Thursday, December 08, 2005

Roadie Report 12 by Camilla (Aug cont. & Jim McGuinn Discovers Folk Music & THE FOLK DEN PROJECT)

We settled into studio B at the Summit Road Studios and began the daunting task of mixing and mastering the 100 songs for THE FOLK DEN PROJECT. We worked 10 hours a day, shoulder to shoulder, fine tuning the recordings. Roger had finished most of the re-recording of the songs that he felt needed it prior to leaving for the Washington State concert.

As I listened to the songs over and over I reflected on what brought Roger to this point in his life and why he has such a passion for preserving the songs we were compiling for this 4 CD box set.

In the winter of 1957, Jim's (Roger’s) music teacher at the Latin School of Chicago, Miss Ganter, invited her friend Bob Gibson to perform for her students. Jim attended out of duty but didn't expect much from another required school assembly. As he was clowning with his group of friends, his eye caught a glimpse of an instrument head stock poking through the door of the auditorium. It appeared to be a guitar and suddenly his interest was peaked.

(Miss Ganter's music class at a student's home. Jim is third from the right.)

Bob Gibson strolled on stage not with a guitar, but with a 5-string long necked banjo. At this revelation, Jim wanted to find the nearest exit, but after only one song of intricate finger picking and a personal story about the song Jim's interest reawakened. He was amazed at the energy and sound that the Banjo created in the hands of an artist who believed in the instrument and the music. Bob finished his set of songs and left the building. Jim immediately found Miss Ganter and interrogated her about the music and style of Bob Gibson.

Miss Ganter told her student that it was folk music and if he was really interested in learning more about it, that a new school had just opened within walking distance of his house, called The Old Town School of Folk Music.

School was not Jim's favorite pastime so he wasn't sure he wanted to attend another school, besides he felt pretty confident about the guitar technique that he had already taught himself. He would buy 45 rpm records, slow them down to 33 rpm and learn the guitar parts by ear.

Now the sound of Gibson's banjo kept ringing in his ears, so the following Saturday he braved the cold Chicago winter winds and walked up to 333 West North Avenue from his home on East Division Street. The School was on the third floor of an old brick building. He climbed the stairs and was greeted by Dawn Greening who introduced him to Win Stracke and Frank Hamilton. Frank asked him if he knew the circle of chords. Jim had no idea what he was talking about but when Frank proceeded to quickly demonstrate an incredible chain of barre chords, Jim realized that he had a lot to learn about the guitar and immediately signed up for classes.

Frank tested Jim's guitar technique and assigned him to the intermediate class. The walls of the classroom were covered with posters with the names of famous guitar players and tablatures showing their individual picking style. He diligently mastered one style every week and was soon moved to the advance guitar class. He also started playing guitar and singing in a trio called “The Frets,” with Johnny Carbo on banjo and Louis MacDonald on congas, at the Café Oblique.

(The Frets)

The strong impact of Bob Gibson's banjo playing was the impetus for Jim to learn the intricacies of the five-string banjo. He didn't have a banjo, so he strung one of his guitars with five strings, put a nail in the neck at the seventh fret and tucked the fifth string under it. He saved his money to buy a Vega long-neck "Pete Seeger Model" banjo. It was Jim's banjo picking technique that would later transform the sound of a Rickenbacker electric 12-string guitar into what would become known as the 'jingle-jangle" sound of the Byrds.

Jim started working as a solo performer at local coffeehouses. Every night after his gig he would head down to Albert Grossman's Gate of Horn, one of the first Folk/Jazz nightclubs in the country. Even though Jim was under the legal drinking age, he managed to get in the door. In 1997 Ella Jenkins told me at a live recording of songs for the Harry Smith Connection on Smithsonian Folkways Records, that she used to tell the bartender, "Let the boy in, he just wants to hear the music." High school was secondary in his life, even to the point of being kicked out of study hall for playing his banjo. Folk Music had become his passion.

One night after his Café Roué gig, he made his usual pilgrimage down the cold windy sidewalks of Rush Street to the Gate of Horn. He entered the bar room and heard the sounds of a jam session going on. It was the Limeliters, Theo Bikel, and some of the regulars. Alex Hassilev, of the Limeliters, looked at the skinny kid holding two instrument cases and told him, "We have enough guitars. Break out your banjo." Jim was in heaven as he played all night with the famous folk singers. Around 4:30am, Alex invited him to audition for them the next day for the position of accompanist and gave him an album. True to Jim's modus operandi, he hurried home and listened to the songs on his record player. At sunrise he was confident he knew them and tried to get some rest before the 1pm audition.

The next day he went to Mr. Kelly's, a Chicago landmark nightclub where the Limeliters were performing, for the audition. Alex liked what he heard and told him the job was his. He asked, "When can you start?" It was then that Jim sheepishly admitted that he had to graduate from high school first.

On July 3, 1960, ten days before his 18th birthday, Jim McGuinn boarded an airplane bound for Los Angeles with a ticket the Limeliters had sent him. At the American Airlines ticket counter, he had checked in his Martin 00-21 6-string guitar, his Pete Seeger long-neck banjo and two suitcases filled with his important belongings, half of which were gadgets. Ken Kragen, the Limeliters' manager, picked him up at LAX in a red convertible with the top down and drove him to the Park Sunset hotel on the Sunset Strip. During the drive to the hotel, the warm California night air whipping around his face, the summer scent of the orange trees and the freedom of being on the road captured his heart so much that he knew he would never return to Chicago to live again. His passion and his diligence to learn his craft had opened the doors he had dreamed of walking through, on that day just a year before, when he was kicked out of a study hall in high school for practicing his banjo.

45 years later, I was honored to be sitting and working by his side on this preservation project of the music that mapped the journey of his life.

The intensity of work was lifted every night when we joined Linda and Don DeBey for the evening meal. We didn't want to impose on them, but they always made us feel welcome. The four of us had so much in common. They had met while playing in a band and it is their love of music that had brought them to build the state of the art, Summit Road Studios.

The last night before Roger's Denver concert, Linda and Don made a Thanksgiving style dinner and included Kristy and Ed Edwards, the couple who brought us all together. Roger still had one song he wanted to re-record so after dinner he asked them all to join him in the studio to record "This Train" for the FOLK DEN PROJECT.

We left Linda and Don and the Summit Road Studios on September 25 and headed to Pennsylvania and New York for two more concerts. We listened to all 100 songs while driving the roads of America and watching the seasons change from Summer to Fall. My favorite songs kept changing the more I listened.

THE FOLK DEN PROJECT was almost finished. The 40-page booklet had been sent to press while we were mixing. In order to officially release the Project on the 10th anniversary of the FOLK DEN we had an October 11th deadline to send the master recordings in for pressing. Roger felt that the Old Town School of Folk Music should be the place for the release concert - the place where he developed a love for folk music- so Skyline Music booked the theater in the school for November 27th. Our deadlines were all met.

Update: The Folk Den Project is now finished and is available HERE:

Monday, November 14, 2005

Roadie Report 11 (Aug cont. & Jim McGuinn's First Guitar and Mixing THE FOLK DEN PROJECT) by Camilla McGuinn

(Photo by Camilla)

The stay at the King Estates Vineyard was a delightful respite before our San Francisco engagements. After the Moses Lake concert, it would have been nice to have driven back to Florida and to finish the work on "THE FOLK DEN PROJECT" but Roger had three commitments in San Francisco and all of which were very close to his heart.

Roger's first appearance was on the ground breaking POD cast of "This Week In Tech" aka "TWIT." They were podcasting from the Apple Computer store in San Francisco. TWIT was formed by the staff of the old "Tech TV," a great television network that was bought by Comcast Cable and subsequently ruined. The people who watched Tech TV were very much like Apple Computer fans, deeply devoted. Roger was one of those deeply devoted fans. When it was bought and turned into "G4," a network solely about computer games, a myriad of techies felt betrayed and abandoned. The G4 "suits" didn't realize that the success of Tech TV was based on the commitment and pioneering spirit of the people who hosted the shows. Leo Leporte and Kevin Rose didn't go along with the corporate plan. Leo was fired and Kevin jumped ship. They began their own shows on the Internet, podcasts and IP-TV. Their audience followed them. Kevin's quest for integrity paid off. reported "Kevin Rose gets 2.8 million dollars in venture capital for his online projects." Kevin uses that money to buy the servers and the bandwidth necessary to keep the projects in cyberspace.

While we were driving to Washington, Roger learned of the podcast and emailed Leo. Leo invited Roger to join them at the Apple store and we were excited to hear that John C. Dvorak, author, columnist, editor and casualty of Tech TV ( would also be on the show. We had met John years ago while doing promotion for the "Forrest Gump" CD-ROM and had become good friends.

Roger's fascination with technology began when he was toddler in Chicago. His grandfather would take him to the Museum of Science and Industry in Jackson Park. Louis Heyn, Dorothy's father, was an engineer who took immense pleasure in teaching Little Jimmy the mysteries of science. The museum was a wonderful place, full of airplanes, steam locomotives and glimpses into the future.

(Roger's third Mobile Telephone acquired 1972)

Jimmy's favorite exhibit was a mobile telephone scenario by Bell Telephone. When a button was pushed, a huge map display of a rural community would light up the roads with blinking lights. The deep voice coming from the speakers would begin telling the story of Doctor Morgan, MD and an emergency that was called into his office. Since the doctor was out of the office making house calls, the nurse had to call him on his mobile phone. The little lights on the display begin radiating out to his car like radio waves. The doctor answered his mobile phone and was able to get to the emergency in five minutes. He saved a life thanks to a new technological marvel called the Mobile Telephone. It was a great fantasy for the future and Jimmy loved it. His grandfather instilled in him a fascination with gadgets and with the way things work.

The second appointment we had in San Francisco was an interview with KFOG radio. It is one the few radio stations still left that isn't being programmed by a strange computer somewhere and puppeteers in suits pulling the strings. Hopefully a recent change in ownership won't change the heart of the station.

In the spring of 1956, Jimmy was excited about a new gadget he had received from his grandfather for Christmas, a Regency TR-1 transistor radio. He would put it in his pocket, turn it up loud and ride his bicycle. His mother had told him not to ride his bike on the streets, so he obeyed the letter of her command and stayed off the streets. The Outer Drive was not technically a street, it was a busy highway! Consequently he spent many happy hours on the Outer Drive dodging the traffic on his bike.

(1987 Roger & George with the RIC that started the FOLK ROCK sound. Photo by Camilla)

It was during one of those happy hours that he first heard the sounds of Elvis Presley singing "Heartbreak Hotel" coming in over the radio waves to his transistor radio. It was that sound that put Jimmy on the pathway of his life. He begged for a guitar for his 14th birthday and was given a Harmony 6-string. He searched the airwaves and record stores for more of that rock-a-billy sound and found a record by Gene Vincent. The first guitar lick, which he taught himself by listening to a record, was the lead break from the flip side of the single "Be Bop A Lula", a song called "Woman Love." Years later when he and George Harrison were comparing their adventures in music, they realized that the first thing they had both learned on the guitar was the "Woman Love" guitar break and they learned it at the same time.

In 1964, the BYRDS went to see "A Hard Days Night." Roger saw George playing a red 12-string Rickenbacker and decided trade in his acoustic 12-string for a Rickenbacker 12-string.

(Regency TR-1 transistor radio)

Roger now has a collection of transistor radios that he has acquired over the years while touring. Some were gifts from friends and fans. You can view the collection at

Our third commitment was to the Glaucoma Research Foundation.
Six years ago during a routine eye examine, Roger was diagnosed with glaucoma. This is an insidious affliction. There are no symptoms and if it is not detected, you will go blind and there is no cure. The progression of the blindness can be stopped and there is research being done to find a cure. Roger was a keynote speaker for the Catalyst For A Cure campaign. His personal experience emphasized the need for testing and the need for research for a cure. Time is of the essence in glaucoma research. While everyone, from infants to seniors, is at risk, those past the age of 40 are most vulnerable. With an aging population, we are on the verge of an epidemic of blindness. Further, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in African-American and Hispanic/Latino populations – striking at an earlier age, and proceeding more quickly. There isn't a moment to lose. If you have any questions about Glaucoma, call (800) 826-6693.

After the fund-raiser, we were faced with a dilemma. Hurricane Katrina made us rethink our plans for going home to work on "THE FOLK DEN PROJECT." We didn't want to tax the infrastructures of the southern states by driving through their towns and highways, so we decided to stay in the west until Roger's concert in Denver on September 24.

We had all the equipment and the songs for "THE FOLK DEN PROJECT" but we needed a good sound system in order to finish the mixing and mastering. I emailed friends in Denver who had a studio, but Kristy emailed back and said that Ed had sold his studio. She invited us to use the studio where Ed was now producing his projects and to even stay in the owner's house. We were a little nervous about invading someone's home for over a week, but she assured us that we were welcome. We slowly and prayerfully drove to Denver.

(On the way to Colorado. Photo by Camilla)

When we arrived in Parker Colorado at Summit Road Studios and the home of Don and Linda DeBey, it took us only a few moments to recognize that this generous couple were about to become very special friends.

(Summit Road Studios grounds. Photo by Camilla)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Roadie Report 10 (Aug cont. The King Estates Vineyard & Roger Meets Camilla) by Camilla McGuinn

(The view of the vineyard from the cottage. Photo by Camilla McGuinn)

We drove through the gates of the King Estates Vineyard just as the sun was casting its evening shadows on the grapevines. The guest cottage is located between a pond, rows of vines and just down the hill from the winery which was built in the style of a traditional French Chateau. This was the third time that the King family had invited us to seek sanctuary at their lovely vineyard southwest of Eugene, Oregon.

Roger wrote about Ed King, Jr. in a previous blog. Mr. King built and planted this vineyard with his son Ed King III.

We had met Steve, the Director of Sales of the King Estates, at a wine tasting in Orlando a few years ago. The King Estates table was the first one we stopped at to sample the wines. The King Estates Pinot Gris and the genuine friendliness of Steve Thomson caused us to circle quickly back to King Estates' table. In the course of the evening, we mentioned that Roger was a musician and we exchanged email addresses. That night, when Steve got back to his hotel room, he called his wife Karen and mentioned to her about meeting a musician named Roger McGuinn. Karen knows more about music than Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone and was horrified that Steve didn’t recognize the name McGuinn. He emailed us the next day with sincere apologies.

I told Steve that I identified with his innocence of rock and roll history and told him my story.

In 1978, I began studying at an actor’s workshop in Beverly Hills, California on the same night that a quiet man with shoulder length hair joined the class. The teacher, Tracy Roberts, paired me with this man. I had just finished a 7-UP commercial and decided to quit my job and concentrate exclusively on acting. I wanted to work with someone who was serious about this class, so I asked the quiet man if he had ever worked professionally. He told me that he had been in Bob Dylan’s movie “Renaldo and Clara.’ I inwardly groaned, “ Oh no…he’s a musician.”

The scene we were assigned to study was from the movie “Blume in Love.” We coordinated our schedules to meet in two days to discuss the scene, then said good night and walked out to our cars. I noticed his California license plate was “BYRDS2.”

My friend, Gregg, who was doing his medical internship on the East Coast, called me the next morning. I told him about my new acting workshop and about this guy I'd met. I'd figured that the guy was a BYRDS manager or attorney because if he had been in the BYRDS wouldn’t he have had just BYRDS on his license plates? I didn’t have a clue as to how people applied for special name license plates. Gregg asked me his name and when I said Roger McGuinn, Gregg said, “Camilla, he was the BYRDS!”

Roger and I studied the scene together and then, love did bloom.We were married two months later on April 1, 1978.

We laughed with Steve about our mutual lack of rock history and a friendship developed. He began to keep track of our schedule through on the internet. When he saw that we were coming to Oregon, an invitation was offered to stay at the cottage on the vineyard that was available to the distributors of the King Estate wines.
(The cottage. Photo by Camilla)

The cottage reminds me of one from storybook land and walking into it for the third time was like coming home.

The morning after we arrived, Steve took us on a tour of the vineyard. So much had developed since our last visit to the vineyard. The Chateau is being extended to include a restaurant and conference center. We have enjoyed the Chef’s fare of the vineyard and realizing that there will be a wonderful place for visitors to feast on gourmet delights, sip wine and gaze on the view from the chateau patio brought a laugh of delight to our conversation.

(One of the views from the Winery.Photo by Camilla)

There is going to be a farmer’s market on premise with only organic produce sold and a brewery is in the works. The King Estates Vineyard is now a certified organic dry vineyard. A dry vineyard is one that is not irrigated because careful planting of the vines make it possible for the fruit to flourish with the natural rainfall.

We had lunch with Ed King III, Steve, Karen, Justin King and his lady, Kari. The King family is fascinating. Ed King III guided the vineyard into organic farming. Justin King, Ed’s son, is an amazing guitar player who has just signed with EPIC records and Justin’s lady is the pastry chef for the vineyard. It is not only entertaining but also humbling to enjoy a meal with so much talent.After an incredible meal prepared by the chef who will be overseeing the new restaurant, we all said our good-byes. Ed gave us a DVD to watch in the cottage called “My Father’s Garden.”

Roger and I asked if it would be okay to walk through the vineyard back to the cottage because I wanted to take some pictures. Walking through an organic vineyard is a delight. There is no trepidation about inhaling or touching chemicals.

(A garden at the King Estates. Photo by Camilla)

That afternoon, we watched ‘My Father’s Garden.” It is a true story narrated by the filmmaker about her father’s orange orchard. In between the story of her father, she interjects stories about other farmers. Some of them were losing their farms but one of them made a bold move and turned his family farm to organic farming. The story was hopeful and heartbreaking.

The heartbreak: one dear elderly farmer broke into tears as his farm was being auctioned. All he ever wanted to do was to be a farmer but the cost and degradation of chemical farming had broken his dream. The filmmaker’s father, the focus of her story, died at a young age. His body just shut down. She has a poignant ending to her film with a picture of her father standing next to the spray of a chemical pest sprayer.

The hope: the organic farmer had not only turned his farm into a profitable endeavor but he had saved his soil from chemical ruin.

I quietly strolled out of the cottage after watching the movie and walked around the vineyard. I cried for a while thinking about the movie. I cried for the old farmer and I cried for the soil on which he toiled. At the edge of the vineyard was a fence covered with wild berries. They were the same variety of berries that my brother and I picked when I was 7 years old. He used to yell at me to stop eating them because we wouldn't have enough to sell to the neighbors for a quarter a quart. I looked at the wild vine filled with berries and then back at the organic vineyard. I picked a berry and ate it, and then I picked some more and ate them. They were growing in a healthy place and I could eat them off the vine.

(The Wild Berries before I ate them.)

I captured the berries in the lens of my camera as I enjoyed their sweetness. There is a Psalm that tells us that God gave us wine to make the heart glad and I think Oregon has been blessed with the King Estates to make the earth glad.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Roadie Report 9 (Aug cont. & Jacques Levy) by Camilla McGuinn

The Columbia River (Photo by Camilla McGuinn)

We left Moses Lake early in the morning on August 28th. Our route on Interstate 84 would take us along the Columbia River. We could have spent days exploring the historic Columbia River Gorge but we wanted to reach the King Estates Vineyard in Eugene, Oregon before nightfall.

I hadn’t heard the news for days, so I turned on the radio. A reporter was interviewing a person in New Orleans who wasn’t going to evacuate even though Hurricane Katrina, a possible category 5 storm, was headed their way.

We are very familiar with hurricanes. Last year our city was hit three times. While listening to the Katrina news, memories of the last hurricane to pass over our home came flooding back.

On Thursday, September 3, 2004, I was sitting in my office when the telephone rang. A quick glance at the caller ID told me something was wrong. The name was Levy, and even though Jacques Levy and his family were dear friends, we seldom called each other. We usually just surprised them when we were in New York City at their SOHO loft.

I picked up the receiver and recognized Claudia’s soft voice. I asked her what was wrong. She told me Jacques was dying.

Roger had met Jacques Levy in 1967. Jacques sent a pretty blonde girl backstage at a BYRDS' concert to ask Roger if he would like to write the music with him for a Broadway play. Jacques figured correctly that the pretty lady would have a better chance of meeting Roger than he would. Jacques was a clinical psychologist turned Broadway producer and he and Roger became not only writing partners, but also close friends.

They were together writing songs when Martin Luther King was shot, the night Robert Kennedy was shot and when the first man walked on the moon. They also wrote songs on and about Bob Dylan’s “The Rolling Thunder Revue”

The news of Jacques imminent leaving this earth hit us like a ton of bricks. We had not known of the lung cancer that Jacques had been battling with for over a year. I told Claudia that we would be in New York City soon. We were scheduled to be in the area for two concerts, but we decided to leave earlier so we could be with the Levy family.

Our original plan had been to leave on Sunday, but Hurricane Jeanne was knocking at our door and was scheduled to hit Orlando on that day. A reporter was flying in on Friday night from London for an interview with Roger. It was that commitment that kept us in Orlando until Saturday at noon. We were praying that we were making the right decisions for everyone involved.

We hit the road and decided to take the inland route because of the weather. The first night we got to Tifton, GA. The next morning we awoke early in order to beat the storm’s northward path. We made it to Virginia. The storm hit the Georgia area we had been in with a lot of flooding.

Monday night we arrive in Weehauken, NJ. As soon as we checked in we called Claudia. They had moved Jacques from the care of Hospice in their home to the hospital. She wasn’t sure if he could see anyone. Later I talked to Maya, their daughter, and asked if it would be possible for Roger to visit Jacques and quietly sing to him the songs that they had written together. Maya said she would ask her mother and the hospital.

Late Tuesday night Maya called and said that everyone thought it was a good idea for Roger to come to the hospital and sing. I told her we would be there Thursday. Roger had a concert in Paramus on Wednesday.

On September 30 we arrived at the intensive care unit of the hospital around 1 p.m. The ICU had eight separate cubicles which were open to the nurses’ station. Jacques was in the first one by the door. He was unconscious, breathing with the help of a respirator. There was no one with him. Roger sat down by his bed, took his 6-string guitar out of the case and started softly singing “Chestnut Mare.”

I stood behind Roger at the entrance to the cubicle. Halfway through the song, Maya walked down the hall. Jacques' beautiful adult daughter greeted me with the longest hug. She went into the room and sat next to Roger. Then Julien, Jacques' sixteen year old son, came slowly walking down the hall with his eyes focused on the floor. He had grown so much since the last time we had seen him.

Julien stood at the entrance with me and we all watched Jacques’ face as Roger sang. We could see faint smiles and when Roger sang, “I Want to Grow Up To Be a Politician,” the corner of Jacques’ mouth turned upward. His sense of humor was intact.

Claudia had been talking to the doctor. It was time to remove the respirator. It was time to let Jacques go.

They took Jacques off the respirator and woke him up, so everyone could say goodbye. He let his family know that he had heard Roger singing. Jacques couldn’t talk but they had figured out ways to communicate.

Roger continued to sing and play until his fingers hurt. He said it was very hard not to cry, but if he cried he couldn’t sing.

Close friends came to the hospital. Roger had a few minutes alone with Jacques. He held Jacques’ left hand and told him he loved him. They made eye contact and even though Jacques couldn’t speak, his eyes lit up with agape love. Roger came away from the hospital with a positive feeling about Jacques’ journey through eternity. It was a peace that surpassed all understanding.

We returned to our hotel in New Jersey on the ferry. We were staying at a hotel on the Hudson river and our room had a view of Manhattan.

Jacques had passed away. The emotions of the day had wearied us, so we had a light supper in the room. After eating we stood looking at the New York City skyline. A full moon shimmered in the sky and then suddenly, a cluster of five silver balloons appeared drifting toward the heavens in the trail of the moonlight. I smiled at Roger and said, “Look at those balloons drifting to the moon. It’s like Jacques is going to heaven.” Roger said that was exactly what he was thinking.

That night, standing quietly looking at the city where he had worked, lived and loved, we said our earthly farewell to Jacques Levy.

The next night, Roger had a concert in Huntington, NY. He told stories about Jacques and sang most of the songs they wrote together. Jacques Levy will always be alive in Roger’s music.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Roadie Report 8 (Aug cont. & Jim McGuinn Meets Peter Fonda) by Camilla McGuinn

August 2005 Tour (cont.)

I asked Roger if he ever stopped at Mount Rushmore. He hadn’t and neither had I, so now was the once in a lifetime opportunity to view a historical site that we should have seen when we were ten years old. Besides vague memories of a teacher trying to impress upon us the importance of a monument carved on the side of a mountain, our recollection of the Mount was totally connected to Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest.” I was sure that the faces of the four presidents were going to be huge. They had to be because Cary Grant spent a lot of time crawling around those faces in Hitchcock’s movie.

(Photo by Camilla)

At our first glimpse of the four faces we simultaneously shouted, “It’s small!” We said the same thing when we first saw the White House in Washington, DC. Our media has a way of really blowing things out of proportion.

The only charge to view the monument up close is the $8 parking fee. There is the normal gift shop, feeding stations, an amphitheater and a walking path around the mountain. We passed by different groups of tourists each speaking a different language. I wondered if they were wondering why those faces were carved on that mountain because that was what I was wondering. I obviously didn’t pay attention to my teacher in elementary school. The answers were available in the gift shop and of course you can always “google it.”

We spent about 30 minutes looking at the faces of granite and at the faces of those looking at the faces of granite. Every face has a history.

We drove down the mountain and continued to Washington, stopping for the night in Gillette, Wyoming. As we crossed the border into Montana, Roger talked about Peter Fonda and how Peter had traded his sailboat “Tatoosh” for the Big Sky country.

The first time Roger met Peter Fonda was in Las Vegas,1962, when Roger was accompanying Bobby Darin. Peter came to watch the show with Sandra Dee, Bobby's wife. They had just finished filming “Tammy and the Doctor."
Peter knew about Jim (Roger) McGuinn because he was a friend of Stormy MacDonald, a childhood pal of Jim’s from Chicago. When the BYRDS hit the Sunset scene in Hollywood, Peter was there and arranged to have the group play for his sister Jane’s birthday party. Henry Fonda was not fond of the loud music and told Peter to have them lower the volume. Peter tried to explain to his father that this was THE BYRDS but Henry didn’t care what they were, he just wanted them to be quiet.

David Crosby and Jim loved airplanes and would often go to Aviation Boulevard at LAX to watch the planes land. It is that place where Peter filmed an opening scene in the movie “Easy Rider.”

One day the BYRDS missed their flight to Pensacola, so they chartered a Lear Jet to get them to the gig on time. The pilot was John Lear, son of Bill Lear, the inventor of the Lear Jet. That was the beginning of a friendship between, John, Jim and David. Peter later joined them in their flight adventures. Jim even wrote a song called “The LEAR JET SONG” and was rewarded with free Lear Jet rides.

We spent the night in Missoula and arrived in Moses Lake in time for lunch the next day. The trip from Orlando, Florida took 5½ days.

Sunset at Moses Lake(Photo by Camilla)

Moses Lake is a small town with a great sense of community. Roger was playing at an outdoor amphitheater located on a river. Every year the town brings in artists for free summer concerts. The audience, on the cool August night, was a mixture from the whole town, young and old. At my lemonade stand, I was touched to talk to people who had driven for hours to see Roger in concert. I even drafted one of the fans to man the lemonade stand while I set the stage for the show. Fans become friends in a twinkling of the eye.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Techie Report - 3- By Roger McGuinn

While in Eugene Oregon we stayed at the King Estates Winery. Director of Sales, Steve Thomson loaned me a book about the founder Ed King Jr. Ed was a friend of Bill Lear, the inventor of the Lear Jet. He told some amazing flying stories. One aviator friend of Ed's ran out of fuel but was able to land his Lear Jet "dead stick" that is without power from over 50 miles away from the airport.

Mr. King was an active pilot for forty years and flew his own jet until age 71. He is very proud to have assisted the Rutan Brothers in accomplishing their dream of circumnavigating the globe by airplane on one tank of fuel. Using King's products exclusively for navigation, flight control and communication, their Voyager aircraft flew around the globe on one tank of fuel in 1986. The King name is proudly emblazoned on the side of the Voyager which now hangs in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

(Ed King Jr. hand testing his radios)

The King Story

Someone once said that the greatest inventions come from creative, free thinkers who haven't been told that "it couldn't be done" by experts. In a way, this is how King Radio Corporation was born. In 1952 Ed King Jr. fulfilled a lifelong desire by earning his private pilot's license. However, for King a 1943 Kansas State University graduate in electronic engineering, was only the beginning of an interest in aviation that would eventually lead to King Radio Corporation.

Ed, who owned and flew a Beechcraft Bonanza for pleasure, quickly became dissatisfied with the poor quality radio gear offered to the private pilot in the early to mid-50s. The best selling NAV/COMM on the market at that time offered a continuously tuned receiver and only 27 transmit channels, and still priced well over $1000. King knew there had to be a way to build a low cost NAV/COMM that offered the same optional features that the expensive airline equipment provided. However, as a president of his own highly successful electronics company, Communications Accessories Corporation, he just didn't have the time to do anything about it, so it took a back seat to other business interests.

Finally, in 1956 Ed sold Communications Accessories Corporation to Collins Radio and agreed to stay on and manage the company. Between 1956 and 1959 king tried to interest Collins in light aircraft avionics designed with some of the same features as the expensive airline equipment. However, Collins was heavily involved in the growing airline business and couldn't spare the time or manpower to pursue the light aircraft avionics products.

As a result, in 1959 Ed King left Communications Accessories Corporation and formed King Radio Corporation where he designed and handmade the first low cost 90 channel crystal controlled VHF transceiver for light aircraft. That same year he sold five units to private customers for $845 each. Since his model had a lower price and far better performance than comparable radios of its day, Ed had no trouble finding customers and well established agents willing to sell and service his product so Ed set up for "mass" production in an old dairy farmhouse on the outskirts of Kansas City, with production and shipping on the ground floor, engineering and testing on the second floor, and service parts in the attic.

In February 1960, King had 30 employees and production was on the rise. By 1961, King Radio Corporation had moved out of the farmhouse to a plant in Olathe, Kansas, and continued to climb to become a major factor in the light aircraft avionics field. The KY 90 VHF COMM Transceiver soon had the reputation of providing crystal clear communications, and was installed in almost every type of American-made light aircraft, including such famous aircraft builders as Cessna, Piper and Beachcraft. With the success of the KY 90, King quickly introduced compatible navigation receivers and was soon able to offer a complete line of Navigation/Communication.

The creative atmosphere at King Radio has yielded many important firsts. King brought the first all solid-state transceiver for airline use to the market in 1966, the KTR 900: the first digital ADF for general aviation, the KDF 800, in 1969; and the first low cost all solid-state TSO'd VHF NAV/COMM unit, the KX 175, in 1970. The company also pioneered the use of digital frequency synthesizers which replaced bulky crystal banks in NAV/COMM units and allowed the widespread use of 720/200 channel NAV/COMM's in general aviation. King has led the industry in the design of Large Scale Circuits (LSI chips), small chips about 3/32" square which do the same work of literally hundreds of transistors. The subsequent use of LSI technology in various systems has resulted in a significant operational and cost break-through while reducing the size and weight and increasing the reliability of new avionics systems.

In the process of striving to respond to more needs of general aviation and the airlines, King has experienced rapid growth in its 25 years since Ed King hand-built the first King radio. It is estimated that King has invested more in research and development for general aviation electronics than any other company in the industry. While sales were continually increasing, King enlarged its manufacturing facilities in Kansas, Its present headquarters in Olathe, Kansas, plus a facility at nearby Johnson County Industrial Airport and plants in three other cities in Kansas, occupy a total of 557,000 sq. ft. of space. Employment has increased from 30 in 1960 to 2,850 in 1984.

As growth in the general aviation industry began to level off, King embarked on a bold diversification plan. This began with the formation of King Marine Radio Corporation in Clearwater, Florida. From its inception in late 1981, King Marine has grown steadily to establish a firm position in the competitive marine electronics market. In addition, King began an aggressive plan to penetrate the military avionics field. The high value of King products and the strong engineering and technical base were responsible for a number of military contracts, and today military avionics make up an increasingly larger portion of King business.

During this exciting period of growth and diversification, the avionics product lines were constantly being upgraded with the latest technology. In addition, new products were added, bringing King quality to an ever increasing number of light, commercial, and military aircraft. Today King Radio produces a full range of avionics products, including Communication Transceivers, Navigation Receivers, Automatic Direction Finders, Autopilots, Flight Directors, Airborne Radiotelephones, Air Traffic Control Transponders, Compass and Weather Radar Systems. The company's Silver Crown product line is in its fourth generation and is used in light aircraft while the Gold Crown III product line is in its third generation and is designed for turboprops and business jets. In addition, King also produces five products for commercial airlines. These products are currently being used by more than 141 of the world's leading air carriers.

Each year King Radio has improved the high technology base that supports its diverse product offerings. In 1981 a CAD/CAM computer aided design and manufacturing system was added. This system allows King to develop new products quickly and efficiently. The latest in automatic test and manufacturing equipment was purchased regularly, maintaining King's leadership position in manufacturing technology creates a very fertile environment for new product innovation and assures a promising future for King Radio.

In 1982 a Mobile Communications Division was formed to develop a product line for the rapidly expanding Land Mobile Radio field. A team of top professionals was recruited from the industry to utilize King Radio's high technology base for a bold new line of microprocessor based two-way radios.

The King Mobile Division is housed in a 76,000 sq. ft. facility on a 57 acre tract in Lawrence, Kansas. From this facility will evolve the base for all engineering, marketing and manufacturing efforts.

As is typical of most King innovations, these new mobile handheld portable communications units will bring the very latest in features and technology (frequency synthesizers, keyboard programming, channel scanning, liquid crystal displays) down from the highest price levels into the low-to-medium cost range.

When complete, the line will comprise a full range of mobile units, the base stations and portables, in both VHF and UHF to assemble a complete mobile dispatch system using King Land Mobile equipment exclusively.

The use of advanced C-MOS micro-processor design and automated surface -mount component manufacturing techniques will not only enable King to produce a radio that is smaller, lighter and more reliable than other units on the market today, it also affords some rather significant production economies that can be passed on in the form of lower pricing.

In 1983, King Radio opened a 24,000 sq. ft. engineering and manufacturing facility in Singapore. This facility is presently engaged in major sub-contract work, along with the manufacture of VHF 7000 Transceiver and King 8001 Loran C for the marine market. They presently employ 175.

One has to wonder how a company like King Radio could have flourished amid huge conglomerates with almost unlimited resources. The answer is simple--Ed King and his ability to surround himself with employees possessing the same insatiable desire for excellence. Ed has always seen technological achievement and improved used benefits at reasonable cost as the challenge. According to Ed, "If you have highly innovative, reliable products at competitive prices, a lot of your marketing problems are solved."

(Photo By Camilla McGuinn)

We went from Oregon down through California Wine Country (more in Camilla's Roadie Report) and got to San Francisco just in time to appear on the first live TWIT podcast.

TWIT Podcast No. 21.

I talked about my amazing Samson C01U USB condenser mic, recording on my iBook using Audacity the cross platform audio editor, and many other tech related subjects.

Roadie Report 7 (Aug cont. & Heading West on Interstate 90) by Camilla McGuinn

August Tour 2005 -Interstate 90

Forgetting the bag in the hotel made it necessary for us to do some shopping for essentials. In Columbia, Missouri we found a Holiday Inn that was located at one of those American institutions - the shopping mall. The hotel and mall were just the ticket for our nightly needs. We quickly found replacements for most of the left behind items, returned to our room and happily ordered room service. The meal was surprisingly good.

We had crossed a time change border so we were awake early and decided to enjoy breakfast. The dining room was quiet with just a few early morning travelers and we were sure that we wouldn’t be there long. After a considerable amount of time, I started glancing hopefully at the kitchen door. Yep, it was one of those days where they had to go find the chickens. Starting the day on an impatient note is never a good idea, so I suggested to Roger that we share some good road memories about Holiday Inns since we were sitting in one.

I recalled when I took my first cross-country trip by car in 1970 in my 1968 yellow Mustang. My mother insisted we stay at Holiday Inns, just like the mother in the movie “Blast from The Past.”

Roger remembered the early days of touring with the BYRDS in a Clark Cortez motor home. After a long day of driving, the Holiday Inn sign would come over the horizon and the band would start singing, “Cheeseburger, wider than a mile”…to the tune of “Moon River.” That group of traveling musicians called Holiday Inns “plastic mommy.”

By the time the food arrived our memories had calmed us down and we enjoyed another surprisingly good meal at the Holiday Inn.

Interstate 90 is an interesting stretch of highway. We connected with it in Sioux Falls. There are long stretches with nothing but fields of sunflowers and billboards. Reading the billboards became a source of entertainment. We started noticing two enticements. One for the “Corn Palace’ in Mitchell, South Dakota and the other for “Wall Drug” somewhere up the road. The “Wall Drug” signs didn’t tell us where it was, but the signs had some interesting claims. According to one billboard, the store had had been featured on “Good Morning America”
(Photo by Camilla)

We arrived at the exit for Mitchell, South Dakota at 4:30pm. It was time to stop and besides it was the home of the “Corn Palace.” Before checking into a hotel, we made the pilgrimage to the palace. I didn’t know what to expect, having not done a history search on google, but I found myself staring at the craftsmanship of the façade with a sense of wonder. Every year, the outside of the Corn Palace is decorated with thousands of bushels of corn, oats, grain, and wheat in the form of murals depicting various aspects of South Dakota life. The detail is amazing and I thought it would be really interesting to actually see the people gluing the bushels of harvest to the wall. The palace is the focal point of Mitchell but there is also a very good restaurant called “Chef Louie's Steak House.”
(Photo by Camilla)

We left Mitchell after a good meal, a good night’s sleep and some local enrichment. I know that sounds ‘corny’ but I couldn’t resist. Now the glory of the South Dakota sunflower fields and the “Wall Drug” signs filled our morning view. We started getting suspicious about “Wall Drug.” When we first saw the signs, they looked tasteful. We imagined an old fashion drug store like Ashworth Drugs in Cary, NC where I used to stop for a cherry coke on my way home after school when I was eight years old. Ashworth Drug Store is still in Cary and we always stop there when we pass through to eat at their lunch counter so I can reminisce about the early 60s in a small town in America. Cary is no longer a small town, but the drugstore still has same wonderful chilidogs with coleslaw.

The “Wall Drug” billboards finally told us where it was located - Wall, South Dakota. It didn’t occur to me that Wall Drug was named for a town. The signs even started telling us how many miles we had to go before the trumpeted exit. We figured “Wall Drug” on Interstate 90 is the equivalent of “South of The Border’ on Interstate 95. Even though we have never stopped at “South of the Border,” by the time we reached Wall, we had to stop. One of the billboards announced that “Wall Drug” had western wear and boots. That was the incentive we needed to brave the Disneyland of I-90.

(Photo by Camilla)

Wall Drug is the industry in Wall. It began its fame and fortune by offering free ice water to weary travelers in 1935. During our brief stop there, we bought Roger the prettiest boots I’ve ever seen but we didn’t drink the free water.

Next stop- the Alfred Hitchcock thriller ‘North by Northwest” also known as Mount Rushmore.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Roadie Report 6 (Aug Tour & Jim McGuinn Meets Gene Clark) by Camilla McGuinn

August 2005 Tour

I woke up Saturday morning, August 20th, groggy from a short night of sleep. We wanted to get an early start for the 2970-mile journey to Moses Lake, Washington. In planning the trip, we felt that seven days would be a comfortable length of time to make the drive before the Saturday, Aug 27th concert.

The week had been spent diligently working on THE FOLK DEN PROJECT. The ten-year anniversary of the creation of the FOLK DEN will be in November and we want to release a 4 CD box set at the November 27, 2005 concert being presented at Roger’s alma mater, Chicago’s OLD TOWN SCHOOL OF FOLK MUSIC. The school is where he learned to play guitar and banjo. It is also where he fell in love with the melodies and lyrics of folk songs. We felt that a celebration of the FOLK DEN PROJECT should be enjoyed at the place of its inspiration.
(A modern photo of the Troubadour. Roger says it hasn't changed since the 1964.)

The actual Folk Den was the small front room in the Troubadour Club in West Hollywood, California. Musicians were welcome to gather there and jam. Doug Weston, the owner, was a generous man who often fed starving musicians. "Skinny McGuinny", Bobby Darin's moniker for Jim (Roger), lived on those hamburgers. In 1964 Jim was the opening act for Roger Miller and Hoyt Axton on the Troubadour stage. Gene Clark was in the audience and he liked Jim’s idea of combining folk music with a Beatle beat, so introduced himself. They began writing songs together. One day as they were jamming in the Folk Den, a student actor turned folk musician, heard them singing. He walked over and added an incredible harmony. During Jim’s first trip to Los Angeles in 1960 to accompany the Limeliters, he had spent a couple of weeks hanging out with the actor/singer. The trio’s voices blended beautifully that day in the Folk Den, but Jim wasn’t sure he wanted to work with this harmony songbird. He changed his mind when David Crosby mentioned that he had a friend who would let them record in a studio for free. The incubation of the BYRDS had begun. It all started in the Troubadour’s Folk Den.

Memories of those days and the purity of the pursuit of music inspired Roger to call his folk preservation project, the FOLK DEN.

Roger had recorded the songs for the FOLK DEN for free download in 11 KHz 8-bit .wav files, but he decided that for the box set, he would re-record the songs in CD quality. He had been working on the recordings for a while, but in this week before the August tour, we had to get the information for the CD booklet ready for the graphic artist. The photographs, text and the 100 songs had to be selected.

Sequencing the 4 CD set with 25 songs a piece, was a time consuming process. After Roger arranged the initial sequence, we listened to all the songs in their entirety so we could feel the flow of the CD. Some changes had to be made and when they were, a new CD would be burned and we would listen in entirety again. While we listened to the sequence, we would make notes for enhancing each song. We did that in the mornings. The afternoons were spent with all the other details, not to mention the normal office work that always demands my attention.

I put off packing until Friday night and even though my rule for suitcases is always just one bag, be it for three days or thirty; the office requirements for a month long tour needed a lot of concentration. It was 11:40 when I crawled into bed hoping I hadn't forgotten anything really important.

At 8am, everything was in the van and as I was making my final walk through the house. I had a thought that I should locate our passports so I could give directions to Michael, our house guardian, just in case we required them on the road. Since we would be on the West Coast, maybe we would need to fly to Japan for a sudden concert. I’m always on the lookout for another adventure.

I walked to the passport location while reviewing the directions in my mind. I opened the drawer. They weren’t there. I went through moments of disbelief and mild panic. Where were they? I’m sure I had put them in a safe place. There lies the problem; I have put things in very safe places before and have lost them for years.

Roger and I both looked for the passports in all the normal places. Finally Roger, said it was time to go and we would find them when we returned. On this tour, I would have to be satisfied with an American adventure and no surprise jaunts to islands far away.

Getting behind the wheel of the van at the beginning of a tour is exhilarating. The excitement of looking forward to days filled with new horizons and the anxiety of wondering if I’d forgotten anything important, always makes backing out of our curved driveway a little more difficult.

Roger turned on the TV and reclined in the back passenger seat. The GPS units were programmed to receive their signals with the directions to Moses Lake. I eased into the I-4 traffic while listening to the sounds of the TV newscaster coming from the back of the van. All of a sudden, “Cherry”, the front GPS said, “Recalculating route.” I hollered back to Roger, “What did I miss?” I had not paid attention to the GPS unit when it told me to take the Florida Turnpike exit. We weren’t even 4 miles from home and I was lost! Roger started laughing and “Cherry” gave me new directions to get me back on the right track.

We made it to Dalton, Georgia before sunset. After good meal and a short walk back to the hotel, we jumped on the beds like little kids and rejoiced that we were on the road again.

The Tennessee River (Photo by Camilla McGuinn)

The weather in Florida had topped the thermometer with record breaking heat, so the cool morning air in the foothills of Georgia was a delight. We were on Interstate 75 by 7am. After an hour of driving, the sun was glistening on the waterways and I wanted to take a picture. We stopped at the Tennessee River near the Nickajack dam. I walked down about 70 steps, then navigated a concrete drainage ditch to get to the water’s edge. The serenity of the morning sun on the still water provided me with a wonderful feeling of peace. Trudging back up the steps provided me with a good amount of exercise.

During Roger’s driving shift, I realized I needed something from one of the bags. Once again I went through moments of disbelief and mild panic. The bag wasn’t in the van. We had left it 300 miles behind us at the hotel. I called the Hampton Inn. Lisa contacted the housekeeping department while I waited anxiously holding my cell phone. They found the bag. She very graciously said they would send it to Moses Lake.

In two days, I had lost the passports, lost my way and lost a suitcase. We joked about calling this the lost tour. Well if we’re going to get lost, we are going to some beautiful parts of the country to do it in. We once heard a trucker on the CB radio say, ‘If you’ve got a full tank of gas. You’re never lost.”

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Roadie Report 5 (July final & Dolly Parton) by Camilla McGuinn

The July Tour 2005 (The Last Day)

Maureen and John waved goodbye to us early in the morning of July 7th. We knew the trip to Orlando would take about 11 hours because in May we had made a previous detour to Nashville at the request of Dolly Parton. She was recording a CD of her favorite songs and “Turn, Turn, Turn” was on her list. Dolly wanted Roger to play his Rickenbacker and sing with her on the song.

Photo by Camilla McGuinn

Dolly Parton is an amazing person. I once heard her say in an interview something like this; “I’m just like the girl next door…that is if you live next door to a freak show.” That statement gives a delighful insight into her sense of humor about herself, but in reality as Roger says, she’s a genius. Not even taking in account her incredible voice and talented songwriting, her business acumen, in a business that oppressed women for years, is astounding.

When we walked into the small studio, Dolly got just as excited at seeing Roger’s guitar as his fans do when they see it. While Roger tuned up, Dolly, her assistant Judy, who has been her friend since childhood, and myself talked girl talk. Our conversation went to age. There was a time when women never discussed their age, but I think we baby boomers are just shocked that we’re over 50. Dolly and Judy laughed about their upcoming joint 60th birthday party.

Roger sat down with Dolly at the recording board and played the tune, then he suggested to Dolly that there was a nice harmony part she could sing. She asked Roger to sing the part. The CD, "Those Were The Days," will be released October 11, 2005 and is filled with the people who sang on the original songs. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for all those sessions.

The Nashville traffic leaving town on this sunny July morning was light so I turned on the satellite radio. We were horrified to hear the news coming from the television feed of CNBC. London had just been racked with bombings to their transportation systems.

My breathing became short gasps for air as we listened to the conflicting news reports. I flashed back to September 11, 2001. We were in Malibu, CA., on tour with Judy Collins. I had just finished my shower when I walked into the room and stared at the television set. The sound was on mute, but the pictures screamed. The World Trade Center was collapsing into rubble and the nation came to a halt. Roger’s appearance on The Craig Kilbourne show was canceled. The concerts were canceled. We started immediately to drive home to Florida. As we crossed the desert, we lost all radio and television reception and we were desperate to know what was happening in our country. During our last telephone conversation with our attorney, Danna, whose husband is in law enforcement in Southern California, she told us that they had been warned to fill their gas tanks. We didn’t know if there would be enough gas to get the frantic population across the nation. The airlines were grounded and everyone wanted to get home. Traffic was going east and west. Interstate 10 became a busy highway even during the wee hours of the morning. It was after that trip that we installed satellite radios in our van. We never wanted to be out of touch in a crisis again.

Now, almost four years later, we were listening to the reports of another senseless tragedy. I kept changing the channels because all the networks had different stories. No one knew exactly what had happened. The number of bombs kept changing. All we knew was that a lot people had been killed and our hearts were grieving for all the people of London and England.

We listened to the world leaders give speeches, but it was the statement delivered by London’s Mayor Ken Livingstone that made an impact on us.

“I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.

That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith - it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I'm proud to be the mayor of that city.”

His so simply made the point that this was an attack on innocent people.

I finished my 100-mile shift and lay down on the couch in the back of the van. I wanted to escape from the visions in my head of the horror taking place in London. Over time I closed my eyes, but then I saw visions of the trains that Roger and I had enjoyed on every trip to England.

(Roger on a train in England. Photo by Camilla)

Our favorite concert tours have always been flying to England, buying a BritRail pass and taking the trains from city to city in the United Kingdom. Roger’s London agent, Nick Peel, always smiles at us like a parent to clueless children when we extol the wonders of the British rail system. He doesn’t realize that in America, our rail system is so sparse that every train ride is a delight to us. Now with my eyes closed, visions of the British transportation systems being bombed lingered in the shadows my mind. How many families were crying and groaning? How many people were looking frantically for the one they loved so much? There was no sleep on my off shifts, just tossing and prayers.

It was a long day of driving and when we finally arrived in Orlando, the sun was casting its last colors on our garden. Usually after a tour we say a prayer of thanks then enjoy the sunset in the garden, but on this night we wanted to reach out to London. We didn’t want to clog the phone lines, so after prayer, we emailed.

Later, as the stars initiated their nightly twinkle, we did sit quietly in the garden reflecting on the events of the past three weeks, the blessings and the sorrows. The tour was over and we were safely home.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Roadie Report 4 (July cont. w/ Donovan and THE FOLK DEN PROJECT Cover Photo Session) by Camilla McGuinn

The July Tour 2005 (cont.)

On July 3, we had 206 miles to drive before the evening concert in Torrington, Connecticut. Since we wanted to get there in time for a 2pm lunch, we left at 10am. I was pretty sure the traffic wouldn’t be too bad going south on the Maine turnpike and it wasn’t, but the folks driving north were backed up for miles at the New Hampshire toll booth. Too bad New Hampshire hasn’t joined the EZ Pass system. Even though we live in Florida, we subscribed to EZ Pass years ago. The dollar a month service fee is well worth the expense considering the amount of time we save driving quickly through the northeastern tollbooths.

We arrived at the Litchfield Inn just in time for lunch. There was a wedding being celebrated and we enjoyed the sounds and sights of the wedding party while we munched on a delicious meal.

The Litchfield Inn
Photo by Camilla McGuinn

The Litchfield Inn is an older hotel with a lot of history. Our room was called the Sherlock Holmes Room and it was a step back in time but with modern features including wireless internet access. How appropriate that we would have a room named after Mr. Holmes considering my childhood love of mysteries.

At 4pm, Woody the promoter picked us up for sound check. Donovan was just finishing his check when we arrived at the beautiful old Warner Theater. There is a treasure-trove of old theaters across America where history resonates to your senses. You can almost hear the laughter and smell the cigar of George Burns from the heyday of vaudeville as you walk across the historical stages.

I walked across the stage and gave Donovan a joyful hug. We tried to catch up on the last 10 years in 10 minutes. He looked great, sounded great and was as ingratiating as ever. My job of roadie demanded attention, so I had to excuse myself and get Roger’s equipment and staging arranged. Don and Roger had a reunion downstairs in the dressing room.

We finished sound check and the lighting cues with just enough time for me to set up my “lemonade stand” and to chat with the fans. There were a lot of people who had seen Roger in 1991 at TOAD’S PLACE in New Haven and a few from the April 22nd concert in Buffalo. It felt like a reunion.

At showtime, the lights in the theater went dark, Roger started playing his Rickenbacker while walking on stage, and the audience stood up with a roar. My heart always leaps when I hear an audience get as excited as I do at the sound of the opening notes of Roger’s guitar.

Roger had scheduled a photo shoot in Nashville for July 6. We wanted to avoid as much of the July 4th traffic as possible, so we got an early start Monday morning. We put the destination in “Nancy” and programmed the GPS to avoid freeways. The GPS directed us to some very small winding roads and it took an hour to get 30 miles. So much for a fast get away, but every turn was worthwhile just to behold the manicured beauty of the rural Connecticut countryside.

After the sightseeing hour, we hit the highways for Tennessee and surprisingly there was little traffic. July 5th, we arrived in Nashville in time for dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant, GOTEN.

In 2002, PEOPLE magazine had sent photographer John Chiasson to Orlando to photograph Roger in his natural habitat. John creatively placed Roger by our local pond and it became the picture the magazine editors featured in its article called “Rock of Aging.” Our fondness of John and his creative ways inspired us to have him photograph the FOLK DEN PROJECT album cover.

John was at the hotel at 9 o’clock, Wednesday morning. We checked out of the hotel and headed to a location he had scouted earlier. Around lunch time, we went to his home studio and met his wife, Maureen. She is a flight attendant for Continental Airlines and had just flown in from Tel Aviv. She looked great and was very upbeat! When I fly for hours, I look like I have flown for hours and I’m grumpy.

John Chiasson playing guitar with Roger. Photo by Camilla McGuinn

While John’s assistants set the scenes for the photo shoot in the studio, John and Roger played guitar. Roger usually does not enjoy photo sessions but with John he was relaxed and having fun. I didn’t even feel it was necessary for me to hang around to give Roger encouragement, so Maureen and I sat on their upper deck and discussed everything from the men we love, to our faith in GOD.

We had planned to begin driving the last leg of our trip home after the session, but John and Maureen talked us into spending the night in their home. Maureen efficiently prepared an incredible meal while guitars were being strummed in the other room. I just watched her in awe. Usually I love being a chef’s assistant, but her flight training carried over to her chef’s skills and I would have just been in the way.

We peacefully went to sleep that night in the cozy Chiasson guestroom. The photo session and the new found friendships made the Nashville stop a wonderful detour on our way home.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Techie Report - 2 - By Roger McGuinn

Here are some tech gadgets and podcasts that I've been into lately.

I just got Delphi's MiFi hand held XM satellite radio.

It's about the size of an iPod and receives satellite radio without external power or antenna. It also records 5 hours of programming for times when you're not able to pull in the satellite signal. I love it! It's perfect for listening to XM on bike rides or walking. I use it in my office and in the car with an external antenna as well. Great little gadget!

I recently bought two TV tuner cards for my computers, both from ATI. One is for a desktop. The other is a USB 2.0 device that plugs into any computer. I use this with my Dell Inspiron 8200 notebook as kind of a Tivo. I like to record shows and burn them to video CDs to watch in the van. These TV cards are great as free alternatives to the subscription services for TV recording. I was thinking of installing a Linux PVR called MythKnoppix but decided that I didn't want to dedicate my laptop hard drive to Linux or even create a dual boot.

If you would like to play with Linux but don't want to install it on your hard drive, there are over 100 alternatives. I love Knoppix live CDs! FREE Download:

Because my iPod Photo is linked to the Apple G4 Cube that Woz gave me a few years ago, I wanted something to link my iPod Photo to on the road. The iBook G4 12" was my choice. I love this little box! It ships with a mere 256 MB RAM but I've added 1GB additional RAM to give it 1.25 GB thanks to birthday money from Mom.

The way it comes to life from "sleep" is truly amazing. For someone who's worked with Windows laptops all my life, this was a revelation. My Dell Inspiron 8200 takes a few minutes to wake up from "hibernation." The iBook wakes up instantly. It looks so cool too with its white polycarbonate shell. They say it's the stuff they make bullet prof glass out of. iBook

Speaking of the iPod, iTunes
now has the Folk Den in its podcast section. It works with both Windows and Mac platforms. You need to download the latest version 4.9 to get podcasts. This is the easiest way to get them and a great way to subscribe to the Folk Den and have the new songs come into your iTunes podcast folder automatically every month. Click here to Subscribe to the Folk Den iTunes Podcast. It will ask you to open iTunes if you have it or download it if you don't. Don't worry, it's OK to open it.

Here are some of my favorite podcasts: This Week in Tech with Leo Laport, Diggnation w/ Kevin Rose, CommandN,
and The Mac Observer's Mac Geek Gab.

Keep your eye on Kevin Rose. He's a bright enterprising guy. Kevin quit his paying job at the G4 TV network to go out on his own and follow his dream. Kind of reminds me of Woz, Steve Jobs or Bill Gates some 30 years ago.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Special Lady by Camilla McGuinn

On July 28, 1910, a very special person in my life was born – the mother of the man I love.

Louis and Irene Heyne called their only child Dorothy. She grew up a city girl in Chicago, never quite got used to the winters, but she loved the excitement of the city. In 1932 she graduated from Northwestern University. Dorothy wasn’t sure what she was going to do with a college degree but she was sure that she wanted an exciting life. She found a job as a reporter for the Hearst newspaper, CHICAGO AMERICAN.

On August 6, 1940 she interviewed for a job with a publicity firm. It was for a temporary job to replace Jim McGuinn who was leaving for a 3-week stint at The National Guard camp. Before Jim left in his military uniform, they had their first date and he asked her to marry him. When he returned from his camp duty, she accepted his proposal.

Their 45 day, whirlwind romance became a marriage just before noon at City Hall in Chicago, October 19, 1940. There was no time for lunch; Jim had to go back to work. They had just enough time for a champagne cocktail at the Palmer House.

Jim and Dorothy’s friends were writers, artist and actors. They loved long nights of lively discussions. In 1941, Dorothy was surprised to find herself with child. She and Jim weren’t sure how a baby was going to fit into their life style but when James Joseph McGuinn, III was born on July 13, 1942, their life was enhanced. Little Jimmy became the admired attraction at all their parties.

Dorothy & Jim McGuinn, 1949 in St. Augustine, FL
Photo by "Little Jimmy"

When Little Jimmy was five, Jim and Dorothy wrote a satirical book on child psychology and it became a best seller, PARENT'S CAN'T WIN. The success of the book gave Dorothy and Jim their chance to escape the cold Chicago winters, so they packed Jimmy into the convertible and headed to Florida. Dorothy was going to write, Jim was going to paint and Jimmy was going to first grade. St. Augustine was pretty, but after a while the vivacious couple got bored. They couldn’t go back to Chicago, their friends had given them a wonderful round of going away parties and it was too soon to show up on their doorsteps again, so they headed to New York.

Little Jimmy was 8 years old when his brother Brian was born in Tarrytown, NY. Dorothy had settled down and loved being a mother but she still missed the excitement of a career and the parties of Chicago. After a few years of living in Fordham Hill, they were back in the Windy City.

Dorothy and Jim were entrepreneurs and started their own public relations business. They moved to a house on East Division Street. While on East Division they watched Jimmy develop into a folk singer with lessons from the new school in town, THE OLD TOWN SCHOOL OF FOLK MUSIC. They were his biggest fans and never missed his coffee house performances. They weren’t concerned that Jimmy wasn’t interested in college. They encouraged him to follow his dreams, just like they did.

Jimmy left home when he was 17, right after graduation from the Latin School of Chicago. He was hired by the LIMELIGHTERS to fly to Los Angeles and to play guitar and banjo on their album, TONIGHT IN PERSON. Jimmy never returned to live at home, but he often visited and would bring by his new circle of friends. Dorothy loves telling the story of waking up one morning and finding Tommy Smothers sitting at her kitchen table.

When Jimmy’s group the BYRDS, had a number one single, Dorothy, Jim and Brian would call the local radio station on a rotating basis and ask them to play “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Fans would gather outside their townhouse and Dorothy would invite them in for hot chocolate. She developed long relationships with the fans that adored her son. She still continues some of those relationships today.

She is a very special lady. Her dreams lead her to places most people won’t go. She knows that life is wonderful and exciting. This is her 95th birthday and she will read this because she turns on the computer everyday and answers her email. So, Dear Dorothy, Happy Birthday and we want you to know that we are planning your 100th Birthday Party. Which city do you want to have it in?

Dorothy has decided to start a blog of her own. Visit her at:
Roger's Mom's Blog

Monday, July 25, 2005

Roadie Report 3 (July cont. & My "Lemonade Stand")by Camilla McGuinn

The July Tour 2005 (cont.)

We checked into the hotel and met Frank, a retired secret service agent who had volunteered to be our security guard for the concert. He was a friend of the promoter and also worked for the hotel. I found his answer to my question about his favorite presidents, very interesting.

The hotel owner suggested we have lunch at one of the restaurants in Perkins Cove. Her directions to the cove took us on a pathway that skirts the Maine coastline. The restaurants were just opening when we finished our short hike and we were ready for some Maine lobster.

Roger was scheduled to be the guest on the evening WCSH TV show 207. Reg, the concert promoter, drove us through the drizzly rain to the TV station in downtown Portland. The hosts that night, Rob Caldwell and Pat Callaghan were big fans, so the thirty minute show was a lot of fun for Roger. In between the questions about his musical history, Roger played three songs on his Martin HD-7-RM- “My Backpages” (YOUNGER THAN YESTERDAY), “The Trees Are All Gone” (BACK FROM RIO) and “ St. James Infirmary Blues” (LIMITED EDITION).

We woke up Saturday morning and opened the windows to the first rays of sunshine that we had seen in days. The crowds were gathering on the beaches and in the coves. The July 4th weekend was off to a good start.

Our permanent schedule on the day of a show is very structured. We eat lunch around 2pm while we discuss the songs for the concert. This meal will be the last one we eat until we return to the hotel after the performance, hopefully before midnight.

Since the sun was shining, we decided to walk through the town of Ogunquit back to Perkin’s Cove and to Barnacle Billy’s restaurant. We later heard a story that this particular restaurant was known to be a place where a former president docks his boat and grabs a bite to eat. It wasn’t a day for a presidential visit, in fact at 2pm; we were the only people in our section of the restaurant. I couldn’t resist ordering just one more lobster dish while we planned the evenings concert.

Reg picked us up early for the sound check because of the holiday traffic.

Once the sound system and the lighting cues are checked and rehearsed, Roger goes to his dressing room to think about the show and to sign a box of CDs which I sell at what he calls my “lemonade stand.” I was never interested in selling merchandise, I was already wearing enough hats, but when we produced “Limited Edition,” Roger figured out a way to get me out of the dressing room. I’m the one who usually gets stage fright and sometimes my nervousness can be contagious.

I do enjoy selling the CDs because it gives me an opportunity to talk to the people who come to the concerts. They tell me about the last time they saw Roger in concert and I hear some wonderful stories. This night in Wells, Maine the “lemonade stand’ opened the door to a very touching moment. A couple introduced themselves to me after they realized I was “the wife.” He told me the tragic story of the death of his wife about five years earlier. During that time he was devastated. One day he played BACK FROM RIO and was intrigued by the song “Without Your Love.” The words were so close to the pain he was feeling and he wanted to know what we meant by the phrase “This mercy so severe.” So he emailed us.

We told him, the book “SEVERE MERCY” by Sheldon Vanuken was the inspiration for the song. He obtained a copy and was also touched by the story. Reading the book not only helped him through his grief, it also introduced him to C.S. Lewis, who was a friend of Sheldon Vanuken.

That night, I felt like an old friend had stopped by to talk and when I asked if the lady who was with him was someone special, he gave me a big smile and said, “ yes…everything is better now.”

I love my lemonade stand!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Techie Report 1 - Why Three GPS Units? By Roger McGuinn

Back in the last century we used a Garmin eMap GPS unit connected to a laptop, running Windows 98 and a map program called Street Atlas 4.0. As the years passed we upgraded the software to Street Atlas 7.0. We tried several subsequent versions of Street Atlas as they came out but they weren't as good as 7.0 because for some reason they had abandoned the Windows desktop structure in favor of some generic one. We loved the way 7.0 worked with keyboard shortcuts and it did everything we needed. It tracked our position on a moving map, told us how far it was to our destination, and talked to us. The way it talked reminded us of our friend Bill's son, Andrew. Andrew talked quite a lot when he was a toddler. The computer talked a lot too and was frequently amusing in its pronunciation of some words like "scenic" which it insisted on pronouncing "cynic." It made funny little mistakes, like telling us to make a right turn onto a road from the middle of a bridge, where the road was 100 feet below us. In spite of these minor shortcomings, we named the GPS / laptop combination "Andrew" and kept him.

Last year we got two new GPS units, "Nancy" and "Bob." Nancy, named after Nancy Drew - the teenage detective, is a Magellan 700 with a built-in 10 GB hard drive containing all the maps of North America. She talks a lot but is usually correct, both in her pronunciation and directions. Bob is a Garmin

GPS 76 CS hand held unit who can't speak. Bob beeps instead, so his nickname is "Beepy Bob." He's capable of showing detailed directions, including turns. We use him mostly as a speedometer which is much more accurate than the one provided by Ford.

Nancy and Bob live on the dashboard. We take them in at night for security reasons. In the morning my job is to get Nancy, Bob and Andrew powered up and running. Nancy comes right to life and Bob is pretty quick, but poor Andrew sometimes takes up to five minutes to wake up. This used to present a problem when he was our only GPS because we would have to wait for Andrew before we could head out. Now we're on the highway in a matter of seconds.

We've become increasingly more dependent upon Nancy. Sometimes I don't even know where I'm going when I'm driving, because Nancy knows. This can be troublesome when a police officer asks you where you're going and you can't come up with a good fast answer, as I found out one afternoon on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The State Troopers wanted to bring their dogs to search our van when I couldn't tell them where we were going. We were profiled for having Florida license plates.

Another great thing about using a GPS is being able to get around traffic snarls. You can leave the main road with complete confidence and you'll never get lost. We love to drive the back roads of America and now we can take more of them than ever thanks to GPS technology.

Our hand held GPS came in handy in London last year when traffic was so backed up during a taxi ride to the BBC that we had to get out and walk. I had marked the location of our hotel on the GPS and when we got to the radio station we realized that our hotel was less than two miles away, even though the taxi ride had been an hour. We were able to enjoy a leisurely walk back to our hotel thanks to our GPS.

I just celebrated my birthday on July 13, and Camilla got me a new GPS. It's a Magellan 760 like Nancy, but has a 20 GB hard drive and many improved features. We named her "Cherry" after Cherry Ames, another fictional sleuth from Camilla's youth. We always name our GPS's because as Camilla says "Things just run better when they have names."

All the best,


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Roadie Report 2 (July cont.)by Camilla McGuinn

The July Tour 2005 (cont.)

South of Norfolk, VA, we had to leave the peacefulness of Highway 17 and join the hustle on I-64 to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. The almost twenty mile Bridge-Tunnel provides a direct link between Southeastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula. It was opened in 1964. My family vacationed in Virginia Beach in 1967 and one of our adventures was to drive across the bridge since it was named one of the “Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World.” I don’t remember the price of the toll then, but now it is $12. That does include a coupon for a free soft drink at Sea Gull Island, which is located on the southernmost of the Bridge-Tunnel's four manmade islands. All that view and a soda too!

After crossing the bridge, we drove on Highway 13 past the Chincoteague exit. There was a bit of struggle not to turn toward there because Chincoteague Island is one of our favorite stops. The town reminds us of why we moved to Morro Bay, CA on July 28, 1980 - one main road, fishing boats and an old fashion movie theatre. But we were on a quest to catch the last ferry to Cape May and had to keep going.

Chincoteague Fishing Boats
Photo by Camilla McGuinn

About 90 minutes before the last Cape May- Lewes ferry was to depart, we entered the ferry tollgate, paid the $33 toll and parked our van in line six. It was 6pm and we decided to have a “fun meal” in the terminal before the ferry loaded its passengers. What we call a “fun meal” is one that we would never eat unless we had no choice - hotdogs were the fun food for the evening. We carried our tray to the upper level away for the joyous screams of the children and found a quiet bench on which to munch our mustard-laden treats.

It was almost twilight when we drove onto the ferry. There was a lot of activity on the car deck - the barking sound of the crew directing the positions of vehicles, car doors slamming and people walking rapidly to the upper decks. We decided to ride the 80-minute mini-cruise across the mouth of Delaware Bay on the same deck where the van was secured. The wind was blowing with the ferry and as we stood on the bow watching the dolphins on the port side, my hair didn’t even whip across my face. The sky was overcast, the sunset was a muted gray. Roger started singing a song quietly as he looked at the distant shore of Cape May. The last time we had been on this ferry was in December, 2001. The song was a Christmas folk song and when he finished, he smiled at me and told me that he had forgotten about the song. The quiet beauty of the voyage on board this ferry longer than a football field, inspired the return of a tune learned at the Old Town School of Folk Music in the late 1950s. Roger now knows the December song he will sing for the FOLK DEN.

We drove off the ferry into the dark night. We had spent time in the town of Cape May during the December 2001 trip on our way to New York City where Roger was invited to be a guest on the David Letterman Show. It was on that tour that Roger found his hat in a small shop in Cape May and wore it for the first time ever on Letterman’s show. Since we had already enjoyed the town, we felt a need to get as close to Maine as possible before the holiday weekend started. We opted to get on the Garden State Parkway and let Nancy, the GPS, find a hotel room for us. We stayed in Absecom, NJ.

On Wednesday, June 29th, Roger had a telephone interview with a radio station in Portland, ME. As soon as he finished, we returned to the Garden State Parkway and took it to I-87 in NY. We crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge just in time for lunch in Tarrytown. Roger had lived in Tarrytown for a few of his elementary school years. His younger brother, Brian, was born there on May 16, 1950.

Tarrytown hasn’t changed much since then, except for the amount of traffic. It does have wonderful restaurants and even a castle where we spent the Christmas of 2001.

The rain started pouring down just as we finished our delicious meal at the small Italian restaurant, Lago di Como, 27 Main Street. It was around 2pm, the restaurant was empty except for us and an elderly Italian couple who spoke softly to each other in their native language. Our window table was such a romantic setting, that we didn’t want to leave, plus we didn’t relish getting soaked, so we ordered a cappuccino and made romantic plans to travel around the world again. I haven’t been to Rome. Roger has. He’s going to take me there someday.

We reluctantly left our cozy, dreamy table and ran to our van. The weather made us decide to seek a local hotel room for the night. It was a very good idea. The heavens opened and the area received 2 inches of rain before 5pm. The lightening was so intense, that just as we were moving our equipment to the hotel elevator, all the fire alarms started clanging and the elevator stopped. The fire department came, reset the alarms and we found our room 45 minutes after checking in.

The next morning the sky was clear and we headed north on Highway 9. Our plan was to go up to Albany and catch I-90 east, but I enjoyed the scenery so much, that I missed a turn and ended up on the Bear Mountain State Parkway. It was time to plug in Nancy, the GPS. We were directed to the quickest route to Maine. At Haverhill, MA, we pulled in for the night just to avoid the rush hour traffic on the raining I-495. It was time for a hotel room picnic.

On Friday, July 1st, we arrived at the historical Beachmere Inn, Ogunquit, Maine. A photo I took from our room is on the first installment of the Roadie Report.