"The Tree From Outer Space"

by Neil Young and Dean Stockwell

as told by Neil Young, in Shakey: Neil Young's Biography

by Jimmy McDonough


"Started when these guys hypnotized a chicken. And the chicken somehow somehow he had a VISION that he had to go to this tree. Then the people that hypnotized the chicken started seein' that they'd have to go to the tree, so they left the chicken behind and they took off . . . .


"Oh, the tree was great. They decided to go up it by going inside it, and when they got inside, then they found these beds. Envision a big long boat with hammocks hanging in it on the side. So they got in the hammocks and the hammocks started swayin' and the tree started comin' out of the ground. And it took off.


"And the people discovered when they got up there that you didn't need space suits. They'd go outside, walk around . . . this guy had a barbershop he opened on top of the tree. People would come out through one of the big holes in the tree and walk down the bark to this barbershop. They're in outer space and Saturn's out there 'n everything and they're gettin' a haircut.


"I mean, there were all these planets. There was a watery planet, and that was where the song "Lost in Space" was kinda from the tree's floating in the water, and this guy in a rowboat is rowing and rowing and rowing to get there. And ya look down and there's all these cities and everything he's rowing over to get to the tree . . . there's a lotta things like that that I had written out all these stories of all these people and the way they interacted. It was meant to be loose enough to ad-lib a lot.


"And all the people on there everybody on the tree was an extremist. And finally what happened was they had trouble getting along. And the tree would land here and there on different planets, people would get off and every time they went somewhere, everything would seem to be pretty good, the place would be beautiful and really nice, but all the people that they'd meet would be very jealous, very possessive. It kept happening with all different emotions and character traits they'd go to the planet that represented that and they wouldn't know it. They would just get to this place and get off, go out and experience things, and things would start goin' wrong and they'd realize everybody was y'know, really two-faced liars and nothing was true.


"Finally they started goin' crazy. At some point there were very few of the people left. It was getting down to the core group . . . . And then in the end the tree was being circled by this huge black ship. They were running out of power going slower and slower, the tree was slowing down and this huge fuckin' ship was circling them, but it was really like a big X-Acto knife kind of a thing with a blade on it, saws 'n things coming out of it and ominous black smoke coming out of the back of it . . . .


"And they powered the tree by playing this organ and somehow the music would be converted into this thing that gave them power. It would start glowing from the music, and that was what they used to power the ship and go on.


"So finally the way they got away from this black ship was the guy playing the organ he was playing and playing and playing and he's not getting it he's trying, but he's not getting enough power to get away. I think he ended up getting a blow job while he was playing and that did it when he came, the tree just fuckin' took off!


"After that, they got goin' way too fast, too much power, the fuckin' branches were scorching off the tree, anything left on it was startin' to burn . . . it gets into the 2001 thing with the sheets of color coming at you and you see things goin' by in space and it's gettin' really fast 'n crazy and the music is building . . . .


"And finally this silent shot of the forest with nothing where the tree was and then the whole fuckin' thing starts rumbling, and the tree starts coming out of the ground and grows to be this gigantic redwood. And that's the end. "The Tree That Went to Outer Space."