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Tuesday, February 02, 2021

INTERVIEW: Ralph Molina, Crazy Horse's Drummer w/ Neil Young | Perfect Sound Forever

Ralph Molina
Photo © Corrina Jones

 

Crazy Horse's drummer Ralph Molina was interviewed recently by Perfect Sound Forever's John Wisniewski & Jason Gross on working with Neil Young and he shared a few interesting details on his 50+ year career in music. (thanks Richard T & Dr J!)

Perfect Sound Forever: What kind of equipment (drums, sticks) do you like to use?

Ralph Molina: I have an old Ludwig set that I've used on many recordings and tours. It's like wearing a comfortable old shirt.

Last couple tours, I used Craviotto [drums]- the Ducks' drummer [Johnny Craviotto] began building them. Neil asked if I'd use them and I said 'fine.' But I prefer my Ludwigs. I started with Promark [drumsticks], 5b sticks, down to 7a Promark. Now I use cool rods. While recording Greendale, I was using sticks, and I was so much louder than Neil and Billy for those songs, I picked up a pair of [Promark] Cool rods, and the feel and blend was aces. I hit hard enough on my drums, with touch of course, that I've used them the last couple of tours.

PSF: Any fun(ny) Neil stories to share? The best I've heard is when he rowed Graham Nash to a lake/pond on his property, with barns on each side blasting out music, and Neil yelling "I want to hear more left barn!"

RM: Of course, but you'll have to read my book. There are too many.

PSF: So, you have a book coming out?

RM: Not 'til after I'm through playing.

PSF: It was just announced that a live album is coming out in February called Way Down in the Rust Bucket. Any thoughts on that particular show that was recorded for the album?

RM: That album was recorded during what we called 'the bar, club tour.' 

We were really grooving, getting ready to go out on the Ragged Glory tour. I remember Neil calling me, excited as crap- 'Ralph, you've got to hear these tracks, shows we found, it's the real shit man.' 

Me, I don't get excited, LOL. 

He said he was so happy that he had, I think he said, 8 cameras filming the show. He said we did 3 sets that night. I never thought we did 3 sets, but we did. It was from the Catalyst, a bar, club near San Francisco. But I've got to say, it was great. 

After those shows, we were all hot and ready to go on our tour. 

From what I remember, we were having too much fun. But I must say, 'great call, Neil,' to record that particular show. 

I guess he felt it would be a magical night. It was.

Full interview with Ralph Molina on Perfect Sound Forever's by John Wisniewski & Jason Gross.

For more on upcoming "WAY DOWN IN THE RUST BUCKET" -- both a film and double album -- by Neil Young w/  Crazy Horse, scheduled for release on February 26, 2021, see here.

More on Crazy Horse's Ralph Molina and Billy Talbot.


Ralph Molina and Billy Talbot - 2017
Photo by Ellen Goffin

Also, see Crazy Horse's Ralph Molina, Billy Talbot & Frank "Poncho" Sampedro @ MusiCares Honors Neil Young - Los Angeles, CA - 1/29/10.


Crazy Horse
Ralph Molina, Billy Talbot & Frank "Poncho" Sampedro

MusiCares Honors Neil Young - Los Angeles, CA - 1/29/10
Photo by Joni Milken-Noah
 

"OK, who wants a drumstick???" 
(says Drummer Ralph Molina)
Neil Young & Crazy Horse

A Day On The Green, Hunter Valley, AUS - Mar 9, 2013
Photo by Davey Bob
(Click photo to enlarge)

Labels: , ,


7 Comments:

At 2/02/2021 08:22:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

great interview - whatever happened with Poncho, I'm glad it hasn't affected the release of WDITRB - but if Poncho is a hologram I'm gonna be pissed

lol

 
At 2/03/2021 01:48:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

right, a "hologram Poncho" really would be problematic.

but Poncho seems to be real on all the preview clips. yeah that Greendale fake Poncho really was very strange. even by strange neil standards.

 
At 2/03/2021 01:55:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Very interested to read his book.......but I’m not in any hurry Ralph, you still got a lot of tours left in you. I can wait.

And I agree.... the whole CGI Poncho was a big disappointment for me. Disrespectful actually. I know Poncho didn’t play a big part in the Greendale portion of the show but he was on stage, and he was part of the band. When asked about it on the Letters section recently, Neil’s response was “ I just felt like doing it, its great to be old and get to do whatever you want”. That’s Neil for ya’.

Peace 🙏

 
At 2/03/2021 08:38:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

even though this might have been a joke, it is still somewhat unfortunate. It might be the case that the older we get the more responsibilities we accumulate. Doing whatever we want is generally not a good way to go. Neil is not a philosopher, that is for sure.

 
At 2/04/2021 12:32:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

my guess is that it's about money...whatever went down that ultimately led to Hologram Poncho

 
At 2/04/2021 12:46:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Abner - well, some say that Neil is a philosopher. maybe not as classically defined, but maybe of his genre.

afterall, anyone who coined the phrase "Why do I keep fuckin' up?" has encapsulated the most existential question known to mankind.

or at least more succinctly than Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Sartre, or Nietzsche. don't ya think?!

@ Jonathan - that would be sad, altho not surprising.

ps - might you drop us an email sometime, please ? thrasher ATSIGN ThrashersWheat.org

 
At 2/04/2021 01:58:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

I give Neil a great deal of credit for finding these phrases that are around but no one seems to make poetic. My favorite is "too far gone." Damn, this is perfect and "piece of crap." I think "why do I keep fucking up" was in my subconscious all through life!!! Neil made it present and gave me a way to laugh at it.

 

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