Neil Young & Crazy Horse's new album "COLORADO" 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 . Thank you!!!)
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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Neil Young's Archives: The Archives as Art | NYA

A rather provocative opinion posted on Neil Young's Times Contrarian NYA: The Archives as Art | Times Contrarian by Prof. Chris Morash, Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing at Trinity College in Dublin.

Prof. Morash posits that Neil Young's Archives project is not just a music streaming service but an entire architecture of an artist's body of work ecosystem.

The digital service is a "new kind of art form ... a pioneering example ... to explore the old in new ways". Prof. Morash uses literary analysis to make the point between great works of literature and NYA as a philosophical concept of time travel between past, present and future.

Just last week, we posted an in-depth review of Neil Young's quest to push the boundaries of sound into new frontiers on How Neil Young's Eccentric Online Home Was Born | Fortune by Morgan Enos. The article noted that NYA's approach is "not conventional” using a retro style design.

Neil Young requested his Archives "[not] look like a website."

We have also explored this aspect of Greendale as a revolutionary new art form, as well. With 2003's Greendale ,some critics went as far as saying that Young had broken new ground by creating an entirely unique art form -- the "audio novel". From New York Times article 'Have You Heard the New Neil Young Novel?' by Madison Smartt Bell:
"Mr. Young has always been remarkable for his creative resilience, and this time he really has done something new, rendering into this combination of print and audio a novel that is surprisingly sophisticated and satisfyingly complete."
Making Greendale
Neil Young Filming Greendale Actors Grandpa & Jed

More on NYA: The Archives as Art | Times Contrarian and COMING SOON: Goin' To Greendale | Neil Young Archives | BENTLEY’S BANDSTAND.

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Monday, January 20, 2020

Neil Young's Song "My Pledge" and Brothers Abraham, Martin & John #MLKDay

It's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so we thought this might make an appropriate posting for the day.

In 2016, Neil Young released the album Peace Trail with a song titled "My Pledge", which contains some enigmatic lyrics.

In the song "My Pledge", Neil sings about the alienating side effects of modernization, including cell phones and the monetization of Jimi Hendrix's music. The song also references Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr and John Kennedy.

"Dressed in white like a nightingale
Her name was Florence, Florence of the land

I knew I'd seen her somewhere
But she was busy with him gone

She came with three different brothers
Abraham, Martin & John

I heard a song about that once
And I never knew what it meant"

The above lyrics are followed by another line about 3 rock stars who died in a plane crash. The lyrics -- of course -- refer to Buddy Holly, Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens -- The Father, Son and Holy Ghost or The American Pie.

Back to Abraham, Martin & John.

Frame from video for "My Pledge" - Director: David Braun
Neil Young

These lyrics refer to a song by Dion from 1968 titled "Abraham, Martin and John".

"Abraham, Martin and John" is a 1968 song written by Dick Holler and first recorded by "Dion" DiMucci. It is a tribute to the memory of four assassinated Americans, all icons of social change, namely Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. It was written in response to the assassinations of King and the younger Kennedy in April and June 1968.

The struggle continues and the dream never dies. "But I do see what I see, And I want to do my duty." #WT1sWBWO "That's my pledge, judge."

Dion - "Abraham, Martin and John" - 45 RPM Single Picture Sleeve, 1968

Dion sing “Abraham, Martin and John” on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968

“Has anybody here, seen my old friend Abraham?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lot of people, but it seems the good, they die young
You know I just looked around and he’s gone.”

“Didn’t you love the things that they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free
Some day soon, it’s gonna be one day.”

"Abraham, Martin & John" by Harry Bellafonte

"Abraham, Martin & John" by Dion
The Best Of Dion
℗ 1994 Capitol Records LLC

"Abraham, Martin & John" by Ray Charles

Dion solo performing "Abraham, Martin & John" @ Joe's Pub (2.20.11)

"Abraham, Martin & John" by Moms Mabley

Neil Young - Peace Trail

More on Meta Reviews: Neil Young's "Peace Trail".

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Saturday, January 18, 2020

VIDEO: "Everything is Bullshit" by Neil Young + Promise of The Real - Indianapolis - 9/19/19

Here is a concert video of the Particle Kid song "Everything is Bullshit" by Neil Young + Promise of The Real at the Murat Theatre in Indianapolis, Indiana on 9/19/19 by the legendary REAL'r fan Candy Butterscotch.

For more, see Concert Review of the Moment: Neil Young + Promise of the Real - Indianapolis, IN, Sept 19, 2019 by "Keys Left Hangin" Brian.

More on VIDEO: "Everything Is Bullshit" by Micah Nelson. Plus, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real - Turn Off the News (Build a Garden).

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Friday, January 17, 2020

COMING SOON: Goin' To Greendale | Neil Young Archives | BENTLEY’S BANDSTAND

A preview of the upcoming concert film of the Greendale Tour by Neil Young & Crazy Horse is featured on Goin' To Greendale | BENTLEY’S BANDSTAND | NYA.

Music industry veteran Bill Bentley writes about his Greendale experience and seeing the film of the 2003 Toronto concert: ‘And that, dear listeners, is when the bells start ringing, the lights start flashing and the thrillometer heats up all the way to the top of the tube.'

Sun Green (Sara White) and Grandpa (Ben Keith)

Neil Young calls "Greendale" on Times-Contrarian | NYA "one of the biggest highlights of my filming life".

Making Greendale
Neil Young Filming Greendale Actors Grandpa & Jed

But back in 2003, "Greendale" was one of the most controversial and divisive albums and concert tours of Neil Young's career. The importance of "Greendale" can not be understated - either in terms of Neil Young's body of work, nor its impact on his fan base. This is how we memorialized "Greendale" on Thrasher's Wheat Home Page in June 2003:
With the arrival of Greendale in 2003 -- for us -- Greendale was like a sledgehammer to the anvil of truth and awakened this blog from it's post-9/11 dormancy. Because when Neil Young Sings Truth To Power, The World Listens.
So let that soak in for a moment.

This website was launched in 1996 -- about 24 years ago. It sort of languished with periodic updates until 2003. Then, with the theme of the "Greendale" songs coming into focus, we here were inspired to begin daily blog updates. At the time we said we would update the blog daily until the concert tours "Greendale" ended. But the tour kept going and going and going around the world, well into 2004, along with all the ancillary books, videos, films, etc.

So we can safely say that Thrasher's Wheat would not exist today if it had not been for "Greendale". Period. Full stop.

'She was welded to the eagle's beak
sun green leaned into that megaphone
and said, "truth is all i seek" '
"Sun Green"
by Neil Young

As many of our long time readers here at Thrasher's Wheat know, we have long since declared: "The Inconvenient Truth of Greendale".

Mainly this observation centered on the album's environmental call to action and it's plea to respect Mother Nature and all of her creations. But environmentalism is but just one of the many themes of Neil Young's 2003 album Greendale, which we once boldly declared "the most important album of 2003, the musical equivalent of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring".

Greendale Graphic Novel
By Joshua Dysart/Cliff Chiang

The inconvenient truth of Neil Young's Greendale is that he was right -- and his message is even more relevant today than upon Greendale's original release.

greendale flag

For some, 2003's Greendale was an incomprehensible disaster. From The Washington Post's critic David Segal on Year 2003 CDs, who labeled Greendale as the year's "most baffling critical swoon", Segal writes: "Neil Young's 'Greendale' is "a droning mess of a concept album inexplicably hailed as ingenious" and "a vanity project gone stupefyingly wrong".

For others though, Greendale was hailed as a groundbreaking concept album similar to The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Who's Tommy or Pink Floyd's 'The Wall'.

Some critics went as far as saying that Young had broken new ground by creating an entirely unique art form -- the "audio novel". From New York Times article 'Have You Heard the New Neil Young Novel?' by Madison Smartt Bell:
"Mr. Young has always been remarkable for his creative resilience, and this time he really has done something new, rendering into this combination of print and audio a novel that is surprisingly sophisticated and satisfyingly complete."

Greendale @ Radio City Music Hall, New York City, March 18, 2004
Photo by thrashette

The inconvenient truth of Greendale is its uncomfortable confrontation with themes such as the power of mass media and global corporations, loss of personal freedoms and privacy, destruction of the environment, rampant fraud and corruption, an out of balance government and breakdown of the family. All of which we've detailed before here, here, and here.

"Everything You're Looking For" - Bandit

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

INTERVIEW: Patti Smith Chats w/ Neil Young @ BookExpo 2012

Patti Smith's cover of Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush” on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last week sparked quite a bit of interest in both Patti and Neil. (Watch video here.)

We have been chronicling the mutual admiration of Patti Smith and Neil Young now for awhile and this is a good time to re-post this complete video of the lunch conversation at BookExpo America 2012 with Neil Young and Patti Smith , who sat down to discuss their processes for writing songs and writing a book.

Patti Smith & Neil Young - BookExpo 2012

During the interview -- where they both seem unusually nervous initially -- Patti makes a number of observations like what an Angel sounds like versus what an Angel feels like -- and the importance of both, or the recognition that Neil delivers feelings to people rather than product. At the conclusion, Patti is heart warming when she encapsulates "Wayfarin' Stranger" where the arc of a career delivers hope in the face of pain and cataclysms: "I know dark clouds will gather over me. I know my way, my way is rough and steep. Yet beautiful fields lie just before me." (Thanks for recollections Greg M.!)

Back in 2012, Neil Young had just released his latest album, Americana. They also discussed Neil's upcoming memoir, Waging Heavy Peace, which he described as more of a diary than a memoir. Patti says to Neil about WHP, “It’s not chronological, but memory is not chronological.”

“When were you aware of the impact that the song [Ohio] made?” Smith asked, referring to the Viet Nam protesters of that era who took up “Ohio” as their anthem. The question prompted Young to reveal his discomfort that he had profited financially from the upheaval, declaring, “You didn’t want to become that which you were separating yourself from.” Smith, who recalled working at a New York City bookstore at the time the song was released, praised him for “translating that picture,” and for “making us more aware of what was going on in our world.”

Neil revealed that he was reading Smith’s memoir about her relationship to Robert Mapplethorpe, Just Kids. “I’m the highway and landscapes. You are cities,” Young said, praising her book as effusively as she had previously praised his. “We’re on similar paths, but in different geographic places. Our [books] represent that.”

Neil Young: “If a song happens, it happens.

If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t matter. That’s why I will write a lot of material, and why I’ll suddenly not write any material — because there is no reason to write it. It has to come to me — and if it doesn’t come to me, I don’t want it. I don’t want to have anything to do with it. I don’t want to see it, I don’t want to look for it.”


"I really hate things that people work on.

There’s nothing about music that should be working on it, nothing about lyrics that should be working on it — trying to be something that you’re not, trying to act like somebody that you think is good.”


“I had to avoid all Dylan records, because I am such a sponge.

If I listen to it too much, I would start being that. I knew that that would disturb what I was doing. I admired what he did so much — the lyrics, and the way he sang, and the melodies, and the groove and the band that he played with — especially (the late guitarist Mike) Bloomfield. There were all of these great musicians that supported him. I had to ignore it. I just had to stay away from it.”


"Writing a song is like catching a rabbit. You hang out by the rabbit hole, waiting for it to come. "


"Guitars talk. If you really want to write a song, ask a guitar."
Patti Smith & Neil Young
Photo by The New Yorker

More on Patti Smith Interviews Neil Young at BookExpo America in New York City.

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So What Really Happened at Kent State?

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May The FOUR Be With You


dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

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I'm Proud to Be A Union Man


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You Shut the Fuck Up

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They Started It and We'll Finish It...

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"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"
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Does Anything Else Really Matter?

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

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"It's all illusion anyway."

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

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Be The Rain, Be The Change

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This Machine Kills Fascists

"Children of Destiny" - THE Part of THE Solution

(Frame from Official Music Video)

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"greed is NOT good"
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Stop Spying On Us!
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“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”
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Show Me A Sign



(Between the lines of age)

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

~~ John & Paul