Exclusive: Neil Young & Crazy Horse Bassist Billy Talbot Says Band’s New Live Album “Rock[s] from the Beginning to the End”

Neil Young & Crazy Horse have released a new live album called, um, FU##IN’ UP, named after one of the songs on the band’s classic 1990 studio effort, Ragged Glory. The album was recorded in November 2023 at a private event at the Rivoli nightclub in Toronto, during which Young and company played Ragged Glory front to back.

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In an exclusive interview with American Songwriter, Crazy Horse bassist Billy Talbot said that he had a great time playing the intimate gig.

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“[W]e got in there, and we had all our stuff set up, and it was for 300 people about, and … we just rocked from the beginning to the end,” Talbot recalled. “And… we hadn’t played for a while, so it was really exciting for us in this way, that we were just put on the stage, we had our equipment and our people were there helping us, and we just started up.”

The Crazy Horse lineup for the concert featured Talbot, founding drummer Ralph Molina, and longtime multi-instrumentalist Nils Lofgren, as well as guitarist/keyboardist Micah Nelson. Nelson, who is country legend Willie Nelson’s son, also is a member of Promise of the Real, the group that served as Young’s backing band for multiple albums and tours during the 2010s.

[RELATED: Neil Young and Crazy Horse Kick Off Love Earth Tour 2024: Here’s the Setlist]

Talbot said he was happy the show was recorded because he and his bandmates were very pleased with the performance.

“[W]hen I heard it, I really loved the feel of it, and so did Neil and everyone else,” he noted. “We all loved it. And then, Neil was excited about that, and decided to put it out.”

Why the Band Decided to Play Ragged Glory in Concert

Talbot told American Songwriter that the decision to do a show featuring a full performance of Ragged Glory came after Young and the band had played a pair of special concerts at The Roxy in West Hollywood, California, in September 2023. At those two shows, Neil and the gang played two of his entire classic albums—Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969) and Tonight’s the Night (1975).

Talbot explained, “[W]hen we … heard that we were doing this gig in Toronto, we decided that Ragged Glory would be a good thing to do in its entirety, you know, since we had been in on that kind of a [jag], so to speak.”

He pointed out that the full-albums shows at The Roxy shows and the Toronto gig, gave Young & Crazy Horse the chance to perform some songs that they “hadn’t played ever.”

“It was really fun,” he added. “And Ragged Glory was really a lot of fun.”

Young Changed the Ragged Glory Song Titles for FU##IN’ UP

When it came time to release the FU##IN’ UP album, Young decided to change the names of all the songs on Ragged Glory, with the exception of the cover tune “Farmer John.” He used lyrical segments from each tune for the new title. For example, the song “F—in’ Up” is called “Heart of Steel” and “Mansion on the Hill” has been retitled “Walkin’ in My Place (Road of Tears)” on the live record.

Asked if Young explained to him why he changed the song titles, Talbot said, “No, and he didn’t have to. I wasn’t even really curious, because all the words that he used [in the new titles] were in each song. So, it was just a matter of … just putting it out that way, and letting people know that he wanted to do that, and we wanted to do that.”

FU##IN’ UP Release Details

FU##IN’ UP got its initial release as a limited-edition clear-vinyl two-LP set as part of the 2024 Record Store Day event on April 20. Then, on Friday, April 26, the album was released on standard black vinyl, CD, and digital formats.

Young & Crazy Horse’s 2024 Tour

As previously reported, Young & Crazy Horse launched their first full-fledged tour since 2014 on April 24 in San Diego. The band’s Love Earth Tour currently features more than 30 North American dates, and is plotted out through a September 29 concert at the famed Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. The group is touring without Lofgren, because of his commitments to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Tickets for the shows are available now via various outlets, including NeilYoungArchives.com and StubHub.

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