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5 Questions with Roger McGuinn

Roger McGuinn of the Byrds performs at Largo Cultural Center

Roger McGuinn was the frontman for the Byrds, worked with Bob Dylan and is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. He will perform at the Largo Cultural Center Friday night.

Special to the Times

Roger McGuinn was the frontman for the Byrds, worked with Bob Dylan and is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. He will perform at the Largo Cultural Center Friday night.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Roger McGuinn brings his 12-string Rickenbacker to the Largo Cultural Center on Friday.

He will be known for eternity as both the frontman of the Byrds and the troubadour whose voice propelled several of Bob Dylan's songs to bestselling status.

McGuinn, who was born in Chicago, considers himself a Floridian. Although he and his wife, Camilla, have lived full time in Orlando since 2001, for many years the family also resided part time in a condominium on Indian Rocks Beach.

The 66-year-old spoke to us by phone from the Marriott Hotel in Memphis as he prepared his keynote speech for the 2009 International Folk Alliance, an annual music conference. In 1995, McGuinn launched his own preservation project, the Folk Den. The collection of songs and information on traditional folk can be found at

1 What are your plans up there at the Folk Alliance? This is my first time speaking to the Folk Alliance. My plan is to talk about how somebody in the audience of one of my shows called me the Forrest Gump of music. I'll talk about that, and how it is true. I've been lucky to always be in the right place at the right time. I'll also talk about how I learned the importance of being ready for opportunities, as well as the importance of passing folk music on from one generation to the next.

2That being said, do you think it's possible to pass on the authentic traditions now, in this quick, post-electronic age? Ironically, it was said the Internet was going to kill music, but it's actually saving it. One example is there were students who e-mailed me from a small country, Kyrgyzstan, about my music. We're reaching more young people than ever before.

3 Did you and Camilla make a road trip out of traveling from Orlando to Memphis or did you fly? When we're in the states, we go completely by highway. We have a Ford Econoline 250. It's a full-size, tricked-out van. It looks like a train compartment.

4 I believe this is the first time you've played at the Largo Cultural Center. What can your audience expect? For the show, I'll do a combination — songs from my work with the Byrds as well as several from my solo CDs. I'll also do a few songs from Folk Den. While we're there, we'll be staying with some dear friends, and we're looking forward to partying with them. It's one big happy family between Pinellas County and Orlando.

5An old friend of mine has a story about seeing you and Bob Dylan on the beach near the Don CeSar Beach Resort and Spa about 20 years ago. Could this be true? Well, it wasn't Bob Dylan. He might've been referring to a time I was there with Tom Petty. We were flying kites on the beach at the Don CeSar.


What: Roger McGuinn in concert

When: Friday

Where: Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive

Cost: Tickets are $30 in advance; $35 day of the show; $25 senior; and $26 groups.

For information: Call the Largo Cultural Center box office at (727) 587-6793 or visit

Roger McGuinn of the Byrds performs at Largo Cultural Center 02/21/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 21, 2009 2:17pm]
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