Yes, you read that right. Neil Young — yes, that shifty-eyed Canadian terrorist character in the photo above — is my hero, at least for tonight. The New York Times just published this interview, timed with the release of Young’s autiobiography, and it hit me. Smack. Bam. Boom. I think the top reason I like it is because there are so many great one-liners in it, both said about and spoken by Young.
There’s also something in here that makes me admire a guy who could have crawled into a dark hole, shut off the light, and hot boxed the thing until he suffocated on his own weed smoke…but he didn’t. He seems to have a knack for unbelievable failure and significant success in spite of himself. And he keeps on truckin’ all the while. Battle axe if I ever saw one, but one that recognizes there are certain things that make life worth living.
I give you:
“For whatever you’re doing, for your creative juices, your geography’s got a hell of a lot to do with it….You really have to be in a good place, and then you have to be either on your way there or on your way from there.”
“Others might have an electronic gate, but Young likes the mechanical experience of slipping a key into a padlock and swinging something open. He is fundamentally analog, despite the occasional electronic excesses in his music. He likes amps with knobs that go to 12 and things that click when you touch them.”
(Spinal Tap! Neil goes to f-ing 12. Forget 11.)
“That van was a rolling laboratory that made Jack Casady’s briefcase look like chicken feed. Forget I said that! Was my mike on?” — about David Crosby
“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.’”
“Young could have crawled inside himself and remained there, huffing his own gas and reprising a storied, moldering past as so many of his peers have. But family life — a complicated, challenging one — suits and calms him…Young says much of his current battle is to be a person good enough to be worthy of his family’s love.”
And here’s a closer for you: Harvest. I am twitterpated by this song. Poor quality video, but whatevs:
One more fun fact: the guy’s middle name is Percival. PERCIVAL. I think he moonlights as a Hogwarts professor.
[photo source: thought on tracks]