Neil Young Has A Plan For A Sustainable Tour — If He Ever Tours Again
It’s been more than a year since music venues reopened after shutting down during the pandemic, but Neil Young isn’t in any hurry to return to the stage. Young has stayed plenty busy since COVID, releasing new music and archival material, but he hasn’t toured — or, indeed, played any sort of public show — since 2019. Earlier this year, Young said that he misses playing live very much but that he still doesn’t feel safe returning to the road. But Young is still working on a plan to tour in a way that’s environmentally sustainable, and he’s talking about how to accomplish that now.
Environmental causes have always been dear to Neil Young’s heart. Earlier this month, he and his longtime band Crazy Horse released World Record, an environment-themed concept album that they recorded with Rick Rubin. In a new interview with my friend Amanda Petrusich at The New Yorker, Neil Young discusses his plan for a sustainable tour. In response to a question about whether art can help solve societal problems, Young offers up this:
Well, I have a plan. I’ve been working on it with a couple of my friends for about seven or eight months. We’re trying to figure out how to do a self-sustaining, renewable tour. Everything that moves our vehicles around, the stage, the lights, the sound, everything that powers it is clean. Nothing dirty with us. We set it up; we do this everywhere we go. This is something that’s very important to me, if I’m ever going to go out again… and I’m not sure I want to, I’m still feeling that out. But if I’m ever going to do it, I want to make sure that everything is clean.
What was the last thing you remember eating at a show, and how good was it? Was it from a farm-made, homegrown village? I don’t think so. It was from a factory farm that’s killing us. I’ve been working on this idea of bringing the food and the drink and the merch into the realm where it’s all clean. I will make sure that the food comes from real farmers. Once it’s up and going, and I’m finished with my part of the tour, there’s no reason why the tour has to stop. The tour can keep on going with another headliner. It’s about sustainability and renewability in the future, loving Earth for what it is. We want to do the right thing. That’s kind of the idea.
Later in the idea, the 77-year-old Young says that retirement “doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility.” You can read the full interview here.