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Friday, October 12, 2012

A Sober Neil Young Pens His Memoir "Waging Heavy Peace"

Remembering a time long ago with Neil Young...

Few would argue that there is more than one generation who has enjoyed the musical adventures of Neil Young. If you came of age in the mid to late 60's then you remember him from his early days with Buffalo Springfield and certainly relish his work with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Perhaps you enjoyed a concert or two in the old days when concerts were free and life seemed care-free. If you became a parent in those days, then there is a good chance that your own children grew up listening to Neil Young or maybe your younger siblings latched on to some of the albums that featured Neil Young's songs and performances. If you like old movies, then you probably have watched the amazing and Academy Award winning 1970 documentary movie Woodstock which featured Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

What you may not know or remember about Neil Young

Reading news headlines often encourages us to leaf through a current magazine, page through a newspaper or click on a link that takes us to an article about someone with whom we feel familiar and, yes, even comfortable. During the past few weeks there has been more than one article written about Neil Young's new memoir Waging Heavy Peace. Reading through many of these articles (some shared in our Related Articles section below) made us realize how much we didn't know or frankly didn't remember about Mr. Young. Here are a few outtakes:
  • Neil Young is 66 years old, born in Toronto, Canada, he remains a Canadian citizen
  • He once promised never to write a book about himself
  • He has epilepsy and suffered from polio
  • His son Ben, now 34, is a quadriplegic born with cerebral palsy and cannot speak
  • Neil and his wife Pegi have dedicated their lives to caring for Ben and Ben goes on every tour
  • Neil Young's other children are Zeke (also suffers from cerebral palsy) and his daughter Amber Jean (has epilepsy)
  • Neil Young has been sober now for just over a year

Neil Young pens Waging Heavy Peace

Young took on this project of writing his memoir without a ghostwriter. This, in and of itself, is unusual in today's times, but perhaps writing comes more easily to Young as his father was a well-known journalist and author in Canada. We know he has written ever so many songs and he has directed a number of movies.

Mr. Young was advised by his doctor to give up alcohol and marijuana. The doctor cautioned him that given his previous aneurysm and the fact that his father suffered from dementia, this might be a good time to clear his head. He admits that he wrote all of his songs "high" and he wasn't sure he could write anything sober, particularly a memoir. The reviews are mixed, but one gets the impression from reading some of the reviews that this narrative reads more like a compilation of a number of conversations one might have had with a close friend over many years of friendship, not necessarily or at all delivered in the memoir in a linear fashion.

Neil Young continues to perform with Crazy Horse

If you are wondering what else keeps Neil busy these days, aside from promoting Waging Heavy Peace, it may not surprise you to learn as the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported yesterday:
"NEIL YOUNG/FOO FIGHTERS BENEFIT RAISES INCREDIBLE $1.3 BILLION Neil Young and Crazy Horse, The Foo Fighters and The Black Keys co-headlined the Global Citizen Festival on Sept. 29 in New York City's Central Park before 60,000 fans. The televised concert that was created to raise money for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, the Half the Sky Movement, charity: water and Global Partnership for Education, aimed at ending extreme poverty around the world, raised an incredible $1.3 billion in pledge commitments."
Next Wednesday, October 17, 2012, Neil Young and Crazy Horse will appear at the Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA.  You can see his complete schedule here.

The Needle and the Damage Done

According to New York Times writer David Carr, Young continues to perform The Needle and the Damage Done. The melody we know by heart...but probably many who recognize the melody didn't always know how they felt about it. Watch Neil Young performing The Needle and the Damage Done.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Recognizing yourself in sobriety...

Rolling Stone quotes Neil when talking about his life in sobriety...
"I did it for 40 years," he says. "Now I want to see what it's like to not do it. It's just a different perspective." In the book, he elaborates: "The straighter I am, the more alert I am, the less I know myself and the harder it is to recognize myself. I need a little grounding in something and I am looking for it everywhere."
Sobriety and recovery are possible and bring many wonderful changes.
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