Waging Heavy Peace is Neil Young’s memoir, where he writes about his life, his music, his passions. And it is amazing. I highly recommend you read it.
This book! I already know it’s a life-time favorite. I can see myself rereading this over and over and over again. Young is an older man now, and he has such a way of telling stories. I honestly felt like I was sitting around a campfire with my grandpa and he was telling me stories. Young is such a story teller!! Which I guess isn’t surprising since he is such a great songwriter.
I literally could have read this in one sitting because I did not want to put it down, but I tried to make it last because I seriously just didn’t want it to end. He is so honest. He writes often about how he should feel “at peace” with life since he’s an older man now, but he has so many projects and loose ends he’s still working on. I love that he still is constantly working on different things. Not just music, but things like developping a sustainable car that runs on biofuel or something that is sustainable and doesn’t pollute.
And I love how he is so into protecting the quality of our music. My boyfriend is a recording engineer and most of what he listens to is on vinyl records. My parents also were big into vinyl when I was growing up too, so I definitely recognize the difference in sound from vinyl to CDs to MP3s. Young is so passionate about maintaining a good sound quality in music, and I am 100% behind him on that.
I really love the way he wrote the book. As I said above, it’s like your listening to your grandpa tell you random stories, and I love it. It’s not completely in chronilogical order, and I think that makes it awesome because at times Young talks about something he’s currently working on. Sometimes he’ll be writing about one specific story and then it reminds him of another story, so he starts telling that. I LOVE it.
So as you can tell, I’m a huge Neil Young fan. And this book, to me, is perfection. I can’t think of one annoying/bad thing about it to be honest. So maybe you can chalk that up to my love for Young. But I don’t care. I am in love with this. And it’s brought out the music fan in me too. I’ve been forcing the boyfriend to dig out all his Neil Young, CSNY, and Buffalo Springfield albums so that we can listen all the time!
Also, did I mention that I think Young is my religion soul mate?? Because seriously. I don’t follow any organized religion. I believe that nature itself is something holy and spiritual and if you spend enough time in it and listen to it all around you, that is better than any sort of church. And Young completely shares that. Here’s one quote:
Page 185: Religion is not one of my high points. I really don’t subscribe to the stories surrounding each one, because they are just stories, remembered by men. I do feel the Great Spirit in all that is around me, and I am humbled. I do pray with others if that is what they do. I don’t judge them for that. That is their way. I join them. Then I move on. The moon means a lot to me, as does the forest. All things natural speak to me with a rhythm that I feel. It is this that probably makes me a pagan. [……………………………..] There is no evil in the forest or the moon. Or if there is, I don’t see it. Somehow these things, the moon and the forest, move through space or survive on their own. [………………………..] The Great Spirit, as I like to call her, is in us all and in everything that lives or used to live, in everything that exists or used to exist.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
Page 13: Today music is presented as an entertainment medium, like a game, without the full audio quality. It’s like a cool pastime or a toy, not like a message to the soul. So things have changed.
Page 143: Sound is very complex. It is not enough to just be able to recognize a song and hear the melody. There is a significant amount more to music than that. Many young people have never heard what I have heard, and that was not the case when I was young. In the age of technology we have grown used to many things being convenience and easy. We have grown up in the age of convenience and expediency. Videos can be shared and viewed around the world, and so can music, just like any document. The only problem with this is music is not like that. It is s storm on the senses, weather for the soul, deeper than deep, wider than wide. It is more than what you see or hear. It is what you feel. That is missing in today’s technology for music, although many things have come along to replace it and distract from its absence.
Page 229: I respect bands that give me something of themselves that I can feel. (“Posing” bands turn me off, generally speaking.) It all has to do with a feeling I have about them. That is what music is to me, a feeling. It’s similar with people, too.
Have you read Waging Heavy Peace? What did you think? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!
Title: Waging Heavy Peace
Author: Neil Young
Date of Publication: 2012
Number of Pages: 512
Genre: Nonfiction, memoir
Source: Personal Copy