Let’s Impeach The President

“A political song about something that’s so wrong [the Iraq War – Ed] that the only way to point out how wrong it is is by doing a song that’s wrong – smashing and pounding away at it.”Neil Young (539)

Tonight’s The Night (The Album)

“I’m really turned on by the new music I’m making now, back with Crazy Horse. Somehow I feel like I’ve surfaced out of some kind of murk [Young got a lot of bad publicity from the previous three albums – Ed]. And the proof will be in my next album. “Tonight’s The Night,” I would say, is the final chapter of a period I went through. [The murky period – Ed] was probably tripped by Danny’s death. [Danny Whitten was a member of Crazy Horse – Ed]. It happened right after the “Time Fades Away” tour. He was supposed to be in the group. We were rehearsing with him and he just couldn’t cut it. He couldn’t remember anything. He was too out of it. Too far gone. I had to tell him to go back to L.A. “It’s not happening, man. You’re not together enough.” He just said, “I’ve got nowhere else to go, man. How am I gonna tell my friends?” And he split. That night the coroner called me from L.A. and told me he’d ODed. That blew my mind. Fucking blew my mind. I loved Danny. I felt responsible. And from there, I had to go out on this huge tour of huge arenas. I was very nervous and…insecure. “Tonight’s The Night” is like an OD letter. The whole thing is about life, dope and death. When we 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. The other OD, Bruce Berry, was CSNY’s roadie for a long time.”Neil Young (540)

Hey Hey My My

“[It’s better to burn out / Than to fade away] For rock n roll, Jimi Hendrix burned out, bang/gone. Kurt Cobain, bang/gone. Buddy Holly, bang/gone. The great Richie Vallens, bang/gone. At their peak. And that’s the way everybody remembers them. That’s what rock n roll’s all about: the edge, the peak, the thing. So if you look at them, maybe it is better to burn out than it is to fade away (for rock n roll). And this song’s about rock n roll. It’s not about life. Life has children, it has family, it has relationships, it has nature, it has beauty. It has all of these other things that rock n roll is a part of. But rock n roll is its own thing, its own animal all to itself. So I was singing about rock n roll. For rock n roll, if that’s all you are, all you want to do, exploding is not bad.”Neil Young (841)

Down By The River

“Naw, there’s no real murder in it. It’s about blowing your thing with a chick. See, now in the beginnin’, it’s ‘I’ll be on your side, you be on mine’. It could be anything. Then the chick thing comes in. Then at the end it’s a whole other thing. It’s a plea… a desperation cry.”Neil Young (915)

Trans (The Album)

“The life of both that record [Re-ac-tor – Ed] and the one after it – Trans – were sucked up by the regime we’d committed ourselves to. See, we were involved in this programme with my young son Ben for 18 months which consumed between 15 and 18 hours of every day we had. It was just all-encompassing and it had a direct effect on the music of Re-ac-tor and Trans. You see, my son is severely handicapped, and at that time was simply trying to find a way to talk, to communicate with other people. That’s what ‘Trans’ is all about. And that’s why, on that record, you know I’m saying something but you can’t understand what it is. Well, that’s the exact same feeling I was getting from my son.”Neil Young (916)

Transformer Man

“I know this is just the beginning for me. I’ve been Neil Young for years and I could stay where I am and be a period piece but as I look around everything’s so organised. Everything’s running on digital time. The new music with its kind of perfection is reassuring for me – you know the beat’s going to be there all the time and it’s never going to break down. That’s fascinating and I think it’s still soulful. The manipulation of machines can be very soulful. The song ‘Transformer Man’ is one I wrote for my son with all this and to me that’s probably the best song I’ve written in the last ten years. It’s based on the freedom to be able to assume different voices and characters.”Neil Young (917)


“There are a lot of science fiction overtones, time travel overtones, in ‘Misfits’. People at different places geographically, it could all have been happening at exactly the same time. All of the scenes in that song could have been happening simultaneously, and yet they’re also separate. It’s an interesting thing…”Neil Young (918)

Revolution Blues

“That was based on my experiences with Charlie Manson. I met him a couple of times, and er…very interesting person. Obviously he was quite keyed up. About six months before [the killing of Sharon Tate – Ed]. He’s quite a writer and a singer, really unique – very unique, and he wanted very badly to get a recording contract. I was at Dennis Wilson’s house when I met Charlie. Coupla times. The thing about Charlie Manson was you’d never hear the same song twice. It was one of the interesting things about him. He had a very mysterious power about him which I’m hesitant to even fuckin’ think about, it’s so strong and it was so dark, so I really don’t like to talk about it very much. I don’t even know why I brought it up. There is a saying that if you don’t look the devil in the eye you’re alright, but once you’ve looked him in the eye you’ll never forget him, and there’ll always be more devil in you than there was before. And it’s hard to say, you know. The devil is not a cartoon character, like God is on one side of the page and he’s on the other. The devil lives in every one and God lives in everyone. There no book that tells you when the devil said to God ‘fuck you’ and God said [makes raspberry noise – Ed]. All those books that are written are just one person’s opinion. I can’t follow that, but I can see these things in other people. You can see it and feel it. But Manson would sing a song and just make it up as he went along, for three or four minutes, and he never would repeat one word, and it all made perfect sense and it shook you up to listen to it. It was so good that it scared you.”Neil Young (919)

Ten Men Workin’

“One morning I was gettin’ ready to go into where we recorded the Blue Notes record, on Melrose Avenue across from the Hollywood Cemetery. One of the guys, the engineer of my boat, had a Men At Work T-shirt on. I just kept lookin’ at that T-shirt and started thinkin’, “Yeah, that’s me. I’m workin’ and we’re workin’.” It’s like we were building something. We had this job to do. It’s like it was our mission to make people feel good and to make ’em dance.”Neil Young (920)

Rockin’ In The Free World

“The song is a lot of images of the destruction in our streets, the homeless and drugs and war and all these Muslims hating us, Americans and Europeans alike. They’re not what we term ‘civilized’, and they think that we’re barbarians, we’re like the devil to them. I’m just describing both sides like a journalist. I mean, I don’t have an opinion; there’s no answer from me, no guidance. I just write what I think I see and I change my own mind about it every day. I’m not really a Republican hawk. My political views are meandering at best. I don’t really see much difference between the Republicans and the Democrats; they just tell different stories. This song is a similar thing to ‘Born In The USA’. The chorus cuts both ways. First, it’s true – keep on rockin’ in the free world, that’s what we Americans want to do, to keep on doing what we’re doing and moving forward. But then, how free is the free world anyway? The Chinese students have this idealistic view of what freedom and democracy are and they want it. I’m just saying, Let’s take a closer look.”Neil Young (921)
“I think he’s probably right, yeah [Izzy Stradlin stating that America was poised on some kind of drug war – Ed]. I think it’s happening already. I mean, the lyrics to ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ are just a description of events going on everyday in America. Sure, I’m concerned for my children particularly my eldest son. And he’s a Guns’N’Roses fan! He has to face “drugs” everyday in the school yard, drugs that are way stronger than anything I got offered in most of my years as a professional musician.”Neil Young (922)

A Man Needs A Maid

“This is a new song about, erm, it’s a Broadway musical. Some people look at their life and say, “Well, my life’s like a movie.” And then they talk about what scenes went down. In some movies there’s tunes and this is like a show tune for my movie.”Neil Young (1127)