Thank you my friends. Without all of your support, Thrasher's Wheat would have never gotten off the ground. Thanks especially to:
And thanks of course to everyone on Rust and Human Highway who have contributed so much to the community and sharing the music and love.
Since resurrecting the site in 2003, Thrasher has gotten a lot of encouragement from regular readers. It is these comments which keep this project going. Some sample testimonials:
"Kudos, for Thrasher's Wheat - I think you've made it into the 'thinking man's Neil site' and am constantly impressed with the quality of content therein."
"The site is awesome these days... way too cool."
Scott "Surfer Joe" Sandie
editor of Broken Arrow Magazine, Neil Young Appreciation Society
"Thrasher -- you rock, as always. You are a primo Neil Young scribe."
"Really enjoy Thrasher's Wheat. Keep up the great Site.
I look forward to reading it every day!!!"
Bill L. in Winnipeg
"I put Thrasher in the same league with Tom Hambleton and Scott Sandie, as far as making Neil info available for other fans."
Ian "Left For Dead"
Thrasher's Wheat is an attempt to collect the best writing about Neil Young, the Godfather of Grunge. Most of the information at Thrasher's Wheat was gathered via the Internet mailing lists RUST and Human_Highway.
As a subscriber to Dan Farmer's original RUST@DEATH way back in 1993, I've had the pleasure of enjoying thousands of fine articles, reviews and notes on Neil's music by my fellow Neilheads. I think it's important to recognize the roots of the Neil Internet community which began on rust@death. Started by a Sun Corporation developer by the name Dan Farmer in 1993, back when the Internet was in it's infancy and you needed to be somewhat computer savvy to connect, the original rust community was made up primarily of software programmers and networking experts who shared a love for Neil's music.
So what is a "thrasher"? Besides "Thrasher" being a Neil Young song on the album Rust Never Sleeps, it has several other meanings. A Thrasher is a term for a wheat harvesting device. So there's a nice connection between Thrasher, Neil, Harvest & Wheat. Thus we have Thrasher's Wheat - which explains the answer to the question "Why Thrasher's Wheat?" We also like to separate the wheat from the chaff here at Thrasher's Wheat given the poor signal to noise ratio of the Internet.
Why the Thrasher handle or nickname? Again, besides being a Neil Young song and a harvesting machine, the term "Thrasher" has some interesting meanings. The term "Thrasher" is used in the skateboarding community to refer to moves as "shredding", as in a radical skateboard move. "Shredding" is derived from a surfing term for ripping the curl of a wave. These experiences are the "nirvana" of the skating and surfing community. Thrasher also happends to be the name of a skateboarding magazine.
As time moved on, the term "thrashing" took on a new meaning in the skate-punk-thrash-speed metal music community as represented by bands like Megadeth, Helstar, Testament, and Heathen. To "thrash" often refers to frentectic electric guitar playing style.
A Thrasher is also a type of song bird found in North and Central America. Sometimes the word "bird" is used as slang for "girl" as Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs note on their CD Under The Covers on "Cinnamon Girl". So Thrasher could be "happy for the rest of my life" with a "Cinnamon Girl" (i.e., Cardinal).
There you have it - more than you ever wanted to know about Thrasher! But I've never figured out why some folks like to say "Hey Trasher!" or write "Trasher's Wheat"?
So what else about Thrasher? Well, here's the answer to the question "Who is Thrasher"? If you're curious about how I got into neil and why, click here or see thrasher's profile on Blogger: User Profile: Thrasher, Squidoo : Neil Young, or Stumble Upon.
And if you're still reading, what's all this about leaving your beloved rusted road behind and heading to the ditch? Well, as I quoted Neil's song "Thrasher" back in 1996 on my last post to rust:
Well, I certainly do regret the sentiment and bitterness expressed. Was I really better off without load?
Probably not. Human Highway for all practical purposes has degenerated into a morass of anything but Neil content. Oh well. Can't really complain about that since that's why folks headed to the ditch. Freedom of expression at all costs. Of course, what we considered spam back in the mid-90's (NNC posts) is pretty much laughable by today's spam volumes.
So I love the rusties and nearly all of my die-hard Neil buddies are rusty regulars. Which is totally cool. I'm sure I'll be back again someday. Humbled and probably begging forgiveness.
Let me just say again that I have the utmost respect for Reactor and his technical prowess. Granted, Reactor and I had a serious misunderstanding in 1996. Try as we might to work things out, I decided it was best to try and create a new Neil space. Many of those who hit the ditch agreed that this was a natural evolution of the Neil community.
Communities evolve and there was never anyone who thought of this as Rusties vs Ditchers or Reactor vs Thrasher thing. Nope. While there was certainly a fair amount of Reactor bashing going on, much of it was done in the spirit of trying to improve things. In retrospect, it all became much too devisive and counter-productive. It really is silly when you think about how we all like Neil but we just have different ways of expressing it. Sort of like those "religious wars" Neil talks about in Fallin From Above:
So what Reactor has done to make Hyperrust one of the best fan sites on the web is nothing short of herculean. I know how much of a challenge creating just these few pages on Thrasher's Wheat has been. So this line of code is for you, Reactor. ;)
But for now I have my own row to hoe. I'm enjoying doing what i originally set out to do with Thrasher's Wheat, collecting the best of the Internet on Neil. Thrasher's Wheat was never intended to compete with Hyperrust or anybody and never will.
As Neil said, Walk On:
No, I haven't forgotten that I once posted a "Subject: Ich bin Ein Rustie". Yes, hard to believe. It was a silly kind of thing to do. Certainly wasn't trying to be Kennedy-esque. Lord knows. It was more of a I'm a Neil fan, you're a Neil fan, we're all Neil fans. And in the immortal words of Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?"
You know what a broken arrow symbolizes in the Indian culture? When an Indian offers his enemy a broken arrow, it is a gesture of friendship. It also is a means of pointing one's life in a new direction. Well when the Rust/Human Highway schism occurred, a broken arrow was extended. And the friendship was renewed and life goes on. So no hard feelings here.
Judging by my email, readership of Thrasher's Wheat is pretty negligible. I think the main value for TW lies in the future. I've been so frustrated by the amount of great Internet content that just simply vanishes. Gone. Broken URL's are rampant. I figure if I can capture and archive just a small percentage of these great thoughts on neil and his music, than everyone in the Neil Young community will be for the better.
I've tried very hard to credit everyone where possible. When this archive project started, I announced on Rust my intent to archive interesting postings. Many forwarded great stuff and no one objected to the project. But after a great start, the archive project floundered much like Neil's own Archives project. Now isn't that ironic?
Maybe someday someone will say, gee, I'm glad somebody took the trouble to document the early days of Neil Young on the Internet.
I figure that the Internet and the Neil Young community are large enough to support many different avenues of Neil information. There's such a huge amount of music with such a density of permutations that we have all sorts of different forums for lyrics, chords and tabs, setlists, tape trees, and discussion.
I'm pretty confident that over the years the Neil Young community will continue to expand as Neil's musical influence grows wider and deeper.
Also, check out Thrashers Blog, a Neil Young blog and more. Emphasis on bands influenced by Neil's music. Also, some rock-n-roll ramblings on some of my other favorite music like Pearl Jam, Lucinda Williams, Wilco, The Jayhawks, and more.
And a very special thanks to Rainer and Jennie for all of their help and support. And, of course, the lovely Thrashette, my favorite little Heart of Gold. :)
In the meantime, I'll just continue to hide behind haybales and blog away.
In the field of Opportunity, it's plowin' time again. Enjoy the Harvest!
December 1996 (updated May 2003)
p.s. - I'm always scrounging for
quality, so if you've got a suggestion, nomination or just plain old Neil
story, drop me a line at:
Xthrasher@thrasherswheat.org (Remove "X" from address)
p.s.s. - If you can, please support Thrasher's Wheat.