MY MUSIC IS AT: www.hwy62.com/digyourown
I'm not very good at selling my music (obviously) so when someone asks me if I have a cd, I don't have a ready answer. I can make home-made cd's from the five completed ones (one Ministry of Fools, one with Friends Obviously and three with Dig Your Own Cactus) but I'm so crazy/busy/lazy (your pick), I never have them around when someone asks. Why, just last night, three cool English girls from Cal-Arts asked so I gave them this website. Oh well, there goes the three that got away. If I'd been thinking (after three hours of playing, my leg was asleep from sitting on Kyoti's little stool) I would have said, look at www.hwy62.com/digyourown, where the cd's are listed. Meanwhile, there is a bunch of stuff recorded for what I feel like is my first real album(!) Some date back a little over two years ago, recorded with Fred Drake and Tony Mason at the Rancho, a batch of songs recorded in L.A. with Jeremy Gilien and Gothic Harris early this year and then the newer songs, which we just started recording last week. I used to feel like I had to finish it NOW, but now I just want it to be as good a record as possible, however long it takes. All but one of the songs (Apocalypse No, written with Tony and featuring Fred on drums) I wrote on one of my two Stella Harmony guitars, the one living in Lawrence, Kansas since last year and the black beauty I picked up on St. Mark's Place. Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out how to put the Songbook cd together, my songs sung by a bunch of different people, recorded on my birthday last week. It's too much for one cd, and it's all incredible, so I'm left with the nearly impossible task of editing, something I can never seem to do with my own work. Happy problems to have, all in all. Love on.
Neil Young, Crazy Horse and Me
When I was a kid, it was cowboy movies, Italian actors playing Indians,
and white fakery imposing itself as the Old West. Then there was
Springfield. Their records supposedly were never as great as they were
reputed to play live, down at the Whiskey a Go-Go, on the Sunset Strip,
they held a certain fascination for my impressionable mind. The covers
torn from the pages of an old farmers almanac, with exacto-blade
cut-and-paste collages of seductive angels and bluebirds. Somewhere in
middle of this band of four or five was the one with his eyes closed,
dream, wearing a suede fringe jacket and long sideburns, a Scorpio
Indian, picking up California Girl hitch-hikers in a '57 Cadillac
They didn't let him sing a lot, but he wrote the best songs. From the
beginning, Neil Young was real. There was no fakery involved. And he
the most perfect minimalist one-note solo on the Steve Stills song that
the Springfield, briefly, an American Beatles...(pling)"Something's
here, (pling) what it is aint exactly clear."
Buffalo Springfield split up for good around the same time my sister
dating Chris. Maybe to get her back or maybe just to be a cool guy,
took me to see Neil Young's new band at the Santa Monica Civic
Growing up priveleged in L.A. in the 60's, I'd already seen some
but this was the first one I saw without my dad in attendance. Neil
solo, then with Crazy Horse, played the greatest music I'd ever heard.
Neil was funny, generously telling stories between songs, vulnerable,
touch with his 'feminine' side you might say, singing 'I Am A Child'
'Sugar Mountain' in a wavery, thin voice which somehow conveyed all the
and loneliness in the world. With Crazy Horse, the volume and the
rose, with twenty minute jams coming off of 'Cowgirl in the Sand' and
By the River.'
A few months later, Neil was everywhere. Woodstock with Crosby, Stills
Nash. Then one day, after hearing about four students being shot dead
State during an anti-war protest, I turned on the radio and there was
voice singing 'Four dead in Ohio...' He must have heard the news,
and recorded the song all in one day. At least that's how it seemed.
Neil was solo again, playing on the Johnny Cash Show, singing about the
'Needle and the Damage Done' to a vast American audience.
Always in black, still a hybrid cowboy/Indian warrior peacenik, Neil
the big time with 'Heart of Gold' and everyone owned his records. Even
has said that hearing that song on the radio, that he felt like someone
beaten him at his own game. (Dylan would give the official nod to Neil
thirty years later on his Grammy winning 'Time Out of Mind.' ("I'm
to Neil Young...Someone keeps telling me to turn it down...")
After 'Harvest' and 'After the Goldrush,' the debate around school was
The guitar-god worshippers in my crowd didn't accept Neil Young on the
of say, Clapton, Page, Townsend or Beck (that's Jeff Beck). (Hendrix,
acknowledged was the Master. Neil Young, more than any of us.)
I didn't care what the other kids thought of his shaky voice and
solos. Neil Young spoke directly to me. Still does. (Hey you guys,
these living guitar players has lasted in terms of relevance, and has
remained as true to the revolutionary spirit his music once signified
I think we all know the answer to that.)
When I found out that Neil Young and I shared a birthday, I felt that
'connection' was absolutely verifiable. No wonder his insights always
right, even when the fans and critics started falling away for a while.
My friend Paul, who graduated the year ahead of me, moved up to Santa
right around when Neil was playing unannounced shows in little bars
town. Paul (a fan when the others were pointlessly comparing him to,
Frank Zappa ) sought him out and got him to sign an autograph for me.
11/12/45 NEIL YOUNG," scratched out on the back of an old 50's postcard
a picture of a country road, with the caption 'bend in the road.' It
the only piece of memorabilia that I have saved, moved with, and
know where I have it stashed, after all these years.
It is in this spirit, in a small payment towards a huge debt of
that I listen to Neil Young, a great Natural Resource and National
in one, whenever I have a birthday. He's the soundtrack to every rite
passage I can remember and many more that I probably don't.
I have the great privelege of hosting the open mic at the Beatnik Cafe.
year our birthday falls on the wrong night for that, but the next
Wednesday the 13th, I've asked the regulars - and would like to extend
invitation to anyone who is interested - to come up with a Neil Young
for the night. People who have one or more Neil Young song to play will
given unapologetically preferential treatment that evening. We start
up at 7:30 and I play first at 8pm, so that no-one else has to feel
embarrassed about their guitar playing.
After that, anyone with a Neil Young song to sing is welcome to do so.
P.S. In a wacky twist, my partner Elia has invited a whole slew of
sing my songs on Friday, November 15, also at the Beatnik. I won't be
myself that night. I'll be listening, fully humbled, honored and a
embarrassed about the fuss and loving every minute of it.
NEIL YOUNG LONG MAY YOU RUN BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 13 BEATNIK CAFE JOSHUA TREE
[11/19/2002 11:53:41 PM | Ted Quinn]
This past weekend at the Rancho saw many firsts.
If I go back a couple of weeks, I may be able to relay the events in perspective. Two days after the election, Elia performed First Woman on the Moon at the First International Latino Theatre Festival in Los Angeles. The standing-room-only crowd, who had waited outside in the L.A. rain for close to an hour, was spellbound by the dreamy performance. The audience was an international mix of Theatre and Art professionals, critics, students along with a healthy number of L.A. and Joshua Tree friends and fans. Elia's well-deserved standing ovation, beaming, standing naked, except for the galaxy crown constructed by Robbie on her head, felt like an upbeat Hollywood ending to a year of trials and losses, but it was completely real. The production crew, Marcus, Debbie, Rob, Rocio, Carlos, Ricardo, helped me to help Elia get her most fascinating piece yet - with ambient music by Tony Mason and an overture by Fred Drake - up and flying. Elia, despite the fact that she got hit by a flu the day before the performance, on top of teaching a ten day workshop as part of the Festival, gave the most beautiful, deep, elegant and provocative performance of her brilliant career.
Meanwhile, back at the Ranch, one band, Lo-Five, was finishing up a great record with Chris Goss producing as another band, Casino, was arriving to make some magic. Next, Joshua Tree original Shawn Mafia, a favorite at the Beatnik open mic, layed down some absolutely unique (albeit with a loving nod to his hero, Tom Waits) spoken word/songscape/soundtracks to an urban apocalyptic carnival in his fervid imagination, with our Nomadhouse drum hero Ray Woods providing the perfect beat and Tony capturing the madness on tape.
The following week, with Elia still in L.A. enlightening her students and battling a flu, I had the joy of hosting a mostly Neil Young open mic night, in an overflowing Beatnik Cafe. Next day, Desert Post weekly ran a picture of me that Billy took at the Turtle Days festival earlier this year along with the announcement of Elia's birthday party for me. (Thanks, Steve!) First, though, I had the privelege of participating in a benefit at Pappy and Harriet's in Pioneertown, for our Joshua Tree friend, musician Albert Williams (Alice and Albert). I did a couple leftover Neil Young songs (Sugar Mountain, Mr. Soul) from the night before. That place was packed and they raised about $1400 to help with medical expenses related to a bad car wreck. It was good to Albert taking in all the love of his many friends.
Then on Friday, the 15th, Elia produced what was the most incredible birthday party I've ever had. She had asked a dozen or so friends to perform songs of mine at the Beatnik. Each and every performer blew me away with his or her unique, heartfelt and dignified versions of these songs. I'm still completely reeling from the experience. The evening opened with a recording of Fred Drake doing Like A Baby, a song I wrote in 1982 with my friend Michael Hayde, so the evening actually covered twenty years of songs. Many deeply felt thanks to Amanda, Robert Allan, Elia Arce, Sue Bradley, Karen and Michael Callahan, Dean Chamberlain, Dennis and Michael, Elbi and Tibi, Folk Hero Joe Fairbanks, Bob Forrest, Joe City Garcia, Tal Hurley, Adriene Jenik, Mando, Ruben Martinez, Tony Mason, Marilyn Mileham, Tirzah Mueller, Linda Sibio, John Schreiver, Snot (can I call you Eric?), Elaine Stacy and Debbie Winski for learning some of my songs and then teaching them to me. Muchas gracias y besitos to our most excellent emcee, Marcus Kuilland-Nazario. Deep appreciation to Billy Bizeau for recording the evening. (My first listen to the playback was incredible.) To Tommy and Katrina for hosting us at the fabulous Beatnik Cafe, where everyone is absolutely at home, supportive, loving and encouraging to the oddball artists who pass through. Elia, I can't begin to tell you how special it was.
(Also, I must thank my wonderful collaborators in song over the past twenty five years, Debra Quinn, Bob Kuhn, Don Kaiser, Cathie Kimble, Michael Hayde, Ruben Garcia, Jeremy Gilien, John Vargas, Jeff Morrison, Fred Drake, Robert Allan, Joe Garcia, Billy Bizeau and Tony Mason. I am very lucky that each of you had mornings, afternoons, evenings and wee hours to make up songs with me.)
Following day, (okay, we're to this past weekend at the studio now) the day of many firsts:
Recorded basic tracks for my two newest completed songs, Death of Cool and To Smokey, For Fred, 5/93 .
First was DOC with Tony engineering, Billy on drums, Robert on bass and Dean Chamberlain and I on electric guitars, recorded live, with the second of four being our favorite. The firsts here are: All of us working together at the same time, Roberts first time working with Dean, my first time playing electric guitar with a band on a recording, Deans first time recording at the Rancho, his first recording at all in nine years. The song title refers to Miles Davis' Birth of Cool, released in 1958 (the year Fred and I were born) and I wrote the song in the weeks after Fred and Mario Gardner died this past summer.
Next, after the band Zabraskie arrived from Vegas, we did Smokey with their drummer (and previous Rancho guest/collaborator with Fred) Dave Forrest on the beloved Gretsch drum kit, Robert on 12 string, Joe City and me on acoustics and Billy engineering. Later, Adriene did a pretty vocal part. Another first, the combination of Joe, Robert, Billy, Adriene and me.
The words to the song were written for Fred when Smokey died. Fred's mom had found my handwritten poem among Fred's belongings this past summer and given it to me. Adriene, Fred and I all lived in Smokey's building in Hollywood when he passed away in May of 1993. We all then moved to his beloved desert, with Adriene buying Smokey's Hobe Chobe retreat in 29 Palms. Having her sing on this song, at the Rancho, with all the participants there, was the completion of another full circle.
For me, it was the first time working in the Rancho since Fred was there. As always, we approached the recording in the spirit of "What Would Fred Do?" I think Fred liked the activity, the sounds, the subject matter, the atmosphere around the Rancho. We only wish he was around to do a harmony, say the exact right thing, play the lap-steel guitar.
Our great friend, Chris Goss, is recovering nicely from a surgery last week. He will be back in working with some very happening musicians in the next week or so. He paid the Rancho the greatest compliment. He said he looks forward to getting back in to the studio, which he now associates with healing.
All of us at the Rancho greatly appreciate the amount of work Chris has brought in. We couldn't have done it without him. Rest up, Chris, and then be ready to rock. You are always a welcome, well-loved part of the Rancho.
We have so much to be grateful for as the day of giving thanks approaches. The great gift Fred Drake and his family entrusted us with is off to a fantastic start in its second incarnation. We hope the many blessings we enjoy this season are yours, as well.