Neil Young touched on several topics yesterday during a 75-minute interview with Howard Stern that was highlighted by Young harshly criticizing President Barack Obama for his policies regarding the environment.
"Isn't that what Barack Obama said, change and hope and all of that and he's fracking the Gulf of Mexico. Hello, Barack! Wake up buddy!" Young said during the conversation which addressed politics, his relationship with David Crosby, current partner Daryl Hannah and his drug use.
As heard in a YouTube video above, Young spoke about various political leaders and their stance regarding oil companies and exploration when he took Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to task. "You look at these leaders like Stephen Harper up in Canada where they have the tar sands in Alberta," Young said. "And the leaders in Russia and our own leaders here. Although we had this huge thing in the (2008 U.S.) acceptance speech back there in Chicago. 'I'm going to take on climate change and everything.' Obama just opened up the Gulf of Mexico to fracking for all the oil companies and gave all the rights away. This was like three weeks ago or something.
"I just don't see the prescience, I don't see the wisdom in that. Maybe it's that, 'Well there's only 10 per cent of the fish left anyway so it's not really going to hurt that many fish.' And that's a sick joke. So when all this crap starts coming out of people's faucets and they can catch their water on fire and people are dying and people are sick because of fracking, then the solution is, 'Let's do it on the bottom of the ocean because nobody will be bothered by it, they won't see it.'"
(Neil Young raised the stakes even further later that night on the Colbert Report, when he said "I think we should impeach [Obama] for fracking. It's not in the interest of the American people...I am part of the free world, and he is the leader of the free world!")
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When Stern mentioned the environmental records of China and India, Young again returned to America's renewable energy position. "Realize that if the United States of America is the leader of the free world, why is it that we are saying we can maybe have two per cent solar energy by 2020 and Germany has 50 per cent renewable energy right now," Young said. "It's because of leadership in this country but even more than that it's because of corporate control of democracy. In America it's hard to make a change against the corporate powers that are in control of us. They're in control of all the politicians, everybody that we elect they are all tainted.
"Why do we have Hilary Clinton when she was Secretary of State going to Europe to convince the little European countries, 'Don't get your oil from Russia! Don't do oil, we'll give you this fracking technology and it's really great. You can frack and you can get your oil and energy right out of the land.' These are our Democrats, these are supposed to be the saviors. None of them are empowered by the system that is here now to do anything other than take money from corporations and be controlled. I don't know one politician that isn't controlled to some degree by the amount of donations from corporations. That's who paid for their campaigns. All these laws are wrong. They made it legal for corporations to be people, corporations aren't people."
Elsewhere, Young also spoke about David Crosby's recent tweet regarding how Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young would never tour again. "Playing with Stills and Nash in that band was really great," Young said, pointedly leaving out one name. When asked if the band would reunite if Crosby apologized, Young remained steadfast. "There's nothing to apologize for," he said. "It was fixable [at one time] but it didn't get fixed. I did everything I could to make sure it got fixed. We were together for a long time, we did a lot of good work. Why should we get together and celebrate how great we were? What difference does it make?"
When the conversation turned towards Charles Manson, the notorious mass murderer who Young once tried to get a record deal for, Stern asked him if he would rather spend a day with Manson or Crosby. Young remained silent. When asked of the two who he'd prefer to go into the studio with, Young also didn't answer the question.
As for his current relationship with Daryl Hannah and recently filing for divorce from Pegi Young, Stern never mentioned the divorce.
When Stern said women looked at Young like a "messiah," the singer quickly quipped the following: "That was very recently and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Yes, I like that." Young added he was going paddle-boarding with Hannah soon "wearing my plaid shirt and my pants." Young revealed near the interview's conclusion he woke up at 4:30 a.m. worried about the Stern interview and possibly going into personal issues and details that "could have upset my family and my kids."
The conversation also briefly veered towards Young's drug use and when he stopped using cocaine.
"I got really tired of waking up that way and not thinking and just hurting myself over and over again," Young said. "And I was getting older. It was just a thought process (that) just led me to the conclusion it was probably not a good idea anymore." When Stern mentioned using becoming paranoid after smoking marijuana (something Young said he does every once in a while and "just a tiny bit"), Young had the solution. "Just chew three or four peppercorns and [that will take away the paranoia]. I'm not saying you should get high. It does make a lot of sense for me not to smoke and I already smoked so much I'm high from the '70s. I'm rockin' right now."
Young, who also said he rarely listens to new music but will "sit down and listen" to either Bob Dylan or the late J.J. Cale, recalled his earlier years with The Mynah Birds featuring Young and the late Rick James. The pair also shared an apartment.
"We did some wild things in there," Young said. "It's all very hazy to me now. I'm glad I made it through that stage that was a little dicey. There were some drugs going on there. I remember singing a song for about a day and a half and I still can only remember that one part that I sang over and over again. I never finished it."
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