Sunday, January 6, 2013

Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace

I finally made it through my nightstand of music biographies and had the opportunity to read Neil Young’s new memoir “Waging Heavy Peace”.



Neil Young approached writing this memoir as he approached the rest of his career, with no structure and absolutely no rules!


How do people think Neil should write his book? Neil doesn’t care! Just like everything else in his career:

-          Neil’s band The Squires were achieving success back in the early 60’s! Instead of basking in it he packs his bags and leaves town without a warning.

-          His label requested a typical Neil Young album in the 80’s; however, Neil doesn’t feel like it so he releases a country album instead.

-          The label of course didn’t like the country album so he responded with an electronic album.

-          Everyone thinks he should tour with Buffalo Springfield but nope, Neil changes his mind and decided to make a new record with Crazy Horse instead.

-          We all wait for Neil to record another album or tour with Crosby, Stills and Nash. Neil hears none of it and will do it when and if he pleases.

-          We crave another acoustic Neil album such as Harvest or Comes a Time. Again, Neil would rather record with Crazy Horse right now.


Man I love Neil Young!


If more artists followed Neil’s lack of care of 'what others think' maybe there would be less suicides in musicians. Neil wanted to talk to Kurt Cobain just prior to his death to tell him exactly that, don’t worry about people wanting you to tour or play, you do what you want to do when you feel like it and to Hell with everybody else.


This book has no rules and it works perfectly!


There is no time sequence whatsoever. At the beginning of a chapter he could be on his ranch playing with his model train sets, and at the end of the chapter he is back in the 1960’s playing with The Squires.


Sure you may want to hear the story behind everything event in Neil’s life (especially assuming you bought the book), but he doesn’t feel like telling you every detail, instead he would rather tell you about a random time when one of his classic cars broke down on a road trip while he was out for a drive with his dog.


Neil often mentions how the doctor recently saw something in his brain through an MRI. He still does not know what this is but the Doc suggested that he gives up smoking grass. So Neil quit pot cold turkey and decided to leave booze behind as well and live with a straight mind. He seems to take pride in his new sobriety but yet (at least up until he finished writing this book) has been unable to write a song since he got clean.


Neil is currently on a streak of having no interest in writing and performing but he’s been here before and knows that it is probably just a matter of time.


Neil spends a lot of time as of late concentrating on his new digital music medium “poco” (previously puretone). This is a high quality digital music format that captures a very high quality of music that far exceeds current digital files available on sites such as iTunes. His goal is to save people from the poor quality of music that they are currently listening to and having them hear more closely of what the artist originally recorded. He states that he would be happy if the only result from this is that company like Apple increased their quality to match “poco”.


This book is all over the place and may be hard to follow for people who are new to the saga of Neil Young. I have read extensively on him in the past as he is one of my favorite artists but I couldn’t help thinking that it may be hard to follow for somebody who is new to the wonderful world of Neil. I guess I will have to leave this up to the newbies to decide!


However, for all you Rusties out there, this is a must read. I couldn’t put it down and have been flipping back through the pages since I finished. It is so all over the place that you can literally start at any chapter and it seems like it is just the beginning of the book.


Great job by Neil Young. I had been waiting for this book for years. Now if Dylan could just got off his ass and finish up Chronicles two!

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