Kneel to Neil on Friday…

Image courtesy of Myspace

Interview by Erin Wolf

The music of Neil Young is indelible — not only musical history-wise, but by continuing to garner new meaning by becoming a catlyst for a noble cause. Through the music of Neil Young, The Bridge School has benefited from Milwaukee’s ‘Kneel To Neil’ concerts for the last three years, and this years’ benefit will again bring local bands to the stage of Linnemans, with their renditions of the haunting folk rock originally penned by Young. Organizer of Milwaukee’s Kneel to Neil, Chris DeMay talks to Fan-belt about this year’s benefit…

Why Neil Young? Why not Joe Cocker or Tom Waits?

Because Neil is great and those other guys suck. No…really, the simple reason is that Mr. Young and his music have been a huge influence and inspiration to me, as well as to Blaine Schultz and Jason Mohr, my comrades in the Kneel To Neil shows.

Which bands are repeat visitors to this benefit show?

The Carolinas, Juniper Tar and the Vega Star have all participated in one or more of the past shows. And, Blaine Schultz and myself have played previously with a variety of bands and projects.

Which bands are newbies?

This year we are pleased to have Roses, Time Since Western, John Sieger, the Peder Hedman Quartet and Liv Mueller of the Darkhorse Project all performing at Kneel To Neil for the first time.

Are the bands involved able to choose which Neil Young songs they’d like to cover, or are they steered towards certain songs?

We (Blaine, Jason and I) are pretty much hands-off with regard in what material folks choose to perform. Mr. Young’s catalog is so rich and varied it’s way more fun to sit back and see what people select rather than us dictating any songs or records.

What’s the story behind the Bridge School?

Mr. Young and his wife helped establish The Bridge School in 1986 as a school for special needs and severely disabled children. Young has two sons with cerebral palsy and a daughter, who like Young, suffers from epilepsy. Each year, Young hosts a fundraiser for the school called The Bridge School Concert. We based our fundraiser on those shows, except we ask the bands to perform Young’s music rather than their own.

This is the fourth annual ‘Kneel To Neil’ fundraiser with local bands using the music of Neil Young to raise money for the Bridge School. This year, the fundraiser will also benefit WMSE — tell me about the addition…

Over the past three years, the Kneel to Neil shows have raised over $5,000 for The Bridge School. But this year, we decided to add a local co-charity for the event and WMSE was our first choice. We really wanted to help the station, which has helped so many local bands and musicians, replace its transmitter and antenna after they were zapped by thunderstorms last August.

Kneel To Neil takes place at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 1001 E. Locust Street this Friday, November 14th. Tickets are $10 and all proceeds benefit The Bridge School and 91.7 FM, WMSE. Show starts at 8 p.m.

MP3“Eulogy For Shakey”, Juniper Tar

MP3“Kitchen Table Blues”, Chris DeMay

One Response to “Kneel to Neil on Friday…”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Oh wow, someone else thinks that Tom Waits sucks? I’m not alone?

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