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Sylvie Simmons...Interview with Jack Nitzsche, June 1981

(Page 4) Going out to play with Neil Young

How did you get from Phil to Neil Young?
'65, 66. I had done some work for Charlie Green and Brian Stone - they didn't have any money, they didn't have anything going. Eventually they managed Sonny and Cher, Buffalo Springfield and Bob Lind who I'd done some records with too, "Elusive Butterfly", and that's how I met Neil, with the Springfield, and between all the material I liked Neil Young's the best. We got along well and made records with the Buffalo Springfield without the Buffalo Springfield there, just Neil and I and I encouraged Neil to go solo.

So you're the Yoko Ono of Buffalo Springfield! (laughs)
That's what Jeannie LeTaylor said. Know who Jeannie was?* Probably the first groupie. She made clothes for all the rock stars. She got a shop next to the Troubadour and we were all friends, but Jeannie felt the same way about that - when I encouraged Neil to go solo she said I was the evil one, the Devil. .

You went on the road with Neil.
Uh-huh.

Your first time on the road?
Yeah I think it was. Buffy St. Marie came later. .

Was it odd to be on the other side when you're usually twiddling the knobs in the studio?
Once again it didn't feel like the other side. It was all closer then. It was like doing the same thing we'd do in the studio except we were doing it in front of people. I was nervous and all that, I'd never done that before - the TAMMI show I'd done kind of, directing the audience and playing is different, it's true. It was fun. .

Doesn't treading the boards get in your blood, make you want to go back?
It did the first week. The first three days were real exciting. Then after that there's something fun about it, that gets into your blood, irresponsibility. .

That sense of power too?
I never felt that way about it. I always hated that part of it. If there was any thing like that attached to it, I wouldn't have felt it, Neil would have felt it - I was just the back up man. .

That depends on the size of your ego - there's roadies who feel power.
That's true. And they can let girls in on a backstage pass. I know what you mean. None of that. .

So you just sat backstage and sipped Pepsi like good boy after show!
I didn't like coke then. Still don't like coke. It's too speedy for me. It was fun being on the road, I'd never had that feeling before. You don't have to think about anything, just get into the car when they tell you to, get into the plane when they tell you to, but it didn't get in my blood. .

You never went back to it?
There's a reason, never going back to it , because the last time that I did that was in 1973 with Neil and that tour was a disaster I thought. It wasn't fun. Playing the same show every night for three months was not fun, and I guess we were all sort of going our own ways and Neil was I think feeling a bit more of his ego than he ever felt before and it made it difficult for anyone to have a real good time. So I didn't want to do that again. That isn't fun, seeing a hotel and an aeroplane and a hall. Maybe it's age, I don't know. There's just so much you can get out of it, and after you've gotten that you can't go back and get something new. I couldn't anyway. .

Don't you feel that way about arranging and producing?
Sure.

You'd rather just forget the lot and sit at home?
Yes. I don't really want to be involved in anything anymore unless it's something that I really love. If I'm going to have a job, I don't want it to be arranging and producing. The minute it becomes a job - it doesn't work. You won't have your job long I think, because the only thing hit records have in common, is everyone making them at the time had a good time doing it.

Sylvie Simmons 2006



* Real name, Jeannie Franklyn known as Jeannie the Tailor or Genie the Tailor. Jack wrote a song about her "I'll Bet She Knew It". This was belatedly released on "Three Piece Suite" Rhino Handmade's recent CD.

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