Life In The Bass Lane
This Is A Re post Of A Article I Wrote On Our Old Site Thought You Might Enjoy It Again
How Our Music Got Its Shape Roger McGuinn (ongoing series)
Modern Pop Music How It Got Its Shape
Before The Famous Group The Byrds. Roger McGuinn Performed With Various groups, Like “The Lime liters” And
“The Chad Mitchell Trio”
Being A Born and raised Chicagoan. Roger Studied at the Old Town School Of Folk Music. And being very active on the Chicago folk music scene.He Quickly Made A name for himself as a avid and possibly Great Stringed instrument player.
He Had mastered the guitar banjo, mandolin. Starting as a teen age who idolized The Music of Bob Gibson.
Roger Excelled at his music a true musician.
Shortly Just Days After Graduating High School
He Was Standing On A Stage in California Playing With The Lime liters As Their Guitar And Banjo Player.
Music Was All he wanted, Day and night.
Roger Played On The lime liters album “Tonight In Person” at age 18 . Soon he was to join The Hot “Chad Mitchell Trio”
And Recorded with them in 1961 Another album
Called “Mighty Day On Campus” And Still not old enough to legally drink.
Then Another earned break came his way, When he ran into “Bobby Darin” And Darrin convinced Roger to move to New York And Go To Work For His publishing co. “T.M. music”
T.M. Music was located in the music famous “Brill Building”.
And Roger Soon adjusted to being a staff song writer.
He And Another T.M. Music writer “Frank Gari” co wrote
“Beach Ball” And They even performed it live with Bobby Darin
and billed themselves as “The City Surfers” And They Put Out A single thats very rare in July 1963…
Working in New York had its advantages especially working in the famous Brill Building, Where Rodger Saw and Heard Live the sounds of The Rolling Stones And The Other big act from across the pond The Beatles.
After hearing the “Beatles ” live right at the Brill Building.
Roger was deeply inspired with what he heard.
And he knew he just had to somehow pick up and learn to play that special sound.
Soon he was gigging in all the coffee houses in Greenwich
village, With A folk Song lineup but playing it to this new rock beat. That He heard from the 4 from England.
His New style of mixing folk with the new rock music .
did not please everyone.
The Die-hard Folk Music Purist were
totally offended. And Let It Be well known.
And the less than warm response really got to Rodger, And he began to rethink his desires to perform at all. Deep down Roger knew he was onto something big, But this New York folk crowd just would not offer any encouragement.
But Roger was head strong for this new sound. So he bravely
Packed it up and off to L.A. he went.
and soon landed some work at the “Troubadour” in Hollywood.
One night after Roger opened A set for uprising star”Hoyt Axton” Gene Clark Came Backstage and praised his great style and new found musical blend, Back Then The Traditional Music of the day was any thing but rock.
But Roger had found a way to blend traditional ” Folk Americana” with the very new and yet Mis Understood
Rock music For a sound that would forever shape music as we know it.
Soon “Gene Clark” caught the same rock bug. And He and Roger started writing songs together. They Did Most Of Their
work at the folk den of the Troubadour And played gigs as a duo.
Another singer songwriter was hanging out at the Troubadour In The mid sixties his name “David Crosby” And Crosby Quickly took to the rock bug too…Crosby joined in and they called themselves the Jet Set
And Started Gigging around L.A. and writing with Roger And Gene on a regular basis, And Crosby added a unique Pleasant Harmony To The Trio, And Before a couple months went by
The Trio Had Developed their own unique sound that was
Very popular by a expanding local crowd. And The Core group of players is now in place
Success Is Around The Corner
The trio decided to get serious With this new sound, The fan base demanded more. So They decided to expand the trio to Five, They first recruited Conga drum player Michael Clarke
Only because he had a physical resemblance to 2 of the “Rolling Stones” Another very popular group from England.
Next It Was “Chris Hillman”a mandolin player who was asked
to join the group but he had to learn the “Bass Guitar”A Adjustment he gladly accepted.This Band was called The “Beefeaters”
It was right around Thanksgiving 1964
The Five decided to change the band name to “Byrds” and by January 1965 a new legend was born.
They signed with Columbia records And put out a immediate hit.Written by Bob Dylan, It Was Called “Mr. Tambourine Man”
And It Went No. 1 . Followed By Turn Turn Turn a song written by Pete Seeger Went to number 3 Many More but
By 1967 there was increasing tension between the band members, McGuinn and Hillman becoming irritated by what they saw as Crosby’s overbearing egotism and his attempts to jockey for control of the band. In June, when The Byrds performed at the Monterrey Pop Festival
Crosby sang the majority of lead vocals, and to the intense annoyance of the other members gave lengthy speeches between every song on the JFK assassination and the benefits of giving L.S.D. to “every man, woman and child in the country.”
He further irritated the band by performing with rival band The Buffalo Springfield filling in for Neil Young.
His stock within the band deteriorated even more following the commercial failure of his first A-side song, “Lady Friend”, released in July (US #82).
By October, during the recording of the fifth Byrds album, Crosby refused to participate in taping the Goffin-King number “Going’ Back” in preference to his own “Triad”, a controversial song about a menage a trois.
These Incidence And A Few More Blowups During Recording Sessions In The Studio
Were Effective In Getting David Crosby A Pink Slip, Yes He Was Officially Fired From The Byrds In Early 1968.And Singer Song Writer Gene Clark And Drummer Michael Clarke had left on their own.
This Left Just Roger Mcguinn And Chris Hillman
In 1968 McGuinn And Co founder Hillman hired Gram Parsons and together they headed for Nashville where they recorded the famous “Sweet Heart Of The Rodeo”
This Group of players Including Roger McGuinn, Gram Parsons, , Chriss Hillman,And Hillmans Cousin The Drummer for Ry Cooder Kevin Kelly.
This was the lineup for the now famous Sweet Hearts Of The Rodeo.
Gram Parsons Did Most Of The Lead Vocals On The Original Mix, Only To Be Remixed With Roger Mcguinn Singing After It Was Discovered That Parsons Was Under Contract With Another Label At The Time And Could Not Partake In Such Recordings
Although the music was slow to catch on in either the rock crowd because of its twangy sound, Or The country crowd because of the long hair of the performers. So This Music Hardly Made It Out Of The Gate At First.
But has since that time turned into the iconic bench mark for the country rock class and propelled Parsons to be the King Of alt Country Music.
In 1973 Roger McGuinn disbanded the Byrds to pursue his dreams of a solo career. He Went on to record 5 albums for Columbia Records. But in 1978 Roger rejoined old pals
Gene Clark And Chriss Hillman This Time For Capital Records
They Called Themselves McGuinn,Clark, Hillman and they released their debut album in 1979. The Band Did Quite Well
Performing A lot of television gigs and doing a lot of old Byrds material along with the new capital records stuff.
They did a follow up album and was to be named “City”
But Gene Clark was getting unreliable and wasn`t happy with the way the groups music was heading so he decided to take a lesser role in the second album and in the band in general.
So there was a second album but it was titled not “City”
but ” Roger McGuinn And Chriss Hillman with Special Guest
By 1981 Gene Clark had moved on And McGuinn And Hillman continued to tour.
For A brief amount of time.
We are starting to get a picture of how American folk music mixed with British Rock sound to get what we know as traditional Country Rock now days and these important players in how our music got its shape. They Of Course at the time did not know they were actually helping shape modern American music. But That`s how things happen ,First with a little shock from the unknown rock and Then a little mixture of more staple music like folk music
And wham o country rock or folk rock is born.
Another good example is Elvis he had a big back ground in gospel and really listened to a lot of southern black music of the era, and got big influences in the southern style black folk music, That was the hidden secret around The southern Tennessee and northern Mississippi cities like Memphis and Elvis took that another step and mixed it with the rock that was being played by the British invasion ,And This rock that the brits were playing was no more pure brit than it was American , Because the British bands had actually for most part stole the sound from New Orleans Jazz Players and labeled it The Blues, But whoever copied who in the end the Folk sound And The Blues Got Married and it Produced Rock N Roll Or American Pop Music. And a whole new era in music was born inside of 10 years.
And in reality that’s how modern American Music Got it`s shape.