Saturday, December 29, 2007

Roadie Report 32 - 2007 - It was an adventure!

As I reflect back on the year 2007, my breath slowly emanates as my head shakes in wonderment. It indeed was the best of times and the worst of times. Roger played at Carnegie Hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville and The Auditorium Theater in Chicago. We flew around the world with stops in Japan, Dubai and Germany. Then caught a train home from Washington, DC. All of that on top of a full schedule of concerts throughout the year.

Our final tour was going to culminate with the Christmas Celebration at the “special lady’s” house in Tucson, Arizona.

October 10, 2007

Roger was invited to sing a song in tribute to Elton John at Carnegie Hall. The song he sang wasn’t as well known as most of Sir Elton’s tunes, but Roger chose a song with a unique melody line and a favorite of mine, “Friends.”

We arrived in NYC a day early to rehearse with the band, “Fools for April.” Phoebe Snow was scheduled just before us and as we listened to her heart-felt rendition of “Empty Garden,” we knew she would bring the house down and she did!

Thai for Dinner (Photo by Camilla)

During sound check, we sat in the beautiful auditorium of Carnegie Hall and watched all the acts perform those magical songs written by Elton and Bernie Taupin. We felt like we were viewing our own personal concert. The Hall is a union hall, so when it went dark for dinner, we headed to a nearby Thai restaurant recommended by the sound engineer. You can be sure the crew knows all the good places to eat!

October 29, 2007

Martin Guitar had a request from their distributor in Japan for Roger to perform for their clients during their annual trade show.
We were delighted to be going back to Japan and as I researched the airfares, I found a very interesting alliance between United Airlines and Emirates. Two people could fly around the world for less than the price of one person flying in the same class of service round trip. There were just a few stipulations: 1. You have to fly in only one direction – no back tracking! 2. All trips across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans have to be on United Airlines. 3. You have to stay out of the country for 10 days and make 3 overnight stops. The Martin distributors were very happy I found this fare and didn’t object to our staying in Yokohama for an entire week.
Yokohama, Japan (photo by Camilla)

At the Martin Promotion (Both Photos by Camilla)

After a wonderful concert and a lot of interviews, we continued our westbound trip with a connection in Seoul for our flight to Dubai, our second stop. We were staying at the Ritz Carlton and I had requested that they send a car to pick us up when we landed at 5am. That was one of my wiser decisions. The Dubai airport is huge and the gentleman who met us as we disembarked took the stress out of the trek through immigration and to the car.
Dubai Hotel (Photo by Camilla)
Our eyes were eagerly peeled for the sights of Dubai during our 30 minute drive to the hotel. The Dubai highway has 10 lanes and construction cranes are everywhere. The city is flourishing into a commerce and tourist destination, very similar to Las Vegas.
Dubai Oasis (Photo by Camilla)

Our hotel was one of the originals in that city and these days its architectural charm is dwarfed by a sprawling sea of high rise buildings. Fortunately, the Ritz is right on the beach and if you don’t look back, you will feel like you’re in an oasis. The wonderful staff at the hotel will do everything to make sure your stay is refreshing.

From Dubai, Emirates Airlines took us to Germany. We spent the evening in the Hamburg Courtyard by Marriott. Yes it was a contrast from the palatial hotel in Dubai, but an ever so sweet one. I surmised it was once an independent inn because it also had a wonderful restaurant, an uncommon feature in the same chain in the states.

We left Germany from Frankfurt, flew to Washington, DC, then hopped on board Amtrak for the overnight train trip home to Orlando and back to more business.

For months, I had been working with Denny Tedesco to arrange an interview with Roger for a documentary on the famous Los Angeles a-list of musicians, “The Wrecking Crew.” During the course of one line emails, The Musicians Hall Of Fame’s ceremony for the induction of the “The Wrecking Crew” entered into the conversation and Roger was invited to once again play with this royal court of musicians.

January 20, 1965

The “Wrecking Crew” were the top studio musicians in Los Angeles who played on all the hits. The Byrds were signed with Columbia records for just one single. If the single made it, they could record an album. Jim (Roger) McGuinn was the only musician in the Byrds who’d had professional studio experience, so Terry Melcher, the producer assigned by Columbia, decided to call in “The Wrecking Crew” to get the job done.

Jim had already developed a unique sound on the Rickenbacker because of his banjo training at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago but even with session work under his belt, he was a little nervous. He quietly entered the studio, unpacked his guitar and was introduced to the “crew.” His hands were cold and his confidence low. Hal Blaine, the drummer, took one look at him and said, “Relax kid. It’s gonna be all right.”

It wasn’t only all right, it was a number one hit. Jim joined the “wrecking crew” for one 3 hour session and under the guiding hand of Terry Melcher, they recorded two instrumental tracks: “Mr Tambourine Man” and “I Knew I’d Want You.” Gene Clark and David Crosby later joined Jim to sing the vocal tracks.

November 22, 2007 –Thanksgiving Day

We began driving to Nashville on Thanksgiving Day. For years I have planned big gatherings of friends or romantic trips to celebrate this feast day, but this year, I had made no plans. Now I understood why. We decided to leave on Thanksgiving Day to avoid the heavy weekend traffic. I booked us a room in Macon, Georgia and was sure that there would be a restaurant close by to provide dinner. There were several restaurants close by, but not one of them was open. Even all the pizza delivery places were closed. Our Thanksgiving 2007 is one we will never forget. It was a vending machine feast!
Schermehorn Symphony Hall (Photo by Camilla)

The Musicians Hall of Fame Awards show was held at the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center on November 26.
The inductees included the Nashville A-Team, The Blue Moon Boys, The Funk Brothers, The Memphis Boys, The Tennessee Two and The Wrecking Crew. Some of the guest artist performing with the talented gathering were Brenda Lee, Creed Bratton, Peter Frampton, George Jones, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, B.J Thomas, Dobie Gray, Garth Brooks, Rodney Crowell and John Carter Cash.
Roger was honored to be on the same stage with this vast pool of talent and even more honored to play “Mr. Tambourine Man” again with The Wrecking Crew.
Roger playing with The Wrecking Crew, Hal Blaine and Larry Knechtel (photo by Camilla)
December 1, 2007

Nashville was a wonderful stop on the way to Roger’s hometown, Chicago. He was invited to join in the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Old Town School of Folk Music at the Auditorium Theatre. It was at the Old Town School that Jim McGuinn was taught his intricate banjo and guitar picking by Frank Hamilton. Frank was going to be performing that evening as well.
Auditorium Theatre in Chicago (Photo by Camilla

Frank Hamilton backstage playing Roger's 7-string (Photo by Camilla)

I emailed Colleen and asked her if she could work in a duet for Roger and Frank. Just the thought of the teacher and student reunion brought tears to my eyes. The schedule was tight, but it worked out and I think there were more tears in the audience that night after they sang together.
Video of Frank and Roger rehearsing Finnegan's Wake.

A blanket of snow was covering our van as I eased it out of the parking lot for our drive to Utah. We watched the weather report and were confident that the storm had passed in the night and the roads on Interstate 80 would be clear. The storm the night before must have been horrific. We passed at least 12 large semi-trucks lying on their sides on both sides of the highway before we reached our stopping place for the night, Kearney Nebraska.

As I type this story…….. this is where I begin breathing slowly.

Roger parked the van after we unloaded the equipment. Even though it was only around 6pm, the sky was dark. He had noticed the snow and was cautiously walking under the awning to the entrance of the hotel, when his feet slipped out from under him on a huge patch of ice. He naturally reached out with his right arm to break the fall. It was a hard landing. His wrist broke.

I was still in the lobby, when he rushed in and told me he had fallen and broken the wrist he was holding. After a quick look, I shouted for ice. There was a man in the lobby who immediately came to our assistance and when I asked for directions to a hospital he volunteered to take us there.

Roger’s arm was set in a cast and we were given orders to return home to Florida for further care. Two months of concerts had to be canceled, so was the Christmas reunion with Roger's very special 97 year old mother. Once home, surgery was performed on the wrist and a metal plate inserted. The cast will come off on January 3 and we will be back on the road January 25th for a concert on February 1st at the Mondavi Center in Davis, CA. Hope to see you there!

A rose in Yokohama (Photo by Camilla)
email the roadie at

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Winter Fall But Roger Will Spring Back!

"The winter ice took another victim on December 3rd. Roger caught himself with his right arm to break the fall. It is now in a cast until mid-January.
His concerts will be re-scheduled and he thanks everyone for their prayers and good wishes.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Roadie Report 31 - "The Rolling Thunder Revue"

Roger, Joni and Joan

A few days after we hugged Barry McGuire goodbye, we loaded our van and hit the road. October has always been our favorite time of year to tour. The minute the landscape colors change from Florida’s green and blue to the scarlet kissed trees of the Virginia mountains, we both excitedly reminisce about our favorite autumn stories. Roger’s is about the Fall of 1975, when he joined Bob Dylan’s "Rolling Thunder Revue."
Video From RTR - Knockin' On Heaven's Door
Spring 1975

Roger and Bob Dylan were casually tossing basketballs at Roger’s Carbon Canyon home in Malibu when Bob paused. Holding the ball, he looked out over the ocean view and commented, “I want to do something different.”

“What do you mean?” Roger knew the word “different” from Bob could be a door into the outer limits.

“I don’t know ... something like a circus." Then he tossed the ball toward the basket.

Fall 1975

Roger McGuinn and Band's touring schedule had a two week break, so Roger and Al Hersh, his road manager, headed for the infamous Rock 'n' Roll hotel, The Gramercy Park in New York City. After checking in, they went to Gerde’s Folk City in Greenwich Village. A few drinks and several request later, Roger decided to perform a few songs - the “techie” McGuinn way. He had Al put one of their walkie-talkies on a stool on the stage in front of the microphone. Then he sang one of his favorite sea chanties, “Heave Away Me Johnnies” from his seat at the table into the walkie-talkie he was holding. Once the audience became aware of where the voice in the small box was coming from, they shouted for more. Roger borrowed a guitar and joined his walkie-talkie on stage.

Larry Sloman, a writer from Rolling Stone, was in the audience. After Roger returned to his table, Mr. Sloman boldly introduced himself. Roger was intrigued with the manner of this young reporter but he was also hungry. He invited Larry to join him for dinner in China Town. Over a plate of Moo Goo Gai Pan, Larry mentioned that Dylan was over at the Other End. Roger paid the bill and said, "Let's go find Bob."

The “Other End” was a folk club that had once been called “The Bitter End.” Roger had recorded there years earlier with The Chad Mitchell Trio. The minute they walked in the door, the owner of the club, Paul Colby, recognized Roger and directed him to the back room. Dylan was sitting at a table with Roger’s friend and writing partner, Jacques Levy. Bob and Jacques had their heads close together, talking earnestly over two full brandy sniffers. They both looked up simultaneously, noticed the disheveled long haired shadow in the doorway and shouted, “Roger - we were just talking about you!” They jumped up quickly ... the table and drinks went flying, just like in a old time western movie. Roger ordered another round of drinks for everyone and Bob told him about the show he was planning with a group of folkies from the old days in the Village. He and Jacques wanted Roger to join the revue.

It had been a long day for Roger and he was groggy enough to give a quick answer. “Sorry man ... I’ve got a tour booked.”

The next day, Larry called Roger and asked him, “Do you remember last night? Bob invited you on his tour and you told him that you couldn’t go.” In the light of the morning sun, Roger realized that this was something that he wanted to do and called his agent. He told him to put his band on retainer and to cancel the rest of the tour. He was going to join Bob Dylan’s “Rolling Thunder Revue.”

“Rolling Thunder’s” rehearsals were at Studio Instrument Rentals in mid-town Manhattan and lasted for a few days. The band wanted to have an unusual name. They decided on someplace no one had ever been. They called it Guam. In October, a rag-tag caravan of buses and motor homes hit the road to electrify the Eastern Seaboard.

Dylan led the way in a red Cadillac convertible. He was a modern day Peter Pan taking a band of “flower children” to “Neverland.” His plan was to arrive unannounced in any town that had a stage available, have people give out fliers for a show that night and entertain a bemused but excited audience for hours.

Jacques Levy was the director, Alan Ginsburg and Peter Orlovsky were the poets. Sam Shepard was the screen writer/actor for the film of the tour being produced. Harry Dean Stanton, Sarah Dylan and Joan Baez were actors. Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Joni Mitchell, Bobby Newwirth, T-Bone Burnette, Steven Soles, Ronee Blakely, Rob Stoner, Mick Ronson, David Mansfield and Larry ‘Ratso’ Sloman were all part of the original cast of this traveling band of gypsies and “when no one was looking, McGuinn was there too!”

Mr. Dylan housed the band in resort hotels with hospitality suites for the comfort of everyone. The suite was stocked with a complimentary bar from five in the evening until two in the morning. That will explain a line in this song that Roger and Jacques wrote about the tour. But this song also captures the wonderful mystery and fantasy that can come from knowing a modern day Shakespeare aka Peter Pan.

"Take Me Away" by Roger McGuinn and Jacques Levy

You should have been there when
The time was right for the music to begin
You shoulda been there when
That band of gypsies started rollin' in
You should seen it
You'da swore for sure the circus came to town
There were ladies ridin' bareback
And the mystery man
All painted like a clown
You should seen October feelin'
Like I never felt before
Flashin' up New England skies
Like the fires of the revolutionary war
You shoulda heard the music comin' down
Like the hardest rain that ever fell
Wakin' up in the afternoons
With a hundred lovers feedin' in the same motel

Take me away take me away take me away
Take me away take me away take me away
Take me away take me away take me away
Take me away take me away take me away

To the place where the greatest
Show on earth is playin' high on your highway
You shoulda seen me
I've been told I had a smile upon my face
Slippin' from state to state
Endin' up in a drunken state of grace
It wasn't very long ago
I used to say this kind of life is rough
You shoulda been there
But I can tell you even that was not enough

Take me away take me away take me away
Take me away take me away take me away
Take me away take me away take me away
Take me away take me away take me away

After the concerts, the band often piled into the buses to head out into the dark of the moonlit sky. They went from the “flower children in Neverland” to “pirates in the night.” Black was the color of the clothes and the swashbucklers were riding the waves of the highways. One dark night, the bus diver caught a glimpse of Joan Baez in his rear view mirror, dancing down the aisle of the bus, waving her hand over her head in the style of all the pirates on board. Roger and Jacques crafted the song “Jolly Roger” to recall the spirit of those moments.

Roger needed a few more songs for his next album. He wanted to capture the exhilarating, inspiring, excitement of the tour in the studio, so he tapped Mick Ronson to be his producer. They decided to title the record “Cardiff Rose” after the ship in the song “Jolly Roger.” Ronson brought the band “Guam” into the studio.

Joni Mitchell was habitually writing lyrics in her black and white composition book while the tour bus “Phydeaux” rolled down the highway. One of the songs in that notebook was “Dreamland.” When Roger asked her for a song to record on his album, she gave it to him, but wasn't quiet sure if one line would work for Roger. She smiled when Roger suggested the "folk tradition" of changing lyrics to match the gender of the singer. He would change "Dorothy Lamour sarong” to "an Errol Flynn sarong.” There were so many words in the song, he wondered if anyone would notice the difference or even laugh at the image of Errol Flynn in a sarong.

Roger still needed one more song for his album, so he asked Bob. Generously, Bob gave him the unrecorded opus “Up To Me.” As a personal tribute to both artists, Roger decided to sing the songs in the inimitable styles of the authors because he'd always admired and appreciated the way they both sang.

It was on the “Rolling Thunder Revue” that Ramblin’ Jack Elliot entertained Roger with stories of his adventures touring with his lady Polly. He told him about the times the two of them would put their bags and guitars in the back of a Land Rover and barn storm across America, singing in old vaudeville theaters. Roger was thoroughly enjoying the lack of responsibility of the Revue, but he knew that when it was all over, he would be back at the helm of a band and entourage of people who counted on him for their livelihood. He filed Jack’s stories in the recesses of his mind with the hope that someday, he too could tell stories of love and freedom on the open road.


“The Rolling Thunder Revue” was a moment in the history of a group of troubadours who went to “Neverland.” I wonder if anything like that could ever happen again. Well ... “Tinkerbell” revived because we all sat glued in front of our black and white television sets and said, “I believe, I believe.”

The times - they have changed.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Who Is The Roadie?

Industry Profile: Camilla McGuinn
By Bob Grossweiner & Jane Cohen

Never lost in the woods with a GPS in hand. Photo by Steve Goldman

Roger and Camilla are standing somewhat stoically, almost like the Grant Wood painting American Gothic, at the Skyline Music booth at this year's Association of Performing Arts Performers (APAP) conference at the New York Hilton. Even stranger is that Roger is wearing a name tag spelling out his first name. So is Camilla.

We decided to mosey over. After telling Roger McGuinn that we have been long time fans going back to the days of The Byrds, we ask Camilla what she does. "I'm the tour manager," she says unabashedly. And a few seconds later adds "and a roadie." (Camilla turns out to be Camilla McGuinn, Roger's wife.)

So we ask Camilla if she would like to be profiled. Roger is smiling since someone is asking his wife to be interviewed instead of him. Weeks later she can only come up with this for her profile biography section: "met Roger Jan. 17, 1978, married him April 1, 1978, went to work for him in 1981 and have been his road manager ever since."

When pressed for some more background information, weeks later, she says, "Roger emailed me this list of my jobs a while back. After reading it, I think I'll ask for a raise."

Roger begins: "Camilla is Child of God, Loving Wife, Best Friend, Song Writer,
Internationally Read Author, Record Producer (Grammy winning),
Audio Engineer (Grammy winning), Theatrical Lighting Designer,
Music Publisher, Tour Manager, Travel Agent,
Roadie (but doesn't change strings), Accountant,
Investment Executive, Domestic Engineer,
Interior Decorator, Cross Country Trucker,
Customer Service Executive, Public Relations Executive,
Merchandise Vendor and Events Coordinator."

Camilla is on a roll now.

"Before I met Roger, I was living in Los Angeles and studying acting," she reminisces. "I'd been a drama major at Longwood College in Farmville, Va. , but like a lot 60's students, the California coast kept calling. I left California twice, once to Phoenix for a year and once to Colorado for a year. In between those two adventures, I lived in Malibu. I found out later that I had lived in the same canyon Roger did. Our driveways looked at each other. I met his dog, but I never met him.

"In the fall of 1977, I sailed to Mexico with my brother and returned to Los Angeles on Jan. 1, 1978. As the airplane circled the hazy city, I looked out the window and had a strong sense that my life was about to change. I returned to the actor's workshop where I'd been studying, but I couldn't get comfortable, so I did what some undecided women do: I went to get my hair cut.

"I was a Sassoon house model and as I was hanging out, I met a lady who told me about a workshop she had just begun. I got the number, called for an audition and was doing a cold reading for Tracy Roberts the next day. She accepted me for her class and told me to come Tuesday night.

"There were five new students that Tuesday. I was the only female. After a few exercises, Tracy teamed me with a guy with long hair and loose fitting clothes. I'd become weary of being a hippie and the long hair didn't impress me.

"At this point in my life I had decided to either be serious about acting or starve. I quit my job with Playboy as a glorified waitress, AKA a 'Bunny,' landed a few commercials and true to my commitment to act or starve, I lost weight. I wanted my partner in the workshop to be serious. I asked him if he had ever worked professionally. He quietly replied, 'I was in Bob Dylan's movie, Renaldo and Clara.' I inwardly groaned, 'Oh no...he's a musician.' The last thing I wanted to do was to work with a musician. As we walked out to our cars, we arranged a meeting time to discuss the scene we were assigned to perform from the movie Bloom in Love. I noticed his license plates read BYRDS2.

"The next morning as I was talking on the telephone with Gregg, a friend from high school, I mentioned that I was doing a scene with someone who might have been the Byrds' manager. My reasoning was that if he'd been in the Byrds wouldn't his license plate read just "BYRDS?" I had no idea how one got personalized plates. Gregg asked me his name. I told him, 'Roger McGuinn.' He started to laugh, 'Camilla, he was the Byrds!'

"The next week during an exercise on stage, Roger's assignment was to convince me of something that I didn't want to do. We sat on two chairs facing the audience, and he began playing his guitar. He asked if I wanted a lesson. I wasn't happy that this rock star had already stolen the scene, so I wanted to make things uncomfortable for him. I told him of course I do. He then said, 'You'll have to cut your finger nails.' That wasn't a problem for me, so when he pulled his Swiss army knife from his belt holster, I presented him my left hand for a manicure. I smugly thought, 'He hasn't come up with a thing that I don't want to do.'

"He showed me some chords and encouraged me to try. After a few strums, he asked for the guitar back then played and sang a song. His scene stealing performance did not endear me to him at all. He was doing that musician thing. After his crooning he asked, 'Did you like that song?' I said, 'Not really.' 'Why not?' he asked. 'Its country and I'm not particularly fond of most country music,' I said. He then asked, 'But what did you think of the words?'

"Then it hit me. The song was ' I Like The Christian Life'(a song the Byrds had recorded.) He was going to try to convince me about the words that Jesus said. I retaliated with, 'How long have you been into Jesus?' 'A few months,' he replied. 'Well give it a few more, and you will get over it!' I responded. Then I left the stage in righteous indignation. The audience thought it reminded them of a dramatic scene from a Tennessee Williams play and spent a lot of time congratulating Roger.

"The story continued, but it wasn't Roger who got over Jesus. It was me who realized that Jesus is love and He spoke the truth. Within two months we felt that God's plan was for us to be married, and we were, on April 1, 1978. God does have a sense of humor. We laughingly tell people that Our Father arranged our marriage.

"McGuinn, Clark and Hillman were signed to Capitol Records, and I spent two years watching the workings of a band. One night during a candlelight dinner, Roger told me that he wasn't enjoying the music anymore with the band, and he had told Chris Hillman on the airplane on the way home that he was through. I asked him, 'How do you want to make music? What is your heart's desire?'

"He thought for a few minutes, and then began telling me about Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Jack had told him that the happiest touring he ever did was when he and his lady barnstormed the country with his guitar. That's what Roger wanted to do. He wanted to go back to his folk music roots, put the guitar in the car and show me America. He excitedly proclaimed, 'You can be the road manager!'

What makes a good tour manager?
They must have their priorities in order. The artist and the concert are the primary concerns. A tour manager must help the artist keep focused on the show. It's up to the tour manager to run interference for the artist from any distractions that will affect the performance. A smile, while shaking the head "no" to the many request for the artist's attention, accomplishes a lot. Attention to all the show details is very important. The stage setting, the lights, the sound and the comfort of the audience must be addressed at every venue.

As a roadie what gear do you carry on the road?
All the standard -- bottled water -- gold on the road; hand sanitizer -- Western society needs to get over the firm handshake custom -- bad for health and bad for guitar players fingers; flashlight; batteries; cell phone; computer etc. I also write the monthly blog for so my Canon camera is always at my side.

What is the blog about?
While on tour in April 2005, Roger and I had a luncheon meeting with the executives of Sam Ash to help promote the 7-string guitar that Roger designed for Martin Guitar. I come from a family of story tellers and true to my nature, I monopolized much of the conversation with stories about our adventures on the road. Howie Mendelson, a Sam Ash vice-president, ended the lunch laughing and commented that I needed to write a blog. A couple of days later, we're having lunch with Ken Paulson, the editor of USA Today, and he too made the comment that I needed to write a blog. When we returned back to our hotel, Roger made the same comment. Three times within a week was enough, so I reluctantly said I would do it.

My reluctance was because my father was a career Navy man, and we moved every four years. I wasn't sure if I missed grammar classes or just daydreamed through them. I didn't know what conjugating a verb was until 11th grade while in my first year French class. I had to confess to my teacher that I didn't know what conjugating verbs entailed. She walked away from my desk shaking her head. I have plenty of confidence in telling stories but very little in writing them. The first blog I wrote was about the July 2005 Tour. Being concerned that my writing would be either boring or real stupid, I decided to post photos from our trip. Now I was not only a writer but a photographer, too. Two more hats to wear for the man I love.

I've enjoyed the process of the blog a lot more than I imagined I would. I'm always on the look out for photo opportunities, so we've stopped at some unusual places. The blog has also evolved into a biography of Roger. As we travel through or to a city, I interview him about the first time he was there. I hear stories from him that he had forgotten. Jim Dickson, the Byrds' original manager, read the blog and asked me to write about some of his memories. The history doesn't come with every blog, just when the situation awakens the memories.

Does the local crew let you carry the gear?
I insist the local crew carry the gear.

What is your preferred mode of transportation on the road?
In the late 90's we realized that flying with fragile musical instruments was too stressful and harmful so we informed Roger's booking agent that we would only be driving to concerts. We travel in a Ford Conversion Van. We're now driving our fourth one. Driving the roads of America is a wonderful experience and the configuration of the van - comfortable seats, a couch turned into a bunk, TV, DVD player and Internet access - makes the drive enjoyable. It's not unusual for us to drive across the country several times a year. We drive in hundred-mile shifts and stop as the sun sets. The need for a picture for the blog has encouraged us to stop and enjoy sights that we used to drive pass.

When we tour in Europe, our favorite form of transportation is the train using the BritRail Pass for the U.K. On the Continent, we enjoy renting a good car and seeing how fast we can comfortably drive.

What other tour duties do you do?
We call ourselves an old fashion mom and pop business. He does everything on stage, I do the rest.

What if anything do you have to do with Roger's recording?
Roger and I write songs together. We also produce, mix, design art work with the help of a real pro, and purvey all of his recording projects. It took a while for us to learn to work with each other without saying, "That's stupid!" Roger loves all the details of being his own record label. He often says, "They were having all the fun!" meaning the record companies. I also manage the phones, the press, the bookkeeping and the ladies who want to take Roger to tea.

We have released three CDs on April First Productions, our label:

1. Limited Edition, 2004 -- folk, blues and rock 'n' roll. One of my favorite tracks is the tribute to George Harrison -- "If I needed Someone." We recorded it in Nashville with John Jorgenson and Stan Lynch. Both of these wonderful musicians recorded with Roger on the first Byrd's box set and "Back From Rio."

2.The Folk Den Project, 2005. This was one big project. Roger wanted to celebrate 10 years of The Folk Den. It's his favorite project on where he posts a traditional folk song each month for free download in order to help preserve the music. While mixing the 100 songs of this four CD set at Roger's side and proof reading the 40-page booklet at the Summit Road Studios in Parker, Colo. , I thought we might be nuts. Who was going to care about 100 folk songs? It turns out. A lot of people. Even Rolling Stone called it "...near perfect."

3.Live From Spain, 2006. Every Saturday morning when we're at home, we commit ourselves to creative Saturdays. Roger records and I usually work on the blog. One Saturday, I decided that a real creative thing to do would be to clean my desk. In the process, I found the master from a show in Spain. It was recorded for radio broadcast so the quality was exceptional for a live recording. I took it to Roger thinking we might use it for the APAP conference. He put it on and as I was walking out of his studio, I stopped in my tracks. It not only had a good sound, it was an unusual show. We decided to press it for the fans who have been asking me for a copy of Roger's concert. Roger's shows are all slightly different, but this one will bring back the memories.

First concert attended?
James Brown and The Temptations in Roanoke, Va., maybe in 1967. It was a sports venue. I only lived there a few years and I don't go back, so I doubt I ever knew the name of the arena.

First concert worked?
May 16, 1981, at the Aladdin Theater in Las Vegas as Roger McGuinn's tour manager. The promoter that night warned me about the pitfalls of gambling by telling me the story of Sammy Davis Jr., how he gambled his life away to the casinos. Mr. Davis had to work for them for years to pay off his debts. After telling me the story, he had two very large body guards escort me backstage and told them not to let me stop at the tables.

First industry job?
First and only: tour manager for Roger McGuinn.

Career highlights?
Co-producer with Roger for Roger McGuinn's "Treasures From The Folk Den" - 2001 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Folk Album and co-producer with Roger for "Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair" from "Beautiful Dreamer" - 2004 Grammy Award winner for Best Traditional Folk Album.

Those things are what the industry calls highlights; my personal highlights are writing with Roger the songs, "May The Road Rise To Meet You" and "Without Your Love." Oh, one more: "The Trees Are All Gone" written while Al Gore was still burning electricity in the Senate building.

What did you get a Grammy for audio engineering on?"
"Beautiful Dreamer - The Songs of Stephen Foster," a compilation CD. Roger wrote that on my list of jobs -- a bit tongue in cheek. I was a co-producer on the track "Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair," but the people who compiled the CD and got to keep the trophy sent me a certificate for engineer. I don't know if that was because they didn't take me seriously or they just ran out of the certificates for producers.

Career disappointment?
Missing the Beach Boys tour in 1986. Roger was opening for them, and I was invited to join them on their BAC 111 private jet. I declined because I was committed to an acting workshop.

Greatest challenge?
Wondering how to get my big foot out of my mouth when I asked the gentleman sitting next to me at the after-show party for Dylan's' 30th Anniversary Concert, "Who are you?" It was Jann Wenner -Rolling Stone owner/editor.

Best business decision?
Encouraging Roger to pursue his dream.

Best advice you received?
Trust in God and have confidence.

Best advice to offer?
Trust in God and have confidence.

Mistakes you have learned from?
Hopefully all of them.

Can you give examples?
There have been so many. Why would I want to bore everyone with the details?

Most memorable industry experiences?
There are three real standouts, and I can't choose between them. The first occurred October 1987 at Wembley Arena in London. Roger was on stage singing the encore with Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. I was standing on the side of the stage beside George Harrison.

The second was the concert referred to as "Bobfest" by Neil Young -- the Bob Dylan: 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration, which took place in Madison Square Garden on Oct. 16, 1992. The show was great, but the sound check was awesome. Roger and I stood backstage watching the concert on a monitor and then watched each of the artists walk off stage after their performance. Eric Clapton was over the top.

The third was in the winter of 1994 at The Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. Roger was asked to perform "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)" in honor of Pete Seeger. It was the most amazing weekend. Dinners at the State Department, reception at the White House and topped off with meeting Walter Cronkite. I told him, "I don't believe there are space aliens because if there were, they would have come down and contacted you." He shook my hand and said, "I like that." It is one of the few times I actually wanted my picture taken.

Favorite athlete?
Tiger Woods because of his concentration, his discipline and he is so cute.

Favorite restaurants?
This is a tough one. We travel so much, and there are wonderful restaurants everywhere, but I really enjoy going back to Minetta's Tavern in the Village in NYC. Not so much for the food but for the wonderful memories Roger and I have from there. Whenever friends join us for what we jokingly call the 60's tour of the Village, we always end up at Minetta's because that's where Roger would go in the 60's if he had some extra cash. My favorite memory there was the evening we asked Pete Seeger to join us between sound check and the show at the Bottom Line. It was like taking Santa Claus to dinner.

Favorite hotels?
I love The Ritz Carlton in San Francisco and the Peninsula in Beverly Hills because they park our Ford van right next to all the Rolls-Royce motor cars and do it with style. I love the Sheraton on The Hudson because the view of Manhattan is priceless, and the ferry ride to the city is an E ticket right out the front door!.

What friends would be surprised to learn about you?
My friends have ceased being surprised by me. Acquaintances usually drop their jaw if they find out I was the Phoenix Playboy Bunny of the Year one year in the '70s. That's a bunny - not a playmate!

Industry pet peeve?
Bogus royalty statements. I'm also Roger's bookkeeper.

If I wasn't doing this, I would be...?
I didn't plan on doing this, so only God knows if there was another plan.

Camilla can be reached at e-mail:

This has been a hectic month.Even though it is "Creative Saturday', I need to prepare for a trip around the world instead of writing. I get asked a lot of questions about my life with Roger and since I wrote all the answers to the questions in this interview, I thought this might tell some of the story. I posted this a few days early because we are now on our way to Japan for a Martin Guitar promotion. The long airplane ride will be a good opportunity to rest.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Roadie Report 30 - McGuinn and McGuire

Beaufort, SC (photos by Camilla)
It’s time for our “creative Saturday” moments and I had planned to write about the concerts and the trip to Tarrytown, NY and Natick, MA. I'm always wont to use the photographs I take on the road to inspire the memories to spring forth. As I perused the pictures, I saw a photo with the view from our early evening dinner in Beaufort, SC. There was one of the bridges I’d crossed as a child. I was born in the Beaufort area, so was John Phillips of The Mamas and Papas.

Then there was a charming shot of a street in Tarrytown. Roger went to elementary school in that hamlet.

There were lots of things to write about, but as I browsed the library of photographs, the sound of music coming from Roger’s studio kept me smiling. That music became my inspiration. All of a sudden, I knew that I was going to write a little bit about history and a little bit about the future. The harmonies coming from the studio were the voices of Roger and an old friend who had come for a weekend visit. They were singing this months Folk Den song, “The Boll Weevil.”


Barry McGuire was driving east on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood when he saw Jim McGuinn heading west with his radio blaring the sounds of the times. Catching a glimpse of each other, McGuire immediately pulled over to the curb and McGuinn made a wild u-turn and pulled up right behind him. They both jumped out of their cars and sat on the fender of Jim’s black caddie. Jim left his radio on.

He had a good reason to leave his radio blasting because many of his friends were in the top ten playlist.
Barry's song “Eve of Destruction” was a number one hit in 1965 and Jim’s group, the Byrds, was soaring, with “Mr.Tambourine Man ” and “Turn, Turn, Turn.” These two friends had made it to the top of the charts within months of each other and their spirits were flying as high as their songs.

Their laughter quieted for a moment when they recognized a tune coming over the radio. It was The Mamas and The Papas’, “Creeque Alley.” John Phillips had immortalized his two friends in the lyrics of the song: “McGuinn and McGuire still a-getting higher in L.A., you know where that’s at.”

When the song finished, Barry’s loud joyous belly laugh could be heard all the way to the beach. Jim suddenly stopped laughing, turned to Barry and asked, “Hey man, where is it at?” Barry shook his head and said, “I don’t know, man... I thought you did!”
Jim replied, "Well don't tell anybody we don't know! They all think we know where it's at!"


More than 4o years later that friendship is still intact and even more amazing, they are both alive and they've finally discovered where it’s at!

The paths of McGuinn and McGuire took different turns in the road and now those turns have brought them back together. They are finally fulfilling a dream they once had – to make music with each other.

Barry came to Florida to have Roger sing and play on his "2.1" version of “Eve of Destruction.” It only took one evening for these two musicians to decide to take it on the road. Barry has been working with Terry Talbot (founder of the band Mason Proffit) for years, so it is a trio that is going to sing some old songs, sing some new songs and tell the stories of a generation on the stages of America.

Andrea Sabata, Roger’s booking agent, called and we excitedly told her to book a tour. We told her to call it McGuinn and McGuire with guest artist Terry Talbot.

Everyone has commitments until next October, but as my grandma used to say, “The Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise,” McGuinn and McGuire will be singing together- and you know where that’s at!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Roadie Report 29 - July 2007 - Roger's Bday and Concert in NJ, with John Sebastian

Fernandina Beach, FL (Photo by Camilla)

There were two upcoming events that made driving out of our driveway a special adventure. We were on our way to Ocean City, New Jersey for a concert with John Sebastian as the co-bill. I have previously written about Roger’s first meetings with John and John’s influence on his life in Roadie Report 25. This was going to be one of those wonderful rock’n’roll re-unions. The other special event was the celebration of Roger’s 65th birthday.

We arrived in Fernandina Beach, on Amelia Island in FL just as the sun was setting on July 12th. In 1861, Fernandina Beach was the home of Florida’s First Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico railroad. The old train station is now the offices of the Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Camilla) The town has the romantic architecture of the turn of the last century. It also has the beauty of sunrises and sunsets. There is just one small problem which has probably kept it from being Florida's northern Key West -–it is the home of a paper mill. We have been there only once when the acrid odor reached our senses, but the charm of the town outweighs the overwhelming presence of an industry that we all cavalierly use everyday.

Over the years, I have arranged a few large birthday celebrations for Roger, but his favorite celebrations are the ones where we quietly toast the day with a few friends or just the two of us. I felt 65 was a milestone, or at least if is with our government, so I searched the Internet to see if there was an unusual stopping place during our trek north on July 13th, the big day.

I considered taking him to my hometown of Beaufort, South Carolina. He has always enjoyed walking those streets, but as I was looking for a cozy but elegant setting, I found a plantation 30 minutes away from Charleston, in Summerville. I studied their web site and the when I saw the line, “A step ahead in luxury and a stepback in time,” I knew I had found the place to celebrate a romantic birthday evening, The Woodlands Resort and Inn.
Photos by Camilla

Afternoon tea was sent to us as we settled into our room. That of course, is ice-tea. We are in the South. A chilled bottle of wine was in the room and a sense of deja-vu. The armoire was of the same design as the one in our bedroom at home.

Roger checked the Internet access and I went to check the table for his birthday dinner. The dining room was lovely and the Maître de very accommodating. I chose the perfect table, then skipped backed to the room very excited about the upcoming evening.

I was right to be excited. The meal was amazing. The chef even prepared Roger one of his favorite dishes, even though it wasn’t on the menu.

Interstate 95 is a good road for the truckers to get where they need to be quickly, but when we have time, we like to leave that road for the truckers to enjoy. Our planned route was to head over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, up the DelMar Peninsula and catch the Cape May-Lewes Ferry to New Jersey.

The concert with Sebastian was part of a Summer Monday Night series held at the Ocean City Music Pier. The theater seats over 800 people. John and Roger’s show was the first sell-out of the Monday night series.

It didn’t matter to either Roger or John who opened the show, but John had a 4 hour drive after his performance, so he entertained the fired up audience first. John did stay awhile in order to join Roger with his harmonica for three songs: “You Got Me Running,” “St James Infirmary Blues" and “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.” After the songs, John quietly slipped away into the night.

Later at the hotel, Roger and I were reminiscing about the concert and I mentioned to him that I noticed his performance had a slightly different relaxed attitude than the relaxed one I was used to seeing. He congratulated me on my perceptive observance then told me that he had sat on the side of the stage during John’s show. He was inspired by John’s amazing musicianship and his loving attitude towards the audience. I could tell that John’s inspiration was reflected in Roger’s performance. There is a proverb, "As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens man.”

Tuesday morning, we drove to the Sheraton Suites On The Hudson in Weehauken, NJ. Gary Trust, from Billboard magazine, had emailed me earlier in the week and asked for a copy of “Live From Spain” for their archives. I told him that we would be happy to drop one by the office since Roger was scheduled to be in New York for an interview.

We caught the ferry right out the hotel door, stepped up onto the free Ferry Bus and got off three blocks from the Billboard offices. (We are big fans of public transportation when it works.) After chatting with the staff for a while, Roger looked at me and said, “Time to go.” I had forgotten to tell him, that Gary also took this opportunity to arrange an interview. I do need to remember that sometimes, Roger can’t read my mind.

While Roger was sequestered with Jonathan Cohen. Gary took me to the Billboard library.

Billboard magazine is a trade paper founded in 1894 for the billboard industry. It grew into one of the most important music industry trade papers. When an artist hits the top of the Billboard Charts, they are considered a success. Once that happens, the record company presidents sometimes take their calls. Gary invited me to view the original issues of the magazine.

The Billboard library is a small space with piles of the magazine piled in heaps on every available surface. The oldest copies are stored in heavy duty file cabinets. While Gary was busy looking for the early issue, my eyes glanced down at the bottom of the three foot stack of magazines that were next to me. Sticking out at an angle was a cover from June 1973 and I recognized a face on the cover. It was the album cover from Roger’s first solo album titled Roger McGuinn. The original photograph hangs on my office wall. I couldn’t talk for a moment while my mind went over the probability factor of me standing in that spot in the Billboard library, in the midst of hundreds of magazines and seeing the face of my husband. I pointed to the picture and asked Gary if he knew the person in that photograph. He didn’t. His mouth dropped too when I told him it was Roger.
( 1973 Billboard)
A short visit that happened just because of an email request, turned out to be a shot heard around the world. The interview went onto the web the next day and Roger’s quote about not wanting to do a ‘Byrds’ reunion was picked up by Rolling Stone and news outlets around the world. When the August 4, 2007 hard copy issue was released, on page 65 was a picture of Roger and the photo next to his was one of Diana Ross. She was in the photo next to Roger in the 1973 issue too. We didn’t notice that tidbit until I asked Roger to scan the cover for this blog. Some people would say this so called co-incidence was stranger than fiction, I say it was a smile from God.
(2007 Billboard)
Wednesday was another trip down memory lane for Roger. Bob Dylan’s “Rolling Thunder Review” was one of Roger’s all time favorite tours. Jeff Rosen asked Roger to come to New York and to spend a couple of hours talking on camera about that incredible “band of gypsies” that would slip secretly into a town and announce from a radio station, “there is a show in town tonight.”

The mirrored armoire in the hotel suite, the touching concert with John Sebastian, the jaw dropping events at Billboard, the memories of the visionary tour from our modern day Shakespeare were all beautiful wrappings for Roger’s birthday. But there was still one more ribbon.

We woke up early, planning to retrace our path back south. I didn’t make reservations for the Cape May-Lewes Ferry because I wasn’t sure when we would get to the terminal. Often during the 140 mile drive, Roger offered to drive, but I felt compelled to keep going and not to stop. I drove up to the ticket gate, handed the man my credit card and was told there might be room on the noon ferry, if not the next one was at 1pm.

There were a lot of cars towing big trailers. The traffic director approached our van with his walkie-talkie in hand, shaking his head, “The size of this van will probably keep you off this ferry.” We waited holding our breath. It was no big deal if we didn’t get on, but we were just one car away and our hope had flowered into childlike eager anticipation. I gnawed on my lower lip, then the walkie talkie crackled, “Send in the van.”
(The last place on the ferry!)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tommy Makem Tribute

Hi, this is Roger McGuinn.

I first heard Tommy Makem sing with the Clancy Brothers at the Gate of Horn in Chicago in 1958. He played the 5-string banjo like Pete Seeger and sang like nobody I'd ever heard. His enthusiasm was overwhelming! The punch he got on lyrics amazed me! It didn't matter what the song was about, Tommy devoured it and made it his own.

In 2001 I had the pleasure of recording with Tommy and his sons The Makem Brothers for my CD "Treasures From The Folk Den." We decided to sing "Finnegan's Wake" because it was one of the songs I'd heard him perform with the Clancy Brothers at the Gate of Horn.

Tommy passed away on August 1, 2007. We will all miss him and be grateful for his wonderful legacy of music.

Here's a video from the "Treasures From The Folk Den" recording sessions. Tommy's voice was so loud that he had to stand three feet from the microphone to blend with my vocal. I was just inches away from the mic.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Roadie Report 28 - June 2007 in NYC with The Rock Bottom Remainders

Greg Iles, Stephen King and Roger at sound check. (Photo by Camilla)

The sound of the train speeding to New York City added to the excitement of our joining the Rock Bottom Remainders for their 15th “Still Younger Than Keith” Anniversary Tour. Webster Hall was hosting the charity event and the tickets were sold out. Over the last 15 years the band has raised over $ 1.5 million for various literacy charities. Just like the Astronauts, these authors have given of their time and money, to support and encourage young minds to expand into the inner depths of knowledge and creativity.

I wrote about the Remainders in the August 2006 BLOG, so I won’t go into the history of the group again, but for newcomers to, I will reiterate a few points.

Kathi Kamen Goldmark, founder of the Rock Bottom Remainders (Photo by Roger)

This rock’n’roll group, The Rock Bottom Remainders, was the brainchild of Kathi Kamen Goldmark. While she was working with various writers on their promotional tours, she heard a common thread – they all secretly aspired to be rock stars. She took their secret dream and turned it into reality for a group of best selling authors including Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Roy Blount, Jr., Matt Groening, Ridley Pearson, and Stephen King. Mitch Albom, Greg Iles, Scott Turow and others joined in as soon as they found out they too could be “rock stars.”

Roger was invited to join them for one show in 2000. We had so much fun that the band hasn’t been able to hide from us since. Now as the train was speeding through the sultry South, we were laughing. We knew the fun was about to continue and all for a good cause.

Every time the band members are interviewed, they let Dave Barry make his humorous remarks about how inept they are as musicians. Roger is the voice that always refutes their deprecating humor, insisting they are good musicians….most of them. When the sound check ended at Webster Hall, Roger smiled and whispered to me, “They’ve been practicing!” The band always kept a beat because professional drummer Josh Kelly was the heartbeat, but this rehearsal had a tight groove. Maybe they were hoping to impress the new girl in the band, Lesley Gore.

The show was fun! It was the first time I had stood at the back of the stage looking out onto the faces in the audience. Watching the smiles and hearing the voices singing along with the all the songs, reminded me that music is a wonderful way to make people happy and to help them forget their troubles for a moment in time.

Our return train reservations to Orlando were for Sunday afternoon, so we had a day off in the city. When we have the occasional day off, we love to explore cities. New York is a great city - makes you want to put on your walking shoes.

New York City Dog in his walking shoes! (Photo by Camilla)

We began the day with an early lunch at the Italian Café Fiorello located on the West Side of Central Park. After lunch we walked through the park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art so we could visit the work of some of our favorite impressionist artists. On the walk, Roger realized that even though he had lived in New York, he had never traversed the park on foot. The weather was beautiful on this warm summer day. There were musicians playing, children dancing, baseballs flying, and a June bride gracefully walking in her flowing gown, gently holding the arm of her beloved. Central Park (photo by Camilla)

The rain began to pour when a taxi dropped us at our hotel. We enjoyed a quiet dinner at a nearby French sidewalk bistro while we watched raindrops create ripples in the puddles.

In the morning, I called Amtrak to confirm the departure time of our train. That was a very good idea. The night before a train had derailed and ours had been canceled. Amtrak reservations are very hard to get in the summer and we couldn't be rescheduled until Tuesday. We had to spend an extra day in New York City…oh shucks!

Minetta Tavern on MacDougal Street (Photo by Camilla)

On Monday we headed to Greenwich Village for lunch at Roger’s old haunt, Minetta Tavern. Later in the evening we joined Ted Habte-Gabr, the Remainders Tour Manager, for dinner at the Ethiopian restaurant, Ghenet in Little Italy. Ted knew just what to order- he spoke the language. New York City is better than Epcot Center for a quick trip around the world.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Roadie Report 27-Astronauts Hall of Fame by Camilla McGuinn

Vehicle Assembly Building (photo by Camilla)

In 2004 Roger was invited to perform for the Astronauts Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The space program captured both Roger's and my attention from the first television broadcast of Alan Shepard’s flight as commander of Freedom 7 on May 5, 1961. His 15 minute, 28 seconds flight successfully put the first American in space and sent our young imaginations soaring.

When John Glenn orbited the earth in 1962 in the Friendship 7 spacecraft, Roger was working in Las Vegas. I was in Mrs. Ritter’s fourth grade class, sitting on the floor watching the black and white television that she had hauled into the classroom for her students to see history in the making. History was not only in the making, heroes were.

In 2004 we were both awestruck and nervous when faced with the reality of Roger performing for our heroes. We were invited for the whole weekend’s events and to join the astronauts at all the various functions. I have never found myself so speechless.

One of the songs Roger performed was “Draggin.” He thought that because so many of the astronauts were pilots that they might chuckle at the premise of two pilots racing across the USA in their jets. At the informal dinner the next night, we were sitting at the table with astronaut, Bob Crippen. Bob laughingly told us: "We used to do that! We really did race each other across the USA in our jets."

Linn LeBlanc, the executive director of the Astronauts Scholarship Program, has invited us to the all the ceremonies since 2004, but unfortunately we'd usually had concerts scheduled for the first weekend in May. This year was different! Our schedule was clear and we readily accepted the invitation.

(Photo by Camilla) May 4th was the gala dinner for the Astronaut inductees and the major fund raiser for the Astronauts Scholarship Program. We were invited to ride on the astronaut’s family bus from the hotel to the Apollo/Saturn Visitor Center. The tables were assigned and we were thrilled to find ourselves at Table 13, sitting next to Apollo 13, Astronaut Jim Lovell. It didn’t take long for my tongue to become untied, because Jim is one the sweetest men who ever circled the Earth. Through out the evening, Roger and I would give each other those, “I can’t believe this" looks every so often.(Photo by Camilla)

Jim was inquisitive about our work and when I told him that Roger is active in archiving Folk Music, he lit up. Folk music became our common bond and fortunately I had slipped two copies of “The Folk Den Project” into my suitcase. I knew from our last visit that this was the weekend of Scott Carpenter’s birthday and I had purposely brought a copy for him. Now I knew why I brought two copies. Roger gave Jim a copy the next night.

After the gala, we boarded the buses for the ride to the hotel. We decided to be “flies on the wall” and just soak in the wonderment of being around our heroes, so we went to the back of the bus. That night, at the back of the bus, we met one of the inductees into the Hall of Fame, Jeffrey Hoffman and his wife Barbara. I'm embarrassed to admit, that I didn’t recognize him but maybe that was a good thing. Barbara and I began talking like old friends and throughout the rest of the weekend we often sought each other out in the crowds. Jeffrey is now a professor at MIT and we’re looking forward to seeing them when Roger performs in Natick, Masschusetts in September.

(Photo by Camilla) Jeffrey is an astronomer who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope. They invited us to sit at their table for the last dinner of the weekend and I found myself asking deep questions - “Do you dream about space?” Roger’s questions were more technical and a bit deeper.

At the hotel the fun continued. Astronauts know how to have a good time. Maybe it's working in life and death situations that spur a desire to live every minute to the fullest. There was a hospitality suite for the group and we all gathered there each night after the official festivities. Roger brought his 7-string guitar.

Hoot Gibson playing the 7-string. (Photo by Karl Ronstrom)

Years ago, the working astronauts formed a band and named it “Max Q” after the term for the point of maximum dynamic pressure - the point at which aerodynamic stress on a spacecraft in atmospheric flight is maximized. Brewster Shaw and Hoot Gibson were members of the band and they shyly strummed Roger’s guitar for a few chords but quickly gave it back to him. I doubt Roger would give back the controls of a space craft so fast, but then again, they would never give them to him.

Scott Carpenter and Roger relaxing in the hospitality suite.(photo by Camilla)

Roger, John Glenn and Wally Shirra in 2004. (Photo by Camilla)

There was one person missing from the hospitality room – Wally Shirra, one of the original Mercury Seven Astronauts. We were looking forward to hearing his humorous stories again, but he died suddenly just a few days before this year’s induction ceremonies.
(Photo by Camilla)

A tour of Kennedy Space Center was arranged for the Astronauts and their families on Saturday morning. Roger and I took familiar seats in the back of the bus and found ourselves next to another inductee, Michael Coats. Michael is currently the Director of Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. He suggested we tour the VAB, Vehicle Assembly Building, where the space shuttle was being repaired after a recent hail storm caused major damage.

The experience of standing next to the space shuttle with astronauts that had flown in space, in the VAB has been added to our list of “some of the most memorable times in our lives.”
John Glenn and the McGuinns. One of the few times I wanted my picture taken!(Photo by the willing hands that I thrust my camera into.)

After the tour, we went to the Visitor Center for lunch and the induction ceremony. Before we were taken to our seats, Roger and I looked from the balcony of the VIP lounge were the luncheon had been served, at the people milling around the exhibits below. How blessed they were to explore these marvels of technology and to be next to people who were history makers.

The Astronauts Hall of Fame was the fruit of the Mercury Seven Foundation. Six original astronauts from Mercury Seven and Betty Grissom, the widow of Virgil (Gus) Grissom established the Astronaut Scholarship Program in 1984. They each contributed to seven scholarships of $1000 each for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination, and exceptional performance in the science or engineering field. The foundation now awards annually 19 scholarships each worth $10,000. To date, the foundation has awarded more than $2.3 million in scholarships to 211 deserving students. The Astronauts Hall of Fame not only recognizes the brave contributions of the astronauts who have changed our world, but also supports this foundation. Brave souls went to uncharted space. Many returned and those who returned have continued to help mankind with small steps to help others make large leaps.

Tickets to The Astronauts Hall of Fame induction are available to the public. Hope to see you there in the future!