This story appeared in the Detroit Free Press on Feb. 28, 1969. Despite flaws (like calling the group Pogo when, of course they were Poco) I've left the article as it appeared.
How did I meet Neil? I was in Ottawa, waiting for my green card to go through so I could move to Detroit. Neil was doing a solo, acoustic tour of folk clubs after the Buffalo Springfield had broken up and before he started his huge solo career. He played the small folk club Le Hibou in Ottawa, and I went over one afternoon while Neil was hanging around, doing a sound check etc. He was completely alone and when I showed up unannounced he just invited me into the dressing room where we chatted for a long time. When I moved to Detroit it was the first story I did for the Free Press where I worked for the next two years or so. An exclusive interview with Neil Young. Not a bad start.
We had met a couple of years before when the Buffalo Springfield had played in San Francisco. I heard them being interviewed on the radio, heard the Canadian accents and new I had to do a story on them. Somehow I hooked up with their managers (at the time the same managers as Sonny and Cher) and I went into SF, met the band and did a story on them. The Ottawa Journal printed it. Of course I found out there were three Canadians in the band including the drummer who was from Ottawa. Easy sell. What do I remember of that first interview?.....their roadie was the first male I saw use a hair dryer. :) The things you remember. Of course I also remember seeing them play in a little club in Hayward, Ca. I loved their music. Still do.
Detroit Free Press.... Friday, Feb. 28, 1969
Neil Young; On His Own...In His Own Special Way.
by Mike Gormley
Free Press Youth Writer
Neil Young is into doing things his own way.
There was a time when the ex-guitarist-composer-singer for the Buffalo Springfield was quiet and unassuming.
Once when the Springfield were about to go on stage in San Francisco--this was in their early days of success--several policemen came to escort the group to the stage area. Neil told them it wasn't necessary and mentioned he felt stupid. Upon his return to the dressing room he couldn't believe it, "but I was glad those cops were there."
Now Neil knows what's going on. He doesn't mind talking about most things, including the break up of The Buffalo Springfield.
"I went to California from Toronto with no idea of joining a group. It just happened and was good. Then we had management problems and, well things just came to an end."
The Buffalo Springfield was considered one of the best bands in the business. "I can't think of another band that was better," Neil said. "There were some as good, but none better. There was a lot going on in terms of creativity, except Dewey," (Springfield drummer Dewey Martin). "He was one of the reasons the group broke up.We just couldn't hack him anymore. He was on an ego thing and thought he could sing and always wanted to. It just bugged the hell out of us. If he hadn't been a darn good drummer the group wouldn't have had him."
None of The Springfield have lost real contact with each other, except possibly Dewey. Steve's into something with Eric Clapton and Stevie Winwood; a new group called Pogo is made up of ex-Springfield members and Dewey has started a group called The New Buffalo. "That group has a limited existence. None of them write or really create. They're probably just a Las Vegas showband. That's about where Dewey's at."
Very definitely an artist, Neil has strong words about those who don't contribute to music. "The Cream were a commercial group. They said they weren't in it for success or money but that's just not true. Everything they did was aimed at the record buyer. Hendrix is the man. He's a great guitarist and a wild show man, and he creates. The Cream wrote tunes but they didn't create anything new."
A suggestion commercial groups aren't bad just because they are commercial brought agreement from Neil, and an explanation why many such groups are considered the lower class musician.
"Paul Revere and the Raiders were strictly a money making group. But, until Paul fired a couple of guys for smoking pot, they were great. They were a driving group and had things to say at the same time. 'Kicks' is a good record and it added something to the music scene. It's when commercial groups don't mean anything they are looked down upon."
Neil's main problem right now is to let the past stay in its place. "It will be a while before people forget The Buffalo springfield, I know that. But someday they'll be asking me about what's going on now."
Presently Neil has a new back up group, The Crazy Horse, and a new album. "The album is all me except for one tune written by Jack Nitzsche. I'd like to make it as a single artist because it would be different. Groups come and go so a single artist would be refreshing." The Crazy Horse isn't heard on this album. "I'm nervous about the whole thing. It's like I've never been near the upper reaches of the music business before."
"I'm working on a new album now. One side I'll be alone and the other side will feature the group."
He's very deep. In his writing, such as "Mr. Soul", "Broken Arrow", "On The Way Home", and "I Am A Child" his thoughts go beyond simple words and simple music. In a way Neil has embarked on a new career.
Actually Neil Young is still rather quiet but not really unassuming. He has become somewhat outspoken.
It must be all part of doing it his way.