AUSTIN, Texas — For Dana Loesch, there are three certainties in life: death, guns, and hating Neil Young with the fire of a thousand suns.
The National Rifle Association spokesperson, who recently got her ass handed to her by a bunch of pissed-off teens on national television, has harbored a decades-long vendetta against the legendary singer-songwriter—one that rivals President Trump’s aversion to wind turbines in sheer vitriol. Loesch has tweeted negative things about Young at least 15 times over the course of a decade.
When I tell Young this, he cracks up. “The spokesperson? That woman? She doesn’t like me?” he says. “Well, she’s one of the gang over there. Although Trump likes my music. He’d come to all my shows.”
He pauses. “What’s her name, huh? Well, I’m glad I got under her skin.”
Young is at SXSW to promote Paradox, a trippy new film by his partner of four years, the actress and activist Daryl Hannah. In the film, hitting Netflix on March 23, Young plays “The Man in the Black Hat,” a mythical cowboy who embarks on a soul-searching quest. Young not only starred in the film, but also created an entire album’s worth of new songs for its soundtrack.
Dana Loesch, I imagine, will not be tuning in.
After reading one of her infamous “dying cow fart” tweets aloud to Young, he replies through laughter, “Why doesn’t she just shoot me?” before quickly correcting himself: “You know, I hate to say that because I have kids and I really don’t want anybody to shoot me. I’ve still got to bring up my kids, so don’t take that seriously!”
According to Loesch, her “first exposure” to the deadly virus that is Young’s music came while a student at Fox High School in Arnold, Missouri.
Around that time, Young released 1995’s Mirror Ball, an album made in collaboration with Pearl Jam. Its first single, “Downtown,” a laid-back ditty that paid homage to hippies, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin, was eventually nominated for Best Rock Song at the Grammys. Apparently, Loesch’s stepdad was a fan of Young, which may have contributed to her enmity.
Loesch is haunted by the memory of being trapped in a cast and forced to watch the music video to Young’s “Downtown” on MTV. She wept. Liberals are the snowflakes, though.
The 39-year-old gun nut hates Neil Young so much that if she won the Powerball lottery, she’d pay him to stop playing (along with Nickelback and Bush).
On June 16, 2015, a former reality-TV star by the name of Donald J. Trump announced his presidential candidacy, riding down an escalator to the Young song “Rockin’ in the Free World.” The following day, Young dragged Trump on Facebook for using the song without his permission. Loesch, meanwhile, tweeted, “Any campaign that uses Neil Young (with or without permission) for their campaign should be disqualified on that alone.” The Dallas resident also supported Ted Cruz in the Republican primary, and penned an op-ed in the right-wing National Review about how conservatives should oppose candidate Trump. She’s since become one of his staunchest defenders.
Young, for his part, has kept a good sense of humor about his No. 1 hater.
“That’s the way it goes! That’s what happens,” he says, chuckling. “You’re out there in the world and people can say whatever they want. It’s freedom. I appreciate that, and I think she should exercise it as much as she can.”
Our full interview with the great Neil Young that touches on ‘Paradox,’ his uncensored thoughts on President Trump, and much more will run early next week.