Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Best of 2012: Music Autobiography

One of the many items [old and new] enjoyed by Burbank Public Library staff during 2012, recommended for your consideration:

My favorite book of 2012 is Waging Heavy Peace, by legendary rocker Neil Young. I should tell you right up front that I’ve been a Neil Young fan since my high school days in the late 1960s, so I was more than willing to put up with Young’s unfiltered and often meandering writing style in order to have the opportunity to wander around inside his head. Young follows his stream of consciousness, and he makes you feel like you’re sitting on the porch listening as he reminisces, in no particular order, about his bands, songs, guitars, vintage cars, model trains (he owns a share of Lionel Trains), friends and family.

He gives intimate details about his two sons, who suffer from cerebral palsy, his artist daughter, and his beloved wife Pegi, and shares how they have changed his life. He also talks about his obsessions with projects like LincVolt, a 1959 Lincoln Continental that has been converted to a hybrid, and Pono, his high resolution digital music system, as well as his long-time involvement with Farm Aid and the Bridge School for special needs kids.

Young can be both funny and nostalgic, and he is candid about his many successes and failures as a musician, a husband, and a father. Now 67, he has had some health issues, is completely sober for the first time in his adult life, and is worried about the affects of sobriety on his song-writing muse. Young tells us that he thinks his life’s story needs more than one volume, and I agree – there’s still much to tell, and Young isn’t done rocking yet. In 1978 he wrote the line, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away,” but he’s still a long way from doing either one.

Patrice S., Reference Supervisor

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