Eddie Vedder's Induction of Neil Young
1/12/95 Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, NY
Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies
"I uh, I can't get this thing out of my head. It was, uh, I think it was Peter Buck from R.E.M. and Neil Young and they were doing an interview and they were talking about music and talking about their love of vinyl and the analog sound compared to the digital sound and uh what a shame it was the industry (points at audience members) kind of pushed it aside. Um, and then he went on to say something like 'Those people at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame better think twice about inducting me 'cause if I get that podium in front of those people, I'm gonna have a lot to say.' So I hope Neil's feeling uh, feisty tonight and, uh, speaking of feisty, some smartass who arranged the tables put our table right next to TicketMaster's table over here, so I predict a food fight by the end of the evening...and I would recommend to the classy people like Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson over there to scoot away or maybe join in. Maybe we should all join in while we got 'em right here.
"I was talking with this guy Joel Bernstein who's a friend of Neil's, a comrade and co-worker who was cataloging all of Neil's tapes from over the years for a box set and, uh, there were tapes... there were 8-tracks and 16-tracks and 24-tracks and cassettes... like a thousand of them. And I asked, you know, were they labeled? And he said, 'Yeah, they were labeled. They were labeled Wednesday night, Monday morning jam in B.' And after it was all done, I think Joel ended up cataloging them by songs like the 40 best versions of 'Tonight's the Night' and the 65 best versions of 'Cortez the Killer' and Neil and I were standing in this room and we were looking at all these and I thought he was maybe gonna take one down and we were gonna play it. He looked around and he said, 'I gotta get outta here.' I saw a man overwhelmed by his body of work.
"Um, on the way over, Stone Gossard...he said a friend, Lonnie, called Neil's music, uh, 'mountain funk.' He was the 'king of mountain funk.' I thought that was pretty cool.
"He's taught us a lot as a band about dignity and commitment and playing in the moment and when I hear, you know, the speeches and inducting Janis Joplin and Frank Zappa, I get, uh, I'm just really glad he's still here. And I'm gonna (audience applauds; Eddie rolls his eyes, smiles and clutches his hand to his heart)... yeah!! And I think I'm gonna have to say that I don't know if there's been another artist that has been inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame to commemorate a career that is still as vital as he is today. Some of his best songs were on his last record.
"Well, it's a real privilege to be up here inducting him... to a great songwriter, a great performer, a great Canadian. Welcome to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, Neil Young.