Resurrection of Neil Young, Continued

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TIME: Theres a pretty funny song about Elvis near the end of Prairie Wind. Did you ever meet him?

YOUNG: No, no, never saw him. I watched him from afar, and I thought he was he was just a character. You get that feeling from him that everything that happened to him, he was still who he was. He seemed like a wild guy but a good guy, and somebody that funny things happened to.

TIME: Whos the best musician youve ever seen? Whos the standard for what you do?

YOUNG: Bob Dylan, Ill never be Bob Dylan. Hes the master. If Id like to be anyone, its him. And hes a great writer, true to his music and done what he feels is the right thing to do for years and years and years. Hes great. Hes the one I look to. Im always interested in what hes doing now, or did last, or did a long time ago that I didnt find out about. The guy has written some of the greatest poetry and put it to music in a way that it touched me, and other people have done that, but not so consistently or as intensely. Like me, he waits around and keeps going, and he knows that he doesnt have the muse all the time, but he knows that itll come back and itll visit him and hell have his moment.

TIME: Jonathan Demme filmed the first performance of Prairie Wind for a movie to be released in theaters next year. How did that come about?

YOUNG: Jonathan called when I had just finished the first 8 or 9 songs and said, I have a year off, Im not doing anything, are you doing anything? Should we do something? So I said we just finished this record, or its almost finished, Ill send you the lyrics, see what you think. And he really had a great reaction to it. He just said I want to make a picture, I want to make a picture, eventually what we settled on as a theme was Nashville. I love Nashville so much and recorded the album there, and I know Ive done a lot of different kinds of music and some people find it hard to understand how I can supposedly be the godfather and the grunge and still be into Hank Williams, but to me its all music and I dont care about labels.

Ive always had a great respect for old time musicians and the Grand Ole Opry and the tradition, its just such a great forum, and not just American, but Canadian, too. We had guys like Hank Snow, and he was singing songs like The Good Ole Hockey Game, before the NHL failed and started to change the rules of the game because they screwed up the strike last year, and now theyve changed the whole way hockey is. Its a complete joke. The only reason I go to hockey games is because I get to go with Ben. But now that theyve changed the rules, Im wondering how Im going to explain to Ben that I dont want to go to the hockey games anymore. I know my dad would be going nuts. These people changed the rules just for TV money, and its a joke. They have no respect for the game. Anyway, thats a different subject. The movie. Jonathan and I decided to go to Nashville. So he went there and became very familiar with the Grand Ole Opry and studied the old productions and the backdrops and all the stuff and the way it was. So we decided to do the premiere of Prairie Wind at the Ryman auditorium where the Grand Ole Opry used to be, and do it in the style of the Opry, or at least a show of that era. Not too over the top or campy, but legitimate. So thats what we did. So we had some clothes made that were of the period and went in and performed the whole thing chronologically, just like the songs were written and recorded. Then after that I performed selections from my whole discography, starting early and chronologically going through each song one by one until the 90s, and he recorded it and filmed beautifully, and I tried to tell stories about the songs, and tell the stories that the music tells.

TIME: Is it odd to sing a song you wrote at 19 or 20? Do you still recognize the guy in there?

YOUNG: Not very clearly. But I know his songs so well that Im an interpreter of them. And I do have some remembrance of how they came to be. But its pretty foggy.

TIME: Are you an American or Canadian citizen?

Im a Canadian. Id like to vote in the U.S. election because I feel like Ive got just as much right to vote in them as anybody else. Ive lived here for so long, paid taxes for so long and my kids have to register for selective service. I guess I could be a dual citizen, but if I ever had to give up my Canadian citizenship to become American I wouldnt do it, because I wouldnt want to hurt Canada. I love Canada. As I get older, more and more I start singing about Canada. My wifes a California girl, so she loves to be near the ocean, and I love to be near her. So Im probably going to be here longterm. But a part of me, I dont know, maybe Ill get a cabin up in Canada so when Im older I can sit on the gold coast up in B.C. and look around. Or be up in the Rockies up there around Banff or something. I wouldnt mind going back, being part of it again.