Byrds Didn’t Want to Upset David Crosby While Touring Without Him
Byrds co-founder Chris Hillman said he and colleague Roger McGuinn moved quickly to reassure David Crosby after he revealed he felt hurt by not being involved in their reunion.
McGuinn and Hillman are partway through a tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of groundbreaking album Sweetheart of the Rodeo, which was recorded after Crosby had been fired.
“I think he got some wrong information and thought we were going out as the Byrds," Hillman told Billboard in a new interview. “He wrote Roger and said, ‘I feel really hurt,’ 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.’”
Hillman said Crosby 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 recently explained that he’d come up with the idea of the tour partly to distract Hillman from recent personal woes. “We wanted Chris to have something fun to do because he had a tough year. Tom [Petty] died and then his house got burned up in a fire,” he said.
“I was ready to cancel the last four dates of my tour, I was so upset," Hillman recalled in the new interview. “Roger calls me out of the blue and he knew Tom had passed, and he said, 'Tom would not want you to quit and go home. You know that.' He said, 'Go out and celebrate him and play those shows.' It was total wisdom, just what I needed. Then Roger called me a few months ago with the idea of doing this. The whole thing was so well thought-out I jumped on it and said 'Absolutely!' I must give Roger full credit; It was a great idea, and I think he really wanted me to get moving again.”
The tour ends on Dec. 19, but the pair hasn't ruled out continuing into next year. “There's a lot of markets we're not getting to,” Hillman said. “I don't know if it's something you can stop doing and then start it up again six or eight months later. … Anything could happen – and I hope it does. I haven't had this much fun in 40 years.”