One of my 2008 highlights was seeing Neil Young again (after all these years)
While I've not always liked everything he's done, I've always admired his refusal to bow to what his fans (and the label) would like him to do next (in other words a re-tread of his what he's done before). I remember one wierd gig with the vocoders…when everyone was expect more Rust Never Sleeps or something
All of us face this pressure to repeat our stuff: the greatest hit syndrome.
Ol Shakey takes such a pride in confounding expectations and following his musical instincts.
I saw a great BBC documentary interview with him recently in which he articulated this really clearly…
Couldn't find it tonight but here's a Mark Kermode one from 07 which (at 4.25 approx) has him discuss this. I love the idea the way he steers by his own star and seems almost to delight in others' confusion and mis-expectations…Tonight's the Night is a great example – recorded live and late at night to create a specific angry and alienated feel (and rejected initially by the label)
It's worth bearing this need to do it on your own terms in mind – it's all too easy to be misled by all this social-media-co-creating-and-collaborating-with-your-customers-schtick into a habitual attitude of slavish subservience to customers.
But it has to be personal: what you will die for may not be enough to get me out of bed, but that's ok, because it's your business and not mine and if you're true to it, lots of folk out there will want a piece of it