Neil Young‘s surreal 1982 comedy Human Highway will finally get a nationwide theatrical release on February 29th. It will be paired with his 1979 concert movie Rust Never Sleeps and a Q&A with Young and Human Highway cast members Charlotte Stewart, Russ Tamblyn and Devo’s Gerald Casale conducted by Cameron Crowe. Tickets for An Evening With Neil Young will be available on January 15th.
Human Highway tells the story of a group of regulars at a small-town diner/gas station, with a nuclear power plant accidentally triggering the end of the world. Young, who plays a dim-witted gas station employee, co-wrote and co-directed the film, which also features the five members of Devo as a group of power plant employees. The low-budget film was a labor of love for Young. He spent four years shooting it, and the last three decades tinkering around with it. A new version debuted last year at New York’s IFC Center.
The film also starred Dean Stockwell and Dennis Hopper. “We were kind of repulsed by the whole experience,” Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh told Rolling Stone in 2010. “I thought Dennis Hopper was retarded when we met. He couldn’t say his lines. He couldn’t speak a sentence. He just ignored every direction he got. He was a short-order cook in the movie and he was playing with a knife and he ended up cutting Sally Kirkland really bad. She ended up suing Neil Young.”
Mothersbaugh says the film has grown on him over the years. “At the time, we discounted it, but 10 years ago, I went to some arts cinema and saw it again,” he said. “I liked it more in retrospect. Devo actually has some of the best parts of the movie. It’s a truly weird piece of history.”
Rust Never Sleeps, on the other hand, is an undisputed masterpiece. It captures Neil Young and Crazy Horse on their 1978 American tour, right near the absolute peak of their live powers. It mixes acoustic tunes like “Sugar Mountain” and “After The Gold Rush” with thrashed-out renditions of “Sedan Delivery,” “Cortez The Killer,” “Powderfinger” and many other classics from the era.
Young, who turned 70 in November, is launching an extensive European tour with Promise of the Real on June 5th at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. They toured American last year, regularly playing for over three hours and reviving long-dormant songs like “L.A.,” “Don’t Be Denied” and “Vampire Blues.”