"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Come Clean


David Carr had a good feature on Neil Young yesterday in the New York Times Magazine.

“Writing is very convenient, has a low expense and is a great way to pass the time,” he says in “Waging Heavy Peace.” “I highly recommend it to any old rocker who is out of cash and doesn’t know what to do next.”

He decided to do it sober after talking with his doctor about a brain that had endured many youthful pharmaceutical adventures, in addition to epilepsy and an aneurysm. For someone who smoked pot the way others smoke cigarettes, the change has not been without its challenges, as he explains in his book: “The straighter I am, the more alert I am, the less I know myself and the harder it is to recognize myself. I need a little grounding in something and I am looking for it everywhere.”

Sitting at Alice’s Restaurant on Skyline Boulevard near the end of the day, he elaborated: “I did it for 40 years,” he said. “Now I want to see what it’s like to not do it. It’s just a different perspective.”

Drunk or sober, he can be a hippie with a mean streak. He broke off a tour with Stephen Stills without warning and sent him a telegram — “Funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach, Neil.”

For more, click here.


1 garydsimms   ~  Sep 24, 2012 2:57 pm

Thanks for the link. I've been a fan of Neil for about as long as he's been making music. His genius is his willingness to experiment, not to be bound by custom. It's what maintains his success. (Hmmm, do a sense a subtle critic of a certain manager?)

2 Alex Belth   ~  Sep 24, 2012 3:26 pm

I love this part:

His records don’t sell as much as they used to, but while many of his contemporaries are wanly aping their past, Young takes to the stage surrounded by mystery and expectation. And now he’s doing so again on tour with Crazy Horse, a thunderous, messy concoction of a band that has backed him over the years and been a source of constancy amid all the hard turns in his career. “We’ve got two new albums, so we’re not an oldies act, and we’re relevant because we’re playing these new songs, so that gives us something to stand on,” he said.

It’s safe to predict that people will come, critics will rave and a 66-year-old man afflicted with epilepsy and serious back problems (and who has had polio and suffered an aneurysm) will rock hard enough to become a time machine back to when music was ecstatic and ill considered.

Dylan, in a note his manager passed to me, says it’s clear why Young has not tumbled into musical dotage: “An artist like Neil always has the upper hand,” he says. “It’s the pop world that has to make adjustments. All the conventions of the pop world are only temporary and carry no weight. It’s basically two different things that have nothing to do with each other.”

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