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But in my imagination this whole thing developed and I started mixing up old folk songs with the Beatles beat and taking them down to Greenwich Village and playing them for the people there.
I always got a kick out of it when they called it the California Sound because it really came out of Liverpool and Greenwich Village.
I started playing guitar back in '56. I was a teenager, and guitars had just come in, and I had a thing for it and got one. Started learning lead breaks from songs, because that was the easiest thing to do at the time. I had the guitar for two years before I learned any chords. Really.
I think what makes the Byrds stand up all these years is the basis in folk music. Folk music, being a timeless art form, is the foundation of the Byrds. We were all from a folk background. We considered ourselves folk singers even when we strapped on electric instruments and dabbled in different things.
I think Wilco is going to definitely stand the test of time - no question - and Uncle Tupelo, and the whole No Depression scene, which is now alt-country. I think that's going to be around a long time.
Now, you can just get a laptop, get some software, put a microphone on it and make a record. You have to know how to do it. It does help if you've had 35 or 40 years of experience in the studio. But, it still levels the playing field so artists can record their own stuff.
That's one of the things I like best about folk music is the beautiful melodies - and the harmonies - that exist in it. And of course, some of the stories, the story songs.
The original Byrds were very much Beatles-influenced, and then we gradually got our own sound. We started mixing things together more.
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