Neil Young makes surprise appearance at SXSW

The singer-songwriter attended a Q&A session following a screening of his 1982 film 'Human Highway'

Neil Young made a surprise appearance at SXSW in Austin, Texas last night (March 19).

The singer-songwriter attended a special screening of his 1982 movie Human Highway at the Paramount Theatre and participated in a Q&A session after the film. “It has a life of it’s own. It refuses to die – we tried to kill it a couple of times,” said Young of the surreal movie, which was shown in a newly re-cut and re-mastered format. “It was never satisfying to look at, because I knew there was more than what we were seeing… I always wanted to make it what it could be.”

The comedy, which is set at a roadside diner near a nuclear power plant, stars Young, who also wrote and directed the film under the pseudonym Bernard Shakey. The film features the band Devo as power plant workers and also sees the band jamming with Young on a version of his track ‘Hey Hey My My (Out Of The Blue)’. “They’re geniuses – they had something that was totally unique,” said Young yesterday. “When I met them I freaked out.”

Speaking about his work outside of music, he commented: “You’ve got to do other things, because just music is not enough.” He added that the new version of the movie, which includes previously unseen footage, will be touring film festivals throughout the year, before getting a DVD release. “I like people to look at it in the theatre – I like people to look at it with other people. I’m not a fan of the solitary art. I like to hear people react.”

Young recently launched his Pono digital music player, after unveiling the product’s Kickstarter at last year’s SXSW. Pono offers high-quality audio and is capable of storing up to 2,000 high-resolution songs. “I’m saying that it’s a high-resolution digital player,” Young said in a recent interview. “It doesn’t create an analog sound; it creates the best digital sound. It’s capable of creating the best sounds that people can create in the digital realm in the recording studios.”

Neil Young released two studio albums in 2014. His 34th album, ‘A Letter Home’, was released in March, while a follow-up, titled ‘Storytone’, followed in November.