SHAKEY FEST: Muddy Track

Bernard Shakey takes the viewer on a trip thru the 1987 Neil Young and Crazy Horse European Tour, with much of the story captured by Neil Young’s hand held camera “Otto”. A soundtrack drenched in feedback and distortion punctuates a look into life on the road from the artist’s POV.

“Young has never shied away from documenting, warts and all, the high points of his career and some pretty low points as well. When he toured Europe in 1987 with Crazy Horse, disaster was looming. ‘It was f*ckin’ terrible,” to hear Shakey himself describe it. Ticket sales were shitty, band members were often in an alcoholic stupor and played poorly, there were riots and Young even had to deal with the ignominy of a radio interviewer who expressed surprise that Young wasn’t dead yet. At the end of the tour, Young publicly vowed never to work with Crazy Horse again.

“Young, being Young, saw the cinematic possibilities of the chaos of the tour and the result is Muddy Track, a patchwork, out-of-focus Shakey-cam walk in the band’s shoes as they stumbled across Europe. No distributor would touch something like this with a ten foot pole and so the film remained fairly mysterious until parts of it were seen in the Jim Jarmusch directed Year of the Horse in 1997.

“Speaking about his films, Young told MOJO in 1995: ‘MUDDY TRACK is really my favourite of all of them, though. It’s dark as hell God, it’s a heavy one! But it’s funky.’” – Dangerous Minds

Dir. Bernard Shakey, 1987, 72 min.