Neil Young News
There has been a great deal of discussion concerning the themes of Neil Young's Greendale.
Here is a collection of interviews with Neil Young discussing the making and meaning of Greendale.
It's full of people trying to come to grips with the changing morality, whatever you want to call it, of the 21st century and the way things have changed rapidly in such a short period of time.
It's a story of a family turning over -- of the old going out and the new coming in and the statements that they made and what they believed in and what made a difference to the young girl who is just finding her voice.
And what made her come out and say what she said and start speaking her mind about what she believed and what gave her if conviction to come out."
Neil Young: I have a lot of hope for them. I really do. I think as the environment and the governments around the world, the way they treat the environment, becomes more of an issue to these kids and they see that they're inheriting the fruits of these policies that are so based in the present, I think that the kids are going to rise up and we're going to be able to count on them to make a change.
RK: Rise up in terms of rebellion, or maybe just replacing the leaders that are there now?
Neil Young: It can be whatever it has to be. You can call it rebellion or revolution or change or whatever. It doesn't matter what form it takes. Hopefully it's not violent, but nonetheless it has to happen. It's the way the world works; it's the way things work. So I think they're due.
They're due. They've got a lot to think about. These world trade organisation meetings and things like that that you see around the world - wherever they are these people are showing up. That's the outer fringe. There's a lot of people who are starting to figure out what's going on with these world manipulations of markets and food and all kinds of stuff and killing the environment off with not really much of a future plan.
I think kids going to college today are learning this. They're intelligent; they've got the media, they've got the internet, they've got ways of getting together they never had before. They've got all kinds of people and eventually there's going to be some superheroes come out of there that are going to start movements. It's gonna happen."
Steve Earle, the Dixie Chicks and Michael Moore have been slammed in the US as being unpatriotic for questioning their president, but Young says he's had a mostly positive reaction to Greendale.
"Interviewer: "Are the problems in Greendale limited to the West?
Like Bob Dylan's previous two albums, Time Out of Mind and Love and Theft, Young seems to be pining for simpler, more innocent times when he namechecks Leave It To Beaver and sings: 'When I was young, people wore what they had on.'
I don't think Americans felt holier-than-thou in the twentieth century. We were happy and successful, with a great lifestyle. But something else is going on now. That's what Greendale is about. That's what Grandpa's problem is. He can't understand what's going on. He sees all of these things that the Patriot Act has taken away from what he feels is America.
"My heart still is in Canada but I don't have to physically be here to be a Canadian," he said.
In response to an interviewer's question, Young said he was proud of Prime Minister Jean Chretien's decision to withhold Canada from the U.S-led war in Iraq. "Yes, I'm happy to be a Canadian when people see that kind of thing," he said.
"There's a whole new moral value now in the United States and it's basically, 'North America is kind of changing everything,' " Young said. "It's just this new, 'You have to adapt' (mentality) to this change. And there's a lot of people who don't want to. There's a lot of unhappy, unsettled feelings about the world."
Asked about promoting Greendale film:
It has to do with the music. That's what it's all about. If people really know who I am, they like me because of the music. They don't like me because I'm a celebrity or because I have some political view or because I've been around for a long time and as part of something they related to years and years ago.
If they're looking at me like that then they may be disappointed by this, but if they're looking at me like a musician and as writer, then this is exactly what they'd hope would happen."
The Times of London 5/23/03
At what point during the writing of Greendale did he think that it would become a cohesive story? "It came song by song. I didn't really know what I was doing when I started. I just started writing the songs and after two songs I realised the same characters were in the two songs. So I just continued to explore it. I just wrote one song at a time. Kinda like an alcoholic. One day at a time. I thought if they stop coming with these characters then I'm finished. If they don't then I keep going."
"They're all speaking for me," Young says. "When Sun Green is talking, I can get away with saying a lot of ideas that are young and naive. But when Grandpa Green is speaking, you have the clutter of time behind everything he says. So I can be all of these people and I don't have to deal with it myself. I'm liberated."
So we know what the Greens think. But what are his own views on the war in Iraq?
"I don't like war. That was my number one feeling," he says, choosing his words carefully. "I particularly don't like the celebration of war, which I think the administration is a little bit guilty of, and the American media -particularly Fox.
Complete interview on Bad News Beat
"I think the world today, at least the US and to some extent Britain now, is experiencing this kind of Big Brother thing," he ruminates.
"It's not what we thought we were gonna be doing, a lot of the people's civil rights have been compromised, and we don't know what's going on. If I keep speaking my mind, will I be deported? I'm not very happy with the state of things. Music is being banned, and we have people in control of the radio stations who are the same people in control of the concert halls. They're also tied into the [US] administration and are sponsoring pro-war rallies. It's not good. It's interesting ."
"The real point was, somebody asked the president what he thought and he said, 'It's America, it's a free country, they can have their opinion, but there's nothing we can do about it if nobody goes to their shows or plays their songs,'" Young growls. "But he's so out of touch that his advisers haven't told him that their record sales spiked upwards when that happened, and while the airplay went down the sales went up and their concerts all sold out."
"It's a robust time, probably the most fertile time for the underground and for revolution since Nixon. I'm not talking about political overthrow; I'm talking about just general cultural revolution. George Bush has polarised the country and is creating this breeding ground for an opposition. In the next couple of months, they'll probably make it unpatriotic to be Democrat. It's pretty crazy."
aspekte: Do you feel so much rage? Everyone, who saw your film to your new, American-critical songs, had the impression that this was your impression of the state of the nation.
Young: You know, there is this thing there, called "Patriot Act", through which we abdicated a lot of our civil rights to defend the country against terrorism and all that. And that was primarily the promise. That's a big thing. A few people think this way about it, a few that way. Some people think it's a good thing, some count the days, 'til they think, it's a four year story. It has to be renewed after four years. Basically I think it's a divisive and polarizing phase. The country is strongly divided.
aspekte: There are a lot of different things, that you address in your film what disturbs you most strongly?
Young: Well, I worry about a few things. Hopefully we're starting to deal with the cultures as cultures. We have to understand, that people are different. I don't know, if we really understand, who we're dealing with over there. I think, to be rid of Saddam, was a good thing for the Iraqi people. But the manner, in which it took place I don't know, if there wasn't a better way to do it. But we didn't get a chance & But we lost patience. Our leaders also lost patience, in dealing with things differently. If I think about it, what they think and know I mean, I don't have the information that they do or don't have, to second guess them. These cultures have to be drawn out of their Culture of Doubt. They have to try and realize what happened. I try to do that, and I think, it's going to take a few more months before we can say what's going on.
The way in which the USA and Great Britain delivered Iraq to the Iraqis, the way and means that this played out, that is, the endgame. That could be a good thing on one hand, a bad thing on the other. It's just happened. I really don't know. I just observe, like everybody else. Nobody likes war. Of course you have to support the troops. I mean, they're just kids, some just 19, 20 years old. You can't say: "These troops are evil." They aren't evil. They're doing for their country what's expected of them. But the politics you know, I don't understand it, I'm not of one mind with it. I don't know what I should say. I'm not happy, don't feel good about everything that happened. I'm curious as to what's going to happen next. Possibly some of our companies can help with the reconstruction, because we have the resources for this.
But the Arabic states have to be integrated into the Iraqi reconstruction we can't do it from the outside. We need the help of the Arabic community, which understands its culture. The Americans try this and that. They arrive, invade, occupy. We could reverse all that if we would speak more directly with the Arabic states. Especially those with which we understand ourselves the best and those with which we already have a relationship. We need to try, that they take the responsibility to help themselves instead of us helping them. I think, if we give them that, if we can help them like that, we'll have a substantially bigger result.
Complete interview on Bad News Beat
"You can make a difference if you really try." - Be The Rain
Neil Young Greendale
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