Passing under the freeway, I rolled down the window for a breath of Austin air. Here I was in Texas’ beautiful Capitol city and cultural centre near Fredericksburg, a classic Texas town where I had spent the previous day. I loved the architecture there and saw many artist’s works everywhere. Outside of town on our way to Austin, D and I stopped to see an unbelievably great piece of architecture and art on hwy 290.
The road was beautiful, a Texas treasure. I love the rolling hills. Passing Luchenbach road, I thought of Waylon and Wille, ‘blue eyes cryin in the rain’, and ‘feelin no pain’. D and I had a nice ride into Austin where we hid outside town on the bus.
In the morning the alarm went off too early. I got some coffee for us and saw Miss D off to her interviews. I left an hour or so later for the interview hotel myself, where festival lovers paid big bucks for an average accommodation. The place was quiet when I arrived and went up to a holding room on the interview floor and waited there for huevos.
My managers Elliot and Frank were there to assist me in preparing for my day of talking to the press. Its something I try to do rarely, but I am looking forward to this today because it will give me a rare chance to review my interviews and cover the story for the Times-Contrarian.
This day at 10 am, brave independent students across the USA walked out of class to observe 17 minutes of daylight fo the dead students killed by a mentally ill person armed with an automatic assault weapon. They are no doubt aware that the president, who students from Florida visited recently, is in the pocket of NRA and assault weapon loving Americans and has vowed to do nothing to stop the carnage. He’s the irresponsible leader who got rid of the law preventing mentally ill patients from buying guns on one of his first days on the job. He’s the liar who was just kidding when he said he wanted to make the age of gun buyers 21, two years older than the mass murderer in Florida. That was good for a news story that day for the fake president who was a loser when people’s actual votes were counted, the half man-half chicken who needs to have three stories about himself going at once on the accommodating national press outlets to satisfy his massive ego. There they were, leaving the unsafe schools for a few minutes to remember their fallen classmates. I love these kids. They are the future. Thank you Young Americans, for knowing who you are and doing what you can do. You are the future. You will be voting soon. Respect.
The London Times is my first interview and it starts in 24 minutes. I think we will be discussing PARADOX, the movie Miss D directed and I am featured in, along with Promise of the Real and Willie Nelson, father of a couple of the band members Lukas and Micah, great musicians on their own. We are family. Our movie was fun to make and we made it to have a good time and tell a little story. No violence or hatred. Beauty and laughter. PARADOX is the ideal palate cleanser between two super hero movies. I love our friendly little movie! That’s what I told the London Times.
I am back in my holding room now. London Times was good. The guy was prepared and asked intelligent questions about the movie PARADOX and our methods for making it. He also asked about the archives and high res music movement. I like this paper, the London Times. They have always been prepared and asked intelligent questions. I hope the rest of the day goes as easily as this interview. We talked about the creative process for songs and movies, albums and books. Thoughtful. Kind. A good half hour.
AND THE LONDON TIMES PUBLISHED:
Nothing at Press Time
The lady just came in to take our orders for lunch.
I liked the Chicago interview. The interviewer Greg Cott, is an old acquaintance and we have some good history together, The interview started on PARADOX and wandered to the archives, how I perceive a success or failure, how I like playing and working at projects now that I’m older than 20, lots of discussion about tech and music and the record companies. I told him what I tell everyone, that I think the record companies should lower the price of high resolution and help music to heal itself. They are the ones to blame for today’s quality vacuum in audio. It's the bean-counters at the record companies. They have priced good sounding audio out of the market. For what? The high prices have failed. No one buys music that costs three times as much as the same music. There is no excuse for it. It has to change. Make songs all the same price no matter what technology is employed. We talked about platforms and how they have forgotten the art. Platforms and the Tech Giants are losers the way they are treating the arts. Art is art. I am not content to be content. Hey Tech giants, make an algorithm that shows you how to respect art. I told Chicago Tribune about my new album PROFANE, an album of beautiful music that has only profanities as lyrics. Just kidding, sort of.
AND THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE PUBLISHED:
Hannah, Nelson and a couple of his bandmates, Anthony LoGerfo and Tato Melgar, share a laugh. They’re gathered in a hotel suite overlooking the Colorado River, discussing what is essentially a modest art movie about a motley gang of outlaws hiding out in the Rocky Mountains, scavenging for a living in a setting saturated with broken tech toys (cellphones, laptops) buried by some unidentified apocalypse. Music and the clan of women who keep them at arm’s length are their sole salvation, their way of escaping their purgatory and their path to transcendence.
The movie’s themes serve as a metaphor of sorts for Young’s deepest beliefs, the principles that have guided him through a 50-year career mostly spent in one-guy-vs.-The-Man mode. And Young, though he has the movie, two albums and a massive digital archive to promote, is happy to embrace the role in a separate interview. Young is indeed the man in the black hat, gray hair spilling past his ears, and he breaks into a grin as a question is posed:
Can one guy make a dent in the way the tech-dominated power players (Spotify, Facebook, Apple, Google, YouTube, various multinational record labels) dominate the music world?
“Sure, because they’re stupid,” he says. “The tech giants are jerks, they’re all losers. They operate to give us ‘content’ that sounds like crap, they want to take away our privacy and they want to monopolize music. For them, art is not art, it’s content. It’s an algorithm.”
Young once could be reticent and vague in interviews, but those days are long gone. He has sold tens of millions of albums as a solo artist and as a member of Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, but he still carries a chip on his shoulder the size of a redwood.
“Tech companies miss the essence of life,” he says. “People have a right to change their minds, and they often do. But algorithms can only track your past and give you more of the same. It’s an insult to the human mind and the human soul, because it takes away a universe of possibilities.”
Read more in the Tribune*
My manager Elliot is with me while I type this and says I have my flyin’ fingers going today! I love that guy.
We are on a roll. Yahoo just interviewed me and asked a lot of good questions about PARADOX. I told the lady interviewing me how Daryl bought all the wardrobe herself in thrift stores, how she shot a lot of the movie herself on the phone, how CK Vollick is a great cinematographer, and all about working with Promise of the Real, who are my friends and a great band. I relayed how Daryl wrote the script and how she is so committed and professional and loves movies and movie making. She is a real pleasure to work with and for, a great director.
We went on to the archives and sound quality, where I have a lot to say, most of which centers around lowering the price of High Res and making all music the same price, eliminating the stigma of over priced High resolution audio. Its all just music. Let the people decide. FREE the music from tech constraints brought on by old 20th century technology. Lets get real and dump the tech giants with their loser attitudes about the arts. Art is not content. It is art and should be treated like a special gift from the Gods. Respect. The interview concluded.
AND YAHOO PUBLISHED:
“[Neil] has such a natural communication with the artistic process that he doesn’t question it, ever,” Hannah adds. “He just was like, ‘Oh, yeah, right. We’re making a movie.’ It was very natural.”
We talked about many things with Yahoo but most of what they wrote about was superficial speculation, petty and ill-informed repetitive gossip. Miss D felt the Yahoo piece was disingenuous, and did not even reflect what she said or what she, Lukas, Anthony and Tato had discussed with the interviewer.
Note to management: There were lots of questions from Yahoo but they just ended up focusing on gossip. We should have left this interview off the schedule. This is the danger of trusting the press. Yahoo. Real yahoos. Real FAKE news.
After lunch which Miss D and I enjoyed with Promise of the Real and my managers Elliot and Frank was over, the interviews continued.
The folks from Reuters, a lovely lady and a man who were both professional journalists, were mostly interested in the Archives, so we talked about why I started it. They wanted to know what made me do it, create NYA. I said metadata was a scourge that the tech giants had perpetrated on the masses, depriving them of all the real information behind the music, the people, the places, the machines, the songs, the writers, the producers and engineers, the studios.That does not fit in 3 lines of meta data. That’s why we created info cards for every song. We want the people behind the art to be recognized.
Then there’s the music quality. Reuters wanted to know how we did what we did (make the best sounding streaming in the world and show how easy quality is to access.) They asked how we financed it. Warner Bros helped a lot, but it was not that expensive. They wanted to know about our subscription rates. I told them it would be about 20% of a normal streaming service but our free tier would still allow my 10 most popular albums to be accessed in High Resolution for free. The money part is something everyone was curious about and most people were curious about how we made the quality happen. I said its easy. Anyone could do it. Certainly is is easy from aa tech standpoint. It's really the high prices being charged by the labels that has killed high res, except at NYA. Warners is helping us.
AND REUTERS PUBLISHED:
Nothing by Press time.
The Daily Beast was very interesting. Questions about the film, an understanding of the film I had not considered before - a metaphor for women in society. The soundtrack album was interesting to discuss with Marlow, the man from ‘The Daily Beast’. The interview touched on my output- why so long and so much? I tried to answer but couldn’t really say except that I love art and creation. He asked if I was going to write a novel since I hadn’t done one yet and I told him about my new novel CANARY, which I am doing final edits on with my agent in New York. I told him a bit about the book and almost got carried away talking too much and the interview was over. We were out of time. I had another coffee. I hope the two coffees don’t make me too agro. I tend to get jacked and argue with too much java. Not yet today. Good thing.
AND DAILY BEAST PUBLISHED:
AUSTIN, Texas — For Dana Loesch, there are three certainties in life: death, guns, and hating Neil Young with the fire of a thousand suns.
The National Rifle Association spokesperson, who recently got her ass handed to her by a bunch of pissed-off teens on national television, has harbored a decades-long vendetta against the legendary singer-songwriter—one that rivals President Trump’s aversion to wind turbines in sheer vitriol. Loesch has tweeted negative things about Young at least 15 times over the course of a decade.
When I tell Young this, he cracks up. “The spokesperson? That woman? She doesn’t like me?” he says. “Well, she’s one of the gang over there. Although Trump likes my music. He’d come to all my shows.”
Young is at SXSW to promote Paradox, a trippy new film by his partner of four years, the actress and activist Daryl Hannah. In the film, hitting Netflix on March 23, Young plays “The Man in the Black Hat,” a mythical cowboy who embarks on a soul-searching quest. Young not only starred in the film, but also created an entire album’s worth of new songs for its soundtrack.
After reading one of her infamous “dying cow fart” tweets aloud to Young, he replies through laughter, “Why doesn’t she just shoot me?” before quickly correcting himself: “You know, I hate to say that because I have kids and I really don’t want anybody to shoot me. I’ve still got to bring up my kids, so don’t take that seriously!”
According to Loesch, her “first exposure” to the deadly virus that is Young’s music came while a student at Fox High School in Arnold, Missouri.
I had forgotten this exchange when I returned to the holding room and wrote what I remember of the interview. The exchange took maybe 30 seconds of the half hour interview, but it seems this is what the Daily Beast considered most important, It’s a risk you take when you trust the press.
Back in the holding pen (room) to write this and now on to another interview. Stick with me….
BILLBOARD was my next interview and it touched on the PARADOX soundtrack, the movie, and politics in general. He like the song SHOW ME and really talked about that as being a high point as for him and I felt good that someone knew the song and felt that i had recently done something that got to him. That was a good feeling. A lot of questions about the president. Will i make another LIVING WITH WAR? I seem to getting a bit burned out by now because the interviews are starting to run together and I can’t recall where they begin or end. But that could be temporary.
AND BILLBOARD PUBLISHED:
Neil Young and Daryl Hannah are not looking for Academy Award buzz or even critical kudos as they prepare their new, Netflix-bound film Paradox for its premiere Thursday at South by Southwest.
“It’s just fun,” Young told Billboard on Wednesday (March 14) at Austin’s Four Seasons Hotel. “We had talked about making a movie for awhile, just how fun it would be, and Daryl had some ideas. She’d always wanted to do a kind of Western-style thing. We shot the whole thing in three or four days with a bunch of our friends, and I knew the movie would be fun and something I could believe in.”
Hannah, who directed and wrote Paradox, called the movie “an accident. Everything was spontaneous and organic. It was going to be a short; I wrote about a 10-page script, and then everyone got into their character and it just kind of ballooned as it shot. We didn’t want to make it just a music video, so we decided to just kind of cobble it together, and it all fit. Obviously we just made it for fun and we kind of hope people will take it in that spirit. It’s a lighthearted kind of thing even though it does have some themes and messages we care about.”
The low-budget, single-camera “Paradox” is an impressionistic, fable-like tale that stars Young as the enigmatic Man In Black, accompanied by members of his current backing band Promise of the Real -- including Willie Nelson’s sons Lukas (Jail Time) and Micah (The Particle Kid) -- on a quest for physical treasure during the days and creative discoveries by night. Nelson also appears in the film, which begins streaming March 23 on Netflix alongside a limited theatrical release, with a soundtrack album by Young and Promise of the Real out the same day. Thursday’s premiere at the Paramount Theatre in Austin will be followed by a Q&A with Young, Hannah and other cast members.
It marks the first time Young has been directed in an acting role by anyone other than Bernard Shakey (aka Young himself, who’s listed as the film’s co-producer), but he said the adjustment was not difficult. “I have a lot of respect for Daryl; she knew what she wanted to do and she had good direction,” Young said, acknowledging that it was easy to relate to the muse-driven character he plays. “Y’know, she wrote it, she put it together, and I just followed the directions. I followed the dots and we had a great time.” Hannah, meanwhile, said Young made contributions in helping to run the set in the Colorado mountains, where the band was preparing for a short tour during the fall of 2016 before the Desert Trip festival.
“We did not have a crew and there was no [assistant director] or anything, so Neil was very helpful,” she noted. “He loves making movies, so it was really helpful to have him, but he totally refrained from backseat direction. I don’t believe Bernard ever made it onto the set. Everything had to be approved through Bernard, but he was very hands-off. He let everything happen.” Micah Nelson added that, “They’re a good team, and Neil trusts [Hannah] a lot. I think he enjoyed taking a back seat and just being an actor.”)
The soundtrack by all telling, was created much the same way, using unrehearsed, first takes of songs such as “Peace Trail” and “Show Me,” the orchestrated and acoustic versions of “Tumbleweed” that came from sessions for Young’s 2014 album Storytone and covers of The Turtles’ “Happy Together” and Leadbelly’s “How Long?” “We really didn’t set out to do anything,” Nelson said. “Even the campfire scene, we were making up verses on the spot. The script said ‘Campfire jam, sing-along song,’ so we set it up and whatever happened.” Hannah recalled that, “We hadn’t even finished setting up the microphones when they started to play some of the songs that were in the film. If we could capture it, we were lucky. Nothing was planned in terms of what songs there were going to be. It just sort of happened.”
Young says some of the material came from music he was working on with Promise of the Real after finishing 2017’s Peace Trail, including “a couple jams for instructional passages for different things, then I recorded a bunch of electric guitar and stuff to go with the scenes.” He likened the material to his score for Jim Jarmusch’s 1995 film Dead Man. “There’s a lot of ‘Dead Man’ in this film,” he said. “All of us like ‘Dead Man’.”
The Netflix alliance, meanwhile, is “outside the box for me,” Young acknowledges. “It’s something I’ve never done before and Daryl’s never done before. Usually we try to go out and present our stuff and go to the people who we know are going to love it and present it. It’s made for them, so we find ways to locate them and let 'em know it’s happening. This is not like that; this is like we’re on the world stage. Anything can happen. People who have no idea what to expect, they’ll probably shoot it down ‘cause it’s not made by Cecil D. Eastwood or something; it’s not the Best Western they were looking for. So the jury’s out. We’re still kind of coming to grips with what it is and working on this platform.
“But we just wanted to have fun. We just made this movie for fun. It’s already a hit, as far as we’re concerned.”
I am back in the holding area now, waiting for my next interview. It feels good. We have avoided posed pictures. Basically, I hate posing.
Next, I left the holding area and went into the interview with Rolling Stone, a magazine that started the same time I did with Buffalo Springfield. The interviewer was bright and knew his stuff…He loved the film PARADOX and had some beautiful things to say about it. I told him how much fun it was to make the film and how D and I enjoyed the whole thing. We talked about Willie and how he loved a scene we did outside a bank we had just robbed. It was refreshing to feel his energy and I think Rolling Stone is lucky to have him on board. We discussed Peace Trail, the album and the song. He talked about the flying spirits and the love shown in our film. He asked me about albums I had rediscovered on the archives and I told him ‘Broken Arrow, with the song, ‘This Town’, was one of my recent rediscoveries. I also love ‘BigTime’ and ‘Scattered’ from that record. I wrote it about David Briggs after he had just passed away. Briggs made many of my best records with me. He was my producer. The interview ended, seemingly passing quicker than the others, Not sure why. Good guy, the interviewer.
AND ROLLING STONE PUBLISHED:
When you plan to write an article about Neil Young, you don’t expect Neil Young to also write an article about you. "I'm writing a story of today for the Times Contrarian right now," he tells Rolling Stone, referring to the online newspaper he’s been updating on Neil Young Archives featuring unheard material going back to 1963.
Young is doing interviews all day, and has been darting to another room after each one to jot down his thoughts. "I write down my experience of the interview," he says. "The whole day, all the interviews, who we talked about, as much as I can remember. Of course it's getting to the end of the day, so I remember less and less. You can tell the flow of the day. It’s a journalistic exercise."
But if Young’s career has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. That goes for Paradox, the new film written and directed by his partner Daryl Hannah, which premieres Thursday night at South by Southwest and hits Netflix on March 23rd. Young stars as the "Man in the Black Hat," the leader of a band of outlaws that include his band, Promise of the Real, living off the land in a world where seeds have become the currency (Willie Nelson makes a cameo).
The story may be as out-there as Young's bizarre 1982 album Trans, with excellent musical sequences that include Young fingerpicking "Pocahontas" and a wild Promise of the Real version of Young’s overlooked 2016 cut "Peace Trail." Hannah says the film came together fast: before playing some shows in the Rockies in 2016, Young and Promise of the Real needed to spend a few days getting acclimated to the climate. "I knew they were gonna end up sitting around the campfire together playing songs and joking, but we didn't wanna make a documentary," she says. "They're an incredibly playful group of guys so we just decided it would be fun to make a little movie and use the road crew and the guys in the band. We didn't have any professional actors, no crew, no budget, and three days. Everything was unplanned it sort of just happened.”)
Read more in Rolling Stone
Noisey Vice….. Sensitive, intelligent, caring. Those are the words that come to mind after talking with the people from Noisey. They are tech youth, wondering what is happening. Can they feel what previous generations felt when listening to music? Can they trust the platforms? Can they grow with the tech or will they be stifled by it? How is art and music going to survive. I wanted them to know that a window for art and music can open on the platform but there is a long way to go in a short time. I liked these two people, alive and probing, thinking, intellectual, yet seemingly looking for more depth from their existence. These two were different from all the rest. I wish them and Noisey the best and hope that they find their way. I know they will. I wish I knew where they were going so I could tell them what I know. A lot of depth at Noisey.
AND NOISEY VICE PUBLISHED:
Nothing at Press time.
In light of the other internet News organizations, it will be interesting to read what Noisey Vice publishes and/or if it reflects the conversation we had.
Back in the holding area, I wanted a beer but waited until one more interview was done.
The "Austin American Statesman’ is the local paper here in Austin and the journalist had a list of questions which I answered the best I could. He seemed to have liked PARADOX, was curious about the music we had put into the film. We spoke about Willie, Lukas and Micah. We talked for a while.
It was a friendly interview.
AND THE ‘AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN‘ PUBLISHED:
“Paradox,” premiering at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Paramount Theater as part of the South by Southwest Film Festival, is described in the fest’s program guide as a “far-fetched, whimsical western tale of music and love.” Directed by Daryl Hannah, the film features Neil Young as well as Lukas and Micah Nelson, sons of Willie and fixtures in Promise of the Real, Young’s backing band of the past few years. Their music — a mix of newly-written songs, instrumental film-score material and excerpts of classics from Young’s past — is central to the tone and theme of the film.
Young isn’t performing at SXSW, but he’s here to help promote the film, and he granted a few interviews yesterday. We sat down with him for about 20 minutes Wednesday afternoon to discuss ‘Paradox,’ his impressive new Neil Young Archives website, his relationship with Lukas and Micah, and more.
American-Statesman/Austin360: How did you assemble the material for the film?
Neil Young: The instrumental passages we did were all written for this film. Three songs — “Peace Trail” and “Pocahontas” and the long instrumental of “Cowgirl” (1969’s “Cowgirl in the Sand”), those are old songs obviously, although “Peace Trail” is only a year old. “Diggin’ in the Dirt” we wrote that for this, Lukas and Micah and I. And of course Willie’s song “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground,” sung by Lukas, is maybe the highlight, a classic. It’s like these two guys (Lukas and Micah) are American treasures, both of them. They’re continuing on the work their dad has done so well for so many years. It’s a beautiful thing.
You must have known them since they were little kids. At one point did you realize, hey, these guys might be good for my band?
The first time I remember thinking that is, Willie and I were standing onstage at Farm Aid in Milwaukee, maybe eight years ago, something like that. Lukas was playing, and it was just the (Promise of the Real) trio, and it was amazing. It was just stunningly great. And I was just standing there with Willie and saying, “You must feel great about this, to see those guys out there.” It’s just always felt good to see them. Now I’m playing with them, and they’re fantastic. It’s like they know: They’re in the river, they know the flow. They inherently know, and they have no fear. All those guys in that band, nobody has any fear. They’re not concerned with anything more than music. They know nothing to be scared of; they’re not trying to prove anything.
Lukas has said that his priority is playing with you, but he’s getting really good on his own and had a big record last year. How do you balance the needs of your band with your desire to encourage his own work?
I want him to do everything that he wants to do. And as soon as I’m ready to go out and play a tour, I’m hopeful that they’ll be ready to go, too. Right now I haven’t got the new music that I need to go out and play a tour, a Neil Young tour. I need to have a bunch of new songs, because it gives me something to get my teeth into. And then the (older) songs will hang off of them. And they hang on for dear life, those songs. But I can’t do it without the new songsm so I have to wait for the new songs to come.
You’ve done music-and-film projects before. Was “Paradox” different?
It’s just a continuation of music. We made the music that we felt like making. We knew we had a couple of scenes that we should create some themes for, and so we did them. In one case, we borrowed heavily from one of my existing songs to make a new musical track, and make an instrumental out of one of my old melodies. Another couple of songs are jam songs where we just went with the flow; we didn’t think about it much. Everything was so much fun. I mean, the drumming on one of those —is insane. Tato (Melgar) and Anthony (LoGerfo) had all these drums, the’re all banging away in the studio, and we’re just going nuts. On another one, I took my harp and I said (to the band), “You play the melody to ‘Love and Only Love,’ and I’ll play my harp and feed back through my amp.” And everybody just keep playing, and we’ll just keep playing that for a long time. We had a great time; it was fun.
Your new streaming archives site comes with a 10-minute video that explains how it all works.. How many years have you been working on this?
Well, it started off with an old friend of mine named Larry Johnson who passed maybe five years ago. We started in 1990, building it, and we put out “Archives Volume 1” on Blu-Ray, because I wanted it to have high-res. I wanted the music to be everything it could be, and I didn’t wan’t to put out my history unless the music sounded good. I hate what the music sounds like today on the internet, and I don’t like what people have to listen to. It’s been dummied down for no reason. So I wanted to prove to the world that you could have great-sounding music on the computer, and you could connect it up to speakers and it’d be like God. And we’ve done that. It’s the best-sounding streaming site in the world. There’s no one else doing what we’re doing. So our technology is really earth-shattering in that respect. I’m very proud of that.
The archives has been an incredible journey for me. It’s nice to have an organized place to put everything I’ve done, so that people can find it and refer to it or whatever. … It’s like my whole life: If I like something and I do a good job on it, there’s always enough people who are going to like it so that I can keep on going and do something else. And that’s the way I look at the archives; it’s just a culmination of all of that. We worked on it for a long time to make it as great as it is. I’m particularly happy with the sound quality. There’s no magic to it, it’s just technology. It’s just using technology from this century instead of the last one.
How many people did it take to build it? Like a couple dozen?
Not that many. We’ve moved from place to place. We have a house in San Francisco, a tech house, that had done a lot of the development. But we’ve been on this for many years, developing the look and feel of it. It’s a big time machine for music, and for anything.
In the instructional video, you show some images of an old album cover and you remark about “when we had room for art” on album covers. But now you have infinite room online.
Yeah. And you can listen and move around, and look at different things while you’re listening. And the site is only improving. We’re still doing things to the site that make it more immersive. We also are missing about 75 percent of the content on the info cards that’s available. We have many more things to put in, and loading it takes time. That’s the hard part. So we’re a little slow on that right now, and I’m trying to get all that together. We’re getting some interns, and we’re getting a little office space, so we’ll be loading up all those info cards and stuff. It’s like every credit for every song. Everybody who worked on it: the engineers, the studio, the maintenance people, the musicians who were there, the people who dropped in to do things, the producer, the engineers. Everything’s there, plus the lyrics, the credits for the publishing — everything associated with the music is there.
The credits are really important; it’s good to have that because they’re disappearing on the web.
Yeah metadata is a joke. I mean, I don’t know who they thought they were fooling. You know, Silicon Valley is a bunch of crap.
Other artists reach a point int their lives when they donate their archives to libraries or historical collections. But you want to keep it in house. Why is that?
I want the people to keep it. I want everybody to have it. And when we start our subscription thing, we’re still going to have a lot of free music you can listen to. My top albums of the day, top ten streaming albums, will be available for free. Everything that you can do now, they’ll be able to do. It’s just that there’s another 40 or 50 albums, and all the information associated with them, all the videos associated with everything — the movies, the books, everything is there. And then for whatever it amounts to be — which, we figured out it’s going to be 20 percent of a normal subscription streaming — that’s what you’ll pay for this. Because it’s just me, it’s not all the artists in the world, so we don’t expect everybody to pay that. But if we can do that and get enough people — we want more people and less money. The smaller the amount that people pay, the more people are going to pay it. But we want something that’s really worth it, where they really feel like they’re getting a great deal. And people who can’t afford to do anything or just don’t know, we can still show them the difference between what great sound is and what they’ve got today, so they have a window into the possibilities to look at. That’s the mission.
If I’m listening through my laptop, it can only get so much better because of these crappy speakers. Is it still noticeably better?
Actually, much better. Oh yeah. And I realize computers are compromises. They can only play back CD quality at the best. They interpolate everything down and play back shit. They’re not playback devices. But it’s still, coming out of the little speakers in a Mac, the high-res noticeably sounds better. And we have a switch; you can listen to what you’ve got now, and you can, you spend a little time listening to a song that you like, and then listen to it the other way. Switch back and forth a few times; it’s like night and day. And as soon as you realize it, you go, “How the hell is Neil — how are they doing that? How come they can do it, and Spotify can’t do it?”
You were at SXSW in 2014 talking about your Pono high-quality music player. How has that gone?
Well, it ended up dying because streaming came in, and downloads are out. Ant that’s cool. I’m just talking about quality. And now I’m streaming quality, because I found the technology. We didn’t know where it was at that point. If I could have, I would have used streaming at that point and opened up a streaming service. But I knew my archives was really the way. The more I looked at it, I said, “You know, if I just do this for myself and make an example of it, it may be better than trying to sell people stuff.” Just let them have it; they can see it. The mission is for people to understand that music could be a lot better sounding, everywhere in the world, than it is right now. There’s no reason why it can’t be. Well, there is one reason: record companies. They charge too much for the high-res. They don’t make anything off of it because they’ve priced it out of existence, so nobody buys it. So if they made it all the same price, and the people had the choice of whether to have high-res or low-res, go ahead, make your choice. That’s all I’m asking for: Give people a choice.
Anything else on the horizon for you?
I’m writing a little bit. I’m writing a book; I’ve got a book coming out. It’s a novel. So I’ve written it, and it’s my first novel. I’m kind of excited about it.
JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
The next morning D and I did a couple of phoners. They are harder to gauge because on the phone its hard to get a feel for some things. None the less, sometimes phoners are good and the stories that come out of them are valuable.
AP (Associated Press)
The man from AP had questions about the music in PARADOX. When he started he mentioned that he had seen the film twice. That’s all he said. There was no confirmation from him whether he liked it or ‘got’ it, or really anything. I answered his further questions about the music, how we decided what songs to include and some mention of the Archives, which he seemed to be asking me about without being overly prepared, relying on me to explain what it was. This kind of journalism is not my favorite. I like to have a discussion with some one knowledgeable about the subject, not be relegated to explaining ‘in my words’ what it was he had seen. I like a two way conversation. Later in the talk, he did ask about the floating people and why we did that? I explained that our music is meant to elevate the spirit and this was a visual take of that experience. He talked to D after me and I don’t yet know what happened there.
AND THE WASHINGTON POST PUBLISHED THE AP STORY:
By Scott Bauer | AP March 15 at 3:43 PM
At 72, Neil Young feels a sense of urgency.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member has a new, and joyfully perplexing, pseudo-Western film “Paradox” written and directed by actress and girlfriend Daryl Hannah coming out on Netflix next week. He’s releasing a movie soundtrack on the same day. And next month, he’s digging into his vast archives to put out “Roxy - Tonight’s the Night Live,” a collection of songs played live from the opening week of the famed Los Angeles club in 1973.
And if that’s not enough, Young continues to move ahead with his vision to make his online musical archives the definitive repository of everything — previously released or otherwise — that he’s ever recorded.
“I like to get it out there so I’m alive to see how people like it,” Young said in a telephone interview Thursday from Austin, Texas, where he is attending the South by Southwest music festival. “What the (expletive)? Why not?”
Young unveiled his new archival website in December, making all of his officially released recordings available to stream in the highest audio quality possible — a passion of his — for free.
In what has been a tantalizing tease for devoted Young fans, there were also inaccessible links to unreleased albums like “Homegrown” from 1974, “Chrome Dreams” from 1976 and “Toast” from 2001 along with various live recordings from throughout his 55-year career.
Young said he has 12 to 14 unreleased records he made between the late 1960s and 2012 that he wants to get out soon. The 1973 Roxy concert highlights is next in April and he said two more vault releases are planned for later this year.
“When I made these records, I made them so fast that I couldn’t put them all out,” he said. “I finished one and I’d go on to the next one. That’s just the way it was at that time. I was very productive and going through a lot. I put out what I was most interested in at the time.”
Young remains productive, with “Paradox” and its soundtrack coming out next week.
“Paradox” features Young as “The Man in the Black Hat,” Willie Nelson as “Red” and his sons Lukas and Micah Nelson — members of the band Promise of the Real — as “Jailtime” and the “Particle Kid.” It was premiering Thursday night at the South by Southwest Festival and will have a limited theatrical release in addition to being available on Netflix on March 23.
Billed as a “fantasy, a loud poem and a free-spirited tale of music and love,” the film begins sometime in the “future-past” with Willie Nelson proclaiming that “time is fluid.” It follows Young and a band of outlaws in the mountains as they scavenge for treasure that includes computer keyboards, cameras and cellphones.
It was filmed in Colorado while Young and his band were getting used to the 10,000-foot altitude before performing at the Desert Trip festival in 2016.
In the film, Young’s band plays his song “Peace Trail” as listeners float in the air. In another scene, Young strums a ukulele as Hannah floats behind him, tied to Young’s waist by a rope.
“When you’re in the music, sometimes you float away in your mind,” Young said. “It’s just another representation of the effect of art and music on people.”
Hannah, who wrote the film and is making her directorial debut, said it was all very spontaneous and not meant to be taken too seriously. Hannah described it as a “homespun project” and said she was surprised when Netflix expressed interest.
“It’s not really their sort of thing,” she said, adding that Netflix typically goes for more polished productions and not “spitball movies people make for themselves.”
“That’s my biggest concern that people will be expecting a normal movie or a rock and roll documentary and they’ll be like, ‘What the heck?’” Hannah said. “I hope that they take it in the lighthearted spirit it was intended and turn it up so they can hear the music.”
Young said he didn’t know what people would think of “Paradox,” but he stands by it.
“It’s a little surreal but it’s playful and loving, no violence, no hatred,” Young said. “It’s a great palate cleanser (between Super Hero Movies).”
D came out to the bus from her Huffington Post interview. It was my turn to do the Huffington Post next.
The lady from Huffington Post was very nice and she loved the movie. By what she said I could tell she ‘got’ it; she enjoyed it and it made her feel good. I told her we had a lot of fun making our little movie, explaining how D had gone out an bought all the wardrobe in thrift stores, how we were our own crew. She had a lot of good questions about the film, which I did my best to answer. She said her dad was a guitar player and had been a music lover for a long time, enjoying my records. I love families who have lived with music as I have in my own life. This was a very positive and enjoyable phone call.
AND THE HUFFINGTON POST PUBLISHED:
Neil Young Fires Back At No. 1 Hater: NRA Spokeswoman Dana Loesch
Young joked, "Why doesn’t she just shoot me?”
By David Moye
Apparently there’s one thing that National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch hates almost as much as sensible gun laws: Neil Young’s singing voice.
Loesch has tweeted at least 15 negative comments about the rock legend over the past decade, according to the Daily Beast, including referring to his voice as “a dying cow fart” at least three times.
Young was apparently unaware that he’s been targeted by Loesch until the Daily Beast called it to his attention.
He was amused. Very amused.
“The spokesperson? That woman? She doesn’t like me?” he asked. “Well, she’s one of the gang over there. Although Trump likes my music. He’d come to all my shows.”
After a pause, he said, “Well, I’m glad I got under her skin.”
As for the comparison that Young’s singing voice sounds like bovine flatulence, he wondered, “Why doesn’t she just shoot me?”
He then thought better of his glib response.
“You know, I hate to say that, because I have kids and I really don’t want anybody to shoot me. I’ve still got to bring up my kids, so don’t take that seriously!”
Although Loesch has gone as far to suggest that if she ever won the Powerball, she would pay Young, Nickelback and Bush to stop playing, the Canadian-born Young says she’s entitled to her opinion.
“That’s the way it goes! That’s what happens,” he said. “You’re out there in the world and people can say whatever they want. It’s freedom. I appreciate that, and I think she should exercise it as much as she can.”
It appears here that the Huffington Post decided to go ahead with something they felt was more clickable, so they re-ran the Daily Beast story. ‘Neil Young Fires Back At No.1 Hater’. Even the title is misleading. I did not even know about that person or her tastes, until the Daily Beast reporter baited me with something I had never heard of. It was the last thing on my mind to ‘fire back’.
You may notice, reading the above, that sometimes the articles that journalists write, or what gets published after the interview, has nothing at all to do with the subject of the interview that we did. Instead the publishers tend to print what is click-bait worthy. It does seem to serve their purpose, as Daily Beast’s article quickly spread around the web. That is not the reason I sat with them though, and I have a good memory.
It is always a let down when you feel like you have been taken advantage of. Luckily for us it only happened a few times in a couple of days. After this experience, it does seem obvious to me that internet based outlets indulge more in FAKE news, and the old established press outlets invest in journalists who do their homework, research and tend to be much more truthful and focused on delivering the real story of an interview.
Wrapping up, I want to say that the false, irresponsible, hurtful, untruthful, incompletely researched lies coming out of the internet news outlets will mark my last time speaking with any of those organizations. The articles put forth by Yahoo in particular are not based in fact. I don’t know how that interviewer can sleep at night. It is out of respect for the parties involved that I don’t respond with the truth, based on facts. Doing so would only be hurtful to people involved.
We are very thankful to those publications truly reporting on the interviews we shared with them.