November 20, 2006

the waves and the thunder’s prose


René Magritte, Decalomania, 1966.

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpts:

"5. The Republican Party

"The GOP is clearly in a state of denial and disarray - last week they re-elected the same leaders who just led them straight into the minority, John Boehner and Roy Blunt. And speaking of minorities, it seems that the Republican party is so hard up for leadership that they've decided to give Trent Lott a second chance.

"Boehner and Blunt were comfortably re-elected, proving that House Republicans are still keen to 'stay the course' despite the fact that their minibus just drove through a guardrail and is currently bouncing to the bottom of a crevasse. The big losers in last week's House leadership election were arch-conservative John Shadegg (27 votes) and Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, who garnered an impressive one vote.

"Things were closer on the Senate side, at least for the number two spot. While Mitch McConnell - who was running unopposed - grabbed the Senate Minority Leader position, Republicans gave a good hard look at Sen. Lamar Alexander for Minority Whip before plumping for Trent Lott by 25 votes to 24. Lest we forget, Trent Lott was drummed out of his job as Senate Majority Leader in 2002 after announcing, 'I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either.'

"So congrats, Repubs! You just picked a pair of losers and a disgraced racist to lead your party into a bold new future. Best of luck."

* From a 1975 interview of Neil Young. excerpt:

Q: Why, then, did you release a live album?

Young: I thought it was valid. Time Fades Away was a very nervous album. And that's exactly where I was at on the tour. If you ever sat down and listened to all my records, there'd be a place for it in there. Not that you'd go there very time you wanted to enjoy some music, but if you're on the trip it's important. Every one of my records, to me, is like an ongoing autobiography. I can't write the same book very time. There are artists that can. They put out three or four albums every year and everything fucking sounds the same. That's great. Somebody's trying to communicate to a lot of people and give them the kind of music that they know they want to hear. That isn't my trip. My trip is to express what's on my mind. I don't expect people to listen to my music all the time. Sometimes it's too intense. If you're gonna put a record on at 11:00 in the morning, don't put on Tonight's the Night. Put on the Doobie Brothers.
...
Q: You sound pretty drunk on that album [Tonight's the Night].

Young: I would have to say that's the most liquid album I've ever made. [laughs] You almost need a life preserver to get through that one. We were all leaning on the ol' cactus . . . and, again, I think that it's something people should hear. They should hear what the artist sounds like under all circumstances if they want to get a complete portrait. Everybody gets fucked up, man. Everybody gets fucked up sooner or later. You're just pretending if you don't let your music get just as liquid as you are when you're really high.

Q: Is that the point of the album?

Young: No. No. That's the means to an end. Tonight's the Night is like an OD letter. The whole thing is about life, dope and death. When we [Nils Lofgren, guitars and piano, Talbot, Molina and Young] played that music we were all thinking of Danny Whitten and Bruce Berry, two close members of our unit lost to junk overdoses. The Tonight's the Night sessions were the first time what was left of Crazy Horse had gotten together since Danny died. It was up to us to get the strength together among us to fill the hole he left. The other OD, Bruce Berry, was CSNY's roadie for a long time. His brother Ken runs Studio Instrument Rentals, where we recorded the album. So we had a lot of vibes going for us. There was a lot of spirit in the music we made. It's funny, I remember the whole experience in black and white. We'd go down to S.I.R. about 5:00 in the afternoon and start getting high, drinking tequila and playing pool. About midnight, we'd start playing. And we played Bruce and Danny on their way all through the night. I'm not a junkie and I won't even try it out to check out what it's like . . . but we all got high enough, right out there on the edge where we felt wide open to the whole mood. It was spooky. I probably feel this album more than anything else I've ever done.
...
Q: Why did you wait until now to release Tonight's the Night? Isn't it almost two years old?

Young: I never finished it. I only had nine songs, so I set the whole thing aside and did On the Beach instead. It took Elliot [manager Elliot Roberts] to finish Tonight's The Night. You see, a while back there were some people who were gonna make a Broadway show out of the story of Bruce Berry and everything. They even had a script written. We were putting together a tape for them and in the process of listening back on the old tracks, Elliot found three even older songs that related to the trip, 'Lookout Joe,' 'Borrowed Tune' and 'Come on Baby Let's Go Downtown,' a live track from when I played the Filmore East with Crazy Horse. Danny even sings lead on that one. Elliot added those songs to the original nine and sequenced them all into a cohesive story. But I still had no plans whatsoever to release it. I already had another new album called Homegrown in the can. The cover was finished and everything. [laughs] Ah, but they'll never hear that one.

Q: Okay. Why not?

Young: I'll tell you the whole story. I had a playback party for Homegrown for me and about ten friends. We were out of our minds. We all listened to the album and Tonight's the Night happened to be on the same reel. So we listened to that too, just for laughs. No comparison.

Q: So you released Tonight's the Night. Just like that?

Young: Not because Homegrown wasn't as good. A lot of people would probably say that it's better. I know the first time I listened back on Tonight's the Night it was the most out-of-tune thing I'd ever heard. Everybody's off-key. I couldn't hack it. But by listening to those two albums back to back at the party, I started to see the weaknesses in Homegrown. I took Tonight's the Night because of its overall strength in performance and feeling. The theme may be a little depressing, but the general feeling is much more elevating than Homegrown. Putting this album out is almost an experiment. I fully expect some of the most determinedly worst reviews I've ever had. I mean if anybody really wanted to let go, they could do it on this one. And undoubtedly a few people will. That's good for them, though. I like to see people make giant breakthroughs for themselves. It's good for their psyche to get it all off their chests. [laughs] I've seen Tonight's the Night draw a line everywhere it's been played. People who thought they would never dislike anything I did fall on the other side of the line. Others who thought 'I can't listen to that cat. He's just too sad,' or whatever . . . 'His voice is funny.' They listen another way now. I'm sure parts of Homegrown will surface on other albums of mine. There's some beautiful stuff that Emmylou Harris sings harmony on. I don't know. That record might be more what people would rather hear from me right now, but it was just a very down album. It was the darker side to Harvest. A lot of the songs had to do with me breaking up with my old lady. It was a little too personal . . . it scared me. Plus, I had just released On the Beach, probably one of the most depressing records I've ever made. I don't want to get down to the point where I can't even get up. I mean there's something to going down there and looking around, but I don't know about sticking around."

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