Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Hooray is all I can say. You've heard about it. Now read a little insider stuff about it.

(FYI-for the next week I'll be doing just a limited Oread Daily, as I entertain out of town guest known as my little sister)

The following is from the blog site DownWithTyranny!


I smoked my way through college-- I mean like every single day-- and then I went for a two year drive across Asia and a few months smoking black Mazar-i-Sharif hash in Afghanistan-- the psychedelic stuff that never gets exported-- and... presto... I was cured. All interest in drugs were gone. Forever. It was great while it lasted but it was gone. Years later I washed up on the shores of corporate America and somehow wound up as president of Reprise Records-- Neil Young's label. Every time Neil delivered a new album-- or if I'd go up to his ranch to listen to a work in progress-- I'd take a toke, just one (and one was all I needed), from whatever he was smoking. I'd be high all day.

I'm retired now and Neil won't be delivering his new album to me and I won't be taking any tokes off anyone's joints. But I was thrilled this morning when a small company I work with, JamBase, reported that Neil has a new record, and, apparently, he's as sick of the corrupt, lying Bush Regime as the rest of us are!

Neil made it pretty clear with GREENDALE, a truly incredible but underrated album, that he isn't happy with the direction George Bush has taken the country. He told David Fricke of ROLLING STONE "This is a time, I believe, of great inner turmoil for the majority of the American people. There is a new morality coming out of this administration -- fundamentalist religious views; a holier-than-thou attitude towards the rest of the world -- that is not classically American. I don't think Americans felt holier-than-thou in the twentieth century. We were happy and successful, with a great lifestyle. But something else is going on now. That's what Greendale is about. That's what Grandpa's problem is. He can't understand what's going on. He sees all of these things that the Patriot Act has taken away from what he feels is America."

Just after debuting his new film at SxSW Neil shocked the music world by announcing, kind of off-the-cuff, that he had recorded a brand new album and that it's all ready to go. (The guy introducing him, SxSW director Roland Swenson, had referred to how important Neil's song "Ohio," about the National Guard shooting down college students at Kent State, was to another generation then gearing up to end an earlier unpopular war, and how we needed something like that now. Neil took it seriously.) The new album is called LIVING WITH WAR.

One of Neil's collaborators, filmmaker, Jonathan Demme, describes it as "a brilliant electric assault on Bush and the war in Iraq.” The linchpin track, "Impeach the President," features an edited-together Bush rap set to a 100-voice chorus chanting "flip/flop." The album, with Young on Old Black, Rick Rosas on bass and Chad Cromwell on drums, took three days to finish. Yep; that's Neil. No release date is set yet but... hopefully it'll be before November.


I just got off the phone with Neil's manager and he offered to play me the album. So I'm gonna saddle up and ride WAY out to the middle of nowhere and listen. And then I'll report back. Stay tuned.

3 PM UPDATE: Grrrrrr...

Ok; first: the album is beyond belief. I mean it's so great I was jumping out of my skin. That's the good news. The less good news is that they wouldn't play it for me unless I agreed not to write about it for "a few days." (Not even the label has heard it yet and they felt it would be impolite for me to go blabbing the whole story all over the world until after they get to play it for Reprise and the NY Times.) So what can I tell you before "a few days?" Not much. From the time Neil started writing the songs until he finished recording the whole incredible project: 9 days.

Every song is about... you know what (and who). Musically it is so powerful and emotionally it's even more powerful that that!! Many tears while I sat alone with the headset on. Since I already mentioned "Let's Impeach the President," I'll just say a few things about that. It's this great rocker that ends as a gospel song and reads like an indictment. I mean Neil sounds like he's been reading Daily KOS or FireLakeDog! Someone's gotta get this to Henry Waxman! Neil even lays out some evidence in the form of Bush running his mouth on tape.

Will this go down as Neil's greatest album ever? It will be a contender musically. And the impact lyrically could be profound. I'll talk more about that when my period of musical purdah is up next week. If you're walking down the street and someone comes up to you and offers you the opportunity to hear just one song, ask him to play "Flags of Freedom." (Have kleenex handy.)


Neil has a streaming message up on his own website talking about the new album. "I think it is a metal version of Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan... metal folk protest? It's called LIVING WITH WAR." And he promises to release the lyrics on the ticker of the website. Today he has the lyrics to the title track up-- the second song on the record and one of the ones I instantly loved:

I'm living with war everyday
I'm living with war in my heart everyday
I'm living with war right now

And when the dawn breaks I see my fellow man
And on the flat-screen we kill and we're killed again
And when the night falls, I pray for peace
Try to remember peace (visualize)

I join the multitudes
I raise my hand in peace
I never bow to the laws of the thought police
I take a holy vow
To never kill again
To never kill again

I'm living with war in my heart
I'm living with war in my heart and my mind
I'm living with war right now

Don't take no tidal wave
Don't take no mass grave
Don't take no smokin' gun
To show how the west was won
But when the curtain falls, I pray for peace
Try to remember peace (visualize)

In the crowded streets
In the big hotels
In the mosques and the doors of the old museum
I take a holy vow
To never kill again
Try to remember peace

The rocket's red glare
Bombs bursting in air
Give proof through the night,
That Our flag is still there

I'm living with war everyday
I'm living with war in my heart everyday
I'm living with wat right now.

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