In his fascinating new autobiography, Waging Heavy Peace, professional contrarian Neil Young speaks positively about convicted murderer Charles Manson’s songwriting skills. Young met Manson through their mutual friend, Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, in the Sixties.
“After a while, a guy showed up, picked up my guitar, and started playing a lot of songs on it,” Young writes. “His name was Charlie … Kind of like Dylan, but different because it was hard to glimpse a true message in them, but the songs were fascinating. He was quite good.”
And that’s not the drugs and alcohol talking; Young reveals in his book that “recently I stopped smoking and drinking … I am now the straightest I have ever been since I was eighteen.”
Young also writes about being affected by the recent death of E Street Band member Clarence Clemons in 2011:
I spoke to my old friend Bruce [Springsteen] and told him I was feeling it, his loss of Clarence … I told him when he looked to his right [onstage, where Clemons used to stand] I would be there.”
Waging Heavy Peace is available now from Blue Rider Press. Young’s new album with Crazy Horse, Psychedelic Pill, hits stores on October 5.