For fans, that story probably encapsulates what it is we love about him. What you see is what you get, there is no artifice. “Will to Love” is the only song in his extensive catalog that was recorded that way, because it was a complete accident. Yet when he listened to it, he realized that he had captured it, and that was that. It is little wonder that he was later called the “godfather of grunge,” because his whole focus has been to be as honest in all things as possible.
On the printed page, Young comes across as a very engaging man. Beyond that, what he has to say about the loss of sound with these online delivery systems is something that is extremely valid, yet nobody seems to care.
I have to wonder if this issue of sound quality has to do with age. Is it really just those of us over 40 who give a damn about how their music sounds? I find myself as flabbergasted as Young is that nobody seems to be bothered by the fact that you only get 5% of the original recorded sound on an MP3.
The subject of aging is never far from the surface, especially considering the fact that Young has lost so many people over the years. For fans, the big story here is simply that he has opened up and is telling his stories. For that reason alone, I recommend the book. But there is more, such as the MP3 business, and his thoughts on the changing face of this nation.
Waging Heavy Peace is like a good Neil Young record. There are a number of intriguing levels, and what you may have passed over initially may well turn out to contain some of the most riveting elements of all. It is the most interesting rock autobiography I have read since Life, and then some.