Tag Archives: Neil Young

Video: Michael Goldberg & Henry Kaiser Do Neil Young

Michael Goldberg & Henry Kaiser, May 7, 2016.
Michael Goldberg & Henry Kaiser, May 7, 2016.

Last night (May 7, 2016) myself and the amazing experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser gave a reading to a standing-room-only audience at The Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland, CA.

Henry opened with a 20 minute solo electric guitar set of improvisations utilizing several guitars and a bank of effects pedals as well as a strange box that produced drum and bass based on what Henry played.

Then I joined Henry on the stage to read ten excerpts from my new rock ‘n’ roll coming-of-age novel, The Flowers Lied.

This reading was very special because Henry was accompanying me on guitar and machines. We had done this only once before, back in 2014, at Down Home Music. That was a great show, but it was totally different. Completely different vibe.

I read five longer excerpts with an “interlude” devoted to a musician or song between each. The first was about Skippy James and “I’m So Glad,” then Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” and Neil Young. Below you can hear “Interlude #4: Neil Young.”

For me, it was so very intense to stand there before the audience, all eyes on the two of us, and read words I’d spent more than six years perfecting. I had been reading my novel aloud as I wrote it. Every day for six years I read some of it aloud. Every page was read aloud and every revised page. I knew the sound of my words, my sentences, my paragraphs. I knew the rhythms of those sentences, and the music they make.

I had read in the privacy of my office. I had read before the members of three writers groups I was in: The Dangerous Writers group in Portland in 2008 and some of 2009 where all the early work got done, another group in Inverness, CA in late 2009 and 2010, and the group I led in Oakland and El Cerrito from late 2010 to late 2013.

And yet this was totally different. There really is nothing like reading before an audience in a public space, an audience silent because they want to hear the words and the music, the music of the words and the music of the music.

Here’s a taste of what went down. This is a brief excerpt from a chapter in which the narrator and his friend go to a Neil Young concert in late 1972. The first line is cut off. So I’ll tell you what it is:

“I dig Neil the most, beginning in his Buffalo Springfield days…”

– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post –

Simon Warner Reviews ‘The Flowers Lied’: ‘Beat spontaneity meets punk insolence’

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Great review by author Simon Warner, who wrote the excellent “Text and Drugs and Rock’n’Roll: The Beats and Rock Culture.”

Beat Spontaneity Meets Punk Insolence

By Simon Warner

4 stars

Delivered in a sparky, yet splintered, patois, falling somewhere between Beat spontaneity and punk insolence, Michael Goldberg’s The Flowers Lied picks up where 2014’s True Love Scars left off, as the second part of the ‘Freak Scene Dream’ trilogy carries his narrator protagonist Michael Stein into further labyrinths of neurotic insecurity, a campus caper where boy might meet girl but where the roses of romance are snared with the jagged thorns of rejection and betrayal.

Not that this is any mere love story: it’s the tale of the would-be rock ‘n’ roll writer who still believes that his new journalistic prose, and his passion for Dylan and Beefheart, can lead him towards some kind of elevated self-fulfilment. But will an enthusiasm for the Stones or the New York Dolls, a blind belief in the existential promises of the electric guitar, be enough to compensate for wretched affairs and failing friendships?

Achingly self-conscious, riddled with agonising self-doubt, Stein has the flavour of a re-cast Holden Caulfield, as this raw-nerved rite of passage travels some way from Salinger’s immediate post-war world and places itself in the early 1970s at a moment when the hippie dream seems to have lost its enticing glow.

The very title of the novel is a comment on the fact the hopes and dreams of the Sixties have largely evaporated and Stein feels caught on the lip between the fading utopian buzz and a decade hurtling towards a state of nihilistic disillusion. Writerman, as he styles himself, is keen to reject the cynicism of the age but the pallor of personal crisis tends to cloud his day-to-day judgement.

Goldberg’s skill in this dark comi-tragedy is to energetically convey his feelings – the gauge on the emotional candour button is set to 9 – and he does this through a variety of techniques: a version of the gonzo syntax, occasional stream of consciousness ramblings and a secondary internalised narrative providing commentary on his own inner curdlings.

For readers who recognise the names – the rock stars, of course, but also the great rock writers of the day, like Christgau and Willis, who also pepper the pages from time to time – this is an engaging affair, as hot music, the powerful influence of music criticism and the spice of emotional turbulence become entangled in a tornado of twisting moods: the brief elation of a Fender lick is quickly balanced by a carousel of catastrophe; the ups are fleeting, the downs last longer.

The Flowers Lied, like its predecessor, has an edgy, fractious manner, but once you get used to the frenetic style, the prose moves forward with impressive vigour and the story, quite self-indulgent in many ways, has a definite resonance for a certain generation. The fact that this second instalment ends somewhat in mid-air might be a criticism, but it certainly leaves you hungry for the concluding episode, due in 2016.

Simon Warner, author of “Text and Drugs and Rock’n’Roll: The Beats and Rock Culture”

Win A Copy of My Rock Novel, ‘The Flowers Lied’

Thrashers Wheat

Today my friends over at the awesome Neil Young site, Thrasher’s Wheat, are helping celebrate the release of my new rock ‘n’ roll coming-of-age novel, The Flowers Lied.

They’ve got a review of the book. Here’s an excerpt:

“Goldberg’s rock ‘n’ roll trilogy is an innovative coming-of-age experience tracing love and music-of-an-era. While nostalgic, it’s a beautiful evocation of a distant soundtrack still reverberating across the moonbeams like a lost Jack Kerouac in a 21st century Twitterverse with a kind of staccato amphetamine grammar that is fractured, deranged, unsettling yet compelling. A Catcher in the Rye 50+ years on, Holden Caulfield is now a hipster-hippie on a trip of misadventures in a counterculture world that’s more counter than culture where the Summer of Love turns into a Winter of War. Our hero “Writerman” careens through the haze and confusion to the true high of finding redemption and transformation.”

Also, an excerpt from a chapter in which the 19-year-old narrator and his college friend Jim attend a Neil Young concert in 1973. The narrator gets caught trying to film the concert with his Super8 camera (no cell phones back then), and they are both thrown out. While trying to find a way back in at the rear of the auditorium, they run into Neil Young as he’s about to board his tour bus. Read the excerpt to find out what happens and to get sense of what the book is like.

And finally, there’s a contest in which five winners will get print copies of the book, and five will get digital copies. The contest ends March 31, 2016 at 5 PM ET.

It’s all happening at Thrasher’s Wheat right now.

More Hype About My New Novel, The Flowers Lied

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Remember back when you first wanted to become a rock critic? Or perhaps first started reading rock reviews. Those are the days of The Flowers Lied, my new rock ‘n’ roll coming-of-age novel.

Writerman, the narrator, is a rock critic wannabe obsessed with music – favorites include Captain Beefheart, the Blue Oyster Cult, the 13th Floor Elevators, John Coltrane, Pearls Before Swine, Slim Harpo, Neil Young, Sam Rivers the New York Dolls and, of course, Bob Dylan.

If you grew up in the ‘60s or ‘70s, or ever wondered what it was really like to be a teenager back then, I think you’ll dig this novel.

Witness Writerman fighting his record buying addition at Odyssey Records as store owner Lucky Larry guzzles Green Death and applies the “upsell”, attending a Neil Young concert in 1973 and confronting Neil backstage, pursuing the Visions of Johanna chick of this dreams and ending up naked at the top of a Ferris wheel, alone with his best friend’s girl.

What the critics say about my novels:

“If Lester Bangs had ever published a novel it might have read like this frothing debut…” – Rolling Stone

“Radioactive as Godzilla!” – Richard Meltzer

“Kerouac in the 21st Century.” – Dennis McNally

“Penned in a staccato amphetamine grammar…” – Simon Warner

“Holden Caulfield meets Lord Buckley?” – Paul Krassner

More info here:

The Flowers Lied – Reviews

Audio: Neil Young + Willie Nelson’s Sons Live At SLO Brewing Co. – Full Set!j

Young and Nelson brothers.
Neil Young’s next album, The Monsanto Years, is very much a political album. Some of the songs, such as the one that may be called “If I Don’t Know,” is quite good — one of his best in some years. Others are more like political rants that, at least on initial listen, don’t hold up. It’s admirable that Young wants to use the platform he has to deliver political messages, but at times his songs suffer because it seems the message is more important than the song. Also, while GMOs are an issue, they pale besides the horrendous impact of animal agriculture on climate change and our environment and I wish Neil Young would get hip to the biggest cause of climate change and focus some of his political energy on it.

Or is that just too hot a topic for Neil Young to address.

“I don’t really have anything against the people at Monsanto or the human beings working for Monsanto,” Young said on April 22, at a screening at the IFC Center in New York of a “work in progress” documentary about the making of The Monsanto Years. “But the laws that they’re making have made Monsanto the perfect poster child for problems that we have with the corporate government. So I wrote a bunch of songs about it. These kids I’m playing with all are with me on it.”

The film was part of The Bernard Shakey Film Retrospective” that took place from APril 17 through April 23, 2015.

Bernard Shakey is the name Young uses for his films.

On April 16, 2015, Young performed at the SLO Brewing Copany in San Luis Obispo, CA accompanied by Promise of the Real, a band featuring Wille Nelson’s sons, Lukas and Jacob Micah Nelson on guitars, Corey McCormick, bass, and Anthony Logerfo, drums.

Neil will be touring with this band.

Check out his entire set at SLO Brewing Company including nine new songs that were played live for the first time. The songs will likely appear on Young’s upcoming album, The Monsanto Years, due out June 16, 2015. However, thus far, the titles of the songs that will appear on the album have not been officially released.

Titles below of the new songs are tentative and definitely not official.

You can download all of these songs here.

1 “Country Home”:

2 “People Want to Hear About Love” (live debut):

3 “New Day for the Planet” (live debut):

4. “Down by the River”:

5 “Too Big Too Fail” (live debut):

6 “Rock Starbucks (live debut)”:

7 “Walk On”:

8 “Monsanto Years” (live debut):

9 “Working Man” (live debut):

10 “Seeds” (live debut):

11 “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”:

12 “Big Sky Wolf Moon” (live debut):

13 “Love and Only Love”:

14 “If I Don’t Know” (live debut):

15 “Country Home”:

16 Crowd Cheer:

17 “Roll Another Number” (For the Road)”:

– A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post –

Audio: Dig Neil Young’s Rare ‘Live At The Bottom Line – NYC, 1974’ Concert

In 1974 Neil Young played The Bottom Line in New York and his set included songs from his upcoming On The Beach.”

Here’s your chance to download the show.

Head over to the Aquarium Drunkard site and go for it.

Or stream it here:

Track listing:

Pushed It Over The End (AKA Citizen Kane Jr. Blues)
Long May You Run
Ambulance Blues
Revolution Blues
On The Beach
Roll Another Number
Motion Pictures
Pardon My Heart
Dance Dance Dance

– A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post –

Video: The Hold Steady Cover Neil Young’s ‘Don’t Let It Bring You Down’ – Dec. 2014

The Hold Steady, Horseshoe Tavern, Dec. 10, 2014

Last night, December 10, 2014, playing a gig at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern, The Hold Steady covered Neil Young’s classic “Don’t Let It Bring You Down.”

The clip also includes the group’s own “Constructive Summer.”

Plus a clip of “Knuckles”:

And two songs – “Spinners” and a cover of Kiss’ “Hard Luck Woman” – from Collective Arts Black Box Sessions:

[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book in a recent issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

Video: Bob Dylan, Neil Young Perform ‘Like A Rolling Stone, ’ ‘Everybody’s Movin’,’ ‘Gates Of Eden’ & More – June 10, 1988

On June 10, 1988, Bob Dylan and his band performed at the Greek Theater, University of California, Berkeley, California.

They were joined by Neil Young on wild electric guitar.

The band consisted of: Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar), Neil Young (guitar), G. E. Smith (guitar), Kenny Aaronson (bass), Christopher Parker (drums).

These first songs are without Neil Young.


“Absolutely Sweet Marie”:

“Tangled Up In Blue”:

Neil Young joins Dylan for these songs except “Rank Strangers To Me”:

“It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry”:

“In The Garden”:

“Gates Of Eden”:

“Like A Rolling Stone”:

“Rank Strangers To Me”:

“Everybody’s Moving'”:

“Maggie’s Farm”:

[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book in a recent issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

Video: Neil Young’s New ‘I Want To Drive My Car’

New video for Neil Young’s “I Want To Drive my Car” off his Storytone album.

Check it out.

Thanks Thrasher’s Wheat!

[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book in a recent issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

Video: Neil Young in Philadelphia – Oct. 2014 – ‘Plastic Flowers,’ ‘Ohio,’ ‘Thrasher,’ ‘Heart Of Gold’ & More

Neil Young in Philadelphia.

Neil Young played at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia on October 8 and 9, 2014. I’ve got a bunch of videos from those shows, plus a new song from an earlier show in Boston.

There are two new songs here: “Plastic Flowers” and “When I Watch You Sleeping.”

“Thrasher,” Oct. 8, 2014:

“Thrasher,” Oct. 9, 2014:

“Plastic Flowers,” Oct. 9:

“Ohio,” Oct. 8:

“Heart of Gold,” Oct. 8:

“Old Man,” Oct. 8:

Plus another new song from Boston’s Wang Theater, October 6, 2014:

“When I Watch You Sleeping”:

“Southern Man”:

[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book in the new issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

— A Days Of The Crazy-Wild blog post —