Intervju: Roger McGuinn

En liten samtale med frontfiguren fra The Byrds.

The Byrds utgjorde sammen med Beach Boys og Beatles de 3 store B'ene på 60-tallet og var pionérer på hvert sitt område. Beach Boys hadde arrangementene og koringene, Byrds hadde de folkinspirerte låtene og 12-strengeren (Rickenbacker) og Beatles hadde jo det meste. Bandene var fan av hverandre og tjente på gjensidig inspirasjon.

The Byrds slo gjennom med Dylan-coveren Mr. Tambourine Man og hadde flere hits før de mer eller mindre gikk i oppløsning innenfra mot slutten av 60-tallet. Låtskrivere med sterke personligheter førte til fantastiske plater, men også til at det ble vanskelig å fortsette over tid. Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby og Chris Hillman var alle låtskrivere og individualister. Det som var igjen av The Byrds ble endelig oppløst i 1973 – samme år som frontmann Roger McGuinn solodebuterte. groove.no hadde for kort tid siden gleden av å ta en liten prat med frontmann i The Byrds, Roger McGuinn.

- Was there a single event that made you interested in music as a young man?

McGuinn: When I was 13 years old, riding my bicycle around the streets of Chicago, listening to my new transistor radio, I heard Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel for the first time. That song made me want to get a guitar and do what he did.

- When and how did you realize that you could write songs?

McGuinn: I tried writing my first song in Greenwich Village in 1961, and it was easy. The first song was co written with Mike Settle called Early Christmas Morn.

- How do you write songs? What comes first, melody line, text, chord progression or a feeling/mood?

McGuinn: I sit down with my guitar and work out a chord pattern, then make up a melody and finally add lyrics.

- Is this different now from the 60s?

McGuinn: I still write songs the same way.

- Have you written your best song yet?

McGuinn: Of course not! :-)

- What are the Byrds songs you're most pleased with?

McGuinn: I love Turn Turn Turn and for one that I wrote, Chestnut Mare.

- Do you listen to contemporary music?

McGuinn: Not much.

- Can you tell us a little bit about your future plans?

McGuinn: I'm working on a four CD boxed set of the Folk Den songs. I started the Folk Den in 1995 to preserve traditional music. 2005 will be the tenth year of the Folk Den. The set will commemorate it. You can fine the Folk Den at mcguinn.com.

- When recording nowadays, do you prefer working in old time vintage studios or do you use software?

McGuinn: I use Adobe Audition. Studios have seen their day.

- Today one can download mp3 samples of practically speaking any band in only a few minutes. Is this a problem or do you consider it a blessing?

McGuinn: I have over 100 free mp3 downloads on my site and regard it as being good practice.

- Thanks for giving us some of your time. A final question, what's your 5 favourite albums of all time?

ELV1S 30 #1 Hits: Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley inspired me with his single Heartbreak Hotel to the point that I wanted to get a guitar and do what he was doing.

Capitol Collectors Series: Gene Vincent
Gene Vincent had a similar effect with his great single Be Bop a Lula. When I met John Lennon and we compared notes, we decided that this was our favorite single from the 50s!

Carl Perkins - Original Sun Greatest Hits: Carl Perkins
Carl Perkins was another influence with Blue Suede Shoes and made me appreciate all the sounds that came from Sun Records out of Memphis.

Bob Gibson & Bob Camp at the Gate of Horn: Bob Gibson and Bob Camp
Gibson & Camp at the Gate of Horn was an incredible musical experience. I was there when they recorded this great album, and Bob Gibson had been my inspiration to get into folk music.

Tonight: In Person: The Limeliters
Limeliters hired me to accompany them on this album. They flew me from my hometown, Chicago, to Los Angeles, where I recorded with them at the Ash Grove folk club there. This was my first professional
engagement, at age 17. I turned 18 during the two weeks we played there.

Dvorák: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 From the New World:
Leonard Bernstein/New York Philharmonic
The New World by Bernstein and the NY Philharmonic is one of my favorite classical pieces and this is a stunning performance. I've heard this piece performed by many symphonies and conductors, but in my opinion this is the best. I have great memories of playing this on a train trip from Miami to North Carolina with my wife Camilla. It made a great soundtrack!


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