Missed the first sentence of this as I was yelling at my boss to “be quiet, Neil’s on!”. He laughed and rolled his eyes. A reaction I’m sure ALL of us Neil fans get often, right?!
This was a lovely interview with a lot of friendly laughter throughout. Will probably be on the official site but I thought I’d type it out for all my fellow Neil “diehards” out there who missed it. Being in Australia we are used to missing alot of the US stuff so I know how it feels. So here goes……
ND: And I think the song has taken centre stage and maybe the voice…uh… where it used to be a lot of production.. uh… it’s pretty spare, and in that sense it’s very different.
JL: Oh yeah. But it’s terrific. Rick Rubin produced it, he did a lot of work with Johnny Cash didn’t he?
ND: That’s right. Rick produced Johnny’s last 7 or 8 albums. There was an anthology which he produced as well with Johnny and he’s an interesting character, Rick, he’s produced hip hop roots and heavy rock roots and, you know, went over to Johnny Cash and now to me. He’s a very talented guy and I think I, I was very lucky to get him involved in this.
JL: But you wrote all the songs.
ND: I did, yeah, it was a point of pride with me. I wanted …. I’m a writer and I felt that if I’m working with a new producer and we’re going to do something a little different that these are songs that I should write. So I dug it in about a year and a half ago and I started writing them.
JL: Have you got a favourite on the album?
ND: (cont.) (incomprehensible)….in Australia while I was touring through there so it was, it got done and I’m very pleased with the album. I just hope people like it.
JL: Oh, they will, they will, they always do. Have you got a favourite on the album?
ND: Not really, you know there are 6 different cuts there that I really like a lot but there isn’t one single record that stands out. I think …uh… I have to… there’s so much in this album that’s directly reflected by my own experience, my own life so I tend to identify very closely with all of these songs obviously, but there are at least a half a dozen songs that I really like.
JL: I just love “Save Me A Saturday Night”.
ND: Oh, alright….um… that was one of the ones I liked also, so we’re both on the same team.
JL: We’re in tune.
JL: Now what have you been up to?
ND: Well I’ve been working. I finished a leg of the tour in the United States about 2 weeks ago and I’m in New York doing a number of television shows and, uh, satellite radio shows just to get the word out about the album and see if anybody’s interested and that kind of stuff. The hard work, you know, compared to the writing and burying myself in the studio for a year, the hard work really comes down to letting the world know that the album is out there and ..uh… to give it a try, they might like it. So that’s what I’ve been doing, and I’m heading back to Los Angeles on Thursday, I’ll be doing the same there and I think I may have a week or 10 days off before I go on the December leg of the tour.
JL: Are you leaving the United States or is it all touring there?
ND: Yeh, it’ll be in the United States. We finish off the rest of the US in December and …uh… ‘cos we’ve done 2 legs here already, meaning 20 or 25 shows per leg so …uh… it’ll end up in the US and we’ll play probably Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve and have some champagne and wish everybody a Happy New Year, so that’s what my year looks like and I’ve yet to take the vacation that I spoke to you about, it’s gonna happen soon.
JL: Yeah, well I hope it does for your sake….you gotta make Sydney, Australia one of the stops.
ND: Oh God…it’s one of the great cities in the world and, you know, it’s a dream, it’s a fantasy (sound familiar LOL?) and I’m sorry I only get to go over there when I play there. But I haven’t been able to get out of Los Angeles without having a date or a concert (I’ll be your “date” Neil!) to go to, and just, I will not get on a plane ‘cos it’s what I do for my livelihood.
ND: I do not want to get on a plane and I just tend to hang around the house and watch a lot of telly and eat a lot of popcorn and do a lot of nothing. I’d love to come down to Sydney but I think it’s gonna happen only when I do a show down there, and so it’s good ‘cos it makes me wanna put a show down.
JL: Well, we’d love it if you did. The sooner, the better.
ND: And the rest of Australia as well, I mean, the last tour we did there was…. It’s an upper, it’s a way to really kick off a year and I really want to ….I intentionally chose Australia because you need some kind of lift to get started on a world tour, and the Australian audiences are, they’re the best in the world.
JL: Well, they love you.
ND: They’re wonderful so even if you’re not doing so well you think you’re doing terrific. And that’s just the kind of blind confidence you need to take on a world tour.
JL: Yeah, well, I can understand that, but believe me you’re doing terrifically in Australia…… this album will be a great success for you. It really will be.
ND: Well, I hope so, but, more importantly the people that get the album and listen to it, I want them to get some kind of enjoyment out of it, some sense of reflection of their own lives and their own situations, there’s a lot of relationship songs in the album, it’s very up close, there’s nothing hidden, it’s all natural, and I just want people to like it, you know, it’s what every creative person wants, they want their work to be accepted and that’s the way I feel about this album. I want people to love it and, we’ll see. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and say my prayers and, you know, do that kind of thing just to hope for the best.
JL: (laughs) I don’t think you’ve got to say too many prayers. People will love it, I love it. It’s very different. I was quite surprised when I first listened to it, ‘cos it really is totally different to anything I’ve heard you do before. But it’s got that really personal touch about it.
ND: Yes, well, you’re absolutely right and I don’t know if it portends a change in my writing and recording but there is something different about this. I hear a grown up person in this album that I haven’t heard from yet in my life and it’s strange because I should be a grown up at this point in my life. I do hear a grown up voice, the voice meaning the actual voice itself and the voice of the song so it, to me, it is different. I haven’t really figured it out yet or put it into words but there is, this is like a change in my life that’s being reflected on this album. I’ll take me a while to figure it out but I think it’s interesting anyway.
JL: I think it’s very interesting, and I must pay close attention to the other tracks. I’ve listened mostly to “Save Me A Saturday Night” because I just love it, I love the feel of it and the whole reason behind it….. leave a little room at your table I think is a lovely line.
ND: Oh, well, you know, I’ll tell Rick that you really liked it because we had a little bit of a battle about that song. I wasn’t sure about that song for the album but Rick persisted, this is Rick Rubin, he really stuck to his guns and I’m glad that he did because it just came out to be one of those very likeable tracks that you just feel good about and I like it a lot now too, but I wasn’t so sure about it when we first started working on it.
JL: Well, I think it’s great. So do the people who listen to me, incidentally. They love it too, we’ve had a lot of calls about it.
ND: How nice, this is nice you know, you know I’m not used to getting played on the radio, it’s been awhile and I know you play my songs and God bless you, I’m so happy about that. But for you to play something new from a brand new album and have some people like it, this is very exciting to me so thank you again John.
JL: OK Neil, it’s a pleasure. You know I value our association very much and I think what you do is very good and very important, its very interesting to follow your career in song and it’s wonderful the way you want to keep on doing it, and keep on writing music.
ND: Well, I tried to figure that one out also because at a certain point in your life you look at your life and you think that you might want to stop working but I need a reason to get up every morning and I’m lucky enough to have some work that I do that I love and may be even pretty good at. This is something that I will do until I go, until I leave this planet because it keeps me alive, it keeps me interested, it keeps me productive and I think every human being wants to be productive in one way or another and this just happens to be the way that I found for myself so, onward and upward, and I’m gonna keep going until (laughs) until they shoot me or something, I’m writing.
JL: OK. It’s terrific to talk to you and lots of luck for the remainder of the tour and if I don’t get to talk to you before Christmas I hope you have a very happy holiday period and terrific next year.
ND: Thank you so much John, I appreciate it and let’s talk again soon.
JL: I hope so, Neil.
ND: Bye, now.
Then they went into a medley of a few of the new songs……..