Neil Young on Neil Young: Interviews and Encounters

Chicago Review. (Musicians in Their Own Words). Nov. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9781641604635. $30. MUSIC
Lizie (communications and media studies, Bridgewater State Univ.; Prince FAQ: Everything You Wanted To Know About the Purple Reign) knits together 23 relatively obscure archival interviews with music luminary Neil Young and arranges them chronologically. There are six interviews from the 1960s and ’70s; four from Young’s experimental ’80s period; five from the ’90s, when Young embraced a grungy, feedback-laden sound; and eight from the 21st century. The book focuses on Young talking about his bands (Buffalo Springfield; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) and his eclectic, sudden stylistic shifts between folk, country, rock, blues, and even electronica. It also touches on Young’s nearly spontaneous songwriting process, film projects, health challenges, and obsession with sound quality and archiving his work. Lizie also charts Young’s changing politics, from ’60s radical to quasi–Reaganite to environmentalist.
VERDICT This fascinating account of a wildly productive, sometimes brilliant, sometimes self-absorbed rock icon will supplement Jimmy McDonough’s well-received Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography and Young’s autobiography, Waging Peace: A Hippie’s Dream.
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