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Behind the Guitar Roger McGuinn-Part I on PBS39

October 18, 2019

(soft guitar)   (male #1)
Behind the Guitar
is brought to you by:   And by:   (narrator)
Recorded live from
the campus of Steel Stacks   in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania,   ladies and gentlemen,
our host Craig Thatcher.   Welcome to Behind the Guitar.   I’m your host
Craig Thatcher.   Behind the Guitar is a
musical performance series   which focuses on
stories and memories   of each artist.   As the co-founding member
and lead guitarist   of The Byrds,   Roger McGuinn
and his 12-string guitar   pioneered
folk rock.   With multiple
hit albums and songs,   Roger and The Byrds began
to have a profound influence   on folk rock,
psychedelic rock,   and country rock music.   Please put
your hands together   as we go
Behind the Guitar   with Rock and Roll
Hall of Famer   Roger McGuinn.   (applause)   Thank you so much, Roger.   What a pleasure
to have you on the show.   (Roger)
Thank you, thank you.   (lively guitar music)   Crimson flames
tied through my ears   Rollin’ high
and mighty traps   Pounced with fire
on flaming roads   Using ideas as my maps   “We’ll meet on edges,
soon,” said I   Proud ‘neath heated brow   Ah, but I was
so much older then   I’m younger than that now   Yeah, I was
so much older then   I’m younger than that now   (applause)   Thank you very much.   (Craig)
Soundtrack to our lives   from growing up
in the ’60s.   I just–your music was
so prominent on the airwaves   and it just had
such a profound impact   on so many people.   Can you tell us a little bit
about your beginnings.   You’re from Chicago?   (Roger)
I’m from Chicago.   When I was 13 years old,   they gave me
a transistor radio,   and that was a game changer
because it meant   you could listen to what
you wanted to listen to   instead of the
big wooden box   in the living room
with your parents.   And I wanted to listen
to rock and roll.   And most parents didn’t
like rock and roll,   which was
another reason   why I wanted to listen
to rock and roll.   So I used to ride
my bicycle around Chicago   listening to
my transistor radio.   I was tuned in to WJJD,   which at the time
was a rock station.   And I heard this
come over the airwaves.   Well, since
my baby left me,   I found a new place
to dwell   Well, it’s down at the end
of Lonely Street   at Heartbreak Hotel   Where I will be   I’ll be so lonely, baby   I’ll be so lonely   I’ll be so lonely
I could die   (blues guitar music)   -Yeah.
-I wasn’t gonna do   a full-on Elvis impersonation.   (laughter)   But I heard that
and it really jazzed me.   I mean, I had heard
other songs on the radio   like “How Much is that
Doggy in the Window?”   and “When the Moon Hits
Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie–”   -That’s amore.
-For some reason,   those songs didn’t make
me want to get a guitar   and–and play music,
but Elvis Presley did.   So I asked for a guitar
for my 14th birthday   and I got one.   I couldn’t
play it very well   ’cause the strings
were about that high   over the fingerboard.   It was better suited for
slicing hard-boiled eggs   than playing music.   (Craig)
So you started
studying music   at the Old Town School
of Folk Music.   (Roger)
Yeah, well,
I didn’t just go there, uh,   there was a transition.   Uh, I was into Elvis Presley
and Gene Vincent   and Carl Perkins
and rockabilly.   Very much, I loved it.   And I taught myself how
to play some of the songs.   And I took
the guitar to school   and started playing it
for the kids in school.   And I found out
the girls liked me better.   (Craig)
Yeah!   (Roger)
Well, one time I was at school   and they had
this assembly,   which was usually
pretty boring.   But it was about
a 45-minute set   and my music teacher
invited this guy   named Bob Gibson
to play for us.   Now Bob was kind of
a disciple of Pete Seeger’s   without the politics.   He was kind of a stylist.   And he played a set
on the five-string banjo   that blew me away.   I couldn’t believe
how good this guy was.   So I went running to
the music teacher and said,   “What was that?
What kind of music was that?”   She said,
“Well, that’s folk music.”   And I said, “Well,
I’ve heard Burl Ives,   he doesn’t sound like that.”   She said, “Well, if you’re
really interested in folk music,   there’s a school
that just opened up   right–right–
a couple of months earlier   in Chicago called The Old Town
School of Folk Music.   Why don’t you go over
and check it out?”   So I went over there
with my guitar   and a little bit
of an attitude   because I had taught myself
how to play a couple of songs,   and Frank Hamilton
sat me down and said,   “Show me something you know.”   I played a song for him.   He went, “Uh-huh.”   He said, “Uh, do you know
the circle of fifths?”   And he demonstrated like:   (demonstrates circle of fifths)   I said,
“No, I didn’t know that.”   He said, “Well, do you know
how to play the blues?”   (blues chords)   I said, “No, I didn’t
know that either.”   He said, “Well,
what about finger pickin’?”   (demonstrates finger picking)   I said, “Okay,
I got a lot to learn.”   (Craig)
Who were some of your
contemporaries at Old Town?   (Roger)
Well, there was one guy
named Mike Bloomfield   -you might have heard of.
-Mm-hm!   And, um, I remember one day
at the Old Town School   he came up to me and said,
“How do they get that sound   on the guitar
when it goes:   (demonstrates)?”   I said,
“You mean like a:   (demonstrates bending a string)   Bending the string?”   He went, “Ah, that’s great!”   Yeah, I taught him
how to bend a string.   (Craig)
Mike Bloomfield, whoa.   That’s a little–
a little-known fact right today.   You were playing banjo
at this time?   (Roger)
Well, I–I got interested
in banjo within a year.   -Oh, within a year.
-And I didn’t have   enough money
to buy a banjo,   but I had
an electric guitar   that I had
absolutely no use for   because folkies didn’t
play electric instruments.   So I took all
the guitar strings off   and I put a nail
on the eighth fret   and tucked a high string
under that,   and tuned it up
like a banjo.   And I learned
how to play banjo   on the electric–
it was a K-161 Special.   And an interesting fact
is that, um,   John Lennon
learned how to play   on a guitar
tuned like a banjo too,   ’cause his mother
played banjo   and she taught him
all the banjo chords   on the guitar.   And he tuned his guitar
like a banjo.   (Craig)
There’s another
little-known fact, folks.   So how did this, um,   technique with
the thumb and the fingers,   how did this influence
your guitar playing?   (Roger)
Well, I–first of all,   I played guitar
like–like that   with thumb and fingers,
and then, of course,   I have to explain
what I’m doing here.   When I got in The Byrds,
I had to do a lot of, uh…   (demonstrates flatpicking)   …flatpicking, so I
transferred the thumb pick   to a finger–
to a flatpick,   and then I moved
the finger picks down one.   So I can still finger pick…   (Craig)
With the flatpick.   (finger picking)   (Roger)
And–but I can still:   (flatpicking)   So, I didn’t have time
to switch picks in The Byrds,   we’d switch styles in songs   and I’d have
to flatpick it one moment   and finger pick another.   Um, the banjo playing
influenced my guitar playing   because I was a Scruggs style
banjo player.   And I…   …played a lot
of arpeggios.   (Craig)
Yes.   (Roger)
So if you listen
to “Turn, Turn, Turn,”   it’s like:   (demonstrates arpeggios)   To everything,
turn, turn, turn   There is a season   You can hear the arpeggio
in the background.   That would be the under thing,   and then I’d go in
in the studio   and overdub the, uh…   (demonstrates)   Only I did it
in double time, like:   (demonstrates)   (Craig)
Oh, boy, that’s–that’s
a very cool technique.   -Thank you.
-Really sounds great.   And you’ve heard it
many, many times.   This is what
you’ve actually heard.   You’re getting
the explanation.   How cool is that?   Oh, my.   So you, um,
could you play us   a little bit of the song
“Easter Morn?”   (Roger)
I think, uh,
Lead Belly sang it and, uh,   he called it, uh,
“Never Said a Mumblin’ Word.”   I think that was it,
the title.   It’s a song he didn’t write.   It was something–Lead Belly was
more of a rememberer of songs.   He picked up a lot of songs
but he had a great memory   and he would
remember them   and transfer them
to other people.   And, uh, it’s an interesting
thing about Lead Belly,   he never played minor chords.   (demonstrates minor chord)   He only played major chords.   But sometimes
he’d sing minor over–   -Against the major.
-Against the major.   But this is, uh,
a song that he used to do,   it’s an old gospel song.   (lively guitar music)   On Easter morn’ He rose   On Easter morn’ He rose   On Easter morn’
He rose for me   One day when I was lost   They hung Him on a cross   They hung Him
on a cross for me   Oh, they marched Him
up a hill   They marched Him up a hill   They marched Him
up a hill for me   One day when I was lost   They hung Him on a cross   They hung Him
on a cross for me   Yeah, the sky
turned dark and gray   The sky turned
dark and gray   Oh, the sky turned
dark and gray for me   One day when I was lost   They hung Him on a cross   They hung Him
on a cross for me   On Easter morn’ He rose   On Easter morn’ He rose   On Easter morn’
He rose for me   One day when I was lost   They hung Him on a cross   They hung Him
on a cross for me   Yeah, one day
when I was lost   They hung Him on a cross   They hung Him
on a cross for me   (applause)   (Craig)
So, Roger,   what was your
first paying gig?   It was a coffee house gig
at the Café Roué   on Rush Street in Chicago.   It was run by this guy
named Morrie   who considered himself a roué,   which is a French word
for sort of a scoundrel.   (laughter)   And, uh, he hired me
for $10 a night,   which is about 75 bucks
in today’s–   -Today, yeah.
-Not so bad.   And I was living at home,   didn’t have any expenses,   so I was able
to save up my money   and buy some
nice instruments.   (Craig)
So you performed   quite early on
with the Limeliters,   Chad Mitchell Trio,
and Bobby Darin.   Could we talk
a little about–   (Roger)
Well, yeah,
I walked into the Gate of Horn   one night
with my instruments.   I had a banjo and guitar
in hardshell cases.   I was real, real proud of ’em.   And Alex Hassilev
from the Limeliters–   the Limeliters
and Theodore Bikel   were having a jam session
at the bar.   -Oh.
-Well, the showroom   was doing its thing,   they were just hanging out.   And, uh, Alex said,
“What do you got there, kid?”   And I said, “Well,
I got a banjo and a guitar.”   He said, “Oh, great,
break out the banjo,   we got all these guitars going.”   So I did,
and I played with them   till 5:00 in the morning,   which is when
they closed the bars   on a Saturday night
in Chicago.   And Alex said, “You know,
we’re thinking about   hiring somebody
to back us up.   Would you be interested?”   I said, “Sure!”   He said, “Okay,
take this record home   and learn the songs
and meet us back at 1:00   for an audition.”   (Craig)
And this is 5:00 AM
in the morning.   Yeah, it was,
and I still–   I went home
and I put the record on   and listened
to a little bit.   And fortunately,
there was some stuff on there   I already knew like:   (lively guitar music)   There’s a meetin’
here tonight   There’s a meetin’
here tonight   I know you
by your friendly face   There’s a meetin’
here tonight   There’s a meetin’
here tonight   And I’m glad
you came along   Tell all the
brothers and sisters   that you heard me
sing this song   There’s a meetin’
here tonight   There’s a meetin’
here tonight   I know you
by your friendly face   There’s a meetin’
here tonight   Yeah,
there’s a meetin’   here tonight   (applause)   So I went to the audition
at 1:00.   And I was a little shaky,
but I got through it.   And Alex said,
“Great, you got the job.   When can you start?”   I said, “Well, I get out
of high school in June.”   (laughter)   He said,
“High school, huh?   Didn’t we meet you
in a bar last night?”   And I said, “They let me in,
I don’t make any trouble.”   -Chicago.
-Chicago, right.   So, um, they said,   “Well, June,
that’s gonna work out okay,   because we’re gonna record
an album on RCA in June   and at least we’d like
to have you on that.”   And, uh, they went back
to California   and I went back
to high school.   And it was a long time
between February and June.   Forgot about the whole thing.   When June
rolled around,   I got a call
from California.   And it was a big deal   to get a long distance call
back then,   before cell phones with
free minutes and weekends.   And–and my mother
gave me the phone,   it was Alex, he said,
“Do you remember me?”   And I said, “Yeah.”   He said, “Do you
still want that job?”   I said, “Sure.”   He said, “Okay,
we have to send a letter   for your parents to sign
’cause you’re under 18,   and when we get that back,   we’ll send you
a plane ticket.”   So they sent a letter
and my parents signed it.   And they sent me
a plane ticket.   And there I was flying out
to LA on a Boeing 707,   it was a new invention
at the time.   -Yeah.
-Yeah.   And they put me up
on the Sunset Strip,   you know,
77 Sunset Strip.   I was in show business, man.   (Craig)
And you’re like 17?   Yeah, I was 17,
I was just about to turn 18.   It was, um, July,   so it was right before
my birthday.   And we went down
to the Ash Grove   where we were gonna play.   And the opening act got sick,   and so I got to be
the opening act too.   I was playing–I was playing
with the Limeliters   and being the opening act.   I was getting double money.   -Ooh.
-It was like–it was really–   -I was rich…
-You learned young.   -For a 17 year old.
-You really did.   And then we got a gig
with the, uh, opening act,   as the opening act,
the Limeliters   opening for Eartha Kitt.   (Craig)
Oh, yeah.   (Roger)
At the Hollywood Ball.   (Craig)
Oh!   (Roger)
It was such
a special occasion   that we rented tuxedos.   So we’re all in our tuxedos   and I’m standing in the wings
adjusting my bow tie   and I felt this slap
on my bottom.   I turned to see who it was
and it was Eartha Kitt.   She said, “Go get ’em, kid.”   (laughter)   I went, “Man, what a business.”   (Craig)
Oh yeah.   (Roger)
I want to be in this
the rest of my life.   -Yes.
-Yeah.   (Craig)
What thrilling experiences   you had
at such an early age.   (Roger)
Yeah, and then
I bumped into this actor   who was at the Ash Grove   the week before
the Limeliters got there.   His name was David Crosby.   (Craig)
Mm.   (Roger)
And he was an actor,   he was in a very surreal play   where he was
in a garbage can   and people would stick their
heads out of the garbage can   and deliver a line
and go back in.   I’m not sure who–
who wrote the play.   But anyway, he and I kind of
struck up a friendship.   And he was just
learning guitar,   so I showed him
a few chords.   And, um, he–
we got to be friends,   and, in fact, uh,   he took me up
to Santa Barbara in his car,   he had a convertible with these   aircraft style
three-inch-wide seatbelts   he was sort of proud of   ’cause he had
installed them himself.   Then about a week later,   I moved in
with these kids from Cornell   who were on a summer break.   And we just hung out
on the beach for the–   and we had Coors
for breakfast.   And I got my whole
fraternity thing   without having
to go to college.   -Yes, exactly.
-It was–it was really cool.   -You didn’t have to pay for it.
-Yep.   And then I hopped a bus,
a Greyhound bus,   and went up
to San Francisco   because, uh, I wanted
to go to the Hungry I,   I’d seen that
on an album cover.   And I got to San Francisco
on the bus,   it was about 2:00
in the morning.   I called the number
that The Limeliters   had given me
and it was disconnected.   So I had no–
nothing going on at all.   But I started hanging out
at the Hungry I,   and I ran into this guy
named Adam Yagodka   who had been
in The Gateway Singers.   And he, um,
he was friendly   and we hung out together.   And then I got a call from
Chicago at–at the Hungry I.   Because the folk community
was so small,   if you wanted to get
a hold of somebody   all you had to do was
call one of the clubs   like the Gate of Horn,
or, in this case,   the Hungry I.   And it was somebody
from the Chad Mitchell Trio   who had heard about me
working with the Limeliters   and they wanted to hire me.   So they flew me to New York
and I ran into Chad,   and he said, uh,
he was taking me   back into the city
from the airport.   He said, “You know, we don’t
really have a trio right now.   One of the guys
went back to college.   We have to look around
and find somebody to fill in.”   So we went
to the Village   and we didn’t
see anybody there.   -This is 1960.
-Oh.   -Yeah.
-Your first trip to the Village?   (Roger)
My first trip to–well, I had
lived in New York as a kid,   but yeah, yep, my first trip
to the Village.   And so we went up
to Cambridge and we–   (Craig)
Oh, there’s a big scene there.   Yeah, we went to,
uh, Club 47,   and there was this
beautiful older woman   with long,
flowing black hair.   Well, I say older,
she was 19 and I was 18.   (laughter)   Her name was Joan Baez.   (Craig)
Aw.   They asked Joan
if she wanted to be   in the Chad Mitchell Trio   and she graciously declined.   (Craig)
Oh, my.   (Roger)
Yeah, she wanted to be herself.   (Craig)
She wanted to go solo.   (Roger)
Yeah, so we went
back down to New York   and we found this
Broadway chorus singer   who was from
Lebanon, Pennsylvania,   as a matter of fact.   -Not far from here.
-Not far from here.   Yeah, we passed it
on the way here.   And his name was Joe Frazier.   And we got the trio together
and made a couple of albums,   got a couple of hit records,   got to go on a 90-day tour
of South America.   (Craig)
Why don’t you play
something else for us?   We’d love to hear another song.   Wouldn’t you guys
like to hear a song?   (applause)   (Roger)
Okay, well,
here’s a song that, um,   Jim Dickson got–   overheard a couple of
record producers in Hollywood   -talking about Bob Dylan.
-Ah.   Saying, “It’s really
a shame Bob can’t use   that great new song
he just wrote   ’cause somebody was singing
out of tune on it.”   And, uh,
they got a copy of it   sent out to the West Coast.   And the way
Bob was doing it   was something like this.   (lively guitar music)   Hey, hey,
Mr. Tambourine Man,   play a song for me   I’m not sleepy   and there’s no place
I’m going to   Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man,   play a song for me   In the jingle jangle morning   I’ll come followin’ you   And David Crosby said,
“I don’t like it, man.”   (laughter)   He said,
“That folky 2/4 time   is not gonna play
on the radio.”   Well, this is after the Beatles
and The Stones were out,   so I had an idea
of how to fix it up.   I’d been playing around
on my guitar with a little:   (demonstrates)   I thought, “What if
I put something like that   on the front of it
for an intro?”   And, yeah, it was
“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”   I learned it
from Pete Seeger’s   “Goofing-Off Suite.”   He did it on banjo.   If I put that on there
for an intro   and we cut it down to one verse
about the boot heels   because the Beatles wore
these really cool boots.   And so we shortened it
down for radio   to under two minutes
and thirty seconds,   which was the limit
on AM radio.   They wouldn’t play
anything longer.   And I put–I changed
the time signature   from the 2/4 to 4/4.   And it came out like:   (demonstrates)   Hey,
Mr. Tambourine Man,   play a song for me   I’m not sleepy   and there ain’t
no place I’m going to   Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man,   play a song for me   In the jingle jangle morning   I’ll come followin’ you   Take me for a trip   upon your magic swirlin’ ship   All my senses
have been stripped   And my hands
can’t feel to grip   And my toes
too numb to step   Wait only for
my boot heels   to be wanderin’   I’m ready to go anywhere   I’m ready for to fade,   oh, into my own parade   Cast your dancing spell
my way   I promise to go under it   Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man,   play a song for me   I’m not sleepy   and there ain’t
no place I’m going to   Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man,   play a song for me   In the jingle jangle morning   I’ll come followin’ you   (applause)   (Craig)
I just went back to 1966
for a minute.   That was just beautiful.   So, before The Byrds, uh,   and after Chad Mitchell
and The Limeliters,   you actually did some work
with Bobby Darin.   (Roger)
I did.   Uh, as I mentioned before,   on the 90-day tour
of South America, uh,   it was kind of hectic,   I was glad to get back
to The States,   and we were at
the Crescendo Club in LA   opening up for Lenny Bruce.   (Craig)
Oh.   (laughter)   How old were you now?   -Um, 19.
-Okay.   (Roger)
Yeah.   (laughter)   Nineteen, and, uh,   Lenny was hilarious.   -Yeah?
-When he wasn’t in jail.   Bobby Darin was
in the audience,   and I think he was there
to see Lenny,   but he sat through
the Chad Mitchell set.   And after the show,
he came up to me and said,   “You know, I liked what
you were doing up there.   I’m thinking about putting
a folk segment in my act   and I’d like to hire you.”   I said, “Well,
I’ve already got a job   with the Chad Mitchell Trio.”   He said, “Yeah,
what are they paying you?”   I told him, he said,
“I’ll double it.”   What? Okay.   -Sure.
-Cool.   (laughter)   So I worked for Bobby.   And Bobby loved folk music.   He was really–
he was a good folk singer.   He was into
the old prison songs like:   (lively guitar music)   Makes a long time man
feel bad   He was really good.   And he used
to want me to play   faster and faster
on this riff.   (demonstrates)   Faster.   -Wow.
-I know.   So, there I’d be
playing behind him   and singing
the harmony with him.   And he let me sing,   the Chad Mitchell Trio
didn’t let me sing   ’cause they were
three singers   and if I had sung
it would have been a quartet.   (Craig)
They’d have
to change the name.   (Roger)
They would have
changed the name.   So, but Bobby let me even do   a couple of songs on my own   and the audience liked it.   And he was very,
very supportive.   He was a mentor.   I used
to follow him around   and ask him questions
about show business   and what to–how to make it.   He said, “You know,
one thing you have to do   is perform
in front of audiences   as much as you can.   It doesn’t matter
how good you are   in the mirror
in your house   ’cause you have
to test it under fire.   It’s a whole different
dynamic out there.”   -Changes completely.
-Yeah.   So I started doing that,
I started playing   at coffee houses
and wherever I could.   The seed had been planted
by Bobby Darin to do rock.   And I was already a folkie
and I knew all these–   a million songs
that had these chords.   -Same chords.
-Yeah.   So it gave me an idea
of taking like:   Oh, the water is wide   I cannot cross over   And neither have
I wings to fly   And putting
a rock beat to it, like:   (bright guitar music)   The water is wide   I cannot cross over   And neither have   I wings to fly   Build me a boat   that can carry two   And both shall row,   my love and I   I took it down to the Village   and played it for the people
in the coffee house.   They didn’t like it.   (Craig)
They didn’t go for it?   No, they were purists.   They like their folk music
the straight way.   Yeah.   (Craig)
Well, I guess I grew up   with liking that way better.   (laughter)   (Roger)
Well, I thought it was fun.   And, uh, I–
so I left New York,   I went out to,
uh, California,   and that’s how The Byrds
got together.   I was doing
a solo gig   doing folk songs
with a Beatle beat   and nobody was liking it
except one guy.   -His name was Gene Clark.
-Gene Clark.   And he came backstage
and said,   “Let’s write some songs.”   So, we wrote
some songs together,   and David Crosby came along   and he knew a guy
who had a recording studio   we could use for free.   And that was it, man,
we were on our way.   We got Michael Clarke
to be the drummer   and we got Chris Hillman
to be the bass player.   Chris was playing in
a bluegrass band in Westwood   called the Scottsville
Squirrel Barkers.   -Yeah, I’m familiar with it.
-Yeah, yeah.   And we got ’em
to come over and audition–   well, play for us.   And we gave ’em a bass
and he figured it out,   so that’s how
we got going.   (Craig)
What a fascinating story.   I’ll tell you what,   my producer
is gonna kill me here   because we just have so many
more things to talk about,   more music that we want
to hear from you,   and we’re gonna–we’re gonna
make part two out of this.   Is that okay with everybody?   We’re gonna–
we’re gonna stop right now   and we’re gonna go to
Behind the Guitar part two   with Roger McGuinn.   We’re gonna pick up
with The Byrds.  


  • Reply Chogyam Bourel January 18, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    this is fucking great

  • Reply Pina Colada Drinker Me February 9, 2016 at 2:35 am

    Hey Roger: I've been listening to the Byrds since Tambourine Man came out in 65. I lost interest in playing the guitar but I stayed with it because you were my influence. To me, you were my "hero." I had a Hagstrom electric 12 and I learned how to fingerpick in my bedroom listening to Byrds songs. I would have given anything to have been able to meet you and my dream was to be a "rock star." I never made it but even now at 66 years old, I still play and sing. I was never able to afford a Ric so thats my dream now, a Fireglow Ric electric 12 string. Anyway, I just want to thank you for influencing me and inspiring me to keep playing and singing even though you never knew it. May God bless you Roger.

  • Reply NickRatnieks April 26, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Morn- short for morning- not Mourn! Mr Tambourine Man- not Tamborine! Get a new caption person- but a very interesting performance and discussion.

  • Reply Byrdfan May 9, 2016 at 2:07 am

    Love Roger he's been my hero for almost 50 years. Not happy about that 7 string however. To me it reduces him to just another guitar player. Roger when you playing a Martin please use your 12 string .

  • Reply TheJukeboxhero15 May 30, 2016 at 1:22 am


  • Reply My2ube June 12, 2016 at 12:43 am

    I've followed the Byrds for over 50 years but this don't sound anything like the Byrds or Roger McGuinn.

  • Reply Chuck Desylva July 9, 2016 at 4:24 am

    McGuinn is a badass. I remember seeing him at the Mondavi center in Davis years ago. He was just as good then as he was when I was just a baby (on the old LPs).

  • Reply Peter Hogan September 7, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Roger is a cool guy.

  • Reply Rik Shafer September 8, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    Have seen him live maybe 8 times, met him a couple. Friendly guy. He always appears to be having more fun than the audience. That is part of his magic. The rest is that he's terrific.

  • Reply 79goldmaster1 October 16, 2016 at 7:25 am

    The one thumbs down has to be David Crosby.

  • Reply Emerald Wood Archives December 18, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    I love Roger McGuinn so very much. True original. Yes, he made all his best music in the Byrds, but that stuff resonates throughout the ages. Love him.

  • Reply Thomas Kissick March 8, 2017 at 1:39 am

    Just found this–really cool. I actually met McGuinn once at, of all places, the dentist's office! He was quiet, reserved, a bit bashful even.

  • Reply 1Phoebus April 23, 2017 at 3:13 am

    What a fascinating program! Just came across it….Roger's story is fabulous.

  • Reply tiffsaver May 30, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Without Roger McGuinn their wouldn't be Rickenbacker, and vice-versa.

  • Reply RICKY DEAN August 6, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Man..i enjoyed this…what great stories..there needs to be a book!  A great artist. His guitar playing and voice just puts you in a whole other place.

  • Reply DV DODDS September 24, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Good to see Roger still out there playing.. without Roger there probably would not have been Tom Petty or Bruce Springsteen….

  • Reply dphotos December 5, 2017 at 7:07 am

    So so cool interview.

  • Reply rubbersole December 29, 2017 at 5:45 am

    Whenever I hear Roger sing, I feel he must have inspired Tom Petty a lot.

  • Reply Steve Aycock February 25, 2018 at 1:55 am

    I have been sitting in my studio/mancave playing every Byrds song along with the band on youtube, my 12 string sounds great when I play with Roger and the rest of the band. I'm almost 66 and started playing in 1964 at 12 years old, the songs of the 60's shaped a lot of my life. I play and write Contemporary Christian music now, but still bend some strings.

  • Reply Jackson Troy March 7, 2018 at 1:35 am

    I met him once..A really nice man..Thanks Roger.

  • Reply Kerry Dolan March 19, 2018 at 7:14 am

    I love how Roger McGuinn is still passionate about his music after all these years. He had no end of stories about his musical career and who had influenced him musically. It’s obvious Bob Seeger was one of them. Both share a strong folk sound. This is more evident as he gets older.

  • Reply David Rakes May 3, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    My hero and musical guru from 1965 onwards. Still as much a part of my life today as he was back then. May God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit be with you always!

  • Reply Mark James Meli July 13, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    A 7-string guitar – tuned the right way. About 12 minutes in, it's a 12-string.

    Roger is a wonder.

  • Reply bullitt foruu September 1, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    I have been a Byrds fan since the first bass glissando on Mr. Tambourine Man…..and I met Roger/Jim at the Saloon in NYC in the mid-1980's among other meet ups. He is a great person and musician.

  • Reply Colton Cerny November 28, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Douche host

  • Reply Seraph909 February 23, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    Why does he never play "It's alright ma, I'm only Bleeding", his best song ( the Easy Rider version) ??????

  • Reply Mac Morgan February 24, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    No wonder I could never copy McGuinn’s guitar parts!!!

  • Reply jennifur sun March 21, 2019 at 4:55 am

    would sooo love to hear that 12 sting of his in person just once. LOVE the sound of it

  • Reply tod dubow April 26, 2019 at 2:30 am

    Roger McGuinn is so legit. I could listen to his stories and guitar playing forever.

  • Reply Dennis Hillyer May 16, 2019 at 2:18 am

    What great show

  • Reply Thom Miller June 8, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Roger is amazing but Craig Thacher takes a backseat to no one either. I met him at a Martin Guitar Owners Meeting and he is a very very nice man .

  • Reply boassinfield3 June 12, 2019 at 6:27 pm


  • Reply Nazmo King June 14, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    So about 8 or 9 years ago I went to see Deep Purple at an outdoor amphitheater and was buying beer and noticed there was an opening act. It was one guy with about 5 or 6 guitars on stands around him and he had on what I thought was a goofy hat. So I ignored him and went back for the beers. When I came back 15 minutes later I sat down and noticed this guy was playing Turn Turn Turn by the BYRD's. I suddenly asked myself could this actually be Roger McGuinn?? It was and he wasn't even announced on the marquis. From then on I was spellbound and felt I was truly blessed to hear/see this great legend in person! God Bless Mr McGuinn!

  • Reply Nazmo King June 14, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    McGuinn is absolutely inspirational – a legend and a national treasure. What an amazing guy!

  • Reply Jose Villarreal June 20, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Unpack your tent McGuin, you ain't going nowhere.

  • Reply whec65 June 20, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Fabulous interview

  • Reply Russbot Apocolypse 2020 June 27, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    This is pure gold for Byrds and McGuinn fans.

  • Reply steve burchfield July 6, 2019 at 12:18 pm


  • Reply Martin Weeks July 20, 2019 at 12:20 am

    So true about learning from Folk music… I learned guitar from a Ratsceller/Coffee House in DC that only played Blue Grass Music… while everyone else in my school was learning Jimmy Page Licks, I was learning Foggy Mountain Break Down and other Chesnuts. No regrets either.

  • Reply Edge2 Sword July 20, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    A very serious musician and great talent . This guy changed the way music wac played .

  • Reply Andrew Bradford July 21, 2019 at 6:56 pm


  • Reply SaxJockey August 8, 2019 at 9:18 am

    Roger is a very talented and creative man, so nicely spoken.

  • Reply Michael Jones August 16, 2019 at 4:27 am

    They were not close friends like the beatles but the 65 to 68 era is their best stuff

  • Reply Glenn Cerny September 7, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Possibly the best 12 string guitar player ever.

  • Reply David Kennedy September 30, 2019 at 2:06 am

    That's a pretty martin…..looks like a D45

  • Reply G Moore October 9, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    It wasn’t just Roger Mcguinn, Clarence White added a dimension to the Byrds sound that no other could and he deserves credit for that not just Mcguinn. Don’t get me wrong Mcguinn is very talented and he’s an icon but Clarence White really gave the Byrds a very unique sound with his B string bending technique and his unmatched picking style:)

  • Reply G Moore October 9, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Mcguinn is a living musical history book! Love his stories and fortunately I got to experience all that great 60s & 70s music first hand. The Byrds were part of my early record collection! I really liked the Byrds line up when Clarence White came on board as it changed their sound and no one could copy that sound!

  • Reply Vinnie Bozzuto October 9, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    I still to this very day, have my Hagstrom Bass Guitar that my father bought me in February 1966, All-over Red with a Black/White outlined my Fender Bassman Amp, the same one that Brian Wilson used with The Beach Boys..can't let go!! 🙂

  • Reply OldNatty October 12, 2019 at 6:31 am

    It's always a girl.

  • Reply OldNatty October 12, 2019 at 7:04 am

    A thread. The base. Launching pad for…everybody?

  • Reply BT3701 October 14, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    I've always been a big fan of Roger

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