOM Call Update

Neil Young
@ Lost Planet Editorial, Santa Monica, CA - Sept. 9, 2019
Photo by Rebecca Cabage/Invision/AP


From Neil Young's Patron Call earlier today.  Many thanks to Greying Rider for updates!

At 7/28/2022 02:24:00 PM, Blogger Greying Rider said...

Hi Everybody,

Just got off the Patron call and wanted to share with you all (its good to share). Neil looked great and was in good form. Sound was poor at times but so nice to see the great man answer any old question that was put to him by moderator Bonnie, then John O and a few others in the NYA team:

⁃ He played the new album for Warners on the roof of the building. Said is was very cool. No release date yet from WB for the record.

⁃ Big announcement coming sometime soon that NYA is turning a profit for the first time!

⁃ Working on a series of behind the scenes stuff about the new record and Toast. Episode 1 of the Toast story is done (around 21 mins long) and they are going to work on the next episode today after the call. 4-5 episodes planned on Toast.

⁃ Best thing for Neil are the letters and the people of NYA. He loves obscure details he has forgotten about and then they go look for them and find cool things they didn’t know they had. Acoustic Ordinary People is an example and getting ready to drop that soon (along with 7/8 other things in the “ready bin” of the Surf Shack with Nico)

⁃ Greendale is based on Half Moon Bay California.

⁃ Going Home on Toast - Neil did not actually visit any historical places. All made up. Its pictures. Not autobiographical.

⁃ How has songwriting changed since you've not been touring for a while? Neil really liked this one: “Good question!”. Stark difference in making this new record. New style (apart from two songs - one written before Barn as the pandemic hit / another after Barn but before the others in Canada - both conventionally written). The other 8 / 9 written while walking every day in winter in snow for 2-3 miles and would whistle and noticed that he was whistling new songs. All had rhythm of walking. Recorded on phone. Then did lyrics over full moon in April this year. No corrections to the lyrics! Most cases the first couple of takes were the masters. Unique approach as the choice of instruments wide open because the songs were not written on a specific instrument.

⁃ Archives 3 - Believes there will be some Bluenotes material but not sure. Something with Devo will be included.

⁃ Gateway of Love. Knows it’s a special song. Horse is great. Singing is really good. Instrumentation is really good.

⁃ Electric Tour Bus. Decided not to do that. Biodiesel instead.

⁃ Nico says hello as the “Quietest of the Volume Dealers”. Says Atmos is a lot of fun if you have the way to play it. More separation between instruments.

⁃ Asked about differences between large stadiums and theatres. The same for him. What matters is if he is singing the song from his heart and it is working for him. No preference.

.... continued.....

⁃ Johnny’s island is in Archives III. 7 tracks never been heard before, some songs as well maybe never heard before. Not chronological. Album order.

⁃ Might be more live Stars and Bars but not found anything that is interested in yet.

⁃ Will not be another Greendale. But was one of his favourite projects.

⁃ Answered my question about where he was doing the call from! He was in his agent Frank Gironda’s office. Behind him were a lot of records that he mention to the call: Batman Forever / Bob Dylan / Tracey Chapman / Spiritualized. All Frank Gironda albums.

⁃ Animated Version of Trans is in Volume III.

⁃ Johnny’s Island and Island in the Sun are different albums but a few songs are the same. Island in the Sun recorded after Trans (but had thought before?) and made in Hawaii. Johnny and Love Hotel are two songs on the album and there are some other unknown songs.

⁃ Talks to the difference of digital and analogue. All vinyl has a source code so that you can tell where it came from.

⁃ John O’Neil asks some questions: 1) Anymore fireside sessions? 2) If no touring, what about a live show? Neil says that if he feels like doing more than doing what he’s doing right now then will do. If he is in the right place he will do it. If there is a reason to do it and feels like doing it. Not trying to recreate the live experience.

⁃ Neil says that Joni’s set was fantastic. The essence of music. Nuances of the melodies. Did a big favour for the muse and music in general. Neil spoke to Joni yesterday to congratulate and tell her how touched and moved he was!

⁃ We will get a full Ducks live set. Vol III has a section of the Ducks with the songs he wrote. The Ducks bootleg will be a complete performance.

⁃ Lot of Joel B pictures in the Harvest 50th book and there is a 2h movie about Harvest to go with it.

⁃ Loves playing the pump organ. No answer to what is his favourite new instrument.

Please feel free to correct me!





At 7/28/2022 03:02:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

My wife was able to record the zoom meeting so I’ll see it later tonight. Excellent report for Comment of the Moment, great job.

Peace 🙏

At 7/29/2022 07:23:00 AM, Blogger Hambone said...

One other thing from the call. Neil said he had been challenged on the fossil fuel use of producing vinyl records and how that stacked up with his decision not to tour until he had a green tour bus.

He said he was investigating the issue to see what the impact really was.

I had a quick read round and there's suggestions that a single LP produces 0.5kg of carbon during manufacture, but this excludes the transport cost of materials and finshed product. Doesn't sound much, but given that the UK alone reported 5.3 million LP sales in 2021, that's a good 2.5 million kg (2500 metric tonnes) of carbon - compared to average UK carbon footprint of 10-12 tonnes a year.

Of course other music sources, whether it be CDs, cassette or streaming, have their own environmental impacts whether it be through materials used or power consumed, so there's no clear way forward, but I guess the immediacy of using oil-based PCV in vinyl production hit a spot with some fans or was simply being used by trolls to try to diminish Neil's stance on the touring issue.

And there are some Dutch startups looking a renewable alternative materials, so there are emerging options.

The call was good, but lacked a little of the spark of previous ones, not helped by the sound issues. I got the feeling popping this one in the office between an album playback and working on new videos - and not wanting to go into too much details of either yet - meant the team were maybe distracted by work rather than completely enjoying the moment.

But hey - let's remind myself - it's Neil, online, taking time to talk to patrons and let us share the news with other fans, so as the English phrase goes "mustn't grumble". And it's worth it just for the shout outs at the end and the usual nuggets to keep us looking forward.

Tony "Hambone" in the UK

At 7/29/2022 09:59:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Dan - great. We're not a Patron but look fwd to any thing additional you might add.

peace to you as well

@ Tony "Hambone" in the UK - thanks for perspective and phrase "mustn't grumble". There must be various phrases in various languages w/ similar implications.

This is all somewhat interesting weighing carbon footprint of vinyl records and say, transportation emissions.

Without trying to start a giant data war here (not that the would be 1st or anything), but really?

as you say, this seems like a quite trollish setup and a false equivalency to distract.

now who would be behind such a thing?

At 7/29/2022 11:05:00 AM, Blogger Hambone said...

Vinyl update: there's a letter in the new batch on NYA published today which seems to be the origin of this question and may explain why it was fresh in Neil's mind on the call.

The vinyl issue seems to be caught up in a general complaint about the slowness of new content on the site and the suggestion that waiting for vinyl production is a bit old school in the digital age as well as environmentally suspect. Neil replies by admitting that here he's "a walking contradiction", but it's clear he sees vinyl/analogue recordings as the best for music, something which we've known for a long time.

Interestingly I was reading an fabulous article in the UK's edition of Permaculture magazine recently, titled "Why We're All Hypocrites", that discusses how to to deal with the constant challenges and contradictions in our lifestyles when trying to change our global footprint. One sentence stood out: "we should learn to have more nuances discussions where we accept that none of us is going to be perfect, but that strategic and visible reductions in our consumption can change what's viewed as appropriate everday behaviour".

Seems to me that Neil's strategic decision not to tour until he's carbon neutral is visible to all fans, rather than the select few who might buy vinyl, and so that is the right emphasis for his life & art and may make fans look at their own way of living whilst we wait. And the choice not to just do an on-line concert unless he feels there's a good reason, which Greying Rider mentions at the end of his second post, reinforces this approach.

It's a bummer for all of us out there wanting that live experience again, but - as one British music journalist said years ago - Neil is the ultimate cantankerous old goat and that's why we love him.


At 7/29/2022 11:51:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Tony "Hambone" in the UK - many thanks again here.

so totally spot on

pls drop a link here w/ "Why We're All Hypocrites"


and the Neil admission that he's "a walking contradiction" is simply confirmation of
"He's a perfect stranger
Like a cross of himself and a fox"

normally we'd this sort thing a CotM add some context and thoughts.


unfortunately, time is tight. we set priorities as we coninue to strengthen our resolve to meet The Big SHift head on.

w/ TW under relentless cyber attacks, hacker/trolls invading comments and so on, it all we can do to keep this site running and flowing w/ neil news 24/7/365

everyone is running on empty to quote a well known singer0sonwrier.

stay strong
we're getting close

the return of folks like Dan, Scotsman and others are like the 1st Bluebird in spring.

and we will hold that neil/tw summit. and we will buy everyone beers. and it will be good.


At 7/29/2022 04:51:00 PM, Blogger Hambone said...

The article was paper-based and the on-line version is via subscription, so I'm afraid I can't send you a direct link.

The author is Sami Grover, who's written a book under the same name and background on him can be found at

and this evening the making of Toast How Ya Doin? video is now available in the Hearse Theatre subscriber features screen.


At 7/29/2022 07:17:00 PM, Blogger Shakeydave said...

Toast - how ya doin?

doin great Neil! so are you!

shakeydave :)

At 7/29/2022 11:47:00 PM, Blogger Tomatron said...

How Ya Doin’ - still a little speedy. Once the Horse slowed it down, they found the groove. To be continued!

NYA releases have a tempo issue as well. Neil remembers writing, recording, and releasing the Ohio single right away. That was an urgent message that needed to be heard. Can you imagine that song being released a year after the fact? It might have been lost to time. I get wanting to wait until the vinyl is available. It’s less of a factor when you’re talking about decades-old archival albums. But the new stuff needs to be heard when it’s fresh. Instead of it being on Neil’s timetable, we are hearing it only once the economy allows for it. Pressing plants are backed up beyond belief. It’s not getting better anytime soon. People like me who want the vinyl will buy it when it’s ready. Meanwhile we’d be jamming it on hi-res streaming.

At 7/30/2022 01:30:00 PM, Blogger Lone Red Rider said...

It was great to see Neil do this again. I was actually thinking about it the night before. Neil also commented about a new techie project he was working on with "some friends from a large company". The problem he seems to be trying to address is the lack of a way to use balanced headphones with a cellphone. It sounds like a small wearable integrated device/headphones where the device can fit into a pocket or around the neck. How it may interface with the streaming source was not clear. Is it USB connection to phone? Or will it use the new high-res Bluetooth standard, which to my knowledge is limited to 48k/24bit (Qualcomm AptX HD)?

At 7/31/2022 11:27:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Hambone - thanks for update. Important subject for folks to explore on their own.

@ Tomatron - hmm, tempo issues?

good point on releases being in the moment. The music can't wait for supply chain issues.

surprised neil is allowing this. really? no release date? guess the days of Neil telling the label when to release his albums have ended. great we all had the golden age of neil & elliot.

@ Lone Red Rider - excellent tech details.

as you know, not everyone follows at this level of detail. so anything anyone can add to make more accessible for the ordinary rusties is appreciated.

At 7/31/2022 08:05:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Finally got the opportunity to watch the Zoom call with Neil, and the big revelation for me anyway is the next record. The fact that he wrote most of the songs differently than he ever has, and using different musical instruments to record with. I’m really fascinated with what the results will sound like. Neil has always been pushing the technical aspects of recording his music, and for him to be doing something he’s never done before is incredibly exciting. When you look back on his career, there has been so many different approach’s. From his first all digital recording (Everybody’s Rocking’) using old antique microphones, to his vocoder work on Trans, then the record booth for A Letter Home, then combining sound effects with live recordings on Earth. The experimental paths that Neil has taken has been remarkable, and one of the big standouts for me was Le Noise. That record is so special, and it created something truly magical…..So knowing he has done something completely different from anything else he’s ever done before is extremely exciting.

Peace 🙏

At 7/31/2022 08:12:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

…..and the Harvest movie sounds amazing. And towards the end when Neil remembers the afternoon acoustic sets at the Horde Festivals, and looking for recordings also made me happy, as I got to experience one of those in Portland Oregon by shear accident.

Peace 🙏


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