Neil Young Now Says Retirement ‘Could Happen’

Neil Young admits that he might slow down one day, but for now he’s doubling down on the idea of creating a sustainable tour.

Retirement “doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility,” Young, 77, tells the New Yorker. “That could happen. You get to a point in life where things are happening everywhere around you, and your friends are going away and not coming back. Things change.”

In the meantime, he’s released two new albums, Barn and then World Record, during the past 12 months alone. He prefers producing them on vinyl, but has been frustrated by manufacturing delays.

“We finished recording [World Record] toward the end of May. That’s six months ago. That’s a long time for me to wait. I’ve never waited that long to put out a record,” he said. “Because the record companies in their ultimate wisdom, seeing what a great thing digital was, they sold all the places where they made records. Now people want records and they haven’t got a facility to make them in, so it takes months and months and months to get vinyl.”

He hasn’t played a public concert since September 2019. Should Young return to the road, he says he still intends to avoid playing venues that offer factory-farmed food to attendees. “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,” he said. “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?” Young added. “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.”

In the end, he’d like to create an approach that other acts could adopt as their own. “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,” Young said. “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.”

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