Books & Review
Updated: Nov 27, 2012 05:10 PM EST

waging heavy peace

A first time author, Young wrote his memoir naturally, as things came back to him, and says he takes life the same way.
(Photo : Barnes and Noble)

Old dogs can learn new tricks. While he might be a rocker in his twilight years, musician Neal Young continues to prove he can surprise fans just as he did when he first hit the stage 50 years ago. Young will participate in a live Twitter event to promote his new memoir "Waging Heavy Peace" on Nov. 28.

According to a press release from Young's publisher, Penguin, the legendary singer-songwriter will hold a Q&A session about his autobiography as part of Book Club Twitter Chat, sponsored by Blue Rider Press and Penguin Online. The event will held on Nov. 28 from 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm (EST).

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To participate and for updates, follow @BlueRiderPress, @PenguinUSA, @NeilYoung or #WagingHeavyPeace.

[Ed: Event has been postponed, check back for updates]

Young first showed off his social media savvy in October when the artist took questions from fans to promote the release of his new album "Psychedelic Pill." The event was a hit for Twitter, and attracted lots of press attention.

"Waging Heavy Peace" was Young's first attempt at writing, but just like his music - that humble, shaggy-dog swagger, the virtue of cleverness in simplicity - he makes it look easy. It's endearing just how surprisingly unassuming, and willing he is in telling his story.

"Waging Heavy Peace" falls on the heavier side of rock n roll memoirs at 500 pages. Young meanders from talking about music, to his admittedly crazy ideas for eco-powered classic cars, to his family and medical conditions, including polio, epilepsy, and a brain aneurysm. Young likes to refer to himself as a crazy idealist, and even sometimes, still, a hippie. The book is filled with the rocker's plans for everything from his personal archives, to his charity foundations to feature films.

Young wrote his memoir as things naturally came back to him, just as he likes to live his life. Young's a gleeful walking contradiction, and he seems at peace with that. Having never written a book, or ever been "much of a reader," Young reportedly rejected more than half the edits to his manuscript.

"Writing is very convenient, has a low expense, and is a great way to pass the time," he writes. "I highly recommend it to any old rocker who is out of cash and doesn't know what to do next."

Just like much of his enigmatic music, Young leaves much to be interpreted in "Waging Heavy Peace," presenting his story through a series of episodes from his remarkable career. But there are still plenty of gems of wisdom and revealing anecdotes hiding in the clouded rough of his brain.

Young relates his struggles with anxiety in his youth, and addiction to smoking marijuana. The songwriter apparently had trouble completing even the simplest of tasks in public, like going to the store. Young "couldn't even handle the detail in the hallways, in the aisle ways - all the packages and everything used to just freak me out," he writes. Eventually, about halfway through the shopping trip, he would drop everything and need to leave the store.

Now, for the first time since 17, he's sober. "You know, I might have been an addict," he says, "but I didn't have the gene problem, where you really turn out to be an alcoholic. I just decided if I was going to stop smoking weed, I'd stop drinking, too."

The book's philosophical title comes from a conversation about Pono, his almost foolishly ambitious project to restore full audio quality to digital music. Without full audio quality, he says, music won't take you into "the spirit world." That seems to illuminate much of what continues to be so charming about Young, balancing idealism with profound, universal truths. Even if they are hippie-truths.

Young, who recently turned 68-years-old, is currently wrapping up his North American "Alchemy Tour" with Crazy Horse.

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