I write a music column for Simcoe.com, specifically the Orillia Today community newspaper. This was the article that ran on August 20th on one of my all-time favourite artists, Neil Young. There was a lot more that I wish I could have included, like how the righteous rocker is thumbing his nose at Facebook and Google by kicking them off the Neil Young Archives platform. Or how 2020 is the 25th anniversary of that little Mirror Ball collaboration affectionately nicknamed “Neil Jam”.
Or even how “Lookin’ for a Leader” from 2006 has been reworked to slam who Young, I and a whole host of others hope is the soon-to-be ongoing president. I still can’t believe I got to call Trump a piece of crap!
If I was a certain politician who can’t pronounce the word “Yosemite” amongst other impeachable crimes, one musician I wouldn’t want to tick off is Neil Young.
Whether it’s how Alberta’s oilsands are damaging the environment or coming up with higher quality digital audio, the man with the occasional pseudonym of Bernard Shakey has never been afraid to employ the platform he’s diligently built since the early 1960s to speak out for what is right. Mr. Young has made it loud and clear he’s fed up over the fact Donald Trump won’t stop playing politically-inspired songs like “Rockin’ in the Free World”, so a lawsuit has been officially filed against his fellow 74-year-old looking for “statutory damages in the maximum amount allowed for willful copyright infringement.”
Alas, it will probably take longer than the last time the seemingly ageless Young performed his epic anthem live for this to go to court, which was at Farm Aid in September 2019. While we wait to see if @realDonaldTrump responds childishly on Twitter, it’s never a bad time to reminisce fondly about some of the unforgettable memories Neil Young has helped create in Simcoe County. Like when he had Oasis open for him at Molson Park in 1996, or led a cavalcade of Cancon stars as part of 2005’s Live 8 broadcast. “Rockin’ in the Free World” was also a highlight of when Young headlined the inaugural WayHome Music & Arts Festival, which many hope returns one of these years to Oro-Medonte’s Burl’s Creek Event Grounds.
He may be registered for the first time to vote in a US election, but Neil Young was “Born in Ontario” after all. If Team Trump feels so strongly about using Young’s songs, may I suggest to them they refer to the second-last track from 1994’s Sleeps with Angels with backing band Crazy Horse? That’s right, the one titled “Piece of Crap”!