Lead singer of The Byrds to play in Austin

Published 6:36 am Monday, September 14, 2009

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and former lead singer of The Byrds Roger McGuinn said he’s looking forward to his upcoming trip to Austin.

The folk-rock legend will be performing at the Paramount Theatre on Friday, with an act that McGuinn said would feature a few Byrds hits, some of his solo work and some surprises.

The Byrds formed in the 1960s and had a lot of success, with hits such as “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and “Mr. Tambourine Man,” but McGuinn said he’s really enjoyed the freedom that performing solo has given him in more recent years.

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“I always wanted to be a solo performer, like (folk singer) Pete Seeger,” McGuinn said.

These days, McGuinn and his wife Camilla get to travel around the country in a van, playing small theaters.

The van is large — McGuinn said Camilla can stand up inside of it — and he said they really enjoy traveling together.

“We love it,” he said. “(And) we get paid to do it.”

On a recent European tour, the two even had time to cruise on an ocean liner.

“You can’t really do that in a band,” McGuinn said.

The musician hasn’t been to southeastern Minnesota before, but McGuinn said he’s played in the Twin Cities and is also friends with a Minnesota music legend — Bob Dylan.

“Mr. Tambourine Man” was originally written by Dylan, and over the years he and McGuinn have toured and recorded together.

“I love the guy,” McGuinn said. “He’s a great artist.”

The two of course are known for folk music — a genre that McGuinn said has morphed since he got into it in the ‘60s.

Today, McGuinn said a number of styles, including hip-hop, feature folk influences.

“I’d say that folk music isn’t the same as it was in the ‘60s,” he noted.

Excited for the show

Scott Anderson, manager of the Paramount Theatre, said he can’t wait for Friday’s show.

“(The Byrds are) one of my favorite bands of all time,” he said. “I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.”

Anderson added that having such an influential artist come to the Paramount is a big deal.

“They changed the face of folk-rock music,” he said.