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Posted: April 22, 2009

Neil Young trains his 1959 Lincoln to stop guzzling gas

Rocker brings his 'Fork in the Road' tour to Denver on Monday

Mike Cote

Neil Young is at the age where he sings about whatever pleases him at the moment. On Fork in the Road, he wants to tell you all about the 1959 Lincoln Continental he’s been dumping who knows how much money into to convert the 2 1/2 –ton vehicle into a hybrid electric that runs 100 miles per gallon on biofuel.

“Just singing a song won’t change the world,” Young sings on the new disc.

So he’s putting some of his rock star bucks into one of the most elaborate celebrity-funded alternative energy projects ever concocted – increasing the Lincoln’s mpg by a factor of 10. Expect Young to sing about it when he comes to Denver on Monday to perform at the Magness Arena on a bill that includes the Neville Brothers.

Young spends about half of Fork in the Road singing about cars and driving, on roughshod hard-rocking songs like “Fuel Line,” “Get Behind the Wheel” and “Off the Road.” On “Johnny Magic,” he spins a tale about his “LincVolt’s creation, alluding to Jonathan Goodwin of H-Line Conversions in Wichita, who has been leading the project.

Young also could have included UQM Technologies, a company based in Frederick, Colo. The LincVolt sports UQM’s 150 KW electric propulsion system. But you can bet the company will get a nod when Young’s film about the LincVolt comes out this fall. Young did mention the company last summer when he talked about the project with David Letterman. (Check it out on YouTube.)

"Our goal is to inspire a generation by creating a clean automobile propulsion technology that serves the needs of the 21st Century and delivers performance that is a reflection of the driver's spirit," Young says at the LinkVolt website. "By creating this new power technology we hope to reduce the demand for petro-fuels enough to eliminate the need for war over energy supplies, thereby enhancing the security of the USA and other nations throughout the world."

Neil, you're gonna drive me to drinkin' if you don't stop drivin' that hot rod Lincoln. Or should we say long may you run, LincVolt.

Department of shamelesss self-promotion

I received four e-mails from people who heard me battling the Sage of World Class Rock on KBCO on Wednesday morning. After hitting redial on a landline and cell phone for a half hour, I managed to get through to Brett Saunders, who was giving away a pair of Neil Young tickets to anyone who reached him -- regardless of whether the trivia question was dopey -- or in my case -- cheesy and shameless.

I asked the Sage which local publication coined the phrase "four balding hippie millionaires" as mentioned in the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young documentary "Deju Vu" released last year.

Answer: The Boulder Daily Camera. The author of said CSN&Y at Red Rocks review: me. So I get to take my 20-year-old son to Magness on Monday. I'm not proud. And it was a blast to get on the air with Mr. Saunders, the always-entertaining radio personality and jazz columnist for the Denver Post.

I'm honored that CSN&Y posted the review on the band's website. It's that last paragraph that made the movie. (I know, shameless.) I heard about the DVD mention through Marc Brown, former rock critic for the Rocky Mountain News, after he watched a review copy.

By the way, all the e-mails I received about my KBCO radio moment came from public relations and marketing professionals. All nice folks, and I was happy they were listening. And they all know it doesn't pay to be shy about your work.

Keep on rockin' in the free world.

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Mike Cote is the former editor of ColoradoBiz. E-mail him at mcote@cobizmag.com.

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