NEW YORK – Neil Young’s fans have come to expect wild swings if they’ve followed his music career since the 1960s. There’s the near-violent guitar solos and throbbing rock of his collaborations with Crazy Horse. Lilting acoustic melodies like “Harvest Moon.” Electronic experiments. Moments of genius and ill-advised detours.
No one should be surprised that reading his first book, the memoir “Waging Heavy Peace,” should feel exactly the same.
“If you hang out with somebody, the conversation doesn’t always run out in a linear fashion, from A to B,” he said. “It’s what’s on their minds. Things happen. You see things out the window, you get interested in that. You get distracted by things. I always thought that was a natural way to go with it.”
Ultimately, a reader learns more about Young than they would if he had a ghostwriter’s help, a notion he practically snorts at in disdain. “That’s a scary damn idea,” he said, “having a ghost in the house.”
Some free time and a broken toe led the 66-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member into the project. Young has always been a careful steward of his musical history and it’s little surprise he’d want to look back at his life in the same way.
“My whole M.O. for doing the book was that it was going to be off the top of my head,” he said.