I’ve listened to Neil Young forever and wondered what it would be like to meet him. Would he be a cool and groovy guy? Would he invite me to his crib and sing Cinnamon Girl–or would he be standoffish? I probably will never know, but at least I wonder.
I’m not a star chaser by any means, but one Saturday I headed to Santa Cruz having a pipe dream that Neil Young might be walking down the street in his moccasins and straggly hair and I would say hello.
I didn’t find Neil Young in Santa Cruz, but I found a lot of other cool things. I saw a car that was completely done in psychedelic mosaic. I found a bookstore with the best esoteric poetry and literature this side of San Francisco. I saw a guy dressed up in a Martian costume playing a music box.
I listened to a guy strum Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven on the saw. I gave him a couple bucks and he played Neil Young’s Old Man.
I watched the saw musician in awe. The saw sounds like a metallic whistle that really reaches a high pitch. The musician tucks the handle between his knees and he strums the metal part with a bow; he said he aimed for the soft spot on the saw. He also said that you can play with a wood saw or you can buy an expensive musical saw that features flattened teeth that makes it easier to play. He played the old fashion way with a wood saw.
Santa Cruz is a hippie town. It’s one of the few hippie towns left. It’s a laid back place with pony-tailed men and groovy-looking hippie women dressed in sixties clothing. It’s not one of those chic California beach towns in Southern California. The place features artsy types who love rock and folk music, yoga, and vegetarian food.
Speaking of vegetarian food, there’s a great place to eat tofu scrambles in Santa Cruz called the Walnut Street Cafe. They make an awesome mushroom and spinach tofu scramble that makes you want to be a vegan.
I realize that I’m not the center of Neil Young’s universe. He was probably spending the Saturday afternoon in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the ranch with his family. He was probably enjoying the cool mountain air and strumming his acoustic guitar to the sound of Cinnamon Girl.
Wish I could have heard it.