- Musique

Interview - Jim McCarty, one of the pioneers of British rock in the 60's

Marie Torres - November 8, 2020
If he is known to have been the drummer for one of the most important groups of the 1960s, The Yardbirds, which he reformed in 1992, Jim McCarty is also and above all a talented musician, singer and songwriter.
Jim McCarty behind drums

Jim McCarty is the renowned drummer of The Yardbirds. A band with a rich history that includes Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck. Do you remembered their hits ? « For Your Love », « Heart Full of Soul », « Shapes of Things » or « Over Under Sideways Down »... Today, The Yardbirds continue with Jim McCarty and a new band of passionate musicians: singer John Idan, harmonica/bongos/vocals Myke Scavone, guitarist Godfrey Townsend, and bassist Kenny Aaronson.

Micmag : How long have you been living in France and why?

Jim McCarty: I have always loved France, and around 2004 my wife Elisabeth and I decided to buy a house in Roussillon, in the Vaucluse. We loved the culture, and as Elisabeth spoke pretty well in French, it worked, unfortunately she recently died of cancer.

I am truly sorry

J.McC. : Thanks.

What is your last news ?

J.McC. : The last time I played was in January/February 2020 in the US when we did a cruise and a few dates on the mainland. And, in 2018, I did a « solo ». CD « Walking in the Wild Land ». .

What about the audience that comes to see the Yardbirds?

J.McC. : The present line-up is very good, with a good feeling. We draw all age groups, but predominately « baby boomers ».- people in their sixties/seventies.

Stones, Beatles, Who, kinks, Troggs... The Yardbirds came around a really exciting time in the British Rock scene. In many ways, this era shaped the future of Rock-n-Roll. What do you think made the British Rock movement so unique?

J.McC. : Those times in the 60’s were so exciting because all of us heard the Blues music coming from the US and were captivated by it- we wanted to play it, and eventually - with the Yardbirds - do our own version of it. It was a magical time.

How the Yardbirds were formed?

J.McC. : In 1963, Top Topham (Anthony) and Chris Dreja formed a groupe, Metropolis Blues Quartet. Then we arrived : Paul Samwell-Smith, Keith Relf and me. The groupe was called The Yardbirds.
Eric Clapton was suggested for the group when Top Topham had to leave to continue his studies at Art school. Eric was also at Kingston Art school with Keith Relf and Chris Deja.

When Eric left the Yardbirds ?

J.McC. : Eric left the band when we recorded « For Your Love »,as he thought the song was too pop. Jeff Beck joined, who was recommended by his friend, Jimmy Page, who himself joined when Paul Samwell- Smith, the bass player, left in 1966.

Do you have a "special" memory from that time?

J.McC. : Probably the best moment for me was the Hall of Fame Induction
in 1992.

In the 90s what caused the group to reform?

J.McC. : A few years after that induction, Chris Dreja and myself decided to reform the band and give it a go. We had so many followers and fans over the years who really spurred us on to reform.


What music are you listening to today?

J.McC. : I listen to many types of music, but I think the main music I would listen would be fir relaxation purposes. That music is nice during the confinement.

What are your projects?

J.McC. : I am now starting to write songs again for myself.

And your autobiography has just been published in France

J.McC. : Yes. « Nobody Told Me », issued in english in 2018, and now available in French, « Si j'avais su... ma vie avec les Yardbirds, Renaissance, et autres histoires ».

I look back on my long and remarkable career. From the Yardbirds until my collaborations with the Pretty Things and the British Invasion All Stars, Box of Frogs, Stairway and more...

 Read the french version, here.

.      



Marie Torres pour www.micmag.net/ Both photos are by Arnie Goodman.
Walking In The Wild Land
Jim McCarty
15,84 euros

Nobody Told Me: My Life with the Yardbirds, Renaissance and Other Stories
by Jim McCarty, Dave Thompson

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