To All Neil Young's Friends

“I like people, I just don’t have to see them all the time.”
Neil Young seems like a particularly difficult person to interview. But I was very happy to read that Bukowskian quote in the profile David Carr wrote for Sunday’s Times Magazine. Because it reminded me of the lyrics of my favorite Neil Young song, “On the Beach.” “I need a crowd of people/But I can’t face them every day…” Neil sings, sounding miserable—torn between the insecurity, the hunger for approval that fuels so many performing artists, and misanthropy. (“Though my problems are meaningless/That don’t make them go away.”) Man, and the stuff about how the seagulls remain so far away—that kills me every time. I think that song is about the loneliest song I know. If you’d like to hear a cover of it by Radiohead (who explored similar themes in the 1998 documentary Meeting People Is Easy) press play above.