Friday, April 29, 2022

This post's for you: The East Village connection behind Neil Young's new box set

Photo by Daniel Root

Today, Neil Young delivers Official Release Series #4 as a box set. 

And there's an East Village connection to this four-LP/CD collection of Young's music from the 1980s.

Gracing the cover is a photo of Young that East Village-based photographer Daniel Root shot in 1988 at the long-gone venue The World on Avenue C and Second Street. (Read more about The World in this article.) 

How did this selection happen? 

"Neil picked it from their files," Root told me. "I suggested alternatives, but they said once he picked it, that was it." 

I asked Root a few questions about all this, starting with the night he took the photos. 
What I remember about the night was the packed house and the decrepit state of the place. It looked like the balcony and/or the chandelier could come down at any minute. Don’t remember much about the music except for the taping horn section and Neil’s wonderfully unhinged solos, but that’s usual for me when I shoot live shows and music videos. I’m listening for the "form of the music" more than the music itself. When I say form I mean I listening for "here comes a solo, here comes the big finish, group interaction, last song of the encore is about done and get ready for the big group hug/wave/smile." 
And on the selection process... 
The amount of luck and happenstance that got all this together is somewhat amazing. Shot in 1988, the stock photo house that represented my music photos sent them to him. They sent back most of them but kept some. The Neil Young Archives found them in the drawer when they decided to put out a 1980s collection and he picked that one. 

Thankfully the slide was still stamped with my name and phone, and thankfully none of that had changed. They had to clean it because it was in a drawer for 35 years but they did a great job. 

The release date was pushed back three times over two years. I started thinking it wasn't going to happen.
Previously on EV Grieve:


Anonymous said...

Neil Young and The Blue Notes. It was near the bottom of his output but it was still Neil. Everyone was jumping. I went below the dance floor for a break and saw the ceiling dropping and rebounding rhythmically. Looked like it was going to give way.
I heard Kid Creole was a silent partner at one point.

Unknown said...

The World! Saw That Petrol Emotion there in 1989. It really did look like the place was falling down all around us. What an experience!

Anonymous said...

very cool, great shot

Anonymous said...

Would not call it "the bottom," just Neil being Neil and defying his fans' expectations.

Anonymous said...

Wow, That Petrol Emotion! Saw them in Amsterdam in 86-87 together with Dream Syndicate and Green On Red. And at the end of the night all 3 bands jammed together on stage. Like 5 hours show.

Anonymous said...

AC/DC recorded their video for Fly On The Wall at this venue. I also saw Big Audio Dynamite there. Cool joint

RJJNY said...

This is the best photo of the inside of The World that I've run across:

Also features in some of Nelson Sullivan's videos.

Rev. Billy Talen said...

Dear EV and friends of Neil,

Neil has posted the article in his newspaper, which is called the Times-Contrarian. Here's the link. His editor took out some of the details, but still... It's the top right story.

Earth-a-lujah! ----Rev Billy

PS: Come to the Earth Church next to the ghost of the World. We're in that abandoned Capital One bank branch at corner Ave C & 3rd, 5 pm every Sunday. We're not religious, we love the Earth, and East River Park...