Neil Young News
One of my friends handed me an "Rip it up" (Free Australian music scene paper) interview that was done with Billy Talbot just before the European tour. The beginning of the article is stuff we all know so I wont bother typing it but it gets interesting, RIU interviewer Robert Dunstan contacts Billy in his San Francisco home :
"Can you hold on a minute" Billy began as soon as we were connected. "I'm just finishing up on the other line." "I'm also trying to watch the [basketball] game on TV," he announced as he returned to the phone. "The Seattle Sonics and Chicago Bulls are playin', but it's half time right now so we've got some time to talk. There's actually a guy from Australia [Luc Longley] playing for the bulls. He's about 7 foot 2. You can't miss him" "So what's up? What are we gonna talk about?" Billy then asked before adding - cheerfully enough I might say - that he didn't particularly care for being interviewed. "I just get sick of answering the same questions over and over again" he sighed. "It's real hard to be spontaneous. But, at the same. I guess you get to hone in on your answers a little better (laughs).
I began by asking how the band work in the studio with Neil Young.
"Every album is a little different" Billy responded. "With this album [Broken Arrow] what we did was Neil cam in Monday mornin' and began playin' Big Time. He'd have the words almost finished and then he'd stop and finish off the words and we'd play the song and that was it. "He'd sing along while we played it and then we'd do a little bit of overdubbing on some of the choruses and and a bit of mixing and we were done with that song. Next day we'd work on the next song the same way. That's tthe way we did the whole album. It took about 10 days including doing all of the editing stuff.
BA also features a live cut in the form of the Jimmy Reed blues classic, Baby What You Want Me To Do - a rough and ready recording complete with extraneous crowd noises along with the constant clinking of glasses.
"We did that at Old Princeton's Landing," Billy explained. "It's just a little bar and we flew one stereo mic in the middle of the room - actually it wasn't even in the midddle of the room, it was kinda off to one side (laughs) - which went live to two track DAT. We recorded a lot of stuff, but that was the only thing suitable for the new album. Most of the other stuff we did that night was old material"
In the past, Neil Young has expressed his dislike for digital sound.
"I share Neil's love for the analogue sound," Billy cautiosly stated. "And I don't know if Neil has so much of a dislike for the digital process. Iknow he has a respect for it, and is hopeful the future will get better and it will become everything the analogue sound is and more. But right now - and I think I speak for Neil on this - we both share a love of the analogue sound and know it can't be as well reproduced as digital sound." "As a recording, the analogue sound is just so beautiful," he enthused. "it's just that it can only be shared by a very few in its truest form while digital sound is shared by the masses in its truest form. Analogue sound is first generation and only a few people get to hear it. It's like an original painting whereas digital sound is like a pring of that original painting. It can never be as good.
I was always under the impression that Crazy Horse were a 'bar band' Neil Young had discovered in San Francisco in the late '60's.
"Nah, we were never ever a bar band," Billy declared with a trace of digust. "We were a 'garage band', man. Never a bar band. We've never played anybody's songs but our own. And Neil's. We've never done cover songs in our life. "We all knew each other from the Laurel Canyon days when Neil was with Buffalo Springfield. We'd meet up and play music acoustically in each others houses and stuff. When Buffalo Springfield broke up and he was ready to do his second solo album [EKTIN], Neil came and sat in with us at the Whiskey Au Go Go when we were know as The Rockets and then asked us to play one the album."
As Well as working with Young, Crazy Horse have also released their own records which, as far as I could ascertain amounts to three albums.
"I think we've had five albums out as Crazy Horse. Maybe even six, but definitely more than three".
A best of Crazy Horse album was released recently.
"Really? Well how 'bout that" the bass player chuckeled. "I guess that one kinda slipped me by."
I was curious to know what the members of Crazy Horse do when thy're not recording or touring with Young.
"We do music, man. We all do music. We all have our music projects. A lot of it has to do with each other. Ralph and I work together a lot on band stuff and I also produce my son's band and a blues band. And I've just done a soundtrack to a movie and I'm now doing another one. I'm into a whole lot of different things, I've tot my own record company, Raw Oracle Recordings, and have a few artists signed. One of them is called Bone Jumpin' and they're a funky blues kinda band who are really good. It's an alternative blues kinda thing they got happenin'."
With the release of Broken Arrow, Neil Young and Crazy Horse are thinking about a world tour.
"Yeah, we leave tomorrow morning ing matter-o'-fact. We fly to Miami and then over to Zurich to start a European tour. And there's talk about coming down to Australia in January of next year. That's what I hear, but I don't think there's been anything done on it. It's certainly not definite although I'd sure like to get back to Australia. I was there in '84 with Neil and Crazy Horse - or was it '85? - and had a really great time."
Also, see interview with Crazy Horse's guitar player "Poncho", Frank Sampedro.