Rick Rosas dies at 65; longtime studio musician

Rick Rosas
Longtime session musician Rick Rosas, right, here playing with Neil Young, center, Richie Furay and Joe Vitale during a Buffalo Springfield reunion concert in Los Angeles in 2011, has died at the age of 65.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Rick Rosas, a longtime studio musician who in recent years played bass guitar with Neil Young as well as a reunited Buffalo Springfield, died Thursday in Los Angeles of complications from lung disease. He was 65.

A spokeswoman for Lookout Management, which represents Young, confirmed Rosas’ death.

A Los Angeles native born Sept. 10, 1949, Rosas got his start with Mark Guerrero’s East L.A. bands Mark and the Escorts, and Tango. Rosas went on to play bass guitar with Joe Walsh for a number of years.

Rosas had joined Young for recording sessions and tours since the late 1980s. He performed with Young’s band at the Nashville concerts that director Jonathan Demme filmed for the 2006 documentary “Neil Young: Heart of Gold” and the Chrome Dreams II tour dates that Demme captured for the subsequent concert film “Neil Young Trunk Show.”


In 2010, Young, Stephen Stills and Richie Furay briefly came together as a new incarnation of the late ‘60s country-rock group Buffalo Springfield for two of Young’s annual Bridge School benefit concerts. Rosas replaced original bassist Bruce Palmer, and Joe Vitale replaced Dewey Martin on drums. (Palmer died in 2004, Martin in 2009.) Rosas continued as bassist for the band’s 2011 reunion tour.

“Of course we missed not having Bruce and Dewey there, but Joey and Rick sure took up the slack,” Furay told Goldmine magazine in a 2011 interview.

This summer Rosas had toured with Young’s Crazy Horse band after regular bassist Billy Talbot suffered a stroke.

Rosas, who also joined a 2006 Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young reunion tour, played regularly during Young’s wife Pegi’s solo appearances and with Waddy Wachtel’s band.


According to publicist Robert Harris, Rosas had recently finished his work on a new movie Demme is filming, “Ricki and the Flash,” starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline.

Rosas is survived by his longtime partner, Elizabeth Sauger.

Get our Today's Headlines newsletter