Neil Young News
Bill Graham once called Crazy Horse the 3rd Best Garage Band in the World. That was back in the 80's and it's unclear whether that rank has gone up or down since then. Irregardless, it hardly matters to Neil Young and Crazy Horse where they rate.
Jack Nitzsche , Neil Young's producer/arranger on the masterpiece "Broken Arrow", has stated that Crazy Horse was the American equivalent of The Rolling Stones. IMHO, Crazy Horse is to Neil Young what The Band was to Bob Dylan. As perfect a complement as tequila and salt.
As they say in Prisoner's of Rock-n-Roll, "they don't want to be good". Smell the Horse!
"'There wasn't a concept when we started,' Talbot recalls the birth of the narrative-based Greendale album. 'There was the driven idea that we wanted to re-invent ourselves so to speak. That was something that we talked about a little bit; that we're a great band and we need to revitalise, we need something really good and juicy. And we didn't know what that was but Neil had a song and we started playing it and the next time there was a new song that he hadn't showed us yet and that was the first song on Greendale. And we didn't know what it was going to be and we got it down on tape and it just started going from there. And the next time he came in with a song, it had some of the characters in it from the song before. He didn't know he was going to do that, he was just following his nose, the muse, and that's how it started happening. Before long, after about three songs, we started to realise what was going on here. But he never tried to think it out, he let it happen.' "
"'I'm sure it's just like a, you know, a fine carpenter who builds something and knows it's good and other people appreciate it,' says Talbot. 'It's that kind of satisfaction I would prefer to call it than pride. But pride is a good word as well, you can take pride in it. I feel more satisfied that we've finally got to a point where I feel like the band has finally gotten to a point where we're really rocking. And when we play, after we do the whole Greendale show and it comes to a finale, when we come back out and do the old classics, well some of them aren't that old and some of them are really old, it's just such a setup, it's just so great and the audience loves it and 'cause that's what Greendale does for us.' "
Poncho commenting on Neil and Crazy Horse's musical talent:
Asked about how he felt replacing Danny Whitten as the Crazy Horse lead guitar:
Year of the Horse Film Review and Interviews on the making with Crazy Horse, Neil and Director Jim Jarmusch
Year of the Horse - Interview in France's Les Inrockuptibles, July 1997
Year of the Horse - Film Review
Crazy Horse Biography - Reprise Records, 1997
Frank Sampedro Interview - Torhout Festival, 1996
Poncho Interview - Halifax Daily News, 11/1/96
Interview: Crazy Horse and Neil Young Maintain Special Relationship, by Barry Gutman, Music Wire, ~9/96
Billy Talbot Interview - Rip it Up, ~8/96
Crazy Horse Album Reviews- by Robert Christgau
From RollingStone.com review of Crazy Horse album by PARKE PUTERBAUGH (RS 890 - February 28, 2002):
The Eagles get all the credit for exposing the dark side of the California dream, but you can peek at the lobby of the Hotel California on Crazy Horse, too. The opening track, Nitzsche's chugging, bluesy 'Gone Dead Train,' reveals itself as an elaborate metaphor for impotence; the troubled Whitten lays his cards on the tempestuous, self-revelatory 'Look at All the Things'; and Lofgren's stormy 'Beggars Day' can been interpreted as his fatalistic view of Whitten's drug problems ('All your mercy can't save me'). Danny Whitten died at twenty-nine of a heroin overdose on November 18th, 1972. It's all documented on Tonight's the Night, Neil Young's elegy for Whitten and fellow drug casualty, roadie Bruce Berry, but it was foreshadowed on Crazy Horse."
photo by Paul Cashmere
"It's all one song," Neil Young says into the microphone before Crazy Horse launches into Year of the Horse's opening track, "When You Dance You Can Really Love." As the rest of the songs on the album unfold, the meaning of Young's statement becomes clear: the spirit, the magic of Crazy Horse transcends individual songs.
Unleashed in Los Angeles in 1969, Crazy Horse represented the essence of grunge before the word was ever used in a musical context. The band's long, colorful ride continues because its members have proven to be rock and roll warriors.
Crazy Horse is (with comments by Neil Young):
Ralph Molina (drums/vocals): "Ralph's the quiet one, but he's also very funny. Ralph's steady as a rock."
Billy Talbot (bass/vocals): "Billy's the center in some ways, because he plays ...the big notes. Billy is a sound, a feeling that's a big part of us."
Frank "Poncho" Sampedro (guitar/vocals): "Poncho brings us strength. He has massive amounts of strength...just an unbelievable core of strength. When he's there, it's strong.
Neil Young (guitar/vocals): "I always wince when I hear 'Neil Young and Crazy Horse,' because it's really Crazy Horse. I know it's Crazy Horse."
Together on stage, Molina, Talbot, Sampedro and Young create a churning tribal dance, setting off musical explosions streaked with fire fury and soul. A prime example is the band's new live double album on Reprise Year Of The Horse.
Though the title is the same, it is not a soundtrack to the Jim Jarmusch documentary film on the band. In fact, none of the 12 songs on the record were drawn from the performances featured in the film. Even "Barstool Blues" "Big Time" "Sedan Delivery" and "Slip Away" - the only four songs to appear both on the album and in the film - are different versions. This fact underscores the depth of stellar live material Crazy Horse produced in 1996.
"The essence of what we do is...we play together," says Billy Talbot. "And we express as one."
Young agrees: "For this sound to happen, we've all got to be together. It's hard to describe. We know what's going
on...The older we get, the more we realize how special it is."
From the Crazy Horse anthem "Prisoners of Rock and Roll," to an electrified "Pocahontas," from an epic performance
of the guitar masterpiece "Danger Bird," to explorations of new sonic frontiers during "Scattered" and "When You r
Lonely Heart Breaks," the specialness of the music on Year of the Horse can not be denied. Even when the band
strips its sound down to drums and acoustic guitars for "Mr. Soul" and "Human Highway" (both recordings from the
1996 Bridge School Benefit), the Horse power is still strong.
"I think that they get more into their music than they did five years ago, ten years ago," say Scott Young, Neil's father.
"That's not to put down what they were doing then. It's just that there's an intensity of effort that can't help but impress
itself on the watcher."
"We're very emotional, sensitive guys," says Molina. "We're not chops players. When Neil plays with other guys,
they're more chops players, so you don't get that raw, emotional thing happening."
"The time I've spent with Crazy Horse has been great," says Young. It's just been a wonderful experience to know
people like that, to be able to create things on the spot. You never know what's going to happen next."