Ah yes, Neil in the early ’80s. An interesting, if often ignored, era in the artist’s four decade career. If you’ve read Shakey (and really, any card-carrying Neil Young fan should) you’re aware the first half of the decade was rife with random experimentation and exploration — the majority of which was considerably underwhelming (although there are some gems in to be found in the mix). The Ronald Reagan endorsing Neil Young of the day, seemingly chasing his muse, released a disparate lot of music during this time including, but not limited to, a collection of ’50s rockabilly inspired tunes (Everybody’s Rockin’), vocoder laced, synthy, Tron jams (Trans), and the, at times frustrating, 1985 straight-country album Old Ways (which based on the guest personnel should have been nothing short of amazing).
In addition to music, Young, under the guise of his alter-ego Bernard Shakey, co-directed the gonzo comedy film Human Highway enlisting a number of his friends including Dean Stockwell and Dennis Hopper (who would soon team up for David Lynch’s opus Blue Velvet). The film “stars” Devo whom Young reportedly had developed a musical infatuation with the previous year. The following clip from the film is Young performing “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” with the band. Thanks to Tim for the vid.