Neil Young And His Politics Are Getting Harder To Follow

by Noiz 10. September 2015 19:06

Neil Young And His Politics Are Getting Harder To Follow

Neil Young and his band, Promise of the Real, will return to the road beginning Oct. 1.  That night they’ll perform at the Adam Center on the campus of the University of Missoula in Missoula, Montana.

The following evening, look for Young and Promise in Spokane, Washington at the Spokane Arena.

There are eight more dates on their docket before their tour wraps at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California on Oct. 17.

Rebel Content Tour

This is the second trek for Young and PotR in 2015.  They played 12 dates in July including a two-night stand at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado.

Both of the previously mentioned outings are part of the artist’s “Rebel Content Tour.”

Young’s backup band, Promise of the Real, is led by Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson, sons of Willie Nelson.  Also in the fray are Anthony Logerfo, Tato Melgar, and Corey McCormick.

Not only is the band joining Young on the road but they also helped to record his latest album, The Monsanto Years.

The Monsanto Years

The Monsanto Years dropped June 29 and is Young’s 36th studio release.

The opus is a concept album disparaging Monsanto, a billion dollar corporation in the agrochemical and biotechnology fields. 

One of the few songs from The Monsanto Years that you might hear at an upcoming Neil Young concert is “A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop.”

Yeah, I want a cup of coffee but I don't want a GMO
I like to start my day off without helping Monsanto

Young will turn 70 in early November but in many ways he thinks like a 20-year-old…

…or at least a 20-year-old from a liberal college campus. 

In The Monsanto Years, Young harangues the use of genetically modified organisms or GMO. 

Yet, Young suffers from type 1 diabetes and needs insulin.  Nowadays, the insulin he uses is manufactured by genetically engineered microbes (it used to come from slaughtered pigs).

In the previously mentioned “Star Bucks” song, Young sings that “mothers want to know what they feed their children,” but “GMO” isn’t an ingredient.  It’s a set of processes. 

Young also croons: “Let our farmers grow what they want to grow” but farmers of all sizes utilize GMO.  They use them because an overwhelming amount of scientific studies reveal that GMO increases crop yields, reduces the use of pesticides, and increases profits. 

Also, there’s tons of research supporting its safe use

"Old Man"
Robb Fraley, the Chief Technology Officer at Monsanto, and a self-described Neil Young fan, invited the rock and roll hall of famer to visit his company. 

As Fraley so cleverly put it, “He might even find that a lot of us—this old man included—are a lot like he is.”

Young declined Fraley’s offer and responded with a tripe 10-minute YouTube documentary.

You can understand why Young declined Fraley’s offer. 

What if Young went to Monsanto and learned that they “are a lot like he is?”  That would certainly take the air out of his latest album. 

Young has a vested interest in keeping the anti-GMO movement alive and pressuring companies like Monsanto. 

I wish Young would have visited Monsanto and done so with the wisdom that usually comes with being 69.  Perhaps such a visit would have bridged the gap between the opponents and proponents of GMO.

Instead, Young reacted like a college student wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt.  He ignored the other side of the issue and just doubled down on his own opinion.

In June, Donald Trump announced his bid for the White House.  In doing so, he played Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

For the sake of this article, we’ll ignore the fact that this probably isn’t the best song for a GOP candidate to use in his campaign.

Trump legally secured the rights to the song but not Young’s permission.  In a statement, Young said the use of his song was “unauthorized.” 

Trump’s camp responded by saying they won’t use it again.

Like Fraley, Trump is also a Neil Young fan.

Young then issued a lengthy statement in which he berated corporations, the Supreme Court, GMO, and the media.

He also used the phrases: “speak Truth to this Economic Power” and “Freedom of Choice.”

I didn’t think anyone over 40 used the terms “speak truth to power” and “freedom of choice.”

Once again, Young seemed to have taken the immature, activist position instead of the sagacious, considered one.

He should have allowed Trump to use his song.  That would have kept him permanently in the conversation and showed everyone that he’s all about “freedom of choice.”

Great White North
In the aforementioned statement, Young “confessed” that he’s Canadian.   He does, however, life in United States.

So you can either pity him for living in a place where he lacks the vote or you can question his intellect for choosing to live in a country that he finds so distasteful.

Young has done a lot of great charity work over the years.  Not only was he a co-founder of Farm Aid but he helped build The Bridge School, an educational institution for children with disabilities.

Without a doubt, Young is a world class humanitarian.

He’s also a bona fide rock star.

Young recently put his two-acre Hawaiian lot, the one with a 4,530-square foot bungalow on the property, up for sale.  The asking price is $24.5 million.

His spread looks like someplace a Bond villain would live.  It’s breathtaking.

For all of Neil Young’s rebellious bluster, and standing up for the so-called common man, he’s still closer to the one-percent then he is to the other ninety-nine.

Very few people who use the term “speak truth to power” have Hawaiian estates with 830 feet of ocean frontage.

Maybe I’m missing the point.

Maybe it’s a good thing that a 70-year-old man still has the convictions and the energy to fight, what many believe is, the good fight.

Perhaps speaking truth to power is better than listening to both sides.

Or maybe none of this matters.  It’s inconsequential where you stand on where Neil Young stands.  After all, what’s really important is the music.

Like Young said:

“Music is a universal language. So I am glad that so many people with varying beliefs get enjoyment from my music, even if they don't share my beliefs.”

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The Weeknd And The Ugliness Behind The Madness

by Noiz 7. September 2015 19:46

The Weeknd And The Ugliness Behind The Madness

Everyone loves the weekend!

According to some, the weekend is what everyone is working for.

But what about The Weeknd?

In other words…

…Does everyone love alternative R&B superstar Abel Tesfaye? 

Abel Tesfaye
The Canadian singer-songwriter, and friend of Drake, is better known by his moniker “The Weeknd.”

There’s a lot to love about the crooner who, in half a decade, has gone from unknown to mega music superstar.

Later in the article, you’ll read some reasons not to love the “nd” of the week.

Number One
The Weeknd’s second studio album, Beauty Behind the Madness, just went to the top spot on the Billboard 200.  It’s the artist’s first number one platter.

In its first week of sales, The Weeknd’s sophomore effort moved more than 326,000 units.  That’s the second best week of sales for 2015. 

Only his buddy Drake has pushed more LPs in seven days’ time.  Back in February, Drizzy’s If You’re reading This, It’s Too Late notched 495,000 in sales.

Other Recent Accomplishments
Philadelphia’s Made in America 2015 saw The Weeknd in concert .  Tesfaye closed out the Budweiser-sponsored festival on Sept. 7 with an amazing set that garnered a bevy of rave reviews. 

Also, he recently starred in an Apple Music commercial and tore the house down at the 2015 MTV VMAs—he performed “Can't Feel My Face.”

Ugly Behind The Madness
The Weeknd’s music—anchored by his indelible kind-of-reminds-you-of-Michael-Jackson’s voice— provide plenty of reasons to love and adore him.

There is, however, a dark-side to The Weeknd.  A side that’s as unlikable as the boss calling you into work on a Saturday or any event that makes you set your alarm clock on a Sunday.

If you love The Weeknd, and don’t want to know anything negative about your hero, then STOP READING!  Your opinion of him WILL BE tarnished.

Instead, just send a link of this article to a friend and have them read it for you.  The following contents will go over much smoother coming from a loved one.

We write this warning because what comes next isn’t opinion but the cold, hard truth about The Weeknd.

Start of The Weeknd
The Weeknd got his start after uploading three tracks to YouTube: “What You Need,” “Loft Music,” and “The Morning.”  The uploads created a tremendous buzz and even attracted the attention of Drake.

Before you knew it, The Weeknd was the next big thing in music.

A Rose By Any Other Name
The aforementioned three tracks contained production by Jeremy Rose.  They were all for “a dark R&B project” Rose had created and who Tesfaye was tapped to collaborate. 

Rose also produced half of “The Party & the After Party,” a track found on the artist’s first mixtape, House of Balloons.

Now, get this…

…the sound we now associate with Tesfaye (The Weeknd) was actually Rose’s.

“When I met him I heard some of the stuff that he was doing. It was called the Noise. Remember that? It came out after he broke. It was this group, with him and another producer and it was called the Noise. They were a straight kind of R&B, just really light and kind of candlelight…” — Jeremy Rose

Rose also notes that at this time Tesfaye’s lyrics started to change.  He had been writing a lot of raps and they weren’t nearly as “descriptive” as they are now.

The Third E
Tesfaye and Rose were actually a duo who recorded under the name The Weekend.  The third “e” dropped after they split (also, there is another Canadian band named The Weekend).

Their friendship and partnership quickly deteriorated.  Rose felt like his opinions and creative energies were being ignored. 

After they decided to dissolve the band, Tesfaye had the gall to ask Rose if he would be his producer. 

Rose responded by asking to be paid.  It was immediately clear to Rose that the artist had no intention of ever paying him.

“That’s why I backed out. I was like, “You can have those three or four tracks, I’ll give you the stems, just take ’em, but I don’t want to work with you anymore.” I was really congenial about it, but I told him, “Just make sure that you give me credit,” and that’s where things went sour.” —Jeremy Rose

Tesfaye has never given Rose credit.  He also never paid him.

Bottom Line
We’re not saying Rose is responsible for The Weeknd playing Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits, but clearly he had an influence on the singer.

And who knows what would have happened had Tesfaye not met and collaborated with Rose?  Things could have turned out much differently.   

Therefore, Rose deserves to be artistically referenced and financially rewarded for his contributions to Tesfaye’s career.

The Weeknd’s video to his smash hit “Can’t Feel My Face” has been charged with plagiarizing an unreleased video by the indie band Majical Cloudz.

Even though the Majical Cloudz video was shelved, its director, Mitch Moore, has accused “Can’t Feel My Face” director, Grant Singer, of nicking his idea. 

As Moore puts it “the resemblance is too uncanny.”

The band Majical Cloudz is distancing themselves from the controversy. 

Of course they are!  

It’s a wise business move designed to maintain a future working relationship with The Weeknd.

If you’re a musician you’d rather burn a bridge with a movie director then burn a bridge with one of the hottest singers on the planet.

Mum’s the Word
It would be nice for The Weeknd to comment on why his music video is plagiarized but he won’t.  The Weeknd doesn’t do traditional interviews.  

A man of few words, the Weeknd basically communicates through social networks. 

One has to ask if this is organic or orchestrated.  With all the controversy surrounding the Canadian R&B star it’s sure convenient that he doesn’t speak to the press.

This might have nothing to do with the The Weeknd but it still leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

The Weeknd used to have “xo” as part of his Twitter handle and “XO” is the name of his own record label.

Most people believe “xo” stands for “a kiss and a hug.”  Unfortunately, more think it stands for ecstasy and OxyContin.

Does everything in popular music have to be drug related?

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Counting Crows And Adam Duritz Are Finally Cool

by Noiz 11. June 2015 19:24

Counting Crows And Adam Duritz Are Finally Cool

The Counting Crows begin the summer of 2015 on the road in Europe.  Their tour of the United States doesn’t begin until July 30.  That night they’ll be in Miami, Florida for a gig at the Bayfront Park Amphitheater.

They will be meandering around the continental U.S. through the first third of October.  The last date on their calendar is Oct. 11 at the Zoo Amphitheatre in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 

Get this…

The Counting Crows will be in New York City on Aug. 18, Boston on Aug. 23, Chicago on Sept. 12, and Houston on Oct. 8.

The Crows will be at Red Rocks on Sept. 16.

The opening acts for most shows will be Citizen Cope and Hollis Brown.


There are 38 Counting Crows concerts scheduled between July 30 and Oct. 11 and not one is booked in Canada.  The band has no animosity for the Great White North it’s just that they have already toured that providences.

From April 28 through May 23, The Counting Crows played 16 concerts at a variety of venues from St. Johns to Vancouver, B.C.

The Counting Crows tour is in support of their 2014 opus, Somewhere Under Wonderland.  It’s their first studio album since 2012 (Underwater Sunshine) and their first studio album of original material since 2008 (Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings).

Check it out…

The Crows have always been one of those “in between” bands.  When they debuted in 1993 with the album August and Everything After you were left scratching your head over whether or not it was cool to like “The Counting Crows.”

They weren’t grunge (which was big at the time), but they still sounded alternative enough to be played on college radio.  They were sort of a poor man’s R.E.M.

At least, that’s how you acted in public.  In private, you cranked up “Mr. Jones” every time it came on the radio and you sang along at the top of your lungs. 


Back then if you wanted to hear a song you either had to own it or you had to get lucky and be paying attention to the radio or MTV when they gave it a spin.

The reason for their in between status is twofold.

One, as I alluded to earlier, their sound isn’t “hard” or “loud.”  You might actually find their 2003 best of album in your aunt’s music collection.

The second reason, and the main reason, is frontman Adam Duritz. 

Here’s the scoop…
While every guy wants Duritz’s iconic dreadlocks no guy will actually admit to it.  He strikes one as the San Francisco version of John Mayer.

You know the type of jerk.  He sings sensitive songs to girls after making them barbequed kale.  But when the chicks aren’t around he’s listening to Metallica and eating Hot Pockets.

Admit it!  Since coming onto the music scene, you thought the same thing, or something real similar, about Duritz (at least once).


In an article published on, Duritz lists the “10 records that changed [his] life.”  This list is the type of pabulum that makes you want to drop kick the lead singer off the Golden Gate Bridge.

It’s not that he picked bad albums—they’re all great—it’s just that his list is a little pretentious.

He picked albums you’d expect to be on a list of albums picked by an artist.  It’s like he’s trying to be “cool.”

For example…

He selected De La Soul’s Three Feet High and Rising, Prince’s Dirty Mind, both Big Star albums, Richard & Linda Thompson’s Shoot Out The Lights, Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, The Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo, and of course, The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds.

Like I said, those are great albums, but we all saw them coming. 

Now, let’s be honest…
We all love Three Feet High but we listen to Licensed to Ill. 

Dirty Mind is the Prince album we’re supposed to like but the Prince album we actually like is Purple Rain. 

Miles Davis is everyone’s favorite jazz musician but come on!  No one listens to jazz.

And Pet Sounds is cool but Revolver is cooler.

Of course…

When Duritz says “record” he actually means “vinyl record.”

“Now when you hear a record you can buy it online for the most part.  When I was a kid I'd read about records but I couldn't always find them because vinyl often went out of print.” — Adam Duritz

Duritz is a huge music fan and understands the pure joy of finding that one piece of vinyl you don’t have on your shelf. 

I can’t talk “hair” with Duritz but I can talk music.  We can discuss the thrill of buying vinyl. 


We can discuss why he picked R.E.M.’s Chronic Town instead of Reckoning.  I’ve own Reckoning for more than 30 years and I still spin it once a week.

It appears that we were wrong about Duritz.  He’s not a douche bag like we feared.  He’s just a music lover with awesome hair (and a knack for writing catchy tunes).

Duritz is also awesome at crowd banter.  Talking to the audience between songs has become a lost art.  Duritz is quite adroit at it.

In the early 1990s, when we were all younger and trying to impress Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, and Cameron Crowe, we didn’t know what to make of the Crows and dismissed them.

Times have changed.

Now, in 2015, the band’s fan base doesn’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks about The Counting Crows.  All they care about is whether or not they can get a babysitter for the upcoming Counting Crows concert and if their DVR have enough room to record the shows they’re going to miss.

The Counting Crows are fun.  Their songs are infectious and they’ve matured into a great live act.  They’re a band you’ll like more in person then blaring from your iPod… or your record player.

The petty things that kept us smirking and rolling our eyes when the Counting Crows were mentioned in the company of our “cool” friends has gone the way of staying out past midnight, doing shots, and smoking jazz cigarettes.

In other words, the Counting Crows are finally cool… well, at least for people who no longer care about being cool anymore.

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Ten Reasons To Love Major League Soccer

by Noiz 5. June 2015 12:16

Ten Reasons To Love Major League Soccer

Major League Soccer is now one of the sports world’s hottest tickets.

Do you know that the average attendance for an MLS game is higher than the average attendance for NBA and NHL games? 

In the first two months of the current MLS season attendance is up 11 percent.

Soccer, which was once a sport that wasn’t just disliked by the American public but excoriated, is now on fire.  MLS is no longer the red-headed stepchild of American sports leagues. 

Sure, it’s still fifth in popularity behind football, baseball, basketball, and hockey—and soccer will never be the top sport in the U.S. (football is too engrained and too much of a quasi-religion).   But now is a great time to get interested in America’s version of the world’s game.

Below, Clickitticket lists ten reasons to love Major League Soccer.  If you have no inkling to watch an MLS match, either live or on television, you will after reading this article.

MLS Business Model
It wasn’t that long ago that MLS was losing money like it was a country on the Aegean Sea.  Now, the league is profitable.  Well, at least 10 of the league’s 19 teams are making more money than they are losing.  Even better news from the bean counters: the average franchise is worth more than $100 million.

How did the league do this when less than a decade ago the average value of a MLS franchise was less than $40 million?  The league has a great business model.  Each team is owned and controlled by league investors, meaning each player is paid by the MLS, meaning player salaries are kept reasonable, meaning the MLS has been built to last.

Avaya Stadium
Avaya Stadium is a soccer-specific arena that’s home to the San Jose Earthquakes.  The venue holds 18,000 soccer fans and is one of the best places to watch a MLS game—there’s not a bad seat in the house. 

Avaya Stadium is cloud-enabled, has a double-sided video scoreboard, a two-acre fan zone, and the largest outdoor bar in North America.  The stadium also has 882 solar panels that produce power for every soccer game.  Best of all, this amazing park was built for a mere $100 million.  That’s not bad for being located in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Check out this amazing stadium when the Earthquakes battle the Galaxy on Aug. 28 or when the Earthquakes take on the Dynamo on July 10.

Soccer-Specific Venues
Piggy backing on the Avaya Stadium entry is Major League Soccer’s penchant for soccer-specific venues.  These intimate and cozy venues make watching soccer a whole lot of fun.  Instead of playing in a half empty football stadium, teams have built smaller venues they can actually fill.  Also, these smaller venues have a much better atmosphere (see Providence Park, home of the Portland Timbers).

Not all teams play in soccer-specific venues.  There are 12 soccer-specific stadiums currently used by MLS teams.  Some clubs, like the Seattle Sounders and Orlando City SC, make football stadiums work.  Others, like the New England Revolution and D.C. United, who respectively play at Gillette Stadium and RFK Stadium, do not.

Go West
The balance of power in MLS isn’t on the east coast but on the west coast.  The top three most valuable MLS franchises border the Pacific rather than the Atlantic Ocean.  The Seattle Sounders, who attract the most fans of any MLS franchise, are worth $175 million.  They are followed by the L.A. Galaxy at $170 million and the Portland Timbers at $141 million (according to the latest numbers by Forbes).  The New York Red Bulls are ranked sixth at $114 million.

The Sounders attract more fans than a summer day in Phoenix.  They average 44,000 attendees a game.  The Galaxy is second with around 22,000.  And the Timbers, who play in the tiny city of Portland, Oregon, welcome nearly 21,000 a game, come in third.  The west coast loves them some soccer.

Soccer is the number one sport for most of the world but it’s not number one in the United States.  Yet, countries where soccer is king are spending big bucks to partner with the MLS.  It seems a bit counterintuitive but foreign businesses are finding America’s top soccer league very attractive.  

For example, MLS has struck a deal with a Chinese digital sports provider to broadcast games and Ethihad Airways, which is based in the Arabian Gulf, is the league’s official airline partner.  This means you can fly Ethihad Airways to Beijing and watch the LA Galaxy host the New York City FC or the Sounders FC versus Timbers on the internet.

Homegrown Boys
I was hesitant to include this entry because I read some pretty unsavory things when NASCAR started attracting foreign-born drivers.  Yet, there is a big difference between NASCAR and MLS.  NASCAR is the premiere stock car circuit on the planet and one of the biggest race car leagues in the world.  The MLS is nowhere near the top of its respective field; it doesn’t have to be all inclusive.

MLS teams have a certain number of roster slots they can fill with international players.  These slots can be traded and a team can have as many as it wants.  At the start of the 2015 season, slightly more than 43 percent of the players in MLS are not U.S. or Canadian citizens. 

Encouraging teams to field U.S. or Canadian players has nothing to do with nationalism.  It’s practical.  The more Americans and Canadians the league can develop means more talent for their respective national teams.  And it’s the World Cup that drives people to the game of soccer.

Reasonable Salaries
You may actually make more money than some of the players on the field.  The average salary for a MLS player is $226,000.  On the other end of the spectrum, the average NBA player makes $4.5 million.

I don’t fault anyone for making as much money as they can.  Good for them.   Where the fault lies is with the owners.  Once an owner overpays for one player then all owners have to overpay.   That’s bad for business and it irks fans to no end.  The MLS’ salary cap has made their league idiot-proof (i.e. owner-proof).  You’ve got to love that.

Designated Players
There are players whose salaries are more aligned to what we expect from a professional athlete’s paycheck.  These wealthy footballers are called “Designated Players.”  This rule began in 2007 when David Beckham joined the league.  To further save the owners from themselves, teams can only have a certain number of designated players.

What makes designated players so awesome is they’re usually superstars on the tail end of their careers (or members of the U.S. national team).  While it’s not the same as seeing them in their prime, you’ll still get bragging rights for seeing Kaka and David Villa on a MLS pitch.

Supporters’ Shield
Like the NHL, Major League Soccer presents an award to the team with the best regular season record.  It’s called the Supporters’ Shield.  Los Angeles Galaxy and D.C. United are tied for most Supporters’ Shields with four. 

I like handing out an award to the team with the best record in the regular season.  We focus so much attention on championships that we fail to celebrate what an accomplishment it is to dominate the regular season.

American Accents
Major League Soccer borrows a lot from its European counterparts.  There are, however, a few major differences.  These differences make the game much more palatable for Americans. 

For one, the league has a playoff.  Most soccer leagues don’t.  This is a must since Americans love playoffs.  Only relying on the regular season to select a champion just doesn’t cut it for Yankees.

Second, the league is closed.  Teams can’t be regulated to a lower league or promoted from a lower league.  So no matter how awful your team is they won’t be kicked out of the MLS.  The idea of promotion and regulation is anathema to Americans even though it’s common in Europe.

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About the Authors

There are a few of us here at ClickitTicket who contribute to this blog. We are huge music and sports fans and attend concerts and games on a regular basis.

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