Monday, March 26, 2012

Roger McGuinn - Innovator

Rolling through the iPod today, I was in a bit of a classic rock mood. SO it was Montrose, Van Halen, Boston and Deep Purple (the Glenn Hughes/David Coverdale version, which will one day get a blog entry of it's own stating why it is superior to the Ian Gillian version).  I finished the day with The Byrds' Fifth Dimension and reminded myself that any list of most influential guitar players is shit if it doesn't include the great Roger McGuinn.

Here are The Byrds doing probably their most famous song not called "Turn, Turn, Turn."

They are obviously not playing it live, but that's not really the point here. The point is that Roger McGuinn is doing batshit crazy awesome stuff through his Rickenbacker. I guess I'd do weird stuff too if I had with me Chris Hillman killing time before he met Gram Parsons, Michael Clarke TOTALLY baked and David Crosby looking like a walrus and wearing a badger on his head.

The clip is also kind of maddening because the director seems to love focusing on Crosby strumming while McGuinn is doing the hard work. Pan right, mofo!!

McGuinn doesn't get enough credit in guitar circles for being the innovator he was. Two things he did which are present here: one is the classic Byrds jangle sound done by working in his banjo playing background augmented by technology (I'll let someone more schooled in those things talk about that); the second is the Coltrane inspired jazz freak-out he is doing. Pretty much any band that came after saying they were psychedelic or space-rock or whatever can thank Mr. McGuinn.

And just for fun, there's this:

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