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Neil Young Rock Block


Neil Young is performing at Carnegie Hall this week (our pal Matt B caught one of shows). The Times had a piece about the first performance.

Then this morning on the subway I read “Loss Prevention” a short story in Richard Lange’s impressive collection Dead Boys.  Here’s how it begins:

Every junkie I’ve ever known has had a thing for Neil Young. Be he a punk, a metalhead, or just your garden-variety handlebar-mustachioed dirtbag, if he hauls around a monkey, he’s going to have Decade in his collection, and he’s bound to ruin more than a few parties by insisting that you play at least some of it, no matter that the prettiest girl in the room is begging for something she can dance to. Even if he gets off dope, he sticks with Neil, because by then Neil’s become the soundtrack to his outlaw past. Let him hear “Old Man” or “Sugar Mountain” years after the fact, and everything in him will hum like a just-struck tuning fork as mind and body and blood harmonize in mutual longing for a time when desire was an easy itch to scratch.

So this is why, when the deejay announces that a rock block of Neil is coming up next, three classic cuts in a row, I know there’s no hope of Jim budging until the last song ends.


Come Clean


David Carr had a good feature on Neil Young yesterday in the New York Times Magazine.

“Writing is very convenient, has a low expense and is a great way to pass the time,” he says in “Waging Heavy Peace.” “I highly recommend it to any old rocker who is out of cash and doesn’t know what to do next.”

He decided to do it sober after talking with his doctor about a brain that had endured many youthful pharmaceutical adventures, in addition to epilepsy and an aneurysm. For someone who smoked pot the way others smoke cigarettes, the change has not been without its challenges, as he explains in his book: “The straighter I am, the more alert I am, the less I know myself and the harder it is to recognize myself. I need a little grounding in something and I am looking for it everywhere.”

Sitting at Alice’s Restaurant on Skyline Boulevard near the end of the day, he elaborated: “I did it for 40 years,” he said. “Now I want to see what it’s like to not do it. It’s just a different perspective.”

Drunk or sober, he can be a hippie with a mean streak. He broke off a tour with Stephen Stills without warning and sent him a telegram — “Funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach, Neil.”

For more, click here.

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