Glen Boyd, West Seattle author has written Neil Young FAQ - Everything left to know about the iconic and mercurial rocker. You can meet Glen in person at a Ballard book signing on June 1 at Harry's Haven 5016 20th Ave NW. CLICK TO SEE SOME IMAGES FROM THE BOOK
Neil Young FAQ is a career milestone for West Seattle writer Glen Boyd
Glen Boyd has been to many concerts during his career as a music writer but among his top music experiences were those provided by the kaleidoscopic talent that is Neil Young.
The West Seattle writer's admiration and knowledge of Young's music has finally proven to be very useful, since he was tapped to author a new book, Neil Young FAQ- Everything Left To Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker just published in softcover by Backbeat Books.
"This book is part of a series they do called FAQ. Robert Rodriguez started it by writing two books about the Beatles, Fab Four FAQ and Fab Four FAQ 2.0 and he got in touch with me about three years ago out of clear blue sky. He said, 'I've seen your writing on the internet and I think you're a really good writer. Would you be interested in doing something for our series?' It was completely unexpected. I was amazed."
Boyd at one time, shortly after high school, wrote for the West Seattle Herald doing music and concert reviews, but his career later vaulted to the national stage and includes writing for SPIN magazine, The Source and Tower Records Pulse as R&B Editor. Prior to those high profile gigs he was a contributing editor at Seattle's own The Rocket for ten years. He also worked for famous music producer Rick Rubin in Los Angeles as Director of Retail Marketing for Def American. Along the way Boyd also became friends with Seattle's own Sir Mix-A-Lot and for six years hosted KCMU FM's Rap Attack.
But it was his writing for BlogCritics.org that got him noticed by Rodriguez.
"They gave me a list of artists to do an "FAQ" on and it came down to Springsteen, Neil Young or Dylan. Sprinsteen, someone was doing, and Dylan would be too impossible to do. Dylan is like Shakespeare. But Neil was kind of a logical choice. I'm a huge fan of his, going way way back. I know an awful lot about him and I'm very aware of his entire history. Once you actually start writing something like this though and you start researching it, there's so much that you find out you didn't know."
The 385 page book published by Backbeat Books (a division of Hal Leonard Corporation) took Boyd about 2 years to pull all the threads together. It meant doing exhaustive research into studio work, live performances and reviewing his own personal experiences.
Boyd shared just a couple of the more remarkable items in the book.
"Did you know that Neil recorded a New Age album? It was called Meadow Dusk and it was never released," said Boyd, "people who have heard it, describe it as the sound of crickets farting."
"The album 'Comes A Time', when Neil got back the first pressing he hated it so much that he actually went out and bought 200,000 copies of it himself (from the record company) and shot bullet holes through them. He did not want it getting out there until the problems as he perceived them with the recording were corrected."
"The book is full of facts like that (...) If you are a Neil Young expert you are still going to learn things you didn't know."
Boyd said the most remarkable thing about Young is that he remains relevant and vital well into his fifth decade of making music. But more amazing is that the music ranges from bluegrass, to rockabilly, to folk, to hard rock and experiments with many other forms. Not all have been well received but Young's passion and creative drive have few equals.
Counting his solo and live albums, and his work with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, his discography spans 50 albums.
The glue that binds Young's work together according to Boyd is the songwriting.
Neil Young FAQ covers every song and album in great detail and includes bootlegs and such lost recordings as Homegrown, Chrome Dreams, and Toast.
There are also more than 80 images in the book, many never before published from live performances to otherwise obscure moments.
The book is available on Amazon.com and other online sites and will be available in brick and mortar locations soon.
Boyd is considering two ideas for his next book, one of which would be another FAQ book on old school hip hop covering artists such as Run DMC and NWA.
Boyd's West Seattle roots are celebrated in the dedication to his journalism teacher at West Seattle High School.
Boyd writes, "This book is lovingly dedicated to Dorothea "Miss Moo" Mootafes who recognized and encouraged my writing talent even as I likely put several gray hairs on her head. Putting up with my antics back then alone qualifies Miss Moo for sainthood. The fact that she somehow saw a potential writer in an otherwise hell-raising teenager obsessed with rock n' roll was probably the first event in my young life that eventually made this book possible. So, Miss Moo, this is for you. I'd also like to dedicate this to my grandma. Theresa "Nana" Guyll, who took me to my first Neil Young concert (actually it was a CSN&Y show) as a thirteen year old boy. God bless you, Nana, and I hope that they have earplugs in heaven."
Boyd has never met Young in person but if he had the chance to ask him a question it would be, "Why are your ticket prices so damn high?"
You can meet Glen Boyd in person at a book signing being held in Ballard Friday, June 1, 2012 at 7:00pm at Harry's Haven 5016 20th Ave NW, Seattle, WA.
If you wish to purchase a copy of the book at this event, please notify Harry via private message, post on this event, or via email at email@example.com -- all proceeds from book sales will benefit the Bridge School http://bridgeschool.org/
The Bridge School is an alternative learning institution for children with severe learning and communication disabilities. Being the parent of two children with such disabilities, Neil Young is a longtime supporter, and headlines an all-star benefit concert each year for the Bridge School, while Neil's wife Pegi sits on the board of directors.
NOTE: You can find more of Boyd's writing on his personal sites- The World Wide Glen - http://theglenblog.blogspot.com and The Rockologist - http://www.therockologist.com
Photo gallery for this story