Neil Young refuses to dish music-biz dirt in Waging Heavy Peace

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      Waging Heavy Peace: A Memoir
      By Neil Young. Blue Rider Press, 512 pp, hardcover

      At 66, Neil Young has been a great many things in his life: musician, activist, philanthropist, inventor, and filmmaker. And with the recent release of his memoir Waging Heavy Peace, he can now add “author” to that impressive list of achievements.

      While Jimmy McDonough’s 2002 biography Shakey helped shed some light on the enigmatic icon, with Waging Heavy Peace we finally get an authorized account of the man, in his own words. The legendary rocker unloads about his life, his friends, and his muse, all written as a nonlinear recollection, as if the reader were sitting with Young himself at the back of his tour bus, shooting the shit.

      Unfortunately, Young keeps the stories about his lengthy career in the music business to a minimum, opting instead to offer anecdotes about his family unit, his love of vintage cars, the current state of the music business, and the poor sound quality of today’s music downloads. Furthermore, he laments his recent struggles to present a high-quality download option, much to the chagrin of iTunes and the Apple Corporation. When asked if he will go to war with Apple over his proposed Internet platform, Young states he’s “waging heavy peace”, hence the title of the book.

      Overall, the book is reflective and enjoyable. However, Young’s true nature as the reclusive rock star has never been more apparent. There are no graphic stories of drug abuse or rock-star debauchery; instead, we get brief recollections about his pot-smoking, booze-drinking days of jamming with Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and his own beloved band Crazy Horse. Actually, Young professes to have recently given up pot altogether and, because of this, to be going through some serious songwriter’s block.

      Nevertheless, it seems Young would rather focus on his legacy, while seeking to be remembered for more than the huge musical catalogue he’s amassed during his career. At the moment, he’s content to finish development of his LincVolt (a prototype zero-emissions electric car), while musing about solutions to the world’s mounting energy crisis. In his golden years, Young’s more interested in helping the future than in recalling the past. Keep on rocking, Neil.



      Peter G

      Oct 26, 2012 at 4:51pm

      I was wondering if this was worth the read- looking forward to his new album though.

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      Nicole P

      Oct 26, 2012 at 5:53pm

      i was more looking foward to hearing about his rockstar days..too bad he left that out

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      who cares

      Oct 26, 2012 at 7:26pm

      Is Neil Young still revelant? Seriously, should have called it waging heavy boredom. YAWN.

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      Oct 26, 2012 at 8:24pm

      @Who Cares: I think good music is relevant anytime. Wny do bother trolling when you can be listening to your Britney Back Street Beiber right now?

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      out at night

      Oct 26, 2012 at 8:35pm

      It's a beautiful book by a beautiful person. No bonus points for elegant, writerly prose, though he does have his moments, but much points for soul and integrity and the values he upholds. Neil Young is a good, good guy, and holy cow he rocks too!

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      Mark P

      Oct 26, 2012 at 11:06pm

      I think you've a good understanding of what Neil Young and some of the other courageous folk from the 60's represent. Waging Heavy Peace sounds like the R&R memoir many of us would like to see from these successful singers and musicians. They're experience is invaluable, and Young's ability to articulate will be appreciated by the next generations.

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      Farmer John

      Oct 27, 2012 at 11:30am

      A true Canadian legend.

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      terry d

      Nov 11, 2012 at 4:37pm

      a hippie dream is a fine peace of writing. neil is a real canadian hero. he stands for good vibes and the immense power of gratitude in shaping an artist's life. you'l find his memoirs to be both extraordinary and ordinary. pure canadiana. what a fine musician and songwriter. celebrate the man. check him out live here

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