Exclusive: Neil Young & Crazy Horse Bassist Billy Talbot Shares Details About Band’s Love Earth Tour

Neil Young & Crazy Horse launch their first full-fledged tour since 2014 with a show on Wednesday, 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.

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The last time Young played live with Crazy Horse was in November 2023 at a private event at the Rivoli nightclub in Toronto. That show, which featured a full performance of Young and the band’s lauded 1990 studio effort, Ragged Glory, was recorded and is being released as a live album titled FU##IN’ UP.

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The Crazy Horse lineup for that concert, and the two other shows Young played with the group in 2023, featured founding bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina, longtime multi-instrumentalist Nils Lofgren, and a new addition—guitarist/keyboardist Micah Nelson. Nelson, who is the son of country legend Willie Nelson, also is a member of the group Promise of the Real, who served as Young’s backing band for a number of albums and tours during the 2010s.

Nils Lofgren Won’t Be Taking Part in the Tour

In a new interview with American Songwriter, Talbot revealed that Crazy Horse will be down a member on the new trek.

“Nils isn’t able to be with us this time, because he’s out [on tour] with Bruce [Springsteen and the E Street Band,” Talbot explained. “So we’re doing it without Nils, but with Micah.”

[RELATED: Neil Young & Crazy Horse Extend 2024 Tour: How To Get Tickets]

As for how Nelson is fitting in with Young and Crazy Horse, Talbot said, “Well, [Neil] really likes Micah, and so do we.”

Plans to Play “Cortez the Killer” with a Long-Lost Verse

Talbot didn’t reveal much about the set lists Young and the band might be putting together for the tour, but he did share some info about Neil’s recently reported plan to reintroduce a lost verse from the group’s classic 1975 tune “Cortez the Killer.”

“[W]hen we were recording ‘Cortez the Killer’ for the first time, the electricity went off in the control room, and the machine stopped, but we kept playing,” the bassist recalled. “And that verse was one that had been sung in that period of time when we were playing and they weren’t recording. Then they turned the machines back on, and we were still playing. So, consequently, [when] we edited ‘Cortez the Killer’ together … that verse was missing.”

Talbot added, “So Neil has come to terms with that, and he likes that verse, as it turns out … so we’re probably going to re-introduced it to the song.”

Talbot Feeling “Really Ready” to Tour

Meanwhile, Talbot, who turned 80 in October 2023, said he’s feeling like he’s prepared to hit the road with Young and the other guys.

“I’ve been playing a lot here at my ranch [in South Dakota], with my equipment and tapes and everything, just getting ready,” he said. “I feel like I’m really ready, but … we will see what happens when we all get together. I think it’ll be a successful gathering.”

Tickets for Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s tour dates are available now via various outlets, including StubHub.

More About the FU##IN’ UP Live Album

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 Saturday, April 20. Then, on Friday, April 26, the album will be released on standard black vinyl, on CD, and via digital formats.

The album features live renditions of all 10 tunes on Ragged Glory, but, interestingly, the titles of nine of the tunes have been changed to other phrases taken from the lyrics of those tracks. The one exception is “Farmer John,” which is a cover tune.

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