Neil Young and Crazy Horse bassist Billy Talbot has suffered a mild stroke and will not be able to perform with the band on their upcoming European tour. “Talbot’s doctors expect him to make a full recovery,” the group said in a statement. “They have advised Talbot to sit this tour out and recover his strength.” Neil Young’s longtime bassist Rick Rosas will play in his place.
Talbot is a founding member of Crazy Horse and hasn’t missed a single gig with the group since their formation in 1968. As Talbot plays a crucial role in the group’s harmonies, backing vocalists Dorene Carter and YaDonna West are joining up with the tour to fill the gap.
Some dates on the tour were originally slated for last summer, but had to be postponed when Crazy Horse guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro suffered a hand injury.
Talbot spoke with Rolling Stone last year about the rigors and thrills of touring. “Our job isn’t easy,” he said. “It’s not meant to be easy. Our job is to keep the edge, be out on the edge, always seeing, exploring the limits of what we do and who we are, never letting up. Spiritually and cosmically, not to sound all hippified, but we don’t sound good unless we’re really connected and on the edge of everything.”
In the same interview, Talbot contrasted the group’s ever-changing sets to another veteran rock band. “When we were in Australia, we were in the same hotel with Kiss,” said the musician. “We heard that one of them said, ‘I have the best gig in the world. I’ve been playing the same 17 songs for 35 years.’ We heard that and it didn’t sit right with us.”
Neil Young and Crazy Horse begin their European tour July 7th in Reykjavik, Iceland. They currently have no North American dates scheduled.