There probably aren't many devout Christians in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Roger McGuinn, formerly of The Byrds, is one of them. The Byrds—best known for their hit songs "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Mr. Tambourine Man"—have long since flown the coop, but McGuinn, 61, is still making beautiful music. His latest CD, Limited Edition, is an excellent collection of traditional songs, including several written with his wife, Camilla. McGuinn's passions these days include preserving the heritage of great folk music via his project, Folk Den, and traveling everywhere with Camilla in their well-stocked van (mobile Internet, GPS, LCD screen, DVD, satellite radio), playing shows and shopping for antiques. Since McGuinn is such a computer geek and Internet aficionado, we thought it'd be most appropriate to interview him via e-mail—and to share some of our correspondence with you.
Does Limited Edition have a particular theme, or is it just a collection of good folk music?
Roger McGuinnIt's an eclectic collection of traditional songs, electrified blues and songs written with my wife Camilla, rich in Rickenbacker "jingle jangle." The unifying factor is the Rickenbacker electric 12-string guitar sound.
What's the story behind the song "Made in China"?
McGuinnCamilla was reading about the terrible situation in China where female babies were being systematically starved to death as a result of China's one-child policy. The thing that really got her was that our newspapers buried the story on the inside page. China was also a mecca of bootlegging records. We thought if we were to write and record a song to bring attention to the starving babies, there would be little chance of our CD being bootlegged there, and it could possibly ...