After the gold rush
Version originale : 1970 (Neil Young, album « After The Gold Rush »)
Première reprise : 26 octobre 2002
En ouverture d’Everything In Its Right Place : depuis 2003
Neil Young sort son troisième album « After The Gold Rush », sur lesquel figure la chanson du même nom.
Neil Young fait partie des artistes que le groupe cite très régulièrement comme inspiration.
Thom: Yes. The first time I heard it was erm when I was about 15 or 16 and erm I sent a demo tape into a magazine and they liked the tape and they said “This guy sounds like Neil Young”. And I was like “Who is Neil Young?” and I went and bought “After the Gold Rush” and immediately fell in love with his voice, erm and I mean, especially when you are 16 that era of music ’73 ’74 was just er pretty extraordinary – the idea of vocal harmonies and so on. But erm immediately I sort of er identified with it. Straight off.
Mark: What is about the timbre or the quality of his voice? It’s so distinctive, it’s so unlike anything else. What did you like about his voice?
Thom: Well, the frailty thing is obviously appealing and the register of it. You know he’s erm he’s especially during that period he was really going high up and he has this soft erm vibrato that nobody else does. But more than that it was just his attitude the way he laid the songs down – you know – not just « After the Gold Rush » but everything was all about capturing a particular moment… and … er saying what is on his mind, you know – but putting it in a way like erm it is sort of semi-abstract. At the time I was listening to lots of REM erm and erm and that semi-abstract thing I identified with Neil Young, but obviously it was I completely different er technique, you know. But even – it doesn’t matter what era it is always that thing about you are just laying down whatever is in your head, wherever you are at – at the time and staying completely true to that no matter what it is, you just stay true to that. The temptation, especially when people start listening to your writing you start agonising and worrying about how things sound or what comes across or bla bla bla. It strikes me as Neil Young has never worried about that. He has always completely stayed true to… You know, « The Needle and the Damage Done » – the only way you could possibly write a song like that is if it just comes out of you, despite you, it’s like a force of nature. I mean, all good songs are like that to some extent…
Mark: How do you think he… Can you tell how he protects… As you say, most artists in rock and pop, every force suggests you should compromise, every force that’s out there, the record company or the audience. There are so many forces that can lead an artist to compromise and that’s particularly what’s extraordinary about Neil Young. Can you… you get the impression that compromise isn’t even an option for him.
Thom: Yeah, I mean… All through what’s happened with us. I’ve always ended up falling back on a Neil Young record, it didn’t really matter which one, and you’re reminded of the source, if you know what I mean, the source of the spring where it’s supposed to come from. And you can get lost, in a way, and it’s always… you always come back and you hear his voice and you hear the simplicity in what is going on. But it’s a false simplicity, it’s not sort of laziness. These are his tools and these are what he uses. It’s not because he doesn’t know which other way to go. He’s found his thing, his elements that he needs.
I think, maybe it’s the folk tradition thing… It’s a lot of stuff, basically, I’ve never really delved into… I’ve never been a massive Dylan fan. I like Dylan for his lyrics and stuff, but I only got into Dylan because of Neil Young. And that’s because Neil Young… I mean, there’s so much more space and brevity to it and, you know… OK, the question of compromise. You’re thinking whether he’s compromised or not. I think it’s out of necessity he’s stayed true to speaking as he sees it and that’s it. And the interesting thing is, I guess that’s a folk tradition and it’s something that I’ve always identified with, really. Not that I really understand where it comes form, because he’s my channel to that whole thing.
Mark: I think it’s also an obstinacy. An artistic obstinacy.
Thom: Obstinacy… I should imagine, I mean, like, in order to survive and stay true to what you’re doing you have to be completely obstinate and you have to be fiercely protective to whatever forces that make you right. It’s not something you can buy and it’s something that’s fairly intimate and unexplainable for some reason. I once went round his house because we were doing one of the Neil Young benefit things for the Bridge school. And in the middle of the hall in this grand piano, but it’s like this [holds his arm diagonally], the leg’s broken. And his wife’s saying: « And that’s where he writes on, mostly ». But it’s like that! [holds his arm diagonally again].
You know, it’s really easy if your music is listened to by a lot of people or whatever that you let your horizons expand and expand and expand and take it all in. But he’s done the exact opposite where enclosed himself in a small area within his work or whatever and protected that. Because he knows that’s the thing that’s gonna to keep him true to his art. I guess all artists try to do that, but to me if he can get away with being so belligerent than anybody can, really, you know because it has not, in any way, harmed his music. I dunno, it doesn’t come across in the music, either, you know. The music’s… it’s never… If I was him, I’d do exactly the same [chuckles].
Mark: Because he plays with lots of different people, I mean, he’s got his whole thing going with Crazy Horse, he’s got a semi-country band going on. Sometimes he’ll suddenly make a record with Pearl Jam. And then he’ll make his own… So, you know, you’re in a band, it’s very different, I guess…
Thom: It’s very different, I can’t imagine what its like to work with lots of people like that. And I can’t imagine what it’s like to work with him. He probably switches on and is really there and then he’s not. It’s what I imagine…
Mark: I think he hears a sound and he thinks, « Right, to make this sound, I gotta work with these people » or he thinks « Now I gotta make a Crazy Horse record, I gotta be with those guys again ». And he’s almost impelled to make each record in turn. And suddenly here’s sound he has to follow.
Thom: Yes, hearing a sound in your head and having to follow it, I guess, is the essence of all songwriting, anyway. [long pause] You know, can’t really elaborate on that.
Thom explique même en 2003 que sa musique est devenue plus positive grâce à un conseil reçu de Rachel Owen, sa compagne, alors qu’ils écoutaient ‘After The Gold Rush » :
26 octobre 2002
Thom joue une reprise de la chanson pour la première fois lors d’un set en solo pour le concert de charité Bridge School au Shorline Amphitheatre de Mountain View, aux Etats Unis, en clin d’oeil à l’artiste américain impliqué dans la fondation d’une école qui travaille avec des enfants souffrant de difficultés d’élocution et de difficultés physiques.
4 juin 2003
Radiohead performe deux sets au Electric Lady Studios à New York, destinés à être diffusés à la radio. Cette reprise ne sera pas diffusée, sûrement parce que Thom s’est un peu trompé au début.
à partir de 2003
A partir de 2003, on retrouve régulièrement la chanson en intro d’Everything in Its Right Place. Comme ici, aux Eurockéennes de Belfort (2003) :
On l’entend à Nîmes, le 10 juillet 2012 par exemple (avec des erreurs !).