Jim Guittard’s Place

My Connection With Rock & Roll History

Posted in Rock and Roll History by guittard on April 18, 2008

February 2000, Los Angeles, California

I drove up to the Sherman Oaks, California Guitar Center on Ventura. I had grown tired of the Guitar Center on Sunset Blvd and all the tourists. It was so loud. On this particular day, I walked in wearing my John Lennon T-Shirt that said New York City.

John Lennon - New York City

I had gone in to look for a new amplifier. I looked around the store quickly and decided that I had seen enough. I walked out the front door and down the street and decided, no I was going back in.

Inside I found a white Fender Stratocaster and got a power cord and plugged into a Fender amp. I began playing jazz chords. After a few minutes and while I was still playing a guy came up to me.

This was Henry McGuinn. He said, “Hey man. I like your playing. What’s happening? Do you like the Byrds?”

I said, “Yeah, I guess so. I don’t have any of their albums but I like Mr. Tambourine Man and Eight Miles High. That’s all I know.”

Henry said, “My dad’s Roger McGuinn, who started the Byrds.”

I said, “Yeah, man, that’s cool. Can I see your ID?”

Roger McGuinn - Rock and Roll Hall of Famer

We talked in the store for about twenty minutes. We spoke about the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones. I finally found someone I could relate to with this type of music. My meeting with Henry left me with renewed purpose. I seemed that I was just waiting around a bit in Hollywood to find the right people. I figured sooner or later I would find someone. I left the Guitar Center stoked, thinking of the possibilities. I guess I was a bit star-struck, too.

The next day, I went to the Warehouse on Sunset Blvd. to look for some Byrds music. I found and bought 5D. It was the Byrds 1966 album that had Eight Miles High, Mr. Spaceman, and I See You on it. I listened to the album a few times and decided to call Henry.

I left a message and an hour or so later he called from a pay phone.

Henry, “Hey, what’s happening? This is Henry McGuinn.”

I said enthusiastically, “Hey, Henry, yeah this is Jim. I met you at the Guitar Center.”

Henry said, “Yeah cool. I’m out by the beach just loving it.”

I said, “I bought 5D. It’s really cool. I haven’t ever really listened to the Byrds but they are really hip.”

The Byrds - Fifth Dimension

Henry said, “Yeah, they’re all good, especially ’65-’68 era. Well, so you want to get together?”

I said, “How bout tomorrow? We could have lunch and then jam.”

Henry, “Yeah, I just want to meet and see if we have chemistry, you know.”

Boy I was excited, the chance to play with someone that liked the same music I did and the fact that his dad is a rock star is totally rad!

The next day I met him outside at his truck. We brought up his guitar and then we walked to a Sandwich shop right up Las Palmas in Hollywood. We ate and talked music and began to get to know each other. We seemed to be on such a similar wavelength. It was kind of amazing chemistry really.

After lunch, we opened up our guitars. He brought out his acoustic 12- String Martin guitar. At first, I just listened to him. He sang a few Byrds tunes. He sang Tambourine Man and You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere and I believe he sang the Christian Life as well. At the time I had never heard the Christian Life and I was stoked on it. I was really inspired to start playing.

The next few times that we met, we listened to Byrds music. At the Tower Records, I loaded up on all sorts of music that he recommended. I was really into it. I bought several Flying Burrito Brothers albums, some Gram Parsons and Lovin’ Spoonful.

Our music was finally coming together. We were playing some Beatles, Byrds, and Dylan covers and some of our new stuff. He played me his cool song called Summertime that he wrote at the beach inspired by George Harrison and What You Say a song about running away and pure Byrds. I loved it. I added some rhythm guitar to it while he did his fingerpicking style soloing inspired by his father.

One day Henry brought over his 12-String Guitar Instructional Video that his dad had done. On the video his dad went wild on the 12- String Rickenbacker playing his old classics. I was again blown away.

McGuinn 12-String Instructional Video

Now prior to that point I had always thought that the Beatles were my number one group but I now believed that the Byrds were up there with them. It was great to learn more about music. I did not feel bad about buying a lot of records. I considered it an investment: The Who ’65, The Zombies, The Association, Beach Boys Pet Sounds, The Kinks, Gram Parsons, and the Flying Burrito Brothers.

The next thing I did was to buy the Johnny Rogan Byrds biography. Henry had been talking about it. It was the only complete Byrds biography written. I found it at the Book Soup book store on Sunset Strip right across the street from Tower Records. Henry and I considered it our manual on how to live a Byrdsian lifestyle.

I met Henry in February 2000 and in March South by Southwest music festival raged in Austin, Texas. We found out that Roger was playing at the Cactus Lounge on the University of Texas Campus. We felt it was a good excuse for a road trip.

Before we left, Henry and I made a trip down to the Rickenbacker factory in Santa Ana. At Rickenbacker, we both waited in the reception area. Shortly after, John Hall, the CEO, came out and I was introduced.

Henry told me stories of John Hall and the Beatles. John Hall had been to the Beatles’ Hollywood Bowl show in 1965 as a teenager and had met all the Beatles and the Byrds. John Lennon and George Harrison both played guitars that were given to them by Rickenbacker and Crosby and then Jim McGuinn would run down to S.A. for Rick customizations . Needless to say, Rickenbacker has had great influence on Rock & Roll. Henry’s father worked with Rickenbacker in designing a custom signature 12-String guitar with an on board compressor. What resulted was the wood colored (Maple Glo) Rickenbacker 370 Model. Henry is totally proud of his father.

While Henry talked with John in his office, I sat down and looked at magazines. We were there for Henry to interview for a job with Rickenbacker. I sat and waited for fifteen minutes and then Henry returned, full of hope for the future. We said our good byes to John Hall and Henry told John that he would get back in touch after our trip to Austin.

I felt on the in-crowd a bit. Rickenbacker had worked with all sorts of artists: REM, Tom Petty, Susana Hoffs, Carl Wilson, etc. I have a Rickenbacker FG 330 from those days. Henry on the 325Byrd and me on the 330 is some of the best noise ever! All the best bands play Rickenbacker.

Hope you enjoyed the read.

Henry McGuinn and Jim Guittard - Austin, Texas SXSW 2000

Henry and I put up a website for our band the Ragas. You can check it out at:

www.myspace.com/theragas

Optimistic Music

Posted in Good Music, Rock and Roll History by guittard on November 17, 2007

I think we should get back to the mindset of the past. At least the more open-minded thinking of the ’60’s. You say, oh, let’s don’t live in the past, let’s move forward.

I counter you with, “the thinking of the 1960’s was more healthy I think than today.” I’m all about moving forward and it seems that this period was about moving forward for the better.

It is my opinion that if all listened to the music of the ’60’s or that type of thinking then the world would be that much better. You’ve all heard the saying “garbage in garbage out.” Well, put this more positive type of thinking In.

Here’s my top songs that may clean up the pessimistic or status quo thinking. Just look to the words for inspiration out of this fearful terrorist world we live.

1. Bob Dylan – The Times Are A-Changin’

2. The Beatles – Think For Yourself

3. Gene Clark – Keep On Pushin’

4. Stephen Stills (Manassas) – Jesus Gave Love Away For Free

5. The Zombies – Time Of The Season

6. The Byrds – Turn, Turn, Turn

7. The Rolling Stones – Salt of the Earth

8. The Association – The Time Is Today

9. The Kinks – Animal Farm

10. George Harrison – What Is Life?

11. Pink Floyd – Burnin’ Bridges

12. The Beach Boys – I Know There’s An Answer

13. Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth

14. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – Teach Your Children

15. Donovan – Catch The Wind

16. The Doors – Take It As It Comes

17. John Lennon – Give Me Some Truth

18. The Lovin’ Spoonful – Do You Believe In Magic?

19. Simon and Garfunkle – Bridge Over Troubled Water

20. Sly and The Family Stone – Everybody Is A Star

Shturcite (BG Legendary Band)

Posted in Bulgaria, Good Music, Music, Rock and Roll History by guittard on February 2, 2007

My girlfriend turned me onto the Bulgarian rock band, Shturcite, and amazingly I met Petar Gyuzelev, a founding member of the band. It was just last weekend in Sofia at a church. Petar plays the guitar and sings. I spoke with him in my bad Bulgarian and he understood me. I asked if he was in the Shturcite band and he said, “Da.”

Then I told him about living in Hollywood and playing with the son of Roger McGuinn. I asked if he knew of the Byrds and he said yes and then we talked about David Crosby and his other band. It was cool to rap with a legendary Bulgarian Rock and Roller.

Here are some clips I found on Youtube of the band.

Rock In Past Tense

Kletva

Rock’N’Roll Music

My Top 50 Albums In Random Order

Posted in Good Music, Music, Neo-psychedelia, Psychedelic, Rock and Roll History by guittard on October 4, 2006

 

  1. The Beatles – Rubber Soul – 1965
  2. Bob Dylan – Bringing it All Back Home – 1965
  3. The Rolling Stones – Exile On Mainstreet – 1972
  4. Love – Forever Changes – 1967
  5. The Dandy Warhols – Dandy’s Rule Ok – 1995
  6. Beachwood Sparks – Beachwood Sparks – 2000
  7. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds – 1966
  8. The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Give It Back – 1997
  9. Miles Davis – Bitches Brew – 1970
  10.  Beck – Odelay – 1996
  11.  Son Volt – Trace – 1995
  12.  The Byrds – Notorious Byrd Brothers – 1968
  13.  Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Howl – 2005
  14. The Kinks – The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society – 1968
  15. Merle Haggard and the Strangers – Lonesome Fugitive 1967
  16. The Tyde – Twice – 2003
  17. Uncle Tupelo – March 16-20, 1992 – 1992
  18. The Doors – Morrison Hotel – 1970
  19. Stephen Stills – Manassas – 1972
  20. David Bowie – Aladdin Sane – 1973
  21. My Bloody Valentine – Ecstacy and Wine – 1989
  22. Pink Floyd – Piper at the Gates of Dawn – 1967
  23. George Harrison – All Things Must Pass – 1970
  24. The Warlocks – The Warlocks – 2000
  25. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground and Nico – 1967
  26. The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Strung Out In Heaven – 1998
  27. The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet – 1968
  28. Buffalo Springfield – Buffalo Springfield – 1967
  29. The Electric Prunes – Underground – 1967
  30. The Byrds – Fifth Dimension – 1966
  31. The Monkees – Head –  1968
  32. Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison – 1968
  33. Donovan – Greatest Hits – 1969
  34. Neil Young – Tonight’s the Night – 1975
  35. Led Zeppelin – Houses of The Holy – 1973
  36. The Flying Burrito Bros – Hot Burritos! The Flying Burrito Bros. Anthology 2000
  37. Echo And The Bunnymen – Ocean Rain – 1984
  38. Ride – Nowhere – 1990
  39. U2 – The Joshua Tree – 1987
  40. INXS – Kick – 1987
  41. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Into The Great Wide Open – 1991
  42. Pearl Jam – No Code – 1996
  43. Poco – Pickin’ Up The Pieces – 1969
  44. The Cure – Disintegration – 1989
  45. Return To Forever – No Mystery – 1975
  46. Antonio Carlos Jobim – Stone Flower – 1970
  47. The Who – The Who Sell Out – 1967
  48. The Zombies – The Singles Collection: A’s & B’s, 1964-1969 -2000
  49. The Association – Greatest Hits – 1968
  50. The Lovin’ Spoonful – Greatest Hits – 2000