Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Rockin’ In the Free World: 7th Annual Producers and Engineers Wing Event honoring Neil Young @ Village Studios, 1/21/14

January 22, 2014

My music education growing up was nearly non-existent.  A little Willie, a little Waylon, and a whole lot of western soundtracks broke the silence of long car rides across Texas.  Somewhere in the mix, Neil Young must have made a special appearance, because once I was older and, ironically, gained access to unlimited music on the internet without having to shell out $20 for a CD…he was one of the first names I typed in.  I can remember the moment all of that happened; when suddenly, the mysteries of all of the records in the stores that I couldn’t afford to take home and absorb were suddenly at my fingertips.  I no longer had to wait for the radio or a friend’s car or a movie to play it; I could seek out the sounds I wanted on a whim.

Sure, it sounded like shit; but a good song prevails.  Did I care if Neil Young’s nasally voice singing “Heart of Gold” was of perfect fidelity?  No, I just wanted to hear the words, the melody, the guitar…

Fast forward over a decade, and my thoughts on this have been vastly altered.  I’ve grown up, own a record player, and listen to Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere with utmost frequency.  I wallow in the warmth of the sound, the occasional hum or pop that comes with age, like my favorite worn-in pair of jeans.

After watching producers and engineers walk the red carpet and somewhat awkwardly accept their moment in the spotlight, we gathered in the upstairs of the famous Village Studios.  After a brief collection of speeches by folks from the studio, the P&E organization, and the Recording Academy, we watched a short biographical video on Young before he came out to accept his award.  Through multiple Bridge School Benefits and his MusiCares Person of the Year concert in 2010, I had never heard him speak this much, and it came as a surprise that he was really quite funny!  After cracking jokes about his preference in mic to speak in on the stage, the fact that he knows he can’t sing, and how he may have pretended to know some people who came up to him earlier in the event, he embarked on a from-the-heart speech about his approach to recording that brought him to this very stage.

He compared his recording style to Cinema Verite, discussing how he like to capture the first time he plays a song, the first time the band plays a song.  He compared a lot of today’s digital recording to that of making a movie- the multiple layers to it- but claimed that he can’t “feel” this type of music as much.  He talked about how depressing it is to hear his work in a format where it has lost elements he worked hard to get, like the echo of the room.  “We cherish those fucking goosebumps”, he said.  And then he mentioned the launch of his new company, Pono Music, at this upcoming SXSW.  In it’s well-written description, Pono aims to bring back the richness of sound through lossless audio technology.  In reading this, I had an epiphany regarding my preference for live music, and the specialness of the sound over the low-fi formats I consume today.  You can read the whole speech here.

After his speech, Dave Matthews came out and did a 3 song acoustic set: “Rye Whisky”, “My My, Hey Hey”, and “Needle and the Damage Done”, which was preceded by a comment about his loss of a friend and the meaning of this song to him.

I wandered the studios after the presentation, eating cookies and drinking milk in a room with the console that potentially recorded the likes of NIN, Heart, Tom Petty, and many other artists who enter the windows of my soul: my ears.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

A New Level: Metallica, Pantera, and Mammoth VH @ SoFi Stadium Los Angeles, 8/25/23

“Now a new look in my eyes my spirit riseForget the pastPresent tense works and lastsGot shit on, pissed on,…

September 4, 2023

Gimme Danger: Iggy Pop & The Losers with Grace McKagan @ The Pearl Las Vegas, 4/29/23

“Gimme danger, little strangerAnd I feel with you at easeGimme danger, little strangerAnd I’ll feel your disease There’s nothing in…

May 29, 2023

Kill or Become: Cannibal Corpse, Dark Funeral, Immolation, Black Anvil at House of Blues Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay 11/25/22

“Living out the days and nights in absolute fearNever knowing when and where thethreat of the undead draws nearThoughts of…

December 3, 2022

Looks That Kill: Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Poison, & Joan Jett & The Blackhearts @ Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, 9/9/22

“Now, listen up She’s a razor sharp If she don’t get her way She’ll slice you apart Now she’s a…

September 19, 2022

A Dangerous Meeting: Mercyful Fate, High on Fire, Paradise Lost, Fugitive, Suicidal Tendencies, Bone Thugs -n- Harmony, Frozen Soul, Emperor, Mayhem, Carcass, and Wolves in the Throne Room @ Psycho Las Vegas @ Resort World, 8/19-21/22

“Oh, they should have knownNot to play with the powers of HellSome people have lost their waySome people have lost…

August 30, 2022

Among the Living: Anthrax 40th Anniversary Tour with Black Label Society @ Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas, 7/28/22

“I’m the walking dudeI can see all the worldTwist your minds with fearI’m the man with the powerAmong the living,…

August 19, 2022

Mad World: Tears for Fears, Garbage @ Kia Forum in Los Angeles, 6/4/22

“And I find it kind of funny I find it kind of sad The dreams in which I’m dying Are…

June 12, 2022

She Sells Sanctuary: The Cult, Des Roc @ House of Blues Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay 5/8/22

“The sparkle in your eyes Keeps me alive And the sparkle in your eyes Keeps me alive, keeps me alive…

May 27, 2022

Rock You Like A Hurricane: Scorpions, Skid Row @ Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas 4/3/22

“It’s early morning, the sun comes out Last night was shaking and pretty loud My cat is purring, it scratches…

April 15, 2022

Turbo Lover: 50 Years of Heavy Metal with Judas Priest and Queensrÿche @ Zappos Theater, Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino Las Vegas, 3/13/22

“We hold each other closer, as we shift to overdrive And everything goes rushing by, with every nerve alive We…

March 22, 2022