Sunday, January 14, 2018

Roadie Report 77 by Camilla McGuinn- "A Hurricane, A Flood, A Friend, A Fire and A Victory!... Part 1

     Hurricane Irma was moving up the coast of Florida after leaving destruction in the Caribbean. The time was approaching for us to hit the road for a two month concert tour and it looked like we were about to join hurricane evacuation traffic again. We had experienced hurricane evacuation traffic before because when concerts are booked we can't take the chance of all the lovely trees in our neighborhood blocking our exit for days. The idea of taking nine hours to get to the Georgia state line in bumper to bumper traffic held no peace with us. We waited to leave until the day before the wind was predicted  to touch our homestead. That decision is frowned upon by folks in the know but I noticed that all the coverage of destruction from the recent storms had the highways jammed for days.

     On September 9th, we loaded our equipment in the van and began driving around 10:am. As we drove onto the Florida Turnpike there wasn't a car or truck to be seen. It was the fastest drive to  Georgia ever. Several days before, I had reserved a hotel room in Valdosta, Georgia. When I was checking in, the desk attendant would answer the constantly ringing telephone with, " We have no vacancies. Valdosta is booked for the night."  The elevator to our room was filled with people. I asked one man where he was from.
"When did you get here?"
"Yesterday. It took nine hours."
I said a silent prayer of gratitude.

     The next morning, we took the back roads to Montgomery, Alabama. The local radio was reporting school closures. The storm was right behind us.

     We made it to Paducah Tuesday afternoon listening to the weather warnings all the way north. We haven't stayed in Paducah for years because we weren't very impressed the first time we stopped there. The Tennessee and Ohio rivers have a tendency to flood at that junction. The city erected a very high wall to keep the flood waters off the streets and out of the houses.

That seemed to take away some of the beauty but during this stop we saw a town that was revitalized, quaint and a delight to walk around. There was a new hotel downtown and lots of restaurants and antique stores. Our early dinner at Shandies was prepared especially for us by the chef who stopped by our table and asked us if there was anything we wanted. I wanted to combine a few menu items and take away a few others.

The chef knew exactly what to do. Wow...Paducah had changed a lot in the ten years we had been passing by.

    We were taking our time getting to Minneapolis because Hurricane Irma made us leave earlier than necessary. We arrived very relaxed, though a bit concerned about our home. Our neighbors were in touch. Even though the power was out for three days, Mia our 13 year old neighbor next door, figured out that they could talk to us on the battery powered  "Ring Doorbell." The only problem, they rang the bell just when we were at a pit stop. I checked my phone video and saw two young girls saying, "Hello, hello." It turned out the other young girl was Mia's mother. I think that says I'm getting older... well we were celebrating my 66th birthday on this tour.

   The Pantages Theater in Minneapolis is beautiful. Just the type of theater in which Roger loves to perform his one man play. The next concert was at the beautiful Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts in Sheboygan WI. This theater is run by two staff members and a whole town of wonderful volunteers. I loved hearing about their special events.

     We stayed at the historical, "The American Club." This hotel was built by Walter J. Kohler in 1918 to house the immigrant laborers who came to work at the Kohler Co. The garden was being prepared for a wedding when we arrived. There is a museum next door but we didn't have time to explore it. I'm definitely going to make time when we get another chance. A museum of Kohler kitchen and powder rooms...of okay...bathrooms. Thrones everywhere!
I love kitchens, cooking and the thought of remodeling our bathroom.

     I was real excited about our next special stop. We were staying in Natchitoches and they finally got a hotel downtown. As the GPS was navigating us to our hotel address, Roger commented that he thought Natchitoches was in Louisiana not Texas. My mouth dropped open. It is in Louisiana! Where did I book our hotel?

     The Fredonia Hotel is in Nacogdoches, TX. Well with the names spelling so close, anyone could make a mistake like that! We arrived early enough to explore the town. As we were cooling off  from the hot weather, the locals helped clear up the mystery.

     Natchitoches and Nacogdoches were indigenous American twin brothers. Their father pointed one east and the other west so they wouldn't fight with each other. Two towns were born. That's their story and they're sticking to it.

     The Houston Theater was scheduled for September 21st but the promoter agreed with me that a flooded town probably wasn't in the mood for a concert, so we rescheduled it for November 3rd. It would be on our way home from the two month west coast tour. There is more to tell about that night in part two of this blog.

     Austin wasn't affected by the hurricanes, so we headed to the Lady Bird Lake (formerly called Town Lake) hotel where we could see folks gather in the evenings to watch the bats.
One night of bat watching ... then it was time for the Paramount Theater concert.

     There is a lovely drive from Austin to Fredericksburg Texas where we always love to stop at the Hampton Inn & Suites so we can walk to the Navajo Grill for dinner. I've written about this before.

     Driving through Texas is fun! It is the wild west and the speed limits go up to 85 miles an hour. Our Ford Transit conversion van handles the curves and speeds like a sports car.

     We had a week before the next concert in Aliso Viejo, CA and since this was my birthday tour, I booked a hotel I have always wanted to stay in, The Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel.
We had two days to enjoy the views and our new friends Terry and Kevin. We met them over hor d'oeuvres and became fast friends. They are even from a town I went to school in, Cary, North Carolina. We had fun reminiscing about Ashworth's Drug store's hotdogs.

     We migrated to Aliso Viejo on the day of the concert and were delighted with the enclave where our hotel was located. So much so, we decided to spend another night there. Then we did something we seldom do ... we went to a movie theater. Usually we avoid them because it was invariable that someone behind us would be coughing and a cold for a singer can be devastating. We saw "American Assassin". Very unrealistic but a touch of the James Bond flavor, so a sequel must be coming.

     The Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts at Whittier College was our next concert venue. We checked into the hotel the day before the concert. As I was checking my email, I gasped. A friend was sending condolences about Tom Petty.

      We didn't know what had happened, so we immediately began reaching out to people who might know.

     It took awhile. The initial reports were wrong. Tom had not died but he did a while later. We couldn't believe it. My email was inundated with interview request wanting comments about Tom, but that was the last thing Roger wanted to do. He wanted to reflect on the life of his friend quietly.

     Roger did want to talk to Chris Hillman. Chris had just finished recording with Tom and was on the road. When we connected with him, he was devastated and wanted to cancel his tour. Roger told him that Tom would not have wanted him to cancel his tour but to go on stage as a tribute to Tom.

     I reflected on sitting backstage at a table with Tom during the Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony. Tom had invited Roger to induct him into the Hall of Fame and sing "American Girl" for the ceremony. Tom and I talked about some of the silly fads going around but when he talked about his granddaughter, Everly, his eyes lit up. I was so sad to think that Everly would never get to fully experience the depth of his love for her. I was also sad thinking about Dana, Adria, Kim and all the people who were very important parts of the vast Petty machine. There is a great empty hole in the universe now and in our hearts.

     Roger has often had a segment in his concerts with a Tom Petty set. It includes stories and songs of their first meetings and touring together. From now on those songs and stories will always be in Roger's concerts. He will always celebrate the life and music of his dear friend.

To be continued.....

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Farewell My Friend by Roger McGuinn

My last night playing with Tom. June 2016 NYC
Before there were books, music recorded our history.

Tom Petty was a historian.

He didn't just write songs. He wrote about the stories, people, and cultures of our times and then he put it all to music.

When he wrote a song, he flew up to the great wide open, caught an idea and would come free falling back to earth. Then he did it again. I know, I had the privilege of writing with him once.

His songs are movies for our imaginations and longer than 4 words. His every verse a diamond and every chorus gold.

His music will always be with me and all of us.

The guitar strap I'm wearing is the one Tom gave me. He wore it in the "Free Fallin'" video.

Rehearsal Backstage NYC June 2016

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Roadie Report 76 by Camilla McGuinn - 75 Years - His Gentle Walk of Faith

July 24, 2017 at the WoodSongs taping.

Almost 40 years ago my life changed.

On New Year’s Day 1978, I woke up in Puerto Vallarta on the Wind Rose, my brother’s trimaran. We had been sailing from San Diego and were planning on continuing for months. But, it was time for me to go back to Los Angeles. There was no credit card or airline ticket in my pocket, but I was on a mission. I was going home.

It was a little strange to be drawn to "home." I didn't have a home.  I had recently left a two year relationship and quit my job at Playboy. I was either going to succeed in acting or starve. It was the kindness of others and their vacant guest rooms that put a roof over my head and the occasional dinner with friends that fed me.

My brother rowed me to shore. There was a hotel at the dock and a mother and daughter waiting for a taxi. I asked them if I could pay for half the ride to the airport but the mother said to just get it, it was on her.

At the airport, I walked up to an airline desk, smiled and asked if there were any seats available to Los Angeles. The desk attendant looked at me like I was nuts. This was New Year’s Day and everyone was trying to go home, but he sighed and began typing. All of a sudden, he shook his head, “A seat just opened on the next flight and it is a window seat.” I gave him some of the remaining cash I had. That seat was mine.

The plane circled Los Angeles and the layer of smog was the same brown it had been when I left it over a month ago, but something was different. I kept thinking, “My life is about to change.”

A series of events took me to an acting class where Roger was beginning the same night. I did write about the meeting in a previous blog, but I didn’t write about the life changing moment.

We were assigned to do a scene together. Part of the motivation was that he had to convince me of something I didn’t want. The night of the exercise, two chairs were put center stage. Roger pulled out his guitar and began playing. That did bug me. How was I supposed to compete with a musician? Pets, children and musicians are the definitive way to have a scene stolen.

He stopped playing, looked at me and asked if I would like to learn how to play the guitar.
“ Sure.”
“Okay, but you have to cut your finger nails on your left hand.”
“No problem.” I was smiling at myself. This was not going to get me upset. I wasn’t a girly-girl and finger nails were not important to me.

Then he pulled out his Swiss Army knife and began cutting my fingernails. I’m still secretly smiling. No reaction from me. He was losing this exercise.

He showed me a couple of chords and I awkwardly played them. Then he took the guitar back and said, “Let me play you a song.”

He began playing and singing a song the Byrds had recorded on “The Sweetheart of the Rodeo” album in 1968. When he finished the song he asked me if I liked it.

“Not particularly. It’s too country for me.”

“Well, what did you think of the words?”

Then it hit me! The song was “I like the Christian Life.” He was going to try to tell me about Jesus on stage in front of the acting class!

“How long have you been into Jesus?” I demanded with a very terse tone in my voice.

“A couple of months.” He quietly replied.

“Well give it a few more months and you will get over it.” Then I stood up and left the stage and stood seething in the back of the workshop as the students in the acting class all broke out into applause  and said: “Wow that was great! It was like a scene from Tennessee Williams.”

That was the beginning of the change. A week later I suggested we go to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to work on our scene. I was stuck with this long hair musician. One of the few rules I had in my life was not to date musicians, but I had to find a way to work with him. Little did I know that the first room we walked into was an exhibition of the Crucifixion of Jesus. My attitude was less than humble, but after studying the first three paintings I had an epiphany about my life. I had given up on love. Love was someone else’s fantasy, but all of a sudden I realized that I didn’t have the author of love in my life. I didn’t even want to hear His name for the past ten years. A verse I had learned as a child kept looping through my head:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son and whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

I hit the side of my head, hoping to knock those words out of my mind, but as I looked at the painting, I realized it was time for this prodigal child to go back to the love of Jesus. I had a strong feeling that if I didn't do it then, I was going to be in big trouble in the world on my own. By the time I walked out of the museum that day, I told God that I would go anywhere, do anything if I could know Him better. That day I understood what it was to be born again.

The story has more facets including how Roger told me about the shipwreck of his life during the early rock and roll years. Maybe someday I will write about what happened next with both of us, but for now, let’s just say through divine intervention Roger and I were married within two months. I was happy I didn’t have to become a nun since I was imagining that as the only way I could get to know God.

A few weeks after we were married, Roger’s new accountant called us to set up a meeting. For years Roger had trusted a gaggle of people to handle his affairs. Years of touring with a band on his credit cards finally caught up. He was on the verge of bankruptcy. It was time to get a bankrupt attorney and set the wheels in motion before someone else did.

In the mean time God took this Roman Catholic boy and Southern Baptist girl and set them in a Pentecostal Church, The Church on the Way in Van Nuys. The Wednesday before the Monday bankruptcy filing we were at the church listening to Jack Hayford open the mysteries of the Bible for us.

After the teaching, Roger looked at me and said with a tone of urgency in his voice, “We haven’t prayed about the bankruptcy.”

We walked into a small room where people went to go for prayer and approached an elderly gentleman named Lee. Roger told him we were going bankrupt on Monday. Lee smiled, shook his head and said, “That’s not God’s way. Your Father owns all the cattle on all the hills. Let’s pray.” He took Roger’s hand, and then looked at him intently. “I sense a need for repentance. Something about being un-equally yoked.”

Roger broke into a sweat. After filing for bankruptcy, he was going to sign a contract with Capitol Records for the group McGuinn, Clark and Hillman.
Lee continued, “There might be some gratification in that union but not a lot. How much money do you need to hold back the creditors?”

“About twenty-five thousand.” Roger whispered not really knowing how to answer.

“No. We need at least fifty thousand.” I interjected. Bookkeeping was one of my gifts.

We prayed with Lee and the next day Roger called the accountant and said there would be no bankruptcy filing. The attorney sent us a letter stating that he understood that we were going to try to pay everyone back and he hoped our faith would get us through it, but the creditors would bankrupt us anyway. Another attorney who was handling some of the lawsuits that were daily delivered at our door, stated blatantly that Roger didn’t have a pot to even pee in.

Well things happened. A few gigs for a good amount of money and the advance from the record company kept the creditors at bay. Payment schedules were worked out. It took over two years, but it was all paid back.

In the meantime McGuinn, Clark and Hillman was a train about to wreck. Gene Clark once again could not handle success, so his habits went into excess. He even forgot to show up for concerts. Roger and Chris had to fire him to keep the promoters from suing them.

Chris was having some trouble with his anger management and decked a Capitol records executive back stage at the Bottom Line. On the plane back to California Roger told him it was time to end the relationship. Capitol released the group and told them that they would not be sued for the altercation if they left quietly. The good news is that Chris is now a happy person with everything under control.

It was now time for Roger to pursue his dream of being an entertainer like his hero, Pete Seeger. Pete could captivate audiences with his stories and songs. All Roger had to do was to figure out how to tell stories; he knew the songs to sing.

The reason for this particular blog is to write about that man I married almost 40 years ago, his gentle walk of faith and to celebrate his 75th birthday. Here is another one of his stories.

 In 1982 we lived in Morro Bay, CA. We ran out of money and there was no work on the horizon.  I would walk a mile down the hill to the post office everyday hoping there was a royalty check from some unknown source.

On that Wednesday my walk back was a bleak one. There was no money in the mail and our $400 rent check was due on Monday. I was figuring we could live in our van but I didn’t even think about paying that monthly payment or even the monthly payment for child support. We were about to be homeless.

When I got home, Roger was sitting on the couch in the sunroom smiling and gazing at the distant view of the ocean and the garden. I sat down next to him with a deep sigh. Quietly I said, “There was no money at the post office.”

He joyfully told me, “Look at that bush right in front of the window in the garden. A few minutes ago it was filled with little red berries. As I was praying, a flock of birds swept down from the sky and ate them all! God had prepared those berries for the birds to eat just at the right time. If He cares for the birds and feeds them, He will care for us and feed us! Don’t worry it’s going to be alright, just at the right time.”

My weak smile reflected my voice, “I hope so.” I certainly wasn’t a tower of faith, but Roger’s faith was covering both of us.

The next day, the phone rang. The voice of our long time friend David, the owner of a business on Pico Blvd he called Rent-A-Wreck, was excited. A lady had walked in his shop to rent a car for a day. As she filled out the form David noticed she was the manager of the McCabe’s Guitar shop which had a back room where she promoted intimate concerts. David asked her if she knew Roger McGuinn.

“Roger McGuinn!” she exclaimed. “I’ve been trying to find him!”

David called us and gave her the phone. She introduced herself and said she wanted to have Roger play at the McCabes concert room. If we said yes, she would FEDEX the deposit today.

The deposit was enough to pay the rent and a little left over. The balance would finish paying all of our monthly obligations.

From that day forward, our life turned around. It wasn’t quick. When the children of Israel entered the Promise Land, God didn’t give it to them all at once because they wouldn’t be able to handle it. So it was with us. That was over 35 years ago. We slowly progressed in understanding our finances, our work and even moving across the nation to the place God wanted us to be.

We often smile at each other and say, ‘You’re my second best friend.” Jesus is our first. 

Before we celebrated Roger’s 75th birthday, we drove to Miami and helped Sophie and Michele celebrate the one they love his birthday, Dave Barry’s, 70th birthday. It was fun to see some of the Rock Bottom Remainders, Sam Barry, Mitch and Janine Albom and Scott Turow. The jam session was a great way to celebrate a friends birthday.


I did convince Roger to actually celebrate his birthday. He doesn’t like to make a big deal of anything, but I insisted he tell me what he loves to do. His reply “Be on the ocean.” This lover of sea chanteys wanted to be on the sea. I found a wonderful voyage and we celebrated the best birthday ever.

San Juan Puerto Rico July 2017

Besides being on stage, his next favorite place to be - on the sea.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Roadie Report 75 by Camilla McGuinn - I Have a Purple Heart

"Camilla, why haven't you written the blog lately?"

I didn't know how to answer Roger. We have been on some wonderful adventures thanks to his long career in music, but something was stopping me from writing about them. I wasn't sure that our adventures would be of interest or maybe just sound so frivolous in light of the turmoil in the world. Maybe I just had the "writer's block" that I've heard about. Not that I can call myself a writer. I know lots of them, and they all talk differently. Well I'm sitting here now and very interested in what comes on the screen from my fingers. There is a reason I'm here today, but I will get to that later.

The spring of 2016 was filled with concerts in the northeast. We have a rule about not driving north of Interstate 40 between November 1st  and April 1st. I have driven in enough snow storms to last me for the rest of my life but our rule didn't pan out. Our trip to Woodstock, VT was dusted with snow. It wouldn't have been so bad except the GPS decided the shortest way over the mountain was the best, the cell phones lost signals and the road got narrow. We decided something was wrong, so we slowly backed up, got on a larger road and hoped it would lead us to Woodstock. I think I will carry a paper map with me from now on and maybe change our travel rule to begin on May 1st. 

Roger and Jakob Dylan
While we were in the North we stopped in NYC to record a video with Jakob Dylan for a project he has been working on. Roger is always surprised at how the children of his friends have grown into adults. We're still surprised by his adult sons. 

My favorite tours are when we see people we know. In June we flew to NYC to see Tom Petty inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Roger was honored to be picked by Tom to deliver the induction speech. We were told that it shouldn't be longer than 90 seconds. The first words Roger said after he had sung "American Girl" was, "Not everyone got that message." It was a long night.

We were also happy to see another friend that night, Elvis Costello. He was being inducted too and we finally got to meet his lovely wife, Diana Krall. Elvis always makes me smile with his genuine enthusiasms about everything.

Tom invited Roger to join Mudcrutch for two concerts in the city after the ceremony, so we had a few days to explore. Our hotel was in the theater district, so I thought it would be fun to explore the "old New York" scenes. We quickly found Sardi's and made friends with two bartenders, Joe, who has been there over thirty years and Jeremy. Jeremy told us that he was going to Tom Petty's concert the next night. We laughed, not sure if he knew Roger but over the next couple of months, he got to know us well. The upper bar in Sardi's is a place I now recommend to our friends when they travel to the city. Walk into Sardi's, turn right, walk up the stairs then turn around to find the bar. Say hi to Joe and Jeremy from us.

The month of July was spent enjoying our home. That is a treat we seldom get and we weren't even sure we would like it, but it was fun! Walking every morning to Trader Joe's to buy dinner supplies, then coming home and jumping in the pool to cool off.

Buzz Aldren held the Share Space Foundation's Apollo 11 Anniversary Gala at the Kennedy Space Center on July 22 and we happily attended. Spacemen are a favorite of ours. A special guest was George Takei, Mr. Sulu from Star Trek. Roger was lecturing on the Queen Mary 2 on one of the transatlantic voyages the same time George was. We have all found a wonderful way to get to and from Europe.

In September we hit the road with our unusual summer tans for concerts in the Midwest. After the Green Bay, WI show, we stopped in Oshkosh before the show in Waupun. The hotel was next to a family run restaurant. What we didn't realize was that everyone who walked into the bar became part of the family. By the end of our dinner, we were all joking with each other on a first name basis. I was a major source of laughter when I tried to pronounce Waupun, our next concert city. I don't think I ever got it right.

The tour took us back across the country to New Jersey where we had time to stay at one of our favorite hotels, The Sheraton, Lincoln Harbor. Two fun days were filled with riding the ferry to NYC, exploring old landmarks, stopping at Sardi's to invite Jeremy to the Bergen Performing Arts Center show and  introducing Patrick, Roger's son, to the Sardi's experience.

Sardi's decorated for Christmas

On Thanksgiving Day, we arrived in NYC on Amtrak's, Silver Meteor. The train pulled into Penn Station shortly after the Macy's parade had ended. We were amazed how easy it was to get a taxi. Roger was scheduled to give two lectures on the Queen Mary 2 for the voyage to the Caribbean. Before we boarded the beautiful ship, we had a day to find our Thanksgiving feast. Well, that's not a good idea on Thanksgiving Day in NYC. All the restaurants are on a fixed menu and the reservations are booked. I'm not a big fan of a plate of turkey with the "fixins" but I had an idea. Juniors, a famous deli, was just across the street. I told Roger to chill the champagne and I would get us dinner. Those turkey sandwiches and the bottle of gifted Champagne from friends was one of my favorite traveling Thanksgiving Days. My favorite Thanksgivings are when we have time to invite 30 friends to come to our home and cook and cook for three days.

After the voyage, we were sitting in the airport waiting to board the plane back to Orlando.

Sitting next to Roger was a man from St. Thomas. We had been there years ago looking for Creeque Alley from the Mama and Papas song. Roger mentioned our search to him and he told us that his last name was Crequee and the alley had been named after his family. He also corrected us on how to say the name. It's not pronounced  "creek alley" it  is pronounced "creekee alley." How can we ever understand our steps? I'm always in awe.

Well I've finished the highlights of 2016 and there is a funny story coming about our trip to Hong Kong in March of 2017, but the real reason I wanted to write today was because last night I realized it was Memorial Day Weekend.

Roger and I don't have cable. Our television watching consist of a lot of PBS that is broadcast over the air. After dinner we began watching a show about  Alaskan Natives who served in Viet Nam. Then there was another show about the Doolittle Raids over Japan during World War 2.

I watched the shows with tears in my eyes because  there is a chest in my room that protects  a "Purple Heart." My father received it after he was shot in Viet Nam.

Aaron was 17 when he ran away from the orphanage, lied to the recruiting officer about his age and joined the Navy. He was sent to the Pacific to fight the Japanese on board a destroyer as a hospital corpsman. One of his older brothers couldn't get into the Navy because of an eye problem, but the Army took him and sent him to Europe as a gunner on a tank and that's where he lies.

After the war Aaron went back to the orphanage for a reunion and that's where he met Minnie. They were married and had a son who they named after Aaron's army brother.

 Aaron stayed in the Navy and when the Korean war broke out, he was sent to Korea. It was his second war.

In 1969, I graduated from high school, my brother and I both went to college and daddy went to Viet Nam. This wasn't like the other tour of duties. He was stationed on the front lines with the First Marine Division. He was the senior corpsman and was responsible for sending out the young corpsman with the patrols . I met him in Hawaii for his R&R with my mother. He walked slowly off the plane and looked 30 years older. My mother figured he wouldn't want to stay on the military base and she was right in finding a small hotel for us. The first thing he said, "Let's get off this base." We were together for a short time, then he sadly boarded the plane back to Viet Nam.

The next time I saw him was in the hospital in Norfolk, VA. He had been shot by snipers in the leg, but the alarm that shocked the doctors enough to send him to Alaska was his blood pressure. They had to evacuate him. He spent his twilight tour, the last station of service before retirement, in Norfolk. He retired from the Navy with 30 years of service and three wars. He was 47 years old.

After the retirement dinner, he went to work for DuPont in Richmond, VA as a health officer. He died quickly one night of a stroke. He was 52 years old.

Memorial Day is a day that should be remembered. It's not the wars we remember, it is the people, all the people who sacrificed and suffered. The warriors and the innocents. Roger and I have visited Viet Nam twice. I wasn't sure I wanted to go there, but I'm glad I did. The people are so precious, the country is beautiful. The elders don't talk about the American War. But we will remember!

Navy Corpsman Spaul
World War 2
HMCS Spaul
Viet Nam
A photo he sent to me. He never wanted me to worry.

Just before going to Viet Nam

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Roadie Report 74 by Camilla McGuinn - 2015 A Time For Old Friends & 2016 A New CD

The Folk Den Project - Twentieth Anniversary Edition

     It is the middle of July 2016 and I'm just now thinking about the sweet memories of the second half 2015. In fact I have to go back to my calendar to see what we did.
     In the early part of the year, we were touring on the highways of the USA.  I had the opportunity to visit with the family of one of my dearest friends who died suddenly just after Roger and I were married. Her mother and brothers came to a concert and I spent all the time I could with them telling them stories about the escapades that Annie I took in the early 70s.
     In August we escaped the heat of Florida for the unusual heat of Hawaii for a tour of four of the islands. Our first stop was in Kauai and it was the beginning of visiting with friends from the past.
      The first day in Kauai, we got a call from Richard, Tom Petty’s road manager, inviting us to dinner at Al’s house, Bob Dylan’s production manager. Roger had enjoyed touring with both of them on the “Temples in Flames Tour” in 1987. He often tells the story of how he was invited on that Dylan/Petty tour in his concerts.
       It was a delightful reunion but what I found even more fun was meeting their families. When touring with an artist, the road crew is always focused on the artist. I didn’t even know Richard and Al were married, but married they are - to beautiful women. Al’s teenage daughter reflected the beauty of her mother. The evening in the cool breeze of the island mountain was like visiting favorite relatives.
            I was sitting next to Richard and confessed to him that before each tour I always ask myself if I remember how to be a road manager. He confessed he does too, but I think his answer was a sweet way to make me feel comfortable. They all came to Roger’s concert the next night. I was really more anxious about forgetting something important because these pros were going to be in the audience. When I finally finished my duties and went to the dressing room they were all there continuing with the good feelings we’d had the night before.
            As I mentioned earlier it was unusually hot in Hawaii!  The time in Oahu wasn’t so uncomfortable because the hotel had air conditioning and so did the restaurants, but when we got to the house I found on the Big Island, air conditioning wasn’t to be found anywhere.

           The house was beautifully situated on a cliff overlooking the ocean. It had a wonderful kitchen and a washer and dryer. Three days of cooking and eating romantic meals while looking at the view seemed like heaven. We were told that air conditioning wouldn’t be necessary because of the ocean breezes. We lived for years on the beach in Florida with just ocean breezes, so I didn’t think it would be a problem. Well, it was very hot and even the two theaters Roger performed in were hot! No air conditioning. Roger was the consummate pro sitting under the stage lights in the heat but he was a bit wet after each show. I was so completely soaked after one sound check that I had to change to a venue t-shirt. Now I had a nice souvenir to take home.
Peter Fonda & Roger
            Roger had been to Maui before, but it was my first time. They have a great radio station where they can play anything the DJ wants to play. That was a fun interview. The theatre was air conditioned but the treat for the night was a visit from Roger’s old friend Peter Fonda. After the show Parky, Peter’s wife, and I were just amazed at how excited the two of them were remembering the stories of the past. They hadn’t seen each other since the late sixties.
Barry McGuire & Roger
             Speaking of the sixties, in September we drove to California for a west coast tour and were greeted by another old friend, Barry McGuire. We have kept in touch with Barry over the years, but this was the first time he and his wife, Mari, had seen “An Evening with Roger McGuinn.”  The sound of Barry’s joyous laugh coming from the backstage after the show could be heard all over the venue.
            Time never separates old friends, distance does. I’m so glad we travel.
            Another old friend popped up on this tour. In California, we were staying at a hotel which is across the street from our new publishing administrator, Wixen Music. Randall invited Roger to use his conference room for the video interviews I had arranged. After one interview, Roger went back to the hotel and I decided to go shopping at a favorite store in the nearby enclave of California fun.
            As I was walking, I heard a man’s voice behind me talking on the cell phone. I felt he was a little too close, but was sure he would keep going when I entered the small boutique store. He followed me into the store! I quickly turned around and he said, “Camilla, you know me.” I stuttered, “Of course I do. Who are you?”
            “Randy Gerston.”
Wow. Randy was the A&R man who took Roger to Arista records. He looked a lot different from the young, long haired man in 1990. It was good to see him and we both were talking a mile a minute. Then he showed a photo of himself during his search for the meaning of life. He was wearing the orange of a Buddhist Monk. It was very interesting to hear his path. He was no longer a monk but the disciplines were still part of his life.
     Randy’s office was in the same enclave, so Roger and I went over the next day and had another delightful reunion. I was particularly happy for the chance to talk with him, since the parting from a record company can be difficult for all parties and I wanted him to know that we really did like him.
     Our November experiences included Detroit, Tokyo and Osaka. In Detroit, we joined Mitch Albom for his release of “the magic strings of Frankie Presto.” Roger was one of the real life characters of the book.
     For Thanksgiving we had sushi. The concert in Tokyo was attended by the reps from Martin guitar. They brought a 7-string for Roger to play during the Japan concerts. We really don’t like carrying guitars on airplanes.
     From Tokyo we took the Bullet Train to Osaka. The hotel was connected to an amazing mall that had an “adult food court.” That is what the concierge at the hotel called it. We realized the adult part was the cocktails that were available. There were so many places to eat, but there was one restaurant that had a long line of patrons waiting to get in. That was our clue to get in line. It was the best sushi we have ever had!
The Best Restaurant in Osaka
                              We have always appreciated the sweetness, politeness and the trusting attitude of the Japanese. We were amazed to see bicycles in both cities sitting on the sidewalks unlocked. 

     We thought we were going to spend Christmas at home, but a last minute call from Tim telling us that the lecture department of the Queen Mary 2 was asking if Roger would be interested in coming on board for two lectures during the Christmas voyage to the Caribbean. How could we say no? We love the neighborhood of the Queen Mary 2 and had been on the Christmas voyage before. In fact it is a voyage that many people repeat, so there were old friends everywhere.
Roger's Lecture on The Queen Mary 2

     2016 began on the ocean and we never have any idea where it will end. We like the adventure of not knowing. We do know one thing about 2016; it is the Twentieth Anniversary of the Folk Den. We spent most of the year re-recording another 100 songs for the 4 CD set of the Twentieth Anniversary Edition. It will be released on Roger’s 74th birthday, July 13. Go to for a link to CDBABY for a copy. Just click on the blue CD cover. It is a nice compliment to the first Folk Den Project with the red cover.
      I would like to thank  my 13 readers for being so patient waiting for this BLOG to get written.
The Back Cover of the 4 CD set. Roger on stage in Belgium.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Roadie Report 73 by Camilla McGuinn - Cross Country, 37 Years & A New Touring Van

             The first 2015 concert was a return to the beautiful Fox Theater in Tucson, AZ. It was a bit nostalgic because it was in this theater where we recorded the concert for Roger's mother's 102nd birthday. The ambiance of that night was so special that we decided to release the concert for Roger's fans to enjoy in the CD/DVD "Stories, Songs & Friends."
               One of our favorite adventures is driving across country from Florida. Our 2005 Ford van had over 250 thousand miles and was still running beautifully until we stopped at the immigration check point on Interstate 10. I lowered the window to let the border patrol officer look inside and ask the usual questions. As I pulled away from the check point, I heard a loud clunk  and the driver's side window had plummeted deep inside the door. I pulled over and we managed to pull the window up with a pair of long needle nose pliers. Then we wedged a squeegee in the frame to keep it from falling back down again. 
              Roger immediately got on the internet in search of a Ford dealer. Bingo! Just thirty miles away and they said they could fix it that day. One of the great joys of owning a Ford is that there is a dealer in every town and they usually have the parts. They always wash our van after they have serviced it. We spent  a little over an hour in their waiting room enjoying the company of a couple in their 80s who were driving from Indiana. Roger helped the gentleman with his cell phone while their car was undergoing an oil change. It's always encouraging to see alert octogenarians driving on cross country adventures.
               Our arrival in Tucson was just in time for Roger to have a guitar/ pizza party with his brother, son and grandsons. The next night the familiar stage of the Fox Theater rang in our 2015 year of touring.
               We headed north on Valentine's Day for a concert in Gilbert, AZ. It turned out to be a reunion with several friends we had known from the time we lived in Morro Bay, Ca. The only problem with reunions at concerts is that there is little time to sit and visit. We begin our work on a concert at lunchtime and don't stop until we return to the hotel after the show.  But even a short time spent with old friends is a special moment in the evening.
               Our usual route for driving home is to take Interstate 10 back through Tucson, but this time we wanted to explore roads we'd never traveled. There is a road from Gilbert Arizona that connects to Interstate 10 and runs through a beautiful part of the Tonto National Forest. We were in awe of the miles of sky high rose-tinted buttes. It was a relaxing drive rolling down to old El Paso.
               The Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas was the venue for the next concert but there was time to spend an evening in one of our favorite stops, Fredericksburg, Texas. This town was founded in 1846, named after Prince Frederick of Prussia. It is a German settled oasis in the heart of the Lone Star State. Another great thing about driving through Texas - the 85 mile an hour speed limit!
               The Manship Theater is located in the vibrant downtown of Baton Rouge. It is not only a beautiful theater, it is a community oriented organization reaching out to the residents of the city with classes and events that relate to all age groups. This was the second time Roger had taken the stage in this amazing theater.    
Winter Park, FL
               In March, Roger gave a lecture at Rollins College in the quintessential southern town of Winter Park, Florida. His lectures are entitled, "How My Love of Folk Music Took Me to the Rock'n' Roll Hall of Fame." The lecture was in the evening. The next morning he took part in a Q& A session and lunch with a few music students. Even though Winter Park isn't too far from our home, the early morning session was the reason we stayed at the new Alfond Inn. The Alfond is owned by Rollins College and it helps support their scholarship programs. It is a perfect hotel to stay in for walking the quaint streets of Winter Park.
37 Years of  April Rose
" A Love Affair"
               We celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary on April 1 with a cozy dinner at home and a viewing of the 1939 movie" A Love Affair." The movie " An Affair to Remember" is a remake of this Charles Boyer/ Irene Dunn movie. We're still debating about which one we like the best. It is really hard to compare Cary Grant with anybody. He even said, "Everybody wants to to be Cary Grant.  Even I want to be Cary Grant."
                   Something interesting happened right after the lecture during our morning devotions. We decided to go to the website of Explorer Conversion Vans and send them an email to contact us. Within an hour Scott, the Explorer Florida sales representative called us. I told him we were thinking about the Ford Transit and we didn't really need a lot of bells and whistles. He said the demo he was driving sounded like the van for us and he would be passing by our house in two days.

2015 Ford Transit Explorer Conversion Van
               Scott drove the silver Ford Transit  into our driveway on April 2. Roger test drove it for a couple of miles. Scott called the Ford dealer for a trade-in quote on our 2002 Ford van and we sealed the deal within in two hours. The van and paper work were delivered to us the Saturday before Easter. After 10 years of touring in the 2005 Van, we had a new set of wheels ! The 2005 E-250 van was relegated to being our new town car.

Springtime  Dogwood Blossoms
               We couldn't wait to get back on the road. We loaded the 'Silver Bullet' on April 19. First stop- Beaufort, SC and shrimp grits at the Saltus River Grill. From there we cut up to Interstate 81 for a relaxing drive through the Springtime Dogwood Blossoms in every Southern town to the Martin Guitar Factory in Nazareth, PA. We love stopping at this factory even if we don't need  to refurbish some guitars.

Monmouth  Guitar Jam
               The first performance of this tour was at Monmouth University. Roger gave a lecture on April 23 followed by a guitar jam. The sound of a bunch of guitars playing the Byrd's hits is always a memorable experience. The concert "An Evening With Roger McGuinn" was the next night.

A Room With a View

      We were off and running. The Montclair, NJ sold out concert was on April 25. Then there was just enough time for an evening at our favorite hotel, The Sheraton Lincoln Harbor Hotel. 

The view of Manhattan keeps us spell bound for hours. This time though we were a bit horrified. A new building was being constructed blocking of our view of the Empire State Building. The waiter in the restaurant expressed as much dismay as we did. He said it sprung up almost overnight. We're hoping it won't go all the way to the top. Maybe it will stop just where I photographed it!
Construction blocking the Empire State Building
               As much fun as the respite was, we were chomping at the bit to get back in the new Transit. Fortunately we were headed to the Midwest for concerts in Valparaiso, Indiana; Elgin and Springfield  Illinois and Ann Arbor, Traverse City and Saginaw Michigan. On the way, our route was taking us past the Explorer Conversion Van Factory - yep we had to stop! We love seeing how things are made.
               The Explorer facility is amazing. Our tour took a couple of hours because everything they install  in their conversion vans is made in their factory! It's a quiet location surrounded by corn fields in Warsaw, Indiana. I'm not sure what fascinated me more, though it was probably the wiring harness they make for all their vans and the seat covers they sew with leather imported from Europe. Roger had his cell phone camera rolling during the tour. Click here to see just a portion of this amazing American factory. Explorer Factory Tour
               One more thing about the Ford Transit. IT IS the most amazing van I have ever driven! This is our sixth van, five of them Fords, but this EcoBoost engine has an incredible 300 horsepower and the van hugs curves like it is a sports car.... I have a 1987 5.0 liter Ford Mustang convertible.  If I wasn't happily employed, I would sell the Ford Transit Explorer Conversion Van!  For full disclosure- we own 100 shares of Ford stock and 3 Fords. Oh wait, we just bought another 100 shares of Ford!

Explorers at the Explorer Factory

Goodbye to the 2002 Van