Roger McGuinn just turned 73 years old, but he’s not kicking back and taking life easy. He’s rocking and rolling and he’s headed for Kauai.
The 1991 Rock and Rock Hall of Fame inductee is scheduled to perform Aug. 15 at the Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center. It will be part of a six-show solo tour that’s bringing him to Kauai for the first time in 37 years.
“I’m very excited to be back,” he said. “I absolutely it.”
McGuinn is the founder and leader of The Byrds, a popular band from the late 1960s into the early ‘70s, and is known for his 12-string Rickenbacker guitar sound. He plans to deliver some of the hits he’s closely associated with, including “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Eight Miles High,” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!”
“I’m not one of those artists who neglects their old material,” he said during a phone interview from his home in Orlando, Florida.
The concert will mix music with story telling as McGuinn shares tales of a legendary, enduring career and the songs that led to his success in a demanding industry. It’s essentially a two-hour, one-man play about his life that he and his wife Camilla created.
While he can’t guarantee the audience will love his show, he’s confident they will.
“What I’m doing is kind of theatrical,” he said.
And Camilla, by the way, is Roger’s stage manager so she’ll be joining him on Kauai.
“She does everything off stage and I do everything on stage,” he said.
McGuinn’s solo career began in 1973 and has yielded 10 albums, a Grammy nomination and other awards.
Arista records released “Back From Rio” in 1991, a rock album that included his friends, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Elvis Costello, Chris Hillman, David Crosby, Michael Penn and John Jorgensen. After touring extensively to support the album he returned to his roots — folk music.
He has toured extensively. Last year, he went on a four-month tour in Europe and he plans to tour in Japan later this year.
As he’s aged, McGuinn has but one rule of the road: theaters only.
“I used to take anything that would come in, he said. “Now, I just do theaters. We want to play in nice theaters with comfortable seats for people.”
Mr. Tambourine Man became a big hit for the Byrds in 1965 and McGuinn was their leader, known for his fearless sense of experimentation. He was on the leading edge, combining the rock beat of the Beatles with the folk sensibilities of Bob Dylan, to create the genre known as “folk-rock.”
One of the Byrd’s biggest hits, “Turn! Turn! Turn! was written by McGuinn’s friend and fellow musician Pete Seeger. The lyrics, like “to everything there is a season,” are based on the book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
Seeger was a big influence on McGuinn’s career.
“He made me want to play the guitar,” McGuinn said.
He and Camilla love life in Florida, where they enjoy walking, listening to classical and jazz music and swimming in their pool.
Doors open at 7 and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $50 (first five rows) and $40. They are available at Small Town Coffee (Kapaa); Kauai Music and Sound (Kapaa); Scotty’s Music (Lihue); Progressive Expressions (Koloa) ; Kalaheo Music & Strings (Kalaheo); Hanalei Strings and Things (Hanalei).