Neil Young: Eternal Hipster, or Doddering old guy?
Ok, I was watching Letterman tonight while doing chores. Jerry Lee Lewis was the musical guest, but I didn't care much. It's a shame, because the Killer pretty much invented rock and roll personally. However, he is super old and can't barely play the piano anymore. Plus, didn't he kill a wife (seriously)? That troubles me.
Anyhow, we have a surprise sit in with Jerry Lee - Neil Young. I was stoked! I am a big Neil Young fan, as I guess any good music lover is. Neil was pretty low key in an enormous jacket and a Les Paul on his lap. At the bridge, Jerry Lee throws it to Neil for a solo. It was terrible. I expected it though, because Neil Young plays the worst lead guitar of anyone on the planet. Don't believe me? Listen to the interminable 4 minute solo on 'Cinnamom Girl'. Long story short, Neil didn't contribute anything to the song. In fact, he just made Jerry Lee look old and sad. See, Jerry can't tear up the piano like he used to. He could barely muster a stride. While I was admiring the terrific and historic moment happening in front me, I couldn't help but wonder - is Neil Young just a crazy old dude in the way?
it hurts to say, because listening to the live acoustic of Sugar Mountain or the haunting studio cut 'Razor Love' reminds me why I am a musician and a human. Also, we know Neil has always done his own thing... always. Neil wouldn't even show up to receive his own nod to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because they wouldn't let him swear on stage since it was being filmed. Neil quit Crosby, Stills, and Nash on the plane flight to California for their huge debut on Carson. Last year, Neil put out a song called 'Let's Impeach the President'. While I agree with that though, where is the metaphor... the art... the delicate wordplay? What will his next single be called 'My eggs are too runny", or "It's Drafty in here"?
I love Neil. Neil Young is a great rock star and great songwriter and great American. In the answer to my initial question though (Eternal Hipster or Doddering Old Guy?) - I would have to say > both. Sorry Neil, eat a peach.