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Byrds Unlikely to Reunite in 2014 for 50th Anniversary

The Byrds
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Given their rocky past, it’s amazing that former Byrds frontman and lead guitarist Roger McGuinn and co-songwriter/singer and rhythm guitarist David Crosby are even on speaking terms, no less friends. Still, a new article suggests that it’s unlikely they will do anything to celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary in 2014.

McGuinn says that he’s perfectly content and does well enough financially playing traditional music in smaller venues in support of his ‘Folk Den’ project, and that a reunion with Crosby and bassist Chris Hillman – the other surviving member of the original quintet – simply doesn’t interest him, however lucrative it may be.

“David and I have talked about this at length,” he told Rolling Stone. “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.”

Crosby was unceremoniously fired from the band in 1968 on the heels of the release of ‘The Notorious Byrd Brothers,’ in part due to his antics at the previous year’s Monterey Pop Festival, where he talked about a JFK assassination conspiracy theory onstage, as well as sat in with the Neil Young-less Buffalo Springfield. On the album’s cover his picture was replaced by a horse. Regardless, Crosby has put all that behind him and would love to reunite, with only McGuinn standing in the way.

“He’s just not interested in a Byrds reunion,” said Crosby. “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.”

As far as the two writing or recording ever again, McGuinn’s resistance may have something to do with a quote by ex-Byrds producer Terry Melcher, who supposedly said that working with Crosby was tougher than one-time rising star Charles Manson. McGuinn could also be remembering the ill-fated 1973 reunion of the original lineup.

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