The Neil Young Archives
1979. Rolling Stone
One of Young's long-standing jokes is that he's saving his best
material for his "Bus Crash" album. The few who have heard samplings
of Young's tape vaults-songs that didn't fit into the flow of his
albums, entire unreleased works, live tapes, Buffalo Springfield
tapes-agree that some of his most compelling performances are amongst
the unreleased material.
"All those songs," he says, "they're still there. They're there. And
they're in an order. They're not gone. But, you know, they're old
songs. who wants to hear about it. They're depressing. They are. It's
like ancient history to me. I don't want to have to deal with that
stuff coming out."
"Until," I ask, "you're not around to deal with them coming out?"
"That's right," he says. "Then they're there. I think every artist
plans the future like that. I have things in a certain order, so that
if anything ever happened to me it would be pretty evident what to do."
1986. Rockline (thanks to Zumafan)
My question is about the huge volume of unreleased material that you supposedly have stored away somewhere. Once in a while you pull one out in a concert and it's a real gem. I was wondering if you have any thoughts about maybe taking some of that and putting them together in an album or something and releasing it. There's a lot of people about who'd love to hear them.
When I put out Decade, I put out a lot of songs thet were on the shelf in with the songs that were recorded at the same sessions so that you can tell the similarity in the sound of the unreleased songs to the ones that were the hit. When I make Decade II, I'll make a decision as to what records are put on it.
So there will be a Decade II, another triple album release do you think?
Well I don't know about that. It's a different world today than it was when I put out Decade, although when Bob put out Biograph it did pretty well, so I don't know what will happen with that - I haven't really put it together yet.
1988. Rolling Stone
"I'm gonna try and expose those things I tried to do on Decade II,
which should come out next year. Now that I'm back on Reprise, I can
do whatever I want. So I can do Decade II. On Geffen, Decade II would
have been impossible, 'cause it's a three-record set, and they would
never do that. There's no way they could make the money they want to
make out of it."
1989. Village Voice
Young feels he will be vindicated by this seven-CD anthology he's preparing for next year, his 25th anniversary in the music business. A compilation of approximately 100 songs - nearly half unreleased material - Decade II will encompass the original Decade, deleting some songs and adding some new ones, and then take on Young's work in the '80s.
"It's a big task, it wears me out just thinking about it," says Young. "I'd rather be making new music. But I want to set the record straight as much as I can. Through outtakes and chosen cuts I'm going to try to bring out more of the feeling that's hidden in those records. I think I can enhance the experience by putting them all in a long line, shortening them, and changing them." What I've heard of the unreleased material Young performed live certainly surpasses the '80s records. But can Young really make us understand Trans, Everybody's Rockin', and Old Ways?
1990. Rolling Stone
Shit, that's a giant. I'm still working on it. It's rediculous. I
recorded everything I did over the years, and I also videotaped every
tour. I have somewhere around a hundred unreleased tunes, and a lot of
them are videotaped. There's some really funky stuff, real obscure
shit. Like the Ducks in Santa Cruz, and Crazy Horse at the Catalyst
in Santa Cruz in 1982, or 1984, playing a bunch of songs that we could
never record. We went to New York and tried to record these songs for
three weeks, and we didn't get one track. We just blew a whole bunch
of time. That was when I first introduced the horns; we had a horn
section with Crazy Horse. We just never could get it to gel.
I thought it was my responsibility to try to put all of this stuff in
order and try to get it all sorted out so that if something ever
happened to me, I wouldn't have to count on anybody else to take care
of it for me. Because I do know where everything fits in and where
it's supposed to be.
It'll come out as a multi-CD set and a multivideo set simultaneously
with books that refer to the songs and their place in time and what
was going on and who was there. Little stories about each song and
opinions from different people. It's going to be really interesting,
and I'm really into it, but it's not something you can just knock off
in a year.
Young is now readying a 180 track compilation of his three decade career for C.D - 'Decades I, II and III to be made available on Warner Bros late next year.
"There'll be 50 or 60 unreleased songs. There's three whole unreleased albums to go on too - 'Homegrown', 'Big Room' and 'Old Ways', the album Geffen sued me over. There's stuff from back in 1962 going on this collection, there's a bunch of stuff with CSNY - a whole aborted album called Human Highway, a-bunch of live Crazy Horse, some of my best stuff. Songs like 'Nothing Is Perfect', the 'hostages' song I did at Live Aid and 'Ordinary People' 'this 15 minute number I left off'Eldorado'. Both those songs dated too quickly. They were too topical. But they work in a retrospective like this.
For anyone who bought Arc/Weld thinking it's some live documentation of the sprawling
Young oeuvre ... forget it. First off, he refuses to make Crazy Horse cover material
on which the band didn't originaIly play (although "Crime in the City" and "Rockin'
in the Free World," both originally from 1989's Horse-less Freedom, are definite
highlights of the new set). Second, the above- mentioned project is already underway,
with Young exploring a massive database of unreleased material for an archival series,
with the first set due in late 1992.
Open with obscure material from Young's 1965-66 period, where he meandered around
his native Canada with bands like the Squires and Mynah Birds, these annual four-CD
volumes will, foreseeably, progress through unreleased Buffalo Springfield to early
Crazy Horse recorded live at the Fillmore East, and will possibly include an alternate
take of Ragged Glory's "Fuckin' Up" from a Saturday Night Live rehearsal ("We all came
in and just wailed the shit outta that song.... I don't know if that tape still exists,
but if it does it'll be on there"). The first volume, he says, should cover 1964 to 1970,
ending right before he electrified Crosby, Stills and Nash on Deja Vu.
"There's so much stuff," Young says. "[It's] everything I can find that I like or I
think has any merit to it. It's going to be a different kind of project, really, than a
Decade II. It goes back before Decade started, to the very beginning of my recording
experience, back to a group called the Squires in Canada. We have four songs by the
Squires, then it goes into a folk period that I was in around '64. It comes out of that
into unreleased Buffalo Springfield stuff, unreleased songs of mine from that period.
There's almost as much unreleased material, in some cases more unreleased material,
from every era of about a 26-year period, than there is released stuff.
"Decade should stand on its own. This is a different thing. There are so many songs.
It's going to come out in volumes over a period of years. Each volume is gonna be four CDs. It'll have a box you can get with it or later, 'cause there'll be empty spaces in the box for the other pieces as they come along. I've been working on it for almost two years. I would really anticipate volume one to be ready by this time next year--a complete book and four CDs.
"So there's a lot of unreleased stuff and I need to feel that I've saved it all. I'm
kinda like a freak for saving things. It was all haphazard, but now I've organized it
all, got it all on computers."
1992. Canadian Radio Interview
"We've got lots of tapes from back then of songs that haven't been
heard. All kinds of stuff on this 'Archives' project from that time. I
think there's 7 songs, or 8 or 9 unreleased songs before we get to Buffalo
Springfield. So there's a lot of early stuff there....I've sequenced the
ones that I want. Of course, everything's chronological, so I just had to
choose the ones I didn't want to include....It'll be a multi-boxed set.
It's going to come out in volumes over a period of time.
I'm just organizing my life's work into
chronological order, putting all the documents that go with it in the same
kind of order, and making books. And, you know, we're into it....It's a
specialized thing, almost for musicologists or something, you know. And
if Reprise wants to pick certain things from it and put them out, they're
welcome to do that. That's fine. I just want everything in order.
Everybody'll know the way it's supposed to be. Then they can decide
whether they want to change it or not. But I want them to know what it is
first....The beginning is pre-Squires. It's doubtful if there would ever
be anything recorded from before the Squires, although it's not completely
impossible. There could be something. We're still looking for things."
"There's a lot of stuff in there. I think for fans
it'll be fun. There's several ways of doing it, which we haven't quite decided yet.
There's a lot of options, since there's so much stuff. I tend to want to do the complete thing, just put it all out in chronological order, and then if you want to get it by mail order, it's expensive as hell but we're not trying to shove it down your throat. Then there's a commercial version where you have respect for the fact that you don't want to make 'em buy a bunch of stuff they may not want to hear but there's still depth and stuff they haven't heard. Not for fanatics. And there's the surface type thing for whoever, you know, maybe all they have is enough money to buy one CD and have an overview. But nothing's
locked in yet.
My idea is to have an unbelievable amount of CDs, each with their own package, representing the time they came from. Some of them being 35 minutes long, some of them being 70 minutes long, depending on what the content is, not just trying to cram the CD full but to make it an era. some eras have three volumes, some might only be 35 minutes long. But you can hear what's happening and see the images and pictures from that time and take that CD with you. Then you've got 1986 or 1964. There are 11 songs from 1964 and '65.
We've got a couple of really good ones back there-the first time I felt that I'd made a really good record, we have a tape of that. Plus there's a lot of solo performances of early stuff, real early stuff. It's interesting, if you're into it. It's fascinating purely from a librarian's point of view that we managed to keep all of this stuff together. I'm such a pack rat."
The biggest influence on Young's music in recent years has been listening
to the collected works of Neil Young, since he's assembled what will
eventually be released-now that High Definition Compatible Digital
has solved the transfering problem-as a vast set of Neil Young archives.
A "consumer" edition will include the best of the released and unreleased work,
but he's more deeply interested in the complete archive, which will document
every session he ever did for collectors, in chronological order.
"From the worst piece of shit to the best thing I ever did- you make the
choice." (I get a salivatory taste of things to come when I ask Young if he's ever worked with female musicians and he mentions unreleased recordings with Joni Mitchell
from the Tonight's the Night sessions).
Legend has it that Don't Cry No tears from Zuma is the first song you wrote.
"No, that was only one of the first 30 or 40 songs I wrote! Oh yeah, there
were a lot of them from back then. Unfortunately, we only have 'glimmers'
of most of them but we do have actual recordings of five of them which
you're going o hear when the Archives finally appear. I really love these tracks,
by the way. I'm not embarrassed by them or anything because I'm so young. I mean, some of them I wanted to hear over and over again, whereas others were clearly not so successful. I think it's real interesting wehn you hear the bad ones with the good ones."
After the Squires, you joined a band called The Mynah Birds in '65 and apparently even recorded an album with them that never came out..
"Yeah, and there are tapes of me and The Mynah Birds but I've not been able to het a hold of them. I only sang a little bit in that group..Rick James and Bruce Palmer were in that group also."
"Just after I'd begun playing with CSN&Y, I went out on the road and did some really funky things that indicated that our next album would be in that vein (country rock). We recorded Wondering, Dance Dance, Dance, It Might Have Been, Winterlong and several others. They'll appear on the Archives, I've had them transferred to digital."
1996. Stephen Barncard, CSNY Engineer
I just got back from Neil's ranch today and personally observed his archive
crew working at a fever pitch mastering the Anthology and other
re-releases. After trying every A-D coversion scheme in the universe,
archivist John Knowland and historian Joel Bernstein are working day and
night on the project, transferring to HDCD format. I've heard some of it,
and it was stunning. I hope the record buying public appreciates the
effort that went into this.
People will buying thousands of HDCD converters to hear this at it's best.
I'm really jazzed. These guys get to do it right.
It's all I know, except I heard the demo of "Broken Arrow". And I cannot
make any predictions on release dates, but I just know the logjam is broken.
1996. Much Music, "Neil TV"
1996. SF Chronicle
So with HDCD, the DECADE 2 project, which could ultimately yield 20 cd's
including 78 unreleased tracks and is now dubbed the "Selections for the
Neil Young Archives, Volume 1" is said to be headed for release in
October. There is also talk that Young is piecing together a companion
video collection featuring never before seen footage of vintage concerts
such as his appearances at Carnagie Hall and the Fillmore East.
1997. Fachblatt Musikmagazin
It's good to have them (the archives) at our disposal. There's
constantly something to talk about without having to work for. The archives help
to keep the myth. If we'd really release them the myth would be ruined. So it
will never happen. The release of the archives would be the most
self-destructive step in my career. Believe me.
1998. Rolling Stone
According to Elektra Records, Young, along with his former band mates in Buffalo Springfield have committed to a full round of press interviews next January to promote the Buffalo Springfield box set that will finally be in stores next February. While the box does not have a firm release date, or even a title, it will have seven unreleased tracks, according to the label.
Young's long-awaited box set, focusing on his solo material and recordings he did with Crazy Horse in the Sixties, is also penciled in for a possible September release. "This will not be Decade 2," said a source at Reprise. "Rather, it's the first in a series of Neil's archival recordings." And that's still not all. We could also be in store for a deluge of television appearances from the erstwhile Mr. Soul. According to our sources at VH1, there have been talks about a VH1 Storyteller segment as well as some other special programming surrounding these releases.
1999. Sonic Net
Additionally, Young continues work on the first
installment of his long-rumored
career-retrospective box set, according to Warner
Bros./Reprise Records spokesperson Bob
Merlis. "It's not currently scheduled, but we hope to
have it out later this year," Merlis said.
Although Roberts said he couldn't confirm the set will
feature eight CDs, he said that number
was probably accurate. The set is slated to cover
Young's career -- from his work with his
teen-age band the Squires, through his early '60s
group, the Mynah Birds (which also featured
funk-pop idol Rick James), until the end of his stint
with the influential Los Angeles-based
folk-rock band Buffalo Springfield in 1968.
Included among that material will be three CDs of live
material that Roberts said featured
"staggering" performances from the early stages of
Young's solo career. "These are shows
that defined Neil as an artist," Roberts said.
The earliest live disc in the set is from Young's first
appearance at the small Toronto club, The
Riverboat, from the late '60s. That show in Young's
hometown was one of his first live gigs
following his departure from Buffalo Springfield.
The other two performances are from the early '70s,
Roberts said. The second live disc
features a show at the Hammersmith Odeon in London,
England, with Young's hard-rocking
backup band Crazy Horse. The third live CD is from an
appearance at the Massey Hall in
Toronto, recorded just before Young released his
landmark 1972 album Harvest, which
features such classic rock ballads as "Heart of Gold"
(RealAudio excerpt of studio version)
and "Old Man." The show also found Young previewing
material from his 1973 follow-up to
Harvest, Time Fades Away.
"[The third live disc] has all the songs for his next
two [studio] albums in their original form,"
Roberts said, "and the performances are just
staggering." Roberts said Young is hoping to
release the entire set in October.
"Well, it's almost ready to come out, actually. It's in its final
phases of production -- of post-production. And its form is -- it
comes in a box -- in a square box, tall box. And it has the package
of CDs. There's eight CDs. And it's -- the music is chronological
from the beginning of my recording all the way through. And it's --
there's selections. It's not every song. But there's a lot of
selections from different -- from different periods and some, a lot
of unknown ones and unreleased ones and different versions of
things. But the thing that makes it interesting is the chronological
order that it's in. You know, you can really sense a growth and a
change as it goes through it. And it reveals things about where
songs actually fit, because a lot of times I'll record songs and
just hold on to them for three or four years and then drop them into
a record. So as this thing unfolds, it kind of puts my earlier
records in another perspective. And then there are a few
performances in there of one live record that I did with Crazy Horse
at the Fillmore East that was never released. And it's in there. And
some other early performances. So I -- of -- at the River Boat in
Toronto where I played in a kind of folk acoustic, little, small
coffeehouse setting where you can hear, you know, the glasses
tinkling and there's only about 20 people there. And I'm singing
really soft and, you know, it sounds very young and very open.
Anyway, there's a lot of chronological -- it just goes from, I
think, 1962 or '63 to something like 1972 or something like that."
"It's Volume One. And along with that, there's a book that
comes in there that's got all kinds of -- it's a different approach
to a book. What it is is, it's all the things that people wrote
about us, about me and about the songs and everything. Negative and
positive. They're just all in there. Everything that we could find
we just crammed in. It's like a scrapbook of comments and stuff. And
that's all it is. It doesn't draw any conclusions. And then on top
of that, there's a DVD of the -- of all of the film and video, et
cetera, that I did back in those years. And so that's a
chronological DVD also that covers the same period. And there's a
lot of stuff in there with -- that's never been seen. The original
Harvest recording sessions that we filmed and the recording A Man
Needs a Maid with the London Symphony Orchestra, the sessions.
There's a World with the London Symphony. All this stuff. And
there's just a lot of information in there that has never been
released before. And that's in one DVD. And the other DVD in there
is a film that I made back in, I think, 1971 or `2, called Journey
Through the Past. And that has -- it's kind of a collage film."
2000. Rolling Stone
"We may have overstepped the bounds of reality with this thing." Neil Young says with a broad grin. "People may not be prepared for the amount of detail that this has. But this is the Information Age." Young is in a Michigan hotel room, taking time out from the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young reunion tour. But he is talking about another mammoth undertaking, one that has been a decade in preparation: Neil Young Archives, the long-awaited four-part series of retrospective box sets documenting Young's life in music. Volume One is pencilled in for release by Reprise in the third quarter of this year and features 8 CDs and two DVDs, covering Young's career from 1963 - his earliest recordings with the Winnipeg, Manitoba, combo the Squires - to the 1972 single "War Song". Young's classic and rare work with Buffalo springfield, Crazy Horse and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young is also featured, and more than half of the live and studio material in the box is previously unissued. Three audio disks are exclusively devoted to live shows of the period.
"You hear the good and the bad," Young says candidly of the set. "A lot of people will say, 'Well, there's a lot of trash on this thing.' But if you take it as a whole, it tells a story. And that's what I like to do."
He also describes the packaging as "pretty cool. It's set up so that when you put the whole set [of Boxes] together" - Young spreads his arms apart, as if beholding a bookshelf of the complete Shakespeare -"it starts talkin' to ya!"
Photographer and archivist Joel Bernstein, who has worked with Young on this project since January 1990, says that at one point in the mid-Nineties, Young considered making the set an all-rarities affair. But Young returned to his original plan, which was to document his best work over the years, released or otherwise. "You're really looking for magic," Bernstein explains, "not perfection. Remember, this is Neil Young," he adds, laughing. "we're not looking for everything to be perfect. We're looking for feel."
"I can make a smooth record," Young says. "But if I only have a casette recording of a certian thing and there is nothing else, I'm shameless. I couldn't care less. To me, that is part of the documentary. So that's what I've done.
"It's rediculously huge," he admits of the four-volume Archives. "And I don't even know if there's going to be an interest in it. But to me it's a chronicle - something that people can refer to, myself included, just for fun. Or for my grandchildren. It's something I can show them. Like, 'Hey, look at this. Listen to this weird song I once did.'"
Neil Young's Official Website Launches.
2001. Sound And Vision
Young does recognize the value of DVD-Audio as an archival medium. In
fact, the long-awaited Neil Young Archives, a series of four boxed
sets spanning his entire career, will indeed appear on DVD-A, he
announces eagerly. "We're going to do the boxes at the
highest-possible resoulution that DVD allows. And I'm so happy that
we're getting the DVDs out before the CDs come out. The CD is not
gonna beat this thing to the market. The DVD will be first."
"Or simultaneous...," his publicist politely advises. "Yes," Young
politely responds. "Or the DVDs will be first by a couple of weeks.
"Here's what I want to do with the first Archives box, which will
cover everything I did from 1963 to 1971. It's an eight-disc set. It
has highlights from the albums I put out plus a lot of unreleased
material and some other interesting things. That'll all be on
DVD-Audio. At the same time, all the albums I released during that
period will come out on DVD-Audio. That's how I want to do it - so
that it's chronological and if just keeps on going. Once you start
collecting the albums, if you're really into it, you can get all of
them - or if not, you can just pick and choose. But it'll be orderly,
and the stuff will come out in a way that makes sense."
Any idea, then, when we'll actually see the first box?
"Well, a lot of the art is finished, but I really have no idea....
Last year when I remastered the tracks, I did them at 88.2/24 for
HDCD. Now I'm starting over for DVD-Audio. It's driving me crazy; this
is like the third time I've had to retransfer everything."
2003. Chicago Tribune
Those holding their breath waiting for Neil Young to finally release his long-promised, long-delayed career anthology -- the multivolume follow-up to his revered "Decade" retrospective -- might want to exhale.
Young's manager, Elliot Roberts, says the project has been shelved, at least until Young stops writing songs. "I've killed the box set," Roberts says. "I've always been against it, because it's the type of project you do when you're retired or dead, and Neil isn't close to being either." Young's prolific nature consistently frustrated plans to release the anthology, a 32-CD career-spanning beast that was to have been divided into four sets. These would have included 80 unreleased Young songs, several complete concerts and bonus DVDs. Roberts says the first two volumes of the anthology are sequenced and ready to go; they include a concert from Young's first acoustic tour in 1968, a Crazy Horse gig in London from 1974 and a legendary show with Miles Davis at the Fillmore East from 1972.
"It's great stuff, but it's so voluminous that it would cost a fortune," Roberts says, "and Neil doesn't want to break stuff out into individual CDs for marketing purposes, because that would defeat the whole point of a project like this. So we're putting it away for a while, until maybe some Christmas down the years."
The first volume of a career-long audio-visual retrosepctive of Neil Young
is complete. A release date has yet to be set, says Young, because existing
DVD technology isn't advanced enough to handle his needs.
"It's just moving along and by the time everything is ready I'll just dump
it all onto a really good medium, " he told Sylvie Simmons. "I've worked on
it a lot and we've got the first voumes finished and now we're into the
second volumes. It's going to be three or four volumes - it's way too big.
When I started working on it there were no DVDs. Then DVD came along and I
tried to do it, but DVD wouldn't play back the music at a high res, and now
you can't have a high res picture and a high res sound."
Started in 1989, the project was to be a multi-CD epic spanning Young's
entire career, incorporating released and unreleased tracks.
So far Young has transferred all his songs from analogue tapes to digital -
Don't be too eager to hear and see it all though.
"You don't need a retrospective yet." says Neil. "No reason for it."
2005. Detroit Free Press
For Neil Young fans, the question is not when will the next album
come out, but when will all his unreleased material come out?
After years of planning, Young says he will release the first volume
of "Archives," an 8-disc set, later this year.
"It will only cover from 1963 to 1973," says Young. It will begin with
recordings of his first "real rock band" in Canada, the Squires; he
says the videos of live shows, demos, home recordings and unreleased material
will be presented in chronological order.
Young says he has been working on the project constantly, but "I
wanted to wait until the right technology was around to make it the way I saw
it. With BlueRay DVD technology, I've created this time line on the discs that
will take you through the entire story, putting everything on there that's
Asked by director Jonathan Demme if there will be any "Easter eggs,"
the term given to hidden material on the DVD, Young says, "We're trying to
figure out how you hit on something from about 1967 and get a virtual bong. To
enhance your listening pleasure."
2005. Rolling Stone
After nearly fifteen years of promises, Neil Young is now confident
that a slew of material from his vaults will begin to see the light
of day in 2006. With his latest album, Prairie Wind, out next week,
the rock legend is planning several eight-disc sets packed with
outtakes, home recordings, album tracks, live cuts and DVDs.
"It starts with my earliest recordings in 1963," says Young. "Then
several recordings with a group called the Squires, into the earliest
Buffalo Springfield stuff. Then there's a live record culled from a
week's worth of performances at the Riverboat in Toronto."
Fans can expect a 1970 show at Toronto's Massey Hall, featuring
material from Harvest a year before its release, as well as Crazy
Horse live at the Fillmore East. "It's got a sixteen-minute 'Cowgirl
in the Sand,'" Young says of the Fillmore gig, "and a super-
long 'Down by the River.'"
One live performance, the rock vet is convinced, trumps the original
recording: the entirety of Tonight's the Night, recorded live at
London's Rainbow Theatre. Says Young, "It's better than the record."
2006. San Jose Mercury
AP: With "Greendale" and now "Heart of Gold," have you, Neil, been
more interested in approaching your work visually lately?
YOUNG: Not really, I've been doing this for a long time, just on and
off over the years. In the late `90s I did the thing with Jim
Jarmusch and Crazy Horse ("Year of the Horse") and I've done things
with Shakey Pictures (when Young directs, he takes the name Bernard
Shakey). It's just nice to keep track. And I did a thing with Hal
Ashby in Dayton, Ohio (1984's "Solo Trans") that hasn't really
DEMME: Wow, I'd love to see that. Are you going to put that out?
YOUNG: Yeah, when the archives get to that point. We've got them all
AP: Aren't you also working on an 8-CD collection entitled "The
YOUNG: Yeah, volume one.
AP: How many volumes are you planning?
YOUNG: Four or five. (Demme laughs.) It's, you know, the information
age. It's just a chronicle. You collect all this stuff. You may spend
all your life recording and filming and writing and do all this
stuff - what are you going to do, throw it away? Might as well put in
order and put it out there at some point. You keep doing it long
enough, it gets to be that long.
AP: So have you been listening to the earlier stuff to catalogue it
YOUNG: Oh, yeah. I've been doing that since 1990.
AP: Even the Squires (Young's first band) and everything?
YOUNG: Yeah, the Squire are covered pretty well with five songs.
AP: Are you constantly living with the past then?
YOUNG: Well, I've been working on it for 15 years. (Demme laughs.) I
come and go. The one thing that's made it slow going is the present
always has priority over the past. But it takes a lot out of you.
We're getting ready to release the very first thing from the
archives; it'll be out in a couple months. It's a performance series
and it starts with Crazy Horse at the Fillmore East in 1970 - and it
rocks pretty hard.
AP: What will the performance series be like?
YOUNG: It's going to be a concert series of somewhere between 20 and
30 things in it, so we're going to start putting out two and three a
year now. It's similar to the Bob Dylan bootleg collection.
2006. Rolling Stone
Yeah, it's been a long time. It's a lot of music. It's going to come
out, and we get closer and closer to having it finished. I'm not
exactly sure when it's coming out, but I don't think it's going to
be a year from now when it will be out, I think it will be out
before then. We have a lot of it finished now. There are four volumes, and
each volume has a number of CDs in it. It's a big set, but it's a
chronological thing. It's a trip from my first recording up through
the most recent ones. That's how we can divide it up.
The first one stops in 1971 or '72, I think it's '72.
There's a lot of video stuff that's going to be in it. There's
going to be a live performance, actually, two live acoustic
performances, solo acoustic performances, that are groups of songs,
long groups of songs, full sets. And it's kind of interesting to see
the early Seventies and late Sixties that way. With this funky old
16-millimeter film and everything....It will be similar to Bob's thing. It's going to be a series of live records -- there are live records over a period of
about four years. That's a numbered set that will come out
periodically. Some of them will be free; they will be on compilation
records where there are new things in them. They're all new things,
but some of them are things that have never been on record.
Those (unreleased albums) are all in the archives, and as you chronologically get to that period, if there was a finished album, it will be there, and it
will also be possible to listen to the songs in the order they were
recorded, so everything in the order it was recorded, that's the way
the archive works. You can get to a certain period in time and you
see, "Oh, four of these songs were in Homegrown, and that was
released a year and a half later," and with the DVD and computers
and everything, you can jump around and see how things are
connected. It's good, the technology makes it real possible to
develop all that. It's almost like a video game of music or
something, where you can choose tracks, where they come from in
chronology and what albums they were in, even though they're all
spread out chronologically. Stuff like that. It's interesting for
Archives Trailer on display on Neil's Web Site.
Long-awaited details about the forthcoming Neil Young Archives box-
set have surfaced today.
The anticipated release date of 'Archives, Volume 1' is September
The collection will feature eight discs, including "Live At the
Filmore" (released last November) and "Live At Massey Hall", a solo
set from 1971 which is due out on March 26 .
Thirty-eight previously unreleased songs will feature on Archives,
billed as a 'musical autobiography' of Neil Young. Tantalisingly, the
eight CDs only cover the period from 1964 to 1971, suggesting it is
only the beginning of a vast release campaign.
"Now we have the techology to put it out, so it's coming out this
year. we've finished Volume One. It will be eight DVDs and Blu-ray,
that'll be it."
2008. SF Gate
Singer Neil Young said Tuesday that he is tapping the same new
technology used in the latest movies and video games to release his
archive of music, photos, videos and other memorabilia.
Young, in a baseball cap and dark sunglasses, appeared on stage at
the JavaOne conference in San Francisco to introduce the Neil Young
The archive will take advantage of Blu-ray technology, the high-
definition DVD, to offer a retrospective of Young's songs dating to
Young said he has wanted to release the archive since the 1980s but
had been held back by technology. Blu-ray offers higher sound
quality than CDs and standard DVDs, more storage capacity, more
interaction and, with the latest players, the ability to access the
Web to download additional features.
The first of five volumes, a 10-disc set available in the fall, will
include a chronological collection of 128 tracks, 500 photos,
letters, manuscripts and additional material from 1963 to 1972.
Designed as a file cabinet, it lets fans listen to the music and
browse the archive on the screen at the same time.
"We want people to spend the same hours on it like a video game,"
Young, who started thinking about assembling an archive after the
release of his compilation package "Decade" in 1977, said it will
contain not just his best, but also his worst recordings to show the
evolution of his career. "I wanted to tell the whole story, the
successes and the failures," he said.
Young said he also wanted to wait until better digital sound quality
was available. He dismissed CDs and digital music tracks - "My heart
goes out to them," he said of people listening to music on their
iPods and other MP3 players - and said their poor sound quality has
been destructive to the music industry.
"In reply to all those who demand to get a free mp3 version with their BD edition- This won't happen, so just get used to that reality. This free mp3 is some option that you folks just made up here on this forum (Thrasher's Wheat). It doesn't exist in the real world." - Archives Guy 12/22/2008.
Neil Young Archives Vol 1 released on 6/2/09 simultaneously on Blu-Ray, DVD, CD and Digital Download formats (and the BD and DVD versions do come with a free MP3 download card...).
2009, Guitar World, Oct.
GW: So how many Archives sets are we looking at?
NY: Maybe four, maybe five. It depends on how much cutting and paring down we do, and how much we get into using BD-Live, which is a really remarkable thing. It's tremendous. It's remarkable because we really only saw that aspect of it for the first time six or seven months ago....One thing that we figured out is that we're going to be able to do progressive download updates. So for instance, around 1970 I played a show at the Cellar Door club in Washington, D.C. That show was taped, but we don't have enough great takes to release it as its own disk. Instead, I'll probably make the songs available as downloadable updates to Archives. We'll drop them onto the timeline one at a time...
One thing I'll tell you about the next volume of Archives is that Time Fades Away II is in there. And it's interesting because the whole thing has a different drummer than what was on that album. I switched drummers halfway through the tour- Kenny Buttrey was in there for the first half, and Johnny Barbata came in for the second. It's a completely different thing, with completely different songs. So that's interesting. There's lots of stuff like that that I'm working on right now for the second volume.
2010, NY Times.
The NYA team, headed by Will Mitchell and Hannah Johnson, is digging through material supplied by numerous sources, including newspapers, writers, fans, bootleg audio collectors and photographers (special thanks to photographer/collector Joel Bernstein). Much work has been done and there is much left to do. Using the template designed by the late Larry Johnson, the whole team is pushing forward.
Special thanks to audio engineers John Nowland, Tim Mulligan and the team at Redwood Digital for the unbelievable amount of work that has been accomplished so far. Volume 2 promises even more content than Volume 1, with many unreleased tracks.
Four unreleased albums from this period are being rebuilt and will be available in the NYA Special Release Series. Chrome Dreams, Homegrown and Oceanside-Countryside are the three unreleased studio albums. Also from this period is the unreleased Odeon-Budokan live recording produced by David Briggs and Tim Mulligan. These albums initially will be released in vinyl from analog masters as they originally were created for that format. So now is the time to get your new phonograph player. The new players, built with today's technology, are exceptionally good.
2012, WMMR, Neil Young with Pierre.
...So, we're making good progress on Volume 2 and we've actually compiled it all the way up to volume five. So it's a matter of manufacturing and putting it finally together and also figuring out the technology and working it into PONO.
2013, July 18, Biarritz, Constant Meijers. (Thanks to Stringman and RustRadio)
When I ask (Neil) about the next episode of his Archives, Neil says that it is in progress but that it will not be released on Blu Ray anymore.
"We are making it suitable for computers. We are also altering Volume 1 for that, that isn't a lot of work. The advantage of the computer version is that we're not constricted by the disks, and that the digital file cabinet that we started can go on infinitely.'"
2014. Rolling Stone, May.
It'll be finished this summer. All of the music will be done. It goes just past Rust Never Sleeps. It's full of albums that weren't there before : stuff I did that I never put out. The rest will come out pretty quickly. While we've been working on 'Volume II,' we've been working on the other volumes. I've gotten to the point where I've made a template for how to release it in the future, if I can't do it myself. I've also done a lot of it myself. The quality is there. It's a model for how to preserve music.
2015. Uncut, April.
Botnick (Bruce Botnick, PONO, VP of content aquisition) explains that both Archives Volume 1 and eventually Volume 2 will arrive on Pono: Well be doing enhanced metadata in the store, reveals Botnick. So you will be able to click on that album, and download an extremely large .pdf with all the news thats fit to print about when it was recorded, who recorded it, who produced it, who were the musicians, what hours of the day, what studio, all that kind of good stuff
who was having a baby that day, what kind of food they were eating! Were harking back to the old days of vinyl, when you could hold a 12 in your hand and read a lot.
2016. Uncut, June.
Whatever "the next thing" is, can often be a complicated business where Young is
concerned. There is the not so small matter of his ongoing Archives project; specifically, the status of Vol2.
Young has teased its arrival previously, and its possible he might prevaricate further.
Today, at least, he seems to think it's coming this year. "I'm putting a website out, probably just before
Christmas," he reveals. "It'll be my entire archives on a website. You can listen to music, and you'll see
where the albums are that are pencilled in, not finished. From throughout a 40 or 50 year span, you'll see
unfinished records behind you, in front of you, right now, way in the future."
2016. Rock and Folk, June.
RaF : And so the question you expected :
Where is your box ' Archive Part 2' ?
Neil Young : At the moment I speak, the contents of the box
is defined. It's finished but it will leave only when we have
the right technology to present the way I want.
2016. Rolling Stone, July 14.
After he wraps his current tour in October, Young will continue
work on Archives II, the follow-up to 2009's Archives, which collected
unreleased material up to 1972. Young says the project will include
Dume, an album of songs from the Zuma era, and Hitchhiker, an acoustic
LP from the mid-Seventies. The major hold-up has been developing
technology for presenting the ambitious project: "We're gonna have a
website that's, like, 60 years of music in chronological order,
with links so you can look at my archives and play the music off the
high-res source at the same time." So what's it like to reflect on all
he's accomplished over the years? "I don't," he says. "I need to take a
break and go to the bathroom."
2016. Uncut, Sept 2.
Now Young's manager, Elliot Roberts, has further updated Billboard on this second volume,
telling them it is "nearly completed and should surface in 2017".
"Neil has a whole series of Shakey Films that we've done through the years,"
Roberts says. "We haven't really had a chance to put a lot of them out. Either
he tours or starts doing an album or moves on to the next one. But we have about
six or seven full-length films that will be coming out over the course of the next
two years. These are really the first two."
The contents include Hal Ashby's film of Young's 1982-83 one-man Trans Tour, a
Tim Pope chronicle of an early Young concert in England, and 2003's Greendale.
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