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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.
I didn't really enjoy reading until I married my wife and we began reading the Bible out loud to each other every day. I enjoy reading now, and there is a whole world of books out there to explore.
I got into computers back in the early '80s, so it was a natural progression of learning about e-mail in the mid-'80s and getting into the Internet when it opened up in the early '90s.
I love being a troubadour. I travel around the world with my wife and play little theaters. We have a ball.
I love being on the sea and the rolling of the ship, and for me, it's not really happening until we get a little wave action going, I love that feeling.
I open all my concerts with 'My Back Pages,' written by Bob Dylan, and close them all with 'May the Road Rise to Meet You,' written by Roger McGuinn and Camilla McGuinn.
I think the good thing about the Internet is to give something away and to sell something else. Get a business model like that because the old brick and mortar record stores are falling apart, and the big record companies are collapsing under their own weight.
I was raised a Roman Catholic and had to go to the eight o'clock Mass every morning and have communion and wear a tie, kind of like a restricted life style. Then in the '60s, we got wild and let it go and started looking in other places to see where God really was, and I came back to the Christian thing.
I'd like to be remembered as a keeper of the flame who kept traditional music alive, because I've been doing that twice as long as I was in the Byrds.
I'm a huge fan of home recording. I think it levels the playing field. You don't need $100,000 to record a studio CD.
I've always considered myself a folk singer, even though we strapped on Rickenbacker guitars and played pretty loud.
I've always loved the songs of the sea. I was first introduced to them back in 1957, at the Old Town School of Folk Music. I used to go to Pete Seeger concerts, and he would do songs like 'Ruben Ranzo' and talk about how the sailors sang songs to do their work - to raise the anchors, pull up the sails and that sort of thing.
I've got an electric little motorcycle that I go to the supermarket with every day, and it's powered by the solar panels, so it's really got a zero carbon footprint.
My favorite guitar now is my Martin HD-7 because it's got everything. It's got the jingle-jangle thing from the twelve string, it's got the flexibility of the six string, and the bass notes where you can do bass runs and that sort of thing.
No one realized that I needed eyeglasses until I was 12 years old. My parents were writers, so I was around the sounds of words and developed a vocabulary with my sense of hearing. I play guitar by ear.
People have told me that other artists have been influenced by my music, and it's flattering. It's a wonderful thing.
The wonderful thing about having your songs on the radio is that people are going to go out to your concerts and buy your merchandise and that sort of thing, and it feels good to get that level of name recognition.
To me, being in the big time is not that big of a deal. I've been there; I know what it is. It's exciting, but it's also a lot of work and pressure. I love sort of flying under the radar where we can play theaters and sell CD's on the Internet, and it's really kind of a cool time.
When I first went from a band situation to a solo situation, it was quite an adjustment to make. But after having done it for a number of years, it really feels good out there.
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