Neil Young: ‘No Where, No Way’ To Play Protest Songs Today
Neil Young dropped by Marc Maron’s garage for the latest episode of the WTF podcast. The pair’s wide-ranging discussion covered the rocker’s new “live” album Earth, his climate change concerns and his belief that a protest song like “Ohio” would have minimal impact in today’s society.
On the latter subject, Young pointed to the monopolization and resulting homogenization of radio stations – “All 300 stations playing the same thing,” he said – as the reason why a protest song of any type could not thrive today. The relevance of the radio station has diminished, he said.
“If something happened and we wrote a song about it, there’s no way it would come out,” said Young. “There’s just nowhere to play it … You might not know what happened, because it would never be on the radio, people wouldn’t be talking about it, because radio and TV and all the media and everything is controlled by a certain amount of people and corporations. Before it used to be many, many people doing this, but the Telecommunications Act in 1996 made it possible for corporations to own all the media, so it’s six companies.”
Earlier in the chat, Young, whose new album Earth incorporates the many sounds of Mother Nature, talked about the dangerous effects society is having on the planet as well as his longstanding feud with GMO companies like Monsanto. Young listed events like Hurricane Sandy as evidence that the planet is rebelling against the humans polluting it with greenhouse gases. ”Climate change is one of the great prophet senders,” Young said. He added that despite the pillaging of Earth and its resources, he’s confident the human race will survive.
“I think we’re going to make it, I really do,” Young said. “I feel like Earth is just mistreated, and I think you just have to keep pointing it out and people will want to make a change. Want to eat food that they know is cleaner and better for the Earth, study the ways things are done.”