The Tribulations of Being a Neil Young Fan

Convert to the Neil Young way of thinking or else! Photo Courtesy: Takahiro Kyono
Convert to the Neil Young way of thinking or else! Photo Courtesy: Takahiro Kyono

By Peter Gerstenzang

Being a Neil Young fan is one of life’s most painfully ambivalent experiences. Like being told that Sean Hannity has just fatally crashed his car into the side of your house. Neil’s one of rock’s greatest songwriters, most unforgettable guitarists and definitely his own man. But he’s also really tried our patience over the years. He has made albums so awful, Helen Keller would’ve broken them over her knee. He’s taken epic stands on issues as urgent as boxers or briefs? He’s supported Ronald Reagan! In other words, the dude is harder to follow than the plot of Finnegan’s Wake. Here are some of Neil’s loopiest moves:

Buffalo Springfield Again
Neil quit, then crawled back to his first band so many times, he actually rewrote the laws of quantum physics. Meaning, one day, he left and returned to Springfield in such a brief period of time he actually bumped into himself. Profound but disturbing. Like Neil himself.

Time Fades Away
Young is a guy who believes in one-take spontaneity. Hence some of his best albums sound like an armored car division driving off your roof…and landing on another armored car division. But he’s never released Time Fades Away, his live 1973 album, on CD. Calling it, “The worst album I ever made.” Neil Young saying a record is too terrible to re-release, is like Donald Trump joining the National Organization for Women. It means The Rapture is near. Dogs will soon be running counterclockwise on your lawn. The sun will set at 7 a.m. and never rise again. Most disturbing? Domino’s Pizza will be your last meal…and it’ll be delicious.

He Supported Reagan
Neil seemed to misinterpret Reagan’s heartless philosophy, ‘You’re on your own,’ as a way of making people stronger and more self-reliant. Young then went off to a recording session. But not before kicking Tiny Tim’s crutch out from under him.

I’d be the first to tell you I know little of social issues. So when I saw Neil Young’s name and the acronym GMO linked together, I thought it stood for Gimme More Opioids. Several people corrected me. Then walked away, slapping their foreheads. Apparently GMO’s are synthetic organisms added to food. Neil’s new record is devoted to this topic. A concept album almost as exciting as one about the discovery of the ball point pen. Why is this rocker so concerned about GMO’s and their effects on the growth of your children? I think it’s great that a kid could come to breakfast one day as a toddler, and the next, be 6 feet tall, ready to leave home. Okay, so maybe he’ll also have nicer breasts than your wife. Life is about taking the good with the bad.

Bitching about the current sound of music, Young’s developed and released Pono, a digital music player that presents songs “as they first sound during studio recording sessions.” Unfortunately, that also includes Neil’s newest album-the one all about GMO’s. Oh, the irony!