Paste Sessions: Rex Brown Covers Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done”

With his forthcoming debut solo album, Rex Brown, best know as the bassist for defunct metal gods Pantera, is aiming to showcase his talent as a frontman and carry the torch for classic rock ‘n’ roll. During his Paste Session this week in New York, Brown opened with a reverent cover of the great Neil Young song “The Needle and the Damage Done,” showcasing his previously unknown range as a guitarist and singer. It’s certainly the quietest we’ve ever heard Brown, who also played bass in metal bands Down and Kill Devil Hill.

But then, Smoke on This isn’t exactly the record you might expect from a guy who cut his teeth on albums with names like Power Metal and Cowboys From Hell. Brown’s debut finds him cranking out Southern grooves, some proggy psychedelia, and even a little pop here and there. Armed with just a Gibson acoustic at Paste, he offered a haunting rendition of one of Young’s most memorable songs.

This is one of my favorite old sit-around-the-campground songs,” Brown said. Watch Brown play “The Needle and the Damage Done,” and below that, check out a great recording of Young performing the song with Crazy Horse in 1986, another exclusive from the Paste Cloud. And while you’re here, read Paste’s 2011 list of Neil Young’s 25 Best Songs.