Neil Young in conversation with Mary Turner – KMET-FM – October 24, 1979 – Mike Devich Collection –
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Neil Young in conversation with Mary Turner at KMET in Los Angeles and recorded on October 24, 1979. Starting this week, I’m introducing what I hope is a weekly feature of Music-oriented interviews, talking about the process, the methodology and the various stages in careers of Musicians, from the notable to the reasonably obscure – but all with a focus on the notes themselves and the creativity behind those notes.
We’re kicking off the series with a great interview from Neil Young, recorded in October 1979, right around the time of the release of Rust Never Sleeps opened a limited theater release in L.A. and New York.
Reviewing for The Village Voice in 1979, Robert Christgau called Rust Never Sleeps Young’s best album yet and said although his melodies are unsurprisingly simple and original, his lyrics are surprisingly and offhandedly complex. “He’s wiser but not wearier”, Christgau wrote, “victor so far over the slow burnout his title warns of”. Paul Nelson, writing in Rolling Stone magazine, found its first side virtuosic because of how Young transcends the songs’ acoustic settings with his commanding performance and was impressed by its themes of personal escape and exhaustion, the role of rock music, and American violence: “Rust Never Sleeps tells me more about my life, my country and rock & roll than any music I’ve heard in years.” Rust Never Sleeps was voted the second best album of 1979 in The Village Voice’s annual Pazz & Jop critics poll. Christgau, the poll’s creator, ranked it second on his own list for the poll, as did fellow critic Greil Marcus. The album also won Rolling Stone magazine’s 1979 critics poll for Album of the Year. In a decade-end list for The Village Voice, Christgau named it the ninth best album of the 1970s.
In this interview, Young is in a very good mood, talking about his appreciation of new music, being a fan of Devo as well as The Ramones and having a special fondness for Donna Summer. He’s not so wild about the current state of the “established Music industry”; the bands who insist on touring long after their sell-by date (he doesn’t name names, but you can guess, even in 1979).
Have a listen and hopefully this will be a weekly feature. Special thanks to Mike Devich for providing the interview tape.