Archive for Neil Young

Old Guys and Rock & Roll

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2012 by 30daysout

Paul McCartney, at age 70, is a textbook example of how old guys can still rock.

It used to be very true that rock and roll was not made by old people. “Old” used to mean people over age 30. So what happened?

Bob Dylan (age 71) just released Tempest to glowing reviews – it should appear on the upper reaches of the Billboard album charts in a few days, but probably not at No. 1. Paul McCartney (age 70) is currently performing close to three-hour sets on his “On The Run” tour, which began last summer in New York City. Roger Waters (age 69) and Rod Stewart (age 67) are also touring, while relative youngster Bruce Springsteen (age 62) can’t be dragged off a stage for anything.

Paul Simon (age 70), Crosby, Stills & Nash (average age 69) and the Beach Boys (average age 70) have live DVDs and/or CDs from recent tours. Van Morrison (age 67) is about to release his 34th studio album, Born To Sing: No Plan B, in early October. Mark Knopfler (age 63) and ZZ Top (average age 60) have strong new albums out, Neil Young (age 66) is readying a new album and tour, and the Rolling Stones (average age 68) keep threatening to do something to celebrate their 50th anniversary. And you can’t stop Willie Nelson (age 79)!

So what gives? Is there something in the water?

Well, pretty much all of these guys mentioned above are big draws on the concert circuit so one can cynically say that the lure of the big bucks is enough to get these codgers out of their rockers. Nobody makes money off albums any more, so each of these acts will go on the road to support an album if they haven’t already. Hell, Dylan’s been touring constantly since the early 1980s.

You think maybe it’s an indication that music being produced today somehow doesn’t measure up to those classics of the past? Perhaps – nothing sends concertgoers to the restrooms/beer vendors faster than “a new song off our latest album.” Even superstars like McCartney and Dylan know better than to populate their concerts with new material.

And it’s tempting to say worthless stuff like “do you think we’ll be paying to see Bon Iver or Green Day live in 15 years?” Because unless you are a total idiot, you know the answer is yes. It may not be Bon Iver or Green Day specifically, but it could be that Weezer reunion or the surviving members of Mumford and Sons or the remnants of Radiohead.

Because it’s not necessarily about who is playing, but what they’re playing. It’s rock and roll, and despite what smartasses over the years keep saying, it’s not dead.

It’s pretty damn old, and it’s not pretty (take a close look at the cover of the latest issue of Rolling Stone). But rock and roll is still alive because we want it to be. The footsoldiers of rock and roll are sticking around because we want them to – the audience changes more than the artists, and as we discover new acts we like, we also go back and appreciate the past. My kids know more about the Beatles and the Stones and the Who than I ever did, when I was a teenager and those boys had brand-new songs on the radio every day.

Women seem to know better, they know when it’s time to fade away – although you can make a pretty good case for rockers like Joan Jett and Bonnie Raitt being here for quite a while. Pop artists are another thing entirely: Madonna has well overstayed her welcome and the decline of Katy Perry, Britney Spears, et. al. won’t be pretty.

Perhaps it’s best just not to think about these things. We’re all going to get to the end of the trail – literally and figuratively – one day. Rock and roll is here to distract us from that brutal truth, to keep us dancing until we can’t any more.

So. The Rolling Stones may tour next year? Don’t know about you, but I’m gonna buy a ticket. For a few hours, I’m gonna be young again.

Radio Daze: Rock Hype on the Airwaves

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2012 by 30daysout

Back in the day, radio was the only way to get out the word about a new album. Of course, it helped that disc jockeys actually played songs from a new album – but record labels wanted to rack up sales right out of the box. And movies too – what better way to get the word out to the “kids” than through that boss, groovy local radio station?

So they worked up little spots to play on the hip-cool radio station in your town. Nowadays, with traditional terrestrial radio pretty much dead, these old radio spots are fodder for CD re-releases.  Let’s queue up a bunch and spin ‘em!

MP3: The Monkees Present radio promo (The Monkees)

MP3: Live Dead radio promo (The Grateful Dead)

MP3: Help movie promo (The Beatles)

MP3: Cahoots radio promo (The Band)

MP3: Sweetheart of the Rodeo radio promo (The Byrds)

MP3: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere radio promo (Neil Young)

MP3: I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! radio promo (Janis Joplin)

MP3: Head movie promos (The Monkees)

MP3: Electric Warrior radio promo (T. Rex)

MP3: Aqualung radio promo (Jethro Tull)

MP3: Ballad of Easy Rider radio promo (The Byrds)

MP3: Easy Rider movie promo

Hurricane Season – It’s Baaack!

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , , on June 7, 2012 by 30daysout

Hurricane season just got goin’ and I know you folks on the East Coast of the United States are paying close attention this summer. As well you should: Hurricane Irene’s rains devastated a pretty good chunk of the Northeast last year.

Down here in Texas, they like to scare us with stories about what could happen if a monster storm rolled in off the Gulf of Mexico. And I suppose if one of those nasty Cat 5s paid a visit to Texas the result would be less like Irene and more like Hiroshima (or Hurricane Camille). But what good is it to worry – you just stock up on batteries and peanut butter and hope for the best.

And you get your rock and roll tunes ready for the next Hurricane Warning.

MP3: “Change In The Weather” by John Fogerty

MP3: “Blowin’ Like A Bandit” by Asleep at the Wheel

MP3: “Hurricane” by Levon Helm

MP3: “Surfing In A Hurricane” by Jimmy Buffett

MP3: “Hurricane Party” by James McMurtry

MP3: “Mighty Storm” by the Duhks

MP3: “High Water (For Charley Patton)” (live) by Bob Dylan

MP3: “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today” by Peter Gabriel

MP3: “Lost and Found” by the Kinks

MP3: “In From The Storm” by Jimi Hendrix

MP3: “Thunder Island” by Jay Ferguson

MP3: “Walking In A Hurricane” by John Fogerty

MP3: “Like A Hurricane” by Nils Lofgren

MP3: “Here Comes The Rain” by Jan & Dean

MP3: “Riders On The Storm” by the Doors

MP3: “The Rains Came” by Big Sambo

MP3: “Wild Is The Wind” by David Bowie

MP3: “Rock You Like A Hurricane” by the Scorpions

MP3: “Down In The Flood” (live) by the Derek Trucks Band

MP3: “Like A Hurricane” (live) by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Video Du Jour: Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Posted in News with tags , on May 1, 2012 by 30daysout

“Oh Susannah,” the first video from Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s new album Americana, recasts the Stephen Foster standard in a radical, rockin’ new way. Americana drops on June 5. What is that kid smokin’?

Neil Young official website


Review: “Old School,” by Nils Lofgren

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on December 11, 2011 by 30daysout

Old School

Since 2007, Nils Lofgren has spent two years on the road with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, played the Super Bowl, had hip replacement surgery and lost close friends, E Street Band members, Danny Federici and the “Big Man” Clarence Clemons. Lofgren throws the emotions from these events and more life experiences into one pot and stirs up an excellent 12-track collection called Old School.

On the rockin’ title track, Lofgren gets a little help from former Foreigner frontman Lou Gramm and takes a shot at all those whiners who would rather complain than get out and actually do something. He takes us back to 1985 with “60 is the new 18,” a tune that shows a guy who is just hitting his stride at 60. “Miss You Ray” is a melancholy, country-infected tribute to the great Ray Charles and other lost loved ones who have affected his life. The celtic ballad “Irish Angel” with Lofgren on piano is outstanding and he gets a little help from the legendary Sam Moore on “Ain’t Too Many of Us Left.” The beautiful love song “Just Because You Love Me” has a nice smooth groove with a great hook and the Springsteen-esque “Why Me” has that unmistakable Lofgren tone on the guitar solo.

Nils Lofgren has always been underrated as a guitarist and a songwriter. Old School might not change all that, but it certainly should.

Nils Lofgren Official Website

“Old School” by Nils Lofgren (YouTube)

“Irish Angel” by Nils Lofgren (YouTube)

“Why Me” by Nils Lofgren (YouTube)

“Miss You Ray” by Nils Lofgren (YouTube)

Chili time again!

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , on October 29, 2011 by 30daysout

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a previous entry – kinda like a warmed up bowl of chili. 

We have done this post a few times but with cold, chilly weather gripping most of the country it seems like staying home and makin’ a big pot o’ chili is a good idea.  And with football season in full swing, it is especially timely.

The classic recipe, supplied by the good folks who brew Texas’ Lone Star Beer, is available above (click the picture for a larger version).  It’s pretty simple, but here is another recipe from the Austin newspaper that is a multi-meat extravaganza.  Just for fun (and, depending where you live, for ridicule) here are some chili recipes from the Food Network. One of the recipes has spaghetti!

On that last link above, you will notice of course that some of these chili recipes contain a healthy helping of beans.  As a native Texan, it is my duty to remind you that our state’s fine lawmakers some years ago passed a law outlawing the use of beans in chili.  I can’t tell you exactly when and, ah, … OK, I just made up that last part.

Just put in the damn beans if that’s what blows up your skirt.  But don’t blame me if that’s also what blows out your skirt.  Either way, keep a window open – no matter how cold it may be outside.

More stuff about chili, with a few more tunes, here.

MP3: “The Chili Song” by Gary P. Nunn

MP3: “Snow (Hey Oh)” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

MP3: “National Chili Anthem” by Isaac Peyton Sweat

MP3: “Cold As Ice” (live) by Foreigner

MP3: “The Old Country Waltz” by Neil Young

MP3: “Chili Con Conga” by Cab Calloway

MP3: “You Bring The Heat, I’ll Bring The Meat” by Jonny Z and Bobby Rivera

MP3: “Crusty Rolls and Chili” by the Duhks

MP3: “Cold Cold Heart” by Hank Williams

MP3: “Millie Make Some Chili” by Steve Goodman

MP3: “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes

MP3: “Hot Chili” by the Steve Miller Band

10 Years Out: September 11

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , on September 10, 2011 by 30daysout

Editor’s Note: This is repost of an item that previously appeared on 30 Days Out.

The day seems like a blur … the first word from a counter person at Starbucks, tuning in the car radio where the usually placid voices were now frantic, stunned faces in front of a conference room TV.  Even thousands of miles away, you could feel the dread and terror so many experienced that day in the streets of Manhattan.

Were you sad for the people who died?  That would come later.  That moment, when I stood watching the towers crumble on TV and later that night, seeing the solemn newscasters with a burning NYC skyline as the backdrop, the first thing I felt was fear.  Later, as the awful truth unfolded live in the never-ending news cycle, that gave way to a deep sadness.

Every day Americans struggle with the concept of freedom.  What does this freedom allow us to do?  Can we do as much or as little as we want, can we go anywhere or stay in one place, can we choose a path for our own lives?  Can we mistrust our neighbor, hate our President or be afraid of that man walking down the street who may be different than us in some way?  The answer is yes.  With freedom, you get back what you put in.

Today is a day worth remembering because it’s marked with pain, with loss, with sadness, with fear.  But I can remember also courage, strength and kindness.  Your feelings about this day may be different than mine, your memory may tell you something else completely.  You can choose to remember or choose to forget.  You can flip this coin into the air and let it fall like debris in the streets.  Which side comes up, that depends on you.

MP3: “Lonesome Day” by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

MP3: “Boeing 737″ by the Low Anthem

MP3: “Let’s Roll” by Neil Young

MP3: “Freedom” (live) by Paul McCartney

MP3: “Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze” (live at Woodstock) by Jimi Hendrix

MP3: “Do You Remember the Americans” (alternate track) by Manassas

MP3: “Freedom” by Richie Havens (2009 version)

MP3: “Simple Song Of Freedom” by Tim Hardin (live at Woodstock)

MP3: “Every Hand In The Land” by Arlo Guthrie (live at Woodstock)

MP3: “I Shall Be Free” by Bob Dylan

MP3: “Masters Of War” by Pearl Jam (live)

MP3: “American Tune” by Paul Simon

MP3: “America, Fuck Yeah”  by Team America, South Park or whatever

MP3: “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

MP3: “Walk On” by U2

MP3: “Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream” by Johnny Cash

MP3: “Blowin’ In The Wind” (live, 1963) by Bob Dylan

MP3: “Daylight Again/Find The Cost Of Freedom” by Crosby, Stills & Nash

YouTube: U2 Super Bowl halftime show, 9/11 tribute (2002)

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