Archive for Gene Clark

Lost Classics! McGuinn, Clark & Hillman

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , on January 21, 2009 by 30daysout


In the late 1970s, country rock had pretty much run the course – the Eagles had appropriated the best parts of the genre and their watered down music reigned from the top of the charts.  The true innovators like Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark and Chris Hillman of the Byrds were left to cash in endlessly on their past reputations by playing their old songs as part of ridiculous package tours.

That’s where these boys found themselves in 1977, fronting their respective bands on a European jaunt.  The promoter had visions of people coming out in hopes of seeing a reunion; it didn’t happen for the most part, but the three did get together in London and that show was heavily bootlegged.  Gene Clark, although he had the best voice of the three, was the most unstable – he had legendary bouts of stage fright and an overwhelming inferiority complex that led him to quit the Byrds years before.

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Lost Classics! The Byrds

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , on October 13, 2008 by 30daysout

When the hype arrived in 1972, it was almost too much to believe: the five original Byrds were going to reunite for a new album.  For years the group had limped along under the Byrds banner, with original member Roger McGuinn heading a lineup that was sometimes brilliant (Gram Parsons, Clarence White) and sometimes shaky (Skip Battin). 

After having not played together since 1965, The Byrds’ original lineup – McGuinn, Chris Hillman, Gene Clark, Michael Clarke and David Crosby – came together at the urging of Crosby, who was hot at the time (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) and wanted a chance to lead his former band.  The resulting album, simply titled Byrds, came out in 1973 on Asylum Records, run by up-and-coming mogul David Geffen.

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30 Years Out: The Byrds, Houston 1969-1977

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 22, 2008 by 30daysout

Gene Clark, left, and Roger McGuinn at the Texas Opry House, 1977

The first time I saw The Byrds was in 1969, as part of this package called the Rock Jubilee.  In the months after Woodstock, everybody wanted to be a part of the rock festival “experience.”  Promoters noticed something in the air, and it wasn’t the odor of pot and unwashed bodies. They smelled money.  So they put on this Rock Jubilee in the Sam Houston Coliseum, which was basically a rodeo arena.  Even though it was an indoor rock “festival, ” the lineup was excellent — Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, The Byrds, Poco.  It was my very first rock concert.

In the Byrds, Roger McGuinn was the only holdout from the original group.  The rest of the group was Roger’s late 60s lineup, featuring flatpickin’ genius Clarence White.  They did their country-fied stuff like “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” and relegated their hits to a terse medley.  “Eight Miles High” got an extended psychedelic jam treatment.  The rest of the night was OK, I do recall they turned on the lights in the middle of the Airplane’s set because they went past a 10 p.m curfew. Whatever.

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