Old hippies never die

Old hippies never die
Reviewer: mdurshimer
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Waging Heavy Peace:
512 pages
First Edition edition
September 25, 2012
ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:

Legendary singer, songwriter, and guitarist Neil Young offers a kaleidoscopic view of his personal life and musical creativity.

Rust Never Sleeps. I bet Neil Young doesn’t either. After reading his 2012 autobiography, I am fairly convinced that he has little use for dreamland. Always thinking and scheming, like a mad scientist, I imagine he views REM (not the band!) as a necessary evil. His mind is always at work.

So are his emotions. Neil, as it turns out, is not just that musician who everyone thinks is so difficult. Well maybe he is difficult, but he’s got plenty of reason to be a pain in the ass. Besides being a perfectionist when it comes to sound, he’s had to deal with a life that has not always been a storybook of success. He’s got two sons with serious physical issues and has had a host of his own medical problems. In fact, he wrote this book after his doctor told him to sober up in an attempt to stave off some issues.

Mister Young could have hired a ghost writer to pen this book, but instead chose to write it himself since his father was a well-known Canadian journalist and author. Not sure he inherited his dad’s talent with regard to this kind of writing – obviously, he CAN write, because he’s one hell of a lyricist – but it doesn’t matter. Clearly, these are Neil Young’s words. Clearly, this is his voice coming through. For me, that’s what makes this worth reading. I feel like I know how he thinks. And that’s pretty cool.

There’s lots of memories to be shared: The early days in Canada with the Mynah Birds, Buffalo Springfield, Crazy Horse, and of course, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Unfortunately, Neil did a lot of partying back in the day, so some of the stories are more like outlines of what happened. Still, these are tidbits worth savoring.

Ole Neil has written another book since this one and his almost 40-year marriage has gone by the wayside. He is still making music, working on his environmentally friendly car, his high-res player project, supporting Farm Aid, and dating Daryl Hannah. Like I said, he hasn’t got time for something as frivolous as shut eye. Neil’s still trying to make the planet a better place in every way he can.

If it’s really better to burn out than to fade away, surely Neil Young is still on that path.