Billy Talbot, the bassist for Crazy Horse (of Neil Young and Crazy Horse fame) has suffered a mild stroke and will be unable to join the band on its forthcoming European tour.
The group announced in a statement that doctors expect for the bassist to make a full recovery, but his sitting out the tour has rather historic implications for the group. Talbot hasn't missed a single show since Young began playing with the group during 1968. Those are some Cal Ripken-esque numbers.
The sad irony is that some of the dates on the upcoming tour are already rescheduled from last year, when Crazy Horse guitarist Frank "Poncho" Sampedro injured his hand. Those dates were cancelled due to the difficulty in finding a replacement, however Young was able to get his longtime solo performance player Rick Rosas to fill in when the tour begins in July. Drafting a fill-in instrumentalist is difficult enough for a "greatest hits" band, but especially tough for any act involving Young, who's renowned for reaching deep into his discography and altering setlists dramatically between gigs.
Talbot also sings harmony with Young for many of Crazy Horse's tracks, so the group has brought on background vocalists Dorene Carter and YaDonna West to join the tour.
All in all, it's just another bad sign for fans of Young with Crazy Horse. Although the headliner himself will probably tour until he dies, Sampedro acknowledged to Rolling Stone during April that "my gut tells me this is really the last tour."
"I love playing and we're playing as good as we ever did, but at any time something could go down with any one of us," he said. Unfortunately, he seems to have been right. The band doesn't have any dates listed outside of Europe at the moment, but fans should get out and see these great performers while they have the chance.