Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » Neil Young on The Zach Sang Show

“Neil Young Talks World Records, 50th Harvest, Elon Musk, Joni Mitchell, and Climate Change”: https://bit.ly/3XpRPii

You must listen to this.

I’d never heard of Zach Sang before today, but this interview was referenced in my Twitter feed.

I know, I should delete my account. But you have to realize, I’m a writer, I’m at home, it’s my social activity. I wasn’t in the auditorium at school, I wasn’t in the office…in fact, I had to watch the SiriusXM molestation video all weekend, and in the hour and twenty minutes I spent, I realized I would never be in the office. Oh, I can work in an office, I’m not afraid to play by the rules, it’s just that I’m not good at playing games. You know, kissing, politics. And I don’t see myself as a cog in a machine, it means nothing to me. I have to believe in my work.

Have you been reading the latest stories about Elon Musk? That’s how he always does it, come in, clean the house, and then make everyone work 24/7? Why people can’t give up, why they have to trust him, he’s just human. But I mean, when Tesla hits a critical moment, when the company is in trouble, when they have to come out with the Model 3, everybody is on a mission, they’re willing to work 24/7, and they’re going to change the world. They did, and the rest of the auto industry followed in Tesla’s footsteps, whether or not Tesla itself could stay afloat. But do employees really believe in Twitter’s mission? What exactly is Twitter’s mission?

In fact, Neil Young talked about Musk, calling him a genius, but then took a swipe at Tesla, saying Musk was just obsessed with an existing business and…

So I saw this tweet which made me watch a video of Neil Young saying…don’t work unless inspired.

I actually found this clip on TikTok that made me listen to the entire interview, watch it here: https://bit.ly/3Vo0XCb

It’s not a big investment, and it’s only fourteen seconds, but it’s the best thing I’ve heard about creativity this year!

You know when you’ve done something great. If you don’t, you never will. It always happens because of lightning, you are full of energy, you have to do it right away, otherwise you will lose it. Sitting down and writing without anything to say…it’s never a good thing. Starting from nothing doesn’t work. I’m talking greatness, the pinnacle. This is very different from writing bootcamps, Nashville writing classes.

Maybe we’ve lost the concept of artistic genius, it’s all about money and image…

Neil Young also touched on this. He always wanted to move on to the next thing. Sometimes he does good things and sometimes he does bad things, but he doesn’t care what other people think.

It’s hard to do. But you kind of believe it.

But Neal did undercut his inspiration point by saying he wrote the song for his Pearl Jam collaboration, “Mirror Ball,” in a hotel room the night before. Again, I have to admit that some of the greatest things happen when you’re up against a wall. You know you have to give birth, you have to stop the pain and let it go.

Turns out this guy Zach Sang is on Nickelodeon…I looked him up earlier today, but I forgot the rest of his resume. Zach is star-struck, overexcited, and sometimes overwhelmed, but he asks questions that no one else will.

Neil Young is very relaxed!

These musicians have been interviewed for decades, they get the same questions, and these interrogators are so busy making their point that the artist just lays down, disconnects, just spits out something, and waits for the whole thing to wrap up.

But Neal knew the guy was wet behind his ears, beyond his depth, so he wasn’t on guard, not worried about traps, and like I said, he was relaxed and palpable. It’s as if he comes to your house and sits on the couch and chats with you, privately.

So Zach asked Neil about the new record and Neil said it was a long story, and he told a long story! But he’s playing Rhapsody, he’s at his best, he’s almost detached, in his element, that’s what makes it so great, you get insight!

I mean Neil was talking about an album he never finished. When it comes to all the things he wouldn’t normally do, he doesn’t go all out. He’s nice to Zach, and Neil isn’t cranky at all.

Not that I agree with everything Neil said. But we all have our preferences.

But I’ve never heard Neil Young like this before. And neither do you, unless you’re his friend.

Again, all I can say is listen!

PS Speaking of ditching twitter, you should see what Jack White has to say: https://bit.ly/3i92yNV I mean Jack is known for supporting vinyl, but I don’t remember him recording like that. honor!

PPS I’m amazed that the NYT reporters ended up at the Washington Post. First with social media reporter Taylor Lorenz and now with technology reporter Shira Ovide. I follow Shira on twitter where I learned that she has changed teams, I also learned that she has a new newsletter, I checked it based on the title and it is:

“There will never be such a thing as Twitter again – the principle of social media as a ‘town square’ is dead.”: https://wapo.st/3EUESWv

Mainstream media has taken hold and we no longer live in a cohesive monoculture. There are an infinite number of vertical lines, and in many cases they do not intersect. Part of that is not having to live with the luxury of being unattractive. I’m talking about art here… when was the last time you listened to an entire song you didn’t want to hear? no way! Meanwhile, The Post and other old guards continue to foist corporate hype on us, mostly on deaf ears because we simply don’t care. But the old man didn’t know what else to do. They don’t want to admit that their project’s appeal is limited, and they certainly don’t know how to reach their target audience. Hell, the film industry doesn’t even know who its audience is! It assumes that traditional advertising and hype will reach them, when in fact studios need viewers’ email addresses so they can reach them when something interesting happens. The new “Black Panther” movie “Wakanda Forever” came out last weekend and I only heard about it through the weekend box office reports. I don’t want to see that picture. I don’t want to waste time on superheroes. I know it’s a triumph for black actors and it’s great, but that doesn’t mean I want to watch it, and it’s the greatest movie out there! I’ll take a break.

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