Roger McGuinn Shoots Down David Crosby’s Byrds Reunion Idea (Again)

Roger McGuinn Shoots Down David Crosby’s Byrds Reunion Idea (Again)

David Crosby urged his former Byrds bandmate Roger McGuinn to reunite the group over the weekend, asking the singer on Twitter, “Want to do a couple of Byrds dates? I’ll just sing harmony. No talking?”

McGuinn didn’t respond to the tweet, but a representative did when reached for a comment. “Neither Roger or Chris entertain the idea of a Byrds reunion,” McGuinn’s rep wrote. “Roger was just tired of David crying about being hated. DC is not hated but that doesn’t mean anyone wants to work with him.”

Crosby’s initial query came in response to a tweet from McGuinn complaining that Crosby unfairly lumped him in with Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash as former bandmates that “won’t even talk to me” and “hate my guts” in his new documentary David Crosby: Remember My Name. “You’re saying I won’t talk to you and hate you,” McGuinn wrote. “That’s just not true!”

The two bandmates have had a somewhat strained relationship over the years, but McGuinn (unlike Stills, Nash and Young) did film a new interview for the documentary and they communicate regularly, at least via Twitter. “Thanks Roger,” Crosby wrote back. “Must have mixed you up with those other guys.”

The surviving members of the Byrds (McGuinn, Crosby and Chris Hillman) haven’t played together since a brief, two-song set at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium 19 years ago. Crosby has been very vocal about his desire for them to reform the band since then. “[Roger is] just not interested in a Byrds reunion,” he told Rolling Stone in 2013. “It’s a shame because he and Chris and I could do it. It would be great fun, but I got tired of asking him. I must have asked him at least 10 times and he always says no…And to me a reunion wouldn’t be about the money. I honestly don’t even think it would even by that big of a money deal.”

McGuinn explained to Rolling Stone that same year why a Byrds reunion would probably never happen. “I’m happy with the Byrds as a good memory,” he said. “David and I have talked about this at length, and to me a reunion would just be for the money. We’d go out and play some sheds, maybe gross a couple of million dollars and split it four or five ways. I’m not attracted to expensive things. I don’t need a Ferrari or anything like that.”

Last year, however, McGuinn and Chris Hillman celebrated by the 50th anniversary of the Byrds country rock masterpiece Sweetheart of the Rodeo by playing it straight through on tour. The album was recorded shortly after Crosby was dismissed from the group, but the show featured an extended set of songs from Crosby’s era like “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Mr. Spaceman” and “So You Want to Be a Rock ’n’ Roll Star.”

When Crosby first heard about the tour he was upset that they excluded him. “He wrote Roger and said, ‘I feel really hurt,’” Hillman told Billboard, “and immediately we both wrote him back separately, and said, ‘No, no no, this is the Sweetheart album. It’s not a Byrds reunion. We’re just doing this album from 50 years ago that you were not involved in.’ He was always invited to come see it — still is, if he wants to. I care about David a lot. He’s a mischievous little bad boy, still, but I do love him dearly.”

McGuinn echoed that sentiment when he spoke to Rolling Stone about the tour. “It’s not the Byrds,” he said. “This isn’t a Byrds tour. It’s a celebration of Sweetheart of the Rodeo‘s 50th anniversary with Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives. It’s not the Byrds.” He then said, once again, that a full Byrds tour wasn’t something he’d even consider. “I really don’t want to,” he said. “I kind of cringe at these old groups that get back together just for the money.”


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