Neil Young And Daniel Lanois: Love And War

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

So you don’t run in place like James Mercer says? He’ll be disappointed.

NY: I do. There have been times when I’ve gotten on a treadmill or something like that. I like to do calisthenics to warm up because if your hands get cold and you walk onstage, you might have to play two songs where your hands are freezing. I do whatever. I’ve been doing different things for a long time. It just keeps changing. Now I warm up my voice and become familiar with the sound of in-tune pianos.

DL: And there are nice vocals on this record. On “Love and War” and “Peaceful Valley Blue,” we really had a chance to go hi-fi on those. There’s a very beautiful vocal sound on “Somebody’s Gonna Rescue You.” It’s sort of haunting. The only one that gave us a little trouble was “Rumblin’” because we hadn’t figured out that technique yet that we used on the later songs. If we’d put Neil in a slightly different spot it would have suited that quieter vocal delivery. So it was a struggle on the mix, a little bit of a struggle.

It’s a rougher song, though. It almost seems like a Crazy Horse song.

DL: I love after that little orchestra, when Neil kicks in with a guitar, like other people are playing with you. It’s mystifying to me. I’d say, “What’s going on in that speaker? Just put it down.”

NY: Just put it in there.

It’s like there’s a band in there with you. Except there’s not.

NY: They were able to just focus on me, so if there’s nothing else in the way, you can get a lot closer and it gets a lot bigger when you do that. And then Dan had the freedom to add anything. Actually almost all the songs in the album are Crazy Horse-type songs.

I feel like Crazy Horse is there in spirit.

NY: Yeah. Heck, yeah.

You haven’t worked with Crazy Horse for some time. Is there still collaboration with Crazy Horse in your future?

NY: Well, you know, there is, somewhere out there. They have to be together before I can be together with them. They haven’t been doing anything together, so they need to be able to do it. I don’t have the time to support things. I have to go with things that are going to support me. But I think they can do it.

Can we talk about you and Daniel in the studio? Did the two of you fight?

DL: We were thinking of setting up a little wrestling ring, pulling out the boxing gloves. I don’t recall any fights. No, so far, so good.

Please don’t tell me you guys agree on everything.

DL: Well, I mean I do have my psychological ways of dealing with people and sometimes you have to be patient and –

NY: We discussed a lot of stuff. You have little meetings. Right? Little meetings here, little meeting there. It’s good.

What do you think of Jimmy Fallon’s impressions of you?

NY: Oh, it’s great. I think he’s fantastic. I’d like to see him do me now. See what kind of legs he has.


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