Neil Young Nation: A Quest, an Obsession (And a True Story)
Neil Young is one of the most consistently popular musicians of our time. His brilliant, gnomic, lyrical music has earned him fans of all ages and persuasions. Novelist Kevin Chong counts himself among them.
Neil Young will turn 60 in 2005. Kevin Chong will turn 30. To celebrate these two milestones, Chong sets off on a road trip in search of his boyhood hero. Crisscrossing the continent, he follows that route that led Young to become a musical legend. He visits Winnipeg, where Young formed his first band, the Squires; Omeemee,Young’s childhood home; Los Angeles, where Young became a rock star; and many more of Young’s former haunts. He meets rabid Neil fans, talks to people who knew Young as a kid, and puzzles over Young’s strange, sometimes contradictory pronouncements.
Neil Young Nation is an entertaining account of Chong’s journey. But it is much more than a conventional travelogue. It’s an idiosyncratic, irreverent, free-wheeling pastiche that incorporates elements of biography, mock hagiography, cultural criticism, humor, and personal essay. Chong’s brief vacation from adulthood teaches him something about rock and roll, contrarianism, the allure of the road, being cool, and aging gracefully: staying Young.