Neil Young tells all in a new memoir

Though he once promised in an interview with his biographer Jimmy McDonough he would never write a book about his life, we can all be thankful he decided to break that promise and join the ranks of Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Patti Smith, and Keith Richards who have all released memoirs in recent years.

The book jacket describes it as “a kaleidoscopic view of his personal life and musical career, spanning his time in bands like Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Crazy Horse; moving from the snows of Ontario through the LSD-laden boulevards of 1966 Los Angeles to the contemplative paradise of Hawaii today.”

When he broke his toe last year and touring was taken off the table, he suddenly had time on his hands, and the benefits of writing a book became appealing.

““I don’t think I’m going to be able to continue to mainly be a musician forever, because physically I think it’s going to take its toll on me — it’s already starting to show up here and there.” Writing a book, he added, allowed him “to do what I want the way I want to do it,” he told The New York Times.

The son of a renowned Canadian journalist who wrote more than 30 books, it’s no surprise that this form of writing would also come naturally to him.

He told Rolling Stone, “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. Just keep writing, you never know what will turn up.”

Having been inducted to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame not just once but twice, he remains a beloved mainstay in the music world, supporting and influencing many musicians that have came after him.

“Young has consistently demonstrated the unbridled passion of an artist who understands that self-renewal is the only way to avoid burning out. For this reason, he has remained one of the most significant artists of the rock and roll era,” said Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, on Young’s wide-reaching influence.

The memoir avoids the score settling of other rock star memoirs, but still offers many intimate details into his life and the lives of some of his famous friends.

Referring to David Crosby, in their early days, he writes, “I still remember ‘the mighty Cros’ visiting the ranch in his van. That van was a rolling laboratory that made Jack Casady’s briefcase look like chicken feed.”

As it goes on, the rock star stories subside in favor of discussing his musical partnerships, family life, and thoughts on the environment and other causes he has so fervently supported over the years.

Waging Heavy Peace is available everyone on September 25th, 2012.

Watch Patti Smith interview Neil about the influence his father has on his writing:

Listen to their pre-interview, where they discuss the difference between writing a song and writing a book:

Watch Neil perform “Needle and the Damage Done” on the Johnny Cash Show: