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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

“Waging Heavy Peace”: Neil Young's Upcoming Book

There's been quite a bit of commentary of late on what's up with Neil Young's muse.

Earlier, Stephen stills gave an interview where he explained that the reason for the latest delay in the 2012 Buffalo Springfield tour was due to Neil writing a book. Stills added: "Don't mess with the muse, man."

From Neil Young Joins the Rock Star Memoir Parade - By JULIE BOSMAN:
Neil Young, easily one of the most influential and enigmatic musicians of his generation, will write a memoir, his publisher said on Monday. Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin Group USA, acquired the book after several years of discussions with Mr. Young, said David Rosenthal, the president and publisher.

“He’s been very busy playing and touring and making records, and the guy has 100 things going on all the time,” Mr. Rosenthal said.

“He felt that this was a really propitious moment to try and put some stuff down on paper.” The book, tentatively titled “Waging Heavy Peace,” will be released in fall 2012. Mr. Young has already finished writing “a good deal of material,” Mr. Rosenthal said. “The intention is to cover pretty much everything — growing up, music, life,” he added.

“I am astounded at his memory for detail.”

From Rolling Stone By Andy Greene:
"I felt like writing books fit me like a glove," Young said in a statement. "I started and I just kept going. That's the way my Daddy used to do it on his old Underwood up in the attic. He said, 'Just keep writing, you never know what will turn up.'"

From The Bookseller by Charlotte Williams:
Publishing director Tony Lacey acquired the title, currently titled Waging Heavy Peace, for Viking in the UK, with David Rosenthal buying world print, e-book and audio rights for Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin Group USA, through Elliot Roberts, Young's manager at Lookout Management in LA

Lacey said: “We’ve read about 40,000 words, he’s writing it at the moment. It’s done in the present and then flashes back to stuff about his father, stuff about his bands in the 1970s and ‘80s and the drug casualties, parts about buying his ranch in Northern California.

It’s very vivid.”

Rosenthal said: "This promises to be a revealing, intimate book that will provide the window into Neil's life and career that fans and admirers have always wanted."

Thanks Harold & Liza & Scott!

More on Neil Young books and reviews.


At 9/20/2011 10:49:00 AM, Blogger rdvdijk said...

Ten years after "Shakey", Neil is writing his memoirs. This should be innaresting.

At 9/20/2011 11:27:00 AM, Anonymous alex said...

Wow, I'm really surprised he's gonna do that. It should be interesting. I'm pretty sure he'll pull a Dylan and just pick random things and avoid controversial subjects (which doesnt mean its not interesting!)

At 9/20/2011 11:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure it will be… But I can't help starting to get a bit of a sad feeling… I remember the time when it became clear to me that Neil was never regretful, never looking back, always in the moment, creating something new. It was a time when The Archives weren't even called The Archives but Decade II. The time of The Blue Notes, Freedom, Ragged Glory. Neil did'nt have or take the time to relive his past and he was'nt even interested in it.
After The Archives, the superb Continental Tours with many songs from the past, several never heard before, than after that the - imho - very painful and at moments mournful tone of the Twisted Road Shows, and finally even getting back to his first major band The Buffalo Springfield.
Now we have 'Journeys', first called 'Life'. Is this a man at the end of his career, rounding things up, looking back, reminiscing? Is this the beginning of the end?
Of course, Neil will change his mind again and there'll be new music coming from him, and we will be happy with it. But the thought came to me, that even this great artist, great human being, is really growing old…

Sorry for being so down.

At 9/20/2011 12:47:00 PM, Anonymous the zuma band said...

His father suffered from Alzheimer's. As someone who has obsessively archived his work it makes sense, with the perspective of time AND knowing that this memory could fade to get his story out, done, and then move on.

At 9/20/2011 01:49:00 PM, Anonymous LRR said...

So Neil is seriously writing to a deadline. It makes sense, then, why he put off the BS tour. He's got a deal, a contract and needs to live up to his end of it. And Zumaband's comments make sense as well. That gives him another type of deadline to work to.

His Archives team will continue to churn out the product for him while he writes and edits and so forth......

At 9/20/2011 02:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah that makes sense. lightens up my mood, thanks!

At 9/20/2011 03:00:00 PM, Blogger Old Black said...

Two things:

1. Is this book project related to the call for memorabilia in one of the previous blog posts? (i.e. an unnamed author writing a Neil book)

2. You suppose we'll finally learn what the second round control plate is in the middle of Old Black?

At 9/20/2011 03:13:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@rdvdijk - this will definitely be interesting. Especially if it really goes deep on growing up, music, life.

@Alex- we don't think this will be like Dylan's Chronicles. Neil has always been much more literal than Dylan. Dylan is downright cryptic and often says/writes exactly opposite to what he means.

@Peter - no worries. While we think many would prefer NY stick with music and leave books to others, this could be quite significant. A future biographer would never have access to the inside story. We've long maintained that we barely know NY. Less than 10% perhaps.

@the zuma band - good point. We think with NYA#1 finally coming out, the aneurysm, Ben & L.A., NY feels the time has come to pass on some lessons. Maybe some band will read it and take something away? PJ just said that they owe NY for sticking out for 20 years and couldn't have done it without his advice.

@LRR - yeah, makes sense that this news comes out now after the blowback on the BS tour.

@Old Black - No. See Neil Young FAQ - Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group.

At 9/20/2011 03:20:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Oh, one more thing no one mentioned... the title “Waging Heavy Peace”

In a way, it's a play off the LWW title. Sort of the flip side of the same coin.

Neil's still living with waging heavy metal peace. He once called Phil Ochs Heavy Metal Folk, similar vein to LWW.

Also, not insignificantly, it seems that the pivotal song in the new film Life is "Ohio". The song has Kent State footage and other signs of the times. The Vietnam war protests deeply impacted Neil.

Any insight into his mindset during this time would be a fantastic revelation & riveting reading

At 9/20/2011 03:31:00 PM, Blogger Old Black said...

I really like Chronicles and thought Dylan was quite revealing (for Dylan, anyway) - played it a lot straighter than I thought he would.

Neil is a REALLY smart guy. He's Brian May smart. He could have been an engineer, given his proclivity for tinkering and his analytical mind. Combine that with an almost obsessive need to document and archive (from all sides) and I think this could be a veeery inaresting book.

Part of this may be to get it down before he can't get it down anymore. Part may be to get it out of his head so he doesn't have to worry about it anymore. Sometimes, you just gotta do a mind dump before you can go forward - get that sh&t outta your system - a mental enema.

Neil is unusually open with his life and I suspect it will be a good read and not as oblique as "Shakey" (although I enjoyed that book). I hope is does with Keef did with "Life" and spend some quality time with guitar technique.

At 9/20/2011 05:54:00 PM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

Such a Neil Young thing to name something! It's perfect. Meaningful, direct yet poetic, and somewhat clunky sounding. It falls out of one's mouth and clatters on the floor, quite beautifully! I love it!

At 9/20/2011 09:34:00 PM, Blogger Untitled I said...

To the people who say it's sad that Neil Young is looking into his own past with this new book he's writing, remember, Neil Young started writing "Hitchhiker," a deeply autobiographical song, in 1975, when he was 29. Most of the songs on "Time Fades Away" were very autobiographical, especially with songs like "Time Fades Away" and "Don't Be Denied." Don't read too much into this, and just enjoy the fact that Neil Young is writing a book.

At 9/20/2011 09:52:00 PM, Blogger asg said...

wasn't STEPHEN working a book a few years back? and McGuinn?

At 9/20/2011 10:13:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

"my life's an open book you read it on the radio" ...and Thrashers Wheat...

Bring on the printed word - straight from the horses' mouth.

Sometimes your a heartbeat away, sometimes a million miles. With Neil it seems just another artform of expression on the journeys. You can't count him out of anything.

"Sometimes I feel like a piece of paper
sometimes I feel like my own name
sometimes I feel different later
sometimes I feel..
I feel just the same"

sounds like he's feeling it.....

I'm just glad we can too

At 9/20/2011 11:15:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

Leave it to Neil to keep everyone on their toes ... I never would have expected this ... but have learned to trust the muse where ever it may take us ... Neil always said the muse is the boss so I'm imagining one day the muse directed him to writing a book and as only Neil can do he dropped whatever he had to and kept the channel flowing ... maybe it just reached a pivotal time and he simply had to cut the BS tour loose or delay it ... unfortunate but par for the course ... I just hope that in his perfectionism (generally a good thing) this project indeed moves forward and we get both a finished product and then Neil back focused on playing music ... one of the biggest risks in my view of this project is that it will evolve, morph, expand into something larger and longer ... like the archives project, ect ... if this thing gets published its sure to be epic ... but "if" is the operative word. Again, I say that with admiration and affection as its Neil's perfectionism, attention to detail, and unpredictable nature on these projects that makes them even more satisfying when they actually reach the audience.

At 9/21/2011 05:03:00 AM, Anonymous Luc said...

I won't retire
But I might retread

Seems like that guy singin' this song
been doing it for a long time
Is there anything he knows
that he ain't said


At 9/21/2011 10:33:00 AM, Blogger Sharry said...

I must admit the announcement about Neil's book took my by complete surprise. I was not expecting it, especially with the Buffalo Springfield tour previously planned for early in the new year.
While I feel sorry for the other members of Buffalo Springfield, I do understand how Neil must follow the muse. I'm looking forward to his book very much.
It's scheduled to be released by Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin Books, in the fall of 2012. This release date has exerted some pressure on me to pick up the pace on my own book about Neil's childhood that I've been working on for over 2-1/2 years. I feel it would make a good companion piece to Neil's book, presenting a more detailed look at his childhood than he'll most likely include. (At least that's what I'm hoping.)
I'm also curious about the other book he's written that's supposed to be finished. It's tentatively titled "Cars I Have Known." There is no publisher for the book as yet.

At 9/21/2011 12:02:00 PM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

In these years Thrasher has shown us the great burst of activities of Neil: endless records, movies, tours, Linc Volt,charitas events etc. Neil isn't getting old, he is already old now, though in good health. I think that he wants to be remembered at his peak. Recently with BS, yesterday solo or with his Electric Band, some years ago with Crazy Horse. I have seen this man at his top. Yesterday I listened to the Chicago SBD 1976.Well his recent performances are far better than that. And The Treasure tracks were vocally almost perfect. Hopefully tomorrow we'll see many new tours and records, but honestly he can slow down a bit now, when he is still the greatest living artist.
I understand that he wants to write personally his memoirs. This is a good moment for following his Muse.

So Tired

At 9/21/2011 01:59:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

The original post has been updated with new info.

In particular, its insightful that the book is written "in the moment" with flashbacks. If that's its final form, folks will probably have issues that book isn't linear or something.

Anyways, the title is really sinking in and hope it sticks. Hopefully, the publishers don't decide to consider some of the ridiculous tweets we're seeing like "An Old Man Looks At His Life", etc.

@Old Black - Neil is Brian May smart.
Interesting comparison. Never thought about that.

We like to think of Neil as being a Renaissance guy who dabbles in all sorts of things.

@Matt - yeah, clatters on the floor. :)

@Untitled - exactly.

asg - not sure

@SONY - and we'll read it on our iPads & Kindles, too, right??

@Dan1 - now it would be fascinating if NY actually addressed the whole muse thing. While anything could happen, it seems that considerable contract has been signed and the PR machine has already cranked up. Sometimes it can be hard to backtrack on these commitments. The release is Fall 2012. So we'll predict Summer 2013 at the earliest.

@Sharry - thanks for project update! Maybe you research spurred Neil? Now you guys are in a race. ;)

@So Tired - thanks as always for the reminders. After the last solo tour, we heard lots of folks saying Neil never sounded better in vocal form. He's treated himself well. we all can only wish...

At 9/21/2011 04:55:00 PM, Blogger Sandy Horne said...

I was really surprised to hear that Neil was writing an autobiography, I guess because he is so private. I remember reading in Shakey that he said he would never write an autobiography. But hey, Neil always surprises us, and maybe even himself. I think what really struck me was talking about his dad being a writer and how that influenced him. How cool and touching.

At 9/21/2011 05:29:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

I recall - after reading Shakey - thinking how 'lively' the environment must have been in Neil's house growing up with a mom on TV and a journalist father. Those type of people, successfull(?), out in the open to the public, interactive, can certainly be a breeding ground for creativity in many forms, and very influencial to growth of children. The thought of an autobiography, despite previous statements, doesn't surprise all me that much. Sometimes no matter how far we roll, the apple falls close to the tree. Neils been a writer of sorts all along anyway, a communicator. Very strong determined parents was my impression of Neil's folks and I figure really provided the feeding ground for an intelligient artistic individual to find avenues of expression, art, or whatever you call it - personality. Neil's acheivements and ground breaking advances in cars, music, archives, technology, etc. and his inovative ways are goood evidence of that.

At 9/21/2011 06:33:00 PM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

Alright, well maybe "clatters" isn't quite the right choice of words. It thumps pleasantly to the floor and bounces a few times... just the way I like it in any case. I've grown fond of Neil's heavy, somewhat cumbersome way with language over the past decade or so. Other people can make things sound pretty... Neil gives words heft and solidity. He'll take meaning and wrap it in a big old pile of sharp-edged, bulky conversation that just smacks one upside the head like he just hit you with a big slab of raw meat!

What am I saying? I dunno.

At 9/21/2011 07:31:00 PM, Blogger Sharry said...

Re: Neil growing up in a creative household... Rassy was a stay-at-home mom until she and Neil moved to Winnipeg after the marriage broke up. She became a panelist on "Twenty Questions," a quiz show in Winnipeg. She was always strapped for cash when living in Winnipeg and they did not lead a life of luxury.
While Neil was living in Winnipeg with his mother, Bob stayed in Toronto with his father.
Rassy was very encouraging and supportive of Neil's music career, but Scott was not. He definitely felt that Neil should concentrate on his schooling and keep music as a hobby or sideline. This was a constant source of conflict between Neil and his father.
It's been speculated how far Neil would have gone with his music career had he stayed in Toronto with his father instead of moving to Winnipeg with his mother.
Bob tried to establish himself as a professional golfer, but this never panned out. He also tried his hand at writing but this, too, never got off the ground.
Bob grew up in the same household as Neil, at least before the family split up, yet his life turned out much differently than Neil's. Then when Neil became successful he had to constantly live in the shadow of his more famous brother.
When they were children it was Bob who was the "big cheese." Neil used to follow Bob around everywhere he went. Then the tables turned.

At 9/21/2011 08:03:00 PM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

The Warner artists REM have now broken up, after their contract has expired. According to some "internal" sources, this is the Rem answer to the recent changes in Warner. Working under Warner it will be a harder task for all the newer and older acts signed with the new owners. Maybe this biography is the answer to the new staff.Eat a peach...

So Tired.

At 9/21/2011 08:31:00 PM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

Just in these days, Warner Music has begun to lay off many historical employees at the Reprise label, as VP Cerrito and Rittberg. Here's the link:

So Tired


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