Neil Young is back in the saddle again with Crazy Horse


If Neil Young has confounded his audience over the years by switching styles the way other people change hairstyles, think of what he has done to his on-and-off band Crazy Horse.

They were called the Rockets in 1969 when Mr. Young first hooked up with them to record his second album "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere."

From then on, the band, which originally included Danny Whitten, Ralph Molina and Billy Talbot, became known as Crazy Horse. It collaborated with Mr. Young on such triumphs as "After the Goldrush," "Zuma," "Rust Never Sleeps," "Live Rust" and the underrated "re-ac-tor."

Then Mr. Talbot toured with an outfit called the Bluenotes, and he thought that Mr. Young would never call on Crazy Horse again.

But, Mr. Talbot recalls, a phone call just a year ago got Mr. Young and Crazy Horse back together for one of their greatest achievements -- the much-acclaimed "Ragged Glory" album.

The band is currently backing Mr. Young on a tour -- which came to the Capital Centre last night -- that Mr. Talbot says is "rocking more than anybody's rocked in a long time out there."

And though there's talk of continuing the three-month U.S. tour into a worldwide effort -- and doing more recording with Mr. Young after that -- Mr. Talbot is glad he still has a version of Crazy Horse to fall back on if those plans fall through.

He recalls bitterly a time in the early '80s when Mr. Young didn't want to record or tour.

"We sat around and didn't do anything," he says. "It was ridiculous. I never want that to happen again."

So after a 1987 tour, Crazy Horse was reborn.

LTC "We decided we weren't going to be sitting around," Mr. Talbot says. "We decided we really wanted to keep playing music."

They recorded "Left for Dead" using their own money and facing almost universal indifference from record companies.

The title "Left for Dead" shouldn't be interpreted just as a swipe at Mr. Young, the bassist says.

"It was about just everything: Crazy Horse, rock 'n' roll, the band. We were just in that mood. We just felt we were being left behind by everybody."

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