Sunday, August 06, 2023

Roadie Report 87 by Camilla McGuinn- The History and The Future

Easter Sunday 1978

       In January 1978, I met Roger in an acting class. 
Since we began the acting class the same night, the coach put us together to do a scene. I wasn’t impressed with this man, his long hair and his clothes loosely hanging on his thin stature. Two name brand commercials were in my resume and I didn’t want to work with an amateur. I asked him if he had ever worked professionally, meaning in acting. He quietly replied, “I was in Bob Dylan’s movie “Renaldo and Clara.” I inwardly groaned, “Oh no...he is a musician.” I didn’t hang out with or date musicians. The ones I already knew were swaggering flakes. I didn’t know who Roger McGuinn was or his musical accomplishments.

        This was a method acting class and our scene required the man to convince the woman of something she didn’t want. Before we could advance to the script we had to do a method acting procedure of  a sensory exercise in front of the class with the motivation of the scene. Roger and I talked for a bit after we read our assigned scene and he realized there was something I didn’t want to do. He had a plan for his part in the exercise.

       Two nights later, Roger and I took our places on two chairs in the middle of the empty stage. It was our time to delve into the exercise. I looked at him suspiciously when he sat down with an acoustic guitar which he put on his lap. Children, pets and musical instruments are sure ways to steal a scene.

        He asked me if I wanted to learn how to play. Still suspicious but cocky I replied, “Sure.”

       “I will have to cut your finger nails on your left hand. Guitar players have to hold the strings down hard on a fret board and finger nails will damage a fret board.”

       I inwardly smiled. He wasn’t going to get me. I wasn’t a ‘girly girl” and my nails weren’t important. I fearlessly handed him my left hand. He whipped his Swiss Army knife out of his belt holder and cut my finger nails to a proper guitar playing length.

        “He was going to have to do better than that!” I thought as my smile was getting cockier. This didn’t bother me one bit.

       After showing me a few chords and watching me flub them on his guitar, he suggested that he play them. Then he began playing and singing! The students in the class were loving his performance. My cocky smile turned to a grim look of disdain.

       He finished the song and asked me what I thought of it.

       “It’s country.”

       “Don’t you like country music?

       “Not particularly.”

       “Well what did you think of the words?”

I paused and thought about the song. I remembered one word, “Christian.” He had sung “I like the Christian Life,” a song the BYRDS recorded on “Sweetheart of the Rodeo.” Then I figured out what he was up to. He was going to try to tell me about Jesus on stage, in front of a class!

       I asked him sarcastically, “ How long have you been into Jesus?”

       “ A few months.”

       “ Well give it a few more and you will get over it.” I stormed off stage. He smiled as he realized he had accomplished the first step of the exercise of finding something that I didn’t want to do and causing a reaction. He knew I didn’t want to recognize Jesus.

       Being what I considered a professional since I had quit my job and decided to starve or make acting my life, I knew I still had to work with  this hippy looking musician. I suggested we go to the Los Angeles Art Museum to discuss the scene, since part of the play took place in Italy. I thought some Renaissance Art was a good setting to inspire us. By the way, the scene was from the movie”Blume In Love.” Ironically, a friend of Roger’s was in the movie, Kris Kristofferson.

       We arrived at the museum in the afternoon and immediately turned right after entering the doors. There was an I didn’t was of the “Crucifixion”

Looking back I realized that God had set me up!

       I looked at the first painting of Jesus hanging on the cross and kept walking. At the second painting, I was shaking my head. The third painting had me mentioning to myself, “HE didn’t look like that!”

       And then...a telepathic voice in my head said, “How do you know what I looked like? You haven’t wanted to hear MY name in ten years.”

       At the next painting the Bible verse John 3:16 began looping in my ears. I tried hitting the side of my head to stop it, but it was persistent. Then I listened. “God so loved the world….”

       A revelation overwhelmed me! I got it! My love life had been a disaster and at that moment I realized that disaster was because I didn’t have the Author of love in my life.

       Roger and I hardly spoke after that moment as we walked through the museum. He knew something was happening with me. When we walked out of the museum the sky was turning a deep pink. The sun sets early at the end of January and I will never forget that pink color while I slowly said a prayer,, “Lord Jesus I will go anywhere. Do anything ...just to know you better!.” That was the moment I was born again.

       By the guidance of our Lord (visions, dreams and HIS telepathic voice) Roger and I were married two months later on April 1. During March, Roger was on a concert tour with Gene Clark. I counted the days we had been in each others presence and it was only 24 days before our marriage vows. We didn’t know the person we were marrying but we did know that Jesus had a plan.

       We began our life together reading the Bible and through a wonderful chain of events, we met some gifted Bible teachers. Every morning for over the last 45 years we read a chapter out of the Old Testament, a chapter out of the New Testament, a chapter of Psalms and the corresponding chapter of the day of the month out of Proverbs. It was nice of the Lord to make the calendar and Proverbs agree on dates and especially since I don’t have to read Proverbs 31 every month. That Proverbs tells about an amazing woman.

       We have been blessed with some wonderful teachers of God’s Word. A Catholic priest, Father Cedric Pisegna we find  on YouTube, a Baptist minister on the 700 Club and a Pentecostal teacher on Jack Hayford Ministries.  The Baptist minister and Pentecostal teacher are now with the Lord but their teachings are still going forward to this day. I smile when I realize that God took a Roman Catholic boy and a Southern Baptist girl and put them in a Pentecostal Church! Now that’s Ecumenical!

       It’s all about JESUS!

       The day I was born again, I went to the house in Beverly Hills where a friend had invited me to stay and began a search for a Bible. I tore through the house like a junkie looking for a fix. I couldn’t understand why there was no Bible. Growing up in the south I saw a Bible in every room. Then I realized that this house belonged to a dear Jewish friend. I almost gave up when I saw one last cabinet. There I found a small green pocket New Testament that the Gideons liked to give out. To this day, I am very thankful for the Gideons.

       Over the years, my dear husband has began calling me “The Bible lady.” I remember my desperate search for God’s Word and I want to make sure that every friend and neighbor has access to a Bible for the time they too will long to know the truth of God’s love.

       The Bible I now give away is “The New Spirit Filled Life Bible” edited by Jack Hayford, our first Bible teacher. We were in Jack Hayford’s congregation in Van Nuys California when he mentioned the study books every believer needed to have on hand. Years later he edited all of them into one beautiful Bible. This Bible has many wonderful study notes and maps. The study notes enlighten the reader as to when the books (chapters of the Bible) were written and by whom. It is filled with word definitions and clarification notes. It was edited by Jack Hayford with the help of many scholars.

       We begin everyday reading the Bible together and praying. Sometimes it takes over an hour in the morning, but what an hour. We pray for our families, neighbors, friends and  business associates. The list is long but its not our list, it is the people Jesus brings to mind for us to pray for. We also pray for countries all around the world because Jesus said, “My house will be a house of prayer for all nations.”Our knowledge of geography has definitely increased. 

       An interesting thing about praying with someone. If there has been a disagreement between them, their prayers stumble. I remember sinking on the floor when I had a disagreement with Roger, which happens in a marriage, but it is with the help of Jesus, who breathes love and forgiveness into a relationship that has gotten out of joint.

       Roger and I are now in the winter of our lives. We could easily declare that it is time to stop traveling and producing concerts. Staying at home and enjoying the gardens, the kitchen and our neighbors sounds relaxing but it’s much more fun to be on a mission from God. It is a sweet mission.

To lift up the name of Jesus and the biblical knowledge that “God so loves the world that He gave his only begotten son and whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.  That was the verse looping in my mind that day in the museum when my life’s path was changed in the most wonderful way.


P.S. I forgot that I had written part of this story in 2017, but my older and wiser husband reminded my of my lack of memory but he told me to publish it anyway. Maybe someone other than my loyal 13 readers will read it and have a revelation of how young we are.


Monday, May 29, 2023

Roadie Report 86 by Camilla McGuinn - The Story of Aaron

                                                The  Story of Aaron

Ruth struggled to keep her tears from falling on Aaron as she tried to dress the squirming three year old into his new yellow traveling clothes. He was so excited about taking the trolley to the end of the line but he didn’t know he wasn’t coming back home.

Francis was helping the twin boys pack their small bags to go on the trip. Wilbur and Willie were excited too about the trolley ride. They didn’t know they weren’t going to see their sisters again for a long time.

Aunt Ellie had picked up the baby Magdeline the day before. Ruth and Francis ran to the back yard and cried after the front door closed when their new baby sister being taken away.

W.H. would take Harvey to the boys ranch, then Ruth and Francis to their new home when he returned from taking the younger boys to Mills Home Baptist Orphanage in Thomasville.

There was no orphanage that would take all seven children, so different homes were found for them.

A month before, Amanda, the beloved wife and mother, had died from a fatal asthma attack brought on by the sulfur treatment used for asthma, a treatment of the time. W.H. couldn’t care for his family in the tiny four room house with only one hand left after an accident. His grief for Amanda left him emotionally crippled and his children seemed so distant to him. Amanda was their caregiver and his too.

“Willie! Wilbur! Hug your sisters and Harvey, then take Aaron by the hands. We’re leaving now.”

Ruth held on to Aaron as long as she could. Francis took both twins in her arms for one last hug while Harvey just looked at their father with contempt in his eyes.

When the girls and Harvey finished waving goodbye, Harvey turned to ten year old Ruth and asked if she could make a peach pie. Ruth had watched her mother bake, but she didn’t know the measurements for pie crust. Year’s later she would laugh as she told Aaron’s daughter that it was the toughest crust anyone could eat. The three of them sat sadly and quietly at the table as they picked at the almost eatable pie filling while they waited for their father to return and take them to their new homes.

The three little boys were so excited from the moment they got on the trolley to the end of the line. Then something happened. Their father seemed to grow cold and harsh as he marched them up a hill to a very large house. 

Wilbur and Willie held little Aarons hands between them so tightly that Aaron began to cry. They lifted him up the steps to the front door where a smiling lady reached down and lifted Aaron to her hip. She spoke softly to him and and bounced him back and forth while looking lovingly at the twins. She was going to watch these little boys become men and unbeknownst to her, someday go off to war.

W.H. lifted each boy to his arms and gave them a big squeeze then turned and walked away, never looking back so they wouldn’t see the tears rolling down his cheeks. Four of his children were now gone to live somewhere else and he had to take the other three to their new homes when he returned home for the last time.

That night the loving lady heard Aaron crying in his bed. Her heart was broken for him, so she went to his bed, picked him up and carried him to her bed. She sang softly to him as she rocked him. His tear filled eyes finally closed then they both slipped into the dark night of sleep. She told this story to Aaron’s wife as they both cried after learning he had been shot in Vietnam.

The Mills Home Baptist Orphanage was run on love and discipline. The children had chores and constant companions. The twins were placed in a separate room from Aaron since they were older but they tried to see Aaron as much as possible.

As Aaron grew, his chores did too. He had to rise early to milk the cows and take them to pasture in the mornings. In the evenings he returned to the cows to herd them back to the barn. 

School and chores were mandatory. The highlight of the day were meals. There was often chicken on platters on the table when the boys were allowed in the dining room. The chicken had been cut into parts and the older boys knew that if they spit on their hands and hit the good parts that it would be theirs for dinner. Aaron was too small for this tradition so for years he only tasted a wing or a neck.

The home was careful of the the children’s health. Every fall the boys were lined up and given a spoonful of cod liver oil. Aaron hated it. He would hold it in his mouth until he was out of sight and spit it behind the radiator. When the cold weather came, the home would smell like fish oil.

W.H. would visit occasionally and once in awhile he would bring his daughters to see their brothers. He wasn’t comfortable in the situation. Aaron was six years old when Ruth and Francis came with their father to see the boys. W.H. laughed when he told Aaron that these were his girlfriends. Aaron didn’t recognize them. He thought his father had a lot of girlfriends. Ruth was devastated that Aaron didn’t want to hug her. He had been her charge when they were all together with their mother.

Harvey had been left at a boy’s ranch, but ran away and didn’t see his family for years. Ruth and Francis were put in a girls orphanage. Ruth was small in stature but loved to play basketball. Francis dreamed of being a nurse.

Willie and Wilbur turned eighteen and immediately decide to join the military. Willie joined the Navy but Wilbur was colorblind, so the Navy didn’t want him. Then he joined the Army, he was sent to the tank division.

Aaron was left alone at the orphanage and became very clever on how to get his way by gentle persuasion. It was that training that carried him all his life.

Church was another requirement for all the residents of Mills Home, after all it was a Baptist institution. Aaron always said he had enough religion the first eighteen years of his life to last him a lifetime. As he walked out of the church building on December 7 1941, he didn’t realize how his seventeen year old life was about to change within a month.

There was a call to arms and the only way Aaron could answer the call was to run away from the orphanage and lie about his age.

He stood in front of the recruiters desk without a birth certificate. That wasn’t strange in the day, very few people had one. The recruiter asked his age. 

“ Eighteen.” said a very controlled Aaron.

“What’s your full name?”

“Aaron Zacherus Spaul.”

“How do you spell Zacherus?

“I don’t know.”

“Oh. Well,let’s spell it Z-a-c-h-e-r-u-s.”

“Okay.” It never occurred to Aaron to care about his middle name.

“What do you want to do in the Navy?”


“ about becoming a corpsman?”

“What’s a corpsman?”

“It’s someone who helps doctors and works in a hospital.”


Aaron went to boot-camp and corpsman training. During that time, he thought about his middle name and decided to introduce himself as A.Z. His initials would be his moniker for life, private and professional.

A few months later, word came that Wilbur had been killed in Papua New Guinea when his tank was hit by enemy fire. Harvey spent the war working as an electrician at the shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. Aaron, now known as A.Z. was sent to be a hospital corpsman sailor on board a ship in the Pacific.

There was a family reunion after the war. The bonds of their childhood were rekindled and they never wanted to be separated again. The baby, Magdeline, found out she had a different family and the three sisters were instantly bound together in love.

The Mills Home Baptist Orphanage was A.Z.’s home for so many years that he wanted to return to a reunion there. It was that night that his eye was drawn to a local vivacious nineteen year old volunteer with sparkling green eyes and raven black hair. She was a mixture of her Scottish and American Indian heritage. A.Z couldn’t take his eyes off of her. They were married a few months later.

The Navy became the career path for A.Z. When the Korean War began. He was there. When Vietnam became a debacle for the United States, he knew he would have to go to be with the Marines. Navy Corpsman were often stationed with the Marines and he was ordered to the First Marine Division in Vietnam.

He had a few months before his deployment from Roanoke Virginia where he was stationed at the Naval Reserve Center. He used his influence at the center to get his nephews, Francis’s sons, in the Navy to avoid the army draft. He spent the summer weekends driving to Farmville VA to pick me up from Longwood College where I decided to begin right after high school.

I usually slept on the ride home, but on the last trip I talked all the way home. Daddy listened to my chatter and said little. Just before we were almost home he said,” Squeeze. Do you remember when we lived in Cary?”

“Yes.” Hearing the tone of his voice, I knew something was coming.

“ Well I heard someone refer to me as the fat Chief in the Navy. I decided to do something about it and began taking diet pills. One day I walked into the hardware store to buy a hammer. The owner asked if the one I bought the day before didn’t work. I didn’t remember buying one the day before.”

He didn’t say anything else. I knew I had been busted. My dorm suite mates were juniors. When it came time to study for final exams, they gave me pills. Daddy’s orphanage persuasion training always served him well, especially as a gentle guide to his children.

As I’m writing about a conversation with my Father, I flashed on one I had with him when I was four years old. It was in the pink cinder block house in Beaufort South Carolina. Daddy was stationed with the Marines at Parris Island. A storm was pouring and the lightning was flashing. I found comfort on daddy’s lap. 

We had just seen a movie about WWII and I was interested in the story. Daddy was in the Navy like the men in the movie so I began asking him questions. He told me about WW1 and WW2. I asked about WW3. He hugged me tight. “I pray there is no WW3.” That eighteen years of religion  at Mills Home had taken some root.

Daddy did come back from Vietnam on a stretcher. He had been shot by snipers while checking out a village illness. It was time for his  thirty years of  service in the Navy to come to the end. He chose his “twilight tour” to be in Norfolk, Virginia. He retired there and went to work for DuPont in Richmond, VA as the employee health inspector. Retirement lasted five years. He died quickly of a stroke at the age of 52 leaving behind a son, a daughter and three wars.

This is my memory of my Navy father on Memorial Day.

Special thanks to my BIG brother, who also served in the Navy, for filling in the blanks. It is amazing how different the stories can be that are passed down through generations.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Roadie Report 85 by Camilla McGuinn 

Our Mission From God

During the long year of isolation because of COVID, Roger and I really enjoyed our home. It was the longest time we had ever spent in the house our Father in Heaven had given us and it was a delightful time.

I would forage for food and mail once a week and Roger spent time in his studio and walking in the garden. He never left the home front.

Our kitchen was the busiest it has ever been. Homemade pasta, fresh breads, empanadas and lots of tacos were on the kitchen table and an extra ten pounds on my hips.

We played trivia twice a week via Zoom with two different groups of friends, including Roger’s old band mate from the BYRDS, Chris Hillman and his wife Connie. Our days were always busy and as the night hours approached we always had a smile on our faces.

The years God has given us have been filled with HIS blessings and lots of travel to concerts and cruise ships for lectures. We felt for a moment that it was time to retire, after all the age of 80 sounds old.


Roger’s concerts and cruise lectures are not about work, it is about a mission from GOD! One big advantage of being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is that people don’t walk away when we talk about Jesus. We often laugh that they wouldn’t even say hi if Roger didn’t have an interesting past.

When the theaters and cruise ships opened up again, we knew it was for the real mission we are on – to lift up the Name above all names, Jesus.

I’m writing this at 4am because we just returned home from the Seychelles after Roger’s lectures on the Silversea Shadow. Our return home involved over 24 hours in several different airplanes.

The beginning of the trip from Orlando to Singapore began with a few fiery darts. The gate attendant in Orlando was a bit officious and didn’t like the small cross shoulder bag that held our passports. It was one bag too many. I think she really didn’t like the guitar Roger was carrying and we know that musical instruments by ruling must be allowed on if there is room for it. We had decided to pack 19 days of clothes in two roll-a-boards. Roger had his roll-a-board and the acoustic guitar slung across his back. I had my roll-a-board and a small backpack with my computer and business items and that extra small passport bag. Boy were we in trouble! I don’t know how we did it, but we managed to squeeze the small bag into one of the really packed roll-a-boards. We were the first in line and it was a rush to please the lady.

At our seats we began to laugh and realized this was different. Something was up. Our flight to JFK to catch Singapore Airlines had a 4 hour layover. When the gate attendant arrived at his podium, I decided to let him know that we had a guitar that fits in the overhead or closet and to ask the flight crew where they preferred we place it. Our seats were in business class and usually it is not a problem. Surprise! It was a problem. It is not a domestic carrier and doesn’t go by all the domestic rulings. They took Roger’s acoustic guitar in its gig bag and gate checked it. Oh they did put a “fragile” sticker on it. I was told it would be at the exit door in Singapore.

After I put my bag in the overhead, it remained very lonely for the whole trip. The guitar would have kept it company.

On arrival in Singapore, we were first off the plane. I saw a sign that said all gate checked items would be here. It was raining outside and there was a very long outside stairway leading up to the door. Everyone passed by us as they headed to immigration. We waited. The plane was empty.

Finally I felt inspired to find someone to help. A lady with a walkie-talkie was walking by and I gently begged her to help us find our guitar. She took pity and went looking on the airplane. When she returned she told us to go to baggage claim. It was too wet for the baggage handlers to climb the stairs.

Before baggage claim we had to go to an immigration table that had about 8 small computer screens that every passenger had to use for their immigration questions. All the screens were being used by a group of men from India who didn’t understand how to use them. By now my biggest concern was that the driver sent to pick us up to take us to the Silversea Shadow would leave. An official lady helped each of the gentlemen and then she helped us. We could now enter Singapore, so we could leave it.

At the luggage carousel, we found the guitar laying on the floor. Roger quickly unzipped the bag and strummed the strings. It wasn’t only in good shape, it was in tune. An answer to prayer. I looked out to the greeting area and saw a lone man holding a sign that read “McGuinn”. He didn’t leave us, though he did confess he called the cruise line for directions since we hadn’t showed up with the other guest. They told him to wait. Another answer to prayer.

It was early in the morning but because Roger was a lecturer, they allowed us on to wait on board for our stateroom to be readied. My first question at the reception desk was, “ Who is the cruise director?” It was Vickie! We had worked with her before and she came out of her office for hugs. She told us to make ourselves comfortable and later asked Roger to do an extra talk because an entertainer had a home emergency and had to leave. Of course. We had been working on an extra talk and we would do anything for Vickie.

As we sat in the lobby, we began being greeted by guests we had met before. The Silversea World Cruise has many folks who like to do it over and over. It was like coming home.

The first time Roger gave a talk on Silversea we were surprised when we were immediately inundated with invitations to dinner. There are no set seatings on the ship so guests are free to eat when, where and with whom they please. This was our fourth cruise with this line, so I was ready. I carried a calendar and pen with me at all times so I wouldn’t overbook our dinner engagements.

Life on board is never boring to us because we live pretty much the same way we live at home, except we live it with about 300 people.

As we encounter folks from past voyages and new friends met at cocktails, dinners and trivia we are always waiting for the opening we need to mention the name of Jesus. We had more openings on this voyage than ever before. At one dinner, there was a lady mourning the death of her sister sitting next to Roger and she had spiritual questions for him. Another dinner was hosted by a couple who sometimes watched Joel Osteen, we told them to also watch Father Cedric Pisegna on YouTube since they are Catholic. (Fr Cedric is our Catholic priest, we also have a Baptist minister and Pentecostal teacher) A German group at dinner asked Roger how we met...well that is definitely a GOD story and Roger was very bold telling it. We had cocktails with a friend from a previous voyage and he asked us to name three people in history we would like to talk to. I immediately said Jesus. Roger laughed, “ You always talk to Jesus.” We were blessed with some more opportunities to lift up the precious name of Jesus.

We realized why the fiery darts began our journey but we weren’t ready for the darts that were coming.

After nineteen days on board, it was time to leave the ship for some long flights home from the Seychelles. Oh, by the way, the Seychelles are lovely!

There was a van to carry the cruise lecturers to the airport. We had a two hour wait. The airport is small, so we had to struggle up the stairs with our bags. Roger gifted the guitar to the Silversea Shadow and asked them to treat it like a lending library for passengers and crew. We had too many airplane connections to fret about the guitar surviving the trip home with us, so it felt better to give it away than to have it stolen or broken.

I don’t think I would have made it up the stairs to the airplane door with my two bags if two women hadn’t offered to carry them for me. Roger seemed to do okay even though his knee is bone on bone.

The flight to Qatar was five hours long. When Roger got off the elevator on the way to the amazing Qatar Business Class lounge, he twisted his knee. We waited in the lounge for a little over an hour.

Qatar to Dallas-Fortworth airport was a 17 hour flight. I sat down, put my seat back, covered my head and slept. When I awoke, I saw Roger hobble to the lavatory. His knee was giving him a lot of pain. I was inspired to do something, so I asked the flight attendant to arrange a wheelchair at DFW. I spent the rest of the long time watching the screen in front of me. Finally after a very tasty bowl of Thai chicken and noodles, I chose “Gone With The Wind” to fall asleep again.

Roger and I drive to concerts because we carry 4 instruments and equipment. I had long lost my “chops” for flying and forgot about how large DFW airport has become.

There were greeters with wheelchairs for about 20 people on the plane. We were first off, we waited for all of the chair people to be gathered together. Then the journey began.

We were rolled in a group a long way with an elevator ride to immigration and Customs. Fortunately we have “GOES,” so the attendant took us through immigration and Customs to the recheck baggage point. Even though we hadn’t checked any bags, I was very tired of mine and decided to check it or at least throw it out the window. Our attendant left us and pointed at a door for me to push Roger through. The TSA check point line was short but when we were on the other side I had no idea where to go.

As the line goes, “ I live off the kindness of strangers” and that’s what I kept doing. Where do we GO? We went down an elevator and I asked that question to a person in a uniform. He said we could take the cart to Terminal C. Our position in Terminal D was a LONG way from Terminal C. It was so long that we were transferred to three more carts. It was miles away!

It was at this point that we began praising God for we know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to HIS purpose. We were thankful Roger hurt his knee, we were thankful to be able to leave the guitar on the ship, we were thankful that I managed to check my bag. If all of those things had not happened, we would have been walking the halls of DFW to this day.

I told my dear friend Jane about the trip and she laughed. “Oh good! The purpose for Roger’s bad knee has happened, now it can be healed!”

My dear friends, thank you for praying for healing for Roger’s knee.

I’m looking forward to that day when he comes walking briskly into my office and says, “ Let’s walk to Trader Joes for dinner supplies.”

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Roadie Report 84 by Camilla McGuinn - Oh, What a Leap Year!

    I always said that Roger and I could live on a deserted island. The word is “deserted,” not “desert.” Our deserted island would have food, water and wine. Well we have been on a deserted island since March. That was the last month Roger left the property. Every week or so, I forage for food and pick up the mail. I volunteered to venture out because I’m the youngster in the house.

     Our neighbors are having distancing driveway gatherings. I sometimes go and explain, “Roger is old.” I smiled at the reaction I heard the first time I said those words. They all replied, “NO!” and then “How old is he?” I giggled because I knew Roger doesn’t even realize how many years are on his driver’s license. I’m aware of the years on mine because I take advantage of senior days.

    When we got married in 1978 on April First, we wondered about the choice of the date. By Divine inspiration, April 1st was the day of our vows. We pondered the date and decided to see which day of the year it was. That day was the 91st day of the year – if it wasn’t a Leap Year. We opened our Bible to Psalm 91 and declared it our wedding present from God, since HE inspired the date. Now the story of our betrothal is a whole separate story someday to be told but for now let’s talk about this year.
    This is a Leap Year! And oh what a year! Our economy shut down, so did our concert work. Theaters are shuttered, musicians are just strumming and agents are pulling out their hair trying to reschedule concert dates.

    Doing nothing is not in our psyches. We thrive on working. Now, Roger goes to the studio and records a project that has been waiting to do for over 60 years – the songs from “Gene Tryp.” It was a play that Jacques Levy asked Roger to write the music for in 1968. The play never got on Broadway but Roger got some wonderful songs to sing. “Chestnut Mare” being his favorite.

    Once recording begins, his studio door is shut from 1- 4pm, Monday-Thursday. Closets and cabinets beckon me to purge them and so does the kitchen. I have finally used the dusty KitchenAid mixer and all of its attachments. Fresh bread and fresh pasta roll out of the machine like it was made for the task. When the song tracks are ready, Roger invites me in to work on the mixing and mastering.

     There is truth to the statement “give a busy person the job that needs to be done.” Not being real busy anymore, my office has stacks of mail and papers sitting all around. I just tell myself, “I’m not going anywhere. I’ll think about that tomorrow. Time to make pasta.”

     Two weeks ago, Roger took a break to think about the song for the December “Folk Den,” the online project he has recorded monthly on for over 25 years. December is the month for a Christmas song. The two 4 CD sets of “The Folk Den Project” were on his desk. He picked them up and listened to all the December songs. It was the Christmas recording he always wanted to do. We tried it years ago, but didn’t feel right about it, but this time we were both amazed at the joy we felt as we were listening.

      Technology has come a long way in 25 years. Some of the songs were just two tracks recorded on DAT. Realizing that if we digitally re-mastered the recordings the quality of the mixes would improve. It took two days to master the 13 songs we picked. Then it was easy to put the art work together from photos I had been taking for years to feature on a Christmas CD.

       Our intent was to make it for our neighbors and send it to our friends as a Christmas card. I called Oasis Manufacturing to get a quote and realized if we wanted it to be professionally pressed we needed 300 copies. We were happy with the songs, maybe someone else will be also. The process of a simple Christmas card became a little more complicated. CDBABY was contacted, the final product was approved and we are waiting with Christmas anticipation for the gift we have to give.

       “Merry Christmas” has an official release date of December 1st. It will be available for download and streaming. The physical CD will be primarily listed on Amazon. CDBABY takes care of distribution to all outlets.

        We wanted our family and friends to be surprised when they opened their mail. Roger was a little concerned that I was telling the story too soon. I laughed, “No one reads my blog except 13 dear ones. Especially since I haven’t written in a year!”

        This is a very unusual year and a year that we will all be happy to leap over! In the meantime, the Christmas lights are up, the music is playing and we are grateful for the inexpressible Gift of this Joyous Season.


            AND MAY WE ALL LEAP  

                        JOYFULLY INTO THE NEW YEAR!


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Roadie Report 83 by Camilla McGuinn - I'm Proud to be from a military family!

My daddy!

This photo includes my father on maneuvers in 1959 while stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, SC. He would always bring home his sack to show me and my brother the supplies he took with him. We thought he was a "lucky duck" to get to have all those k-rations. The "Sick Bay" was his life's work for 30 years. He was stationed in the Pacific during WW2 and of course during the Korean War. In Vietnam he was stationed with the Marines. The ride home from Vietnam was on a stretcher. A Purple Heart medal now rest in a chest by my bed. His "twilight tour"- the last tour of service in the Navy - was spent in Norfolk, VA. When he was 17, he ran away from the orphanage and lied about his age to join the Navy. His tour of duty was from 1941-1972. He died suddenly one night in 1975 of a cerebral hemorrhage, he was 52 years old. Three wars in one lifetime can do that to you.

My brother and I loved living on military bases. There were always so many things for us to do. The pay wasn't much, but the bases made sure that kids and teenagers had lots of activities to keep them out of trouble. My father's one major word to us, "If you get in trouble on the base, I have to go before the Captain. DON'T make me go before the Captain of the base!" It was a very effective way to keep us from a whole lot of mischief, though my brother did; he just didn't get caught. Me? I was almost an angel. ( I hope my brother doesn't read this; he might tell on me!)
My brother, W.A Spaul,  finished his Masters at ASU then served in the Navy (active and reserves)  between 1974-1989. He left as a Commander (O-5), Medical Service Corps. I think our childhoods on military bases had a lot to do with him wanting to be a part of the Navy.

My uncle Wilber was drafted into the Army after the Navy wouldn't take him because of an vision problem. He was only overseas for 90 days when he was killed in battle while serving in the U.S Army Armored Tank Battalion.

Roger used to joke that every four years I begin packing even if we weren't moving. I loved changing bases, cities and even the 36 hour prop-plane ride to Guam. My love of travel still carries on to this day. Thank you NAVY!
But especially, THANK YOU all who have served and are serving our country and your families too!

Roger and I applaud you and pray for you!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Roadie Report 82 - Roger McGuinn's Celebration of Peter Fonda - as told to Camilla McGuinn


        Roger was tuning his 12-string guitar backstage at the Flamingo when Bobby Darin came up to him.
        “Jim, I think you might want to stay around after your segment to meet Henry Fonda’s son, Peter. Sandy and Peter just finished making one of those “Tammy” movies and Peter was the doctor. They will be coming backstage after the show.”

        Bobby Darin pulled Jim McGuinn out of the world of folk music to the world of Vegas and the fast lane of the “rat pack” when he saw Roger perform as a backup musician for The Chad Mitchell Trio at Hollywood’s Crescendo Club, opening up for Lenny Bruce. Before Lenny took the stage, Bobby went backstage and offered Jim twice the money The Trio was paying him if he would join Bobby on stage for a folk segment in his Vegas show. From that moment on Bobby Darin became a mentor to Jim McGuinn.

        The backstage was filled with people after Bobby’s show. Jim was standing against the wall watching everyone, when Peter Fonda walked toward him with his hand outstretched and a big smile on his face. “You were great up there man!”
        Jim recognized the Fonda look and immediately was drawn in by his smile. Peter jumped into a conversation like they were old friends. The normal questions: “Where are you from? No one is from Las Vegas.”
        “I’m from Chicago.”
        “Chicago! My best friend is from there. Where did you go to school?”
        “The Latin School.”
        “Wow…Stormy McDonald!”
        “Yeah! ... he was MY best friend in high school”
And their friendship began on the love of a mutual friend.


        The BYRDS were formed and performing every night at Ciros’ night club on Sunset Strip, creating music and a new Hollywood scene. The buzz was on and the audience was filled with entertainment’s elite. Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda and new hopeful groups including Sonny and Cher. Backstage was always buzzing. Jim introduced Peter to the band and their friendship picked up where it left off a few years before.
        “Mr. Tambourine Man” became a world wide hit and Peter wanted the BYRDS to play at his sister Jane’s birthday party in Malibu at Henry Fonda’s house. What Peter didn’t count on was that the BYRDS’ followers who were referred to as “freaks”, followed them everywhere and crashed the party. It didn’t bother Peter, but Henry was a bit astonished.  The “freaks” were being freaks, smelling of patchouli and dancing up to Henry Fonda in the strangest of ways. Henry asked Peter to try to get the Byrds to turn down but Peter just told them “Play as loud as you like.”

        The BEATLES came to town and sent a limousine to pick up Jim and David Crosby. Jim had the driver stop to pick up Peter. After slowly maneuvering through the hundreds of fans that camped at the Beatles’ rented house, they made it through the front door. David was always the man with the best drugs; LSD was handed out. Everyone except Paul took the acid. John, George, Jim, David and Peter went into the huge master bedroom shower to escape the prying eyes of the security and the fans. As they passed a guitar around, the stories abounded. It was in this shower where John was inspired by Peter to write, “She Said, She Said.”

        Peter and Jim lived close to each other; when they weren’t working, they were playing like school friends. In 1958 the Class B CB radio became available to the general public. Jim and Peter were fascinated. The radio was the size of a shoe box with tubes. To put it in a car, you would first have to make an antenna to attach to the outside shell of the car. Jim went to Peter’s house and the two of them proceeded to make the antennas. Peter taught Jim how to solder. After burning his finger several times, he became proficient with the tool; it is a tool Roger uses to this day very efficiently. Once the CBs were ready, they would get into their separate cars and drive around the Hollywood hills talking to each other with dialogue mimicking two pilots flying around Los Angeles air space. They even mastered the International Phonetic alphabet: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo. There was no limit to their imaginations. Peter became Roger's gadget mentor. When Roger finally got some extra money, he would call Peter and ask what was the best brand of the gadget he was looking to buy. From recorders, musical equipment and laser beams, Peter always had the answers.

        Air travel was a passion for Jim. On one Lear Jet ride to Pensacola, FL for a BYRDS concert, Jim invited Peter to join the group.  John Lear, Bill Lear’s son, was the pilot. Roger was sitting on the jump seat at the front of the plane when John told Roger to tell the guys in the back to buckle up. “We’re about to have a thrill.”
John commenced with a “split-s” and Jim’s coffee cup didn’t even spill a drop when the plane twisted upside down. Peter wrote about that wild ride on the liner notes of the Byrds’ “Easy Rider” album.
After the wild Lear Jet ride, Jim wrote a song called, “2-4-2 Fox Trot (Lear Jet Song.)” He even used the sound of John’s Lear Jet engines on the recording with the control tower talking in the background.
John Lear loved the song and gave Jim 25 hours of free Lear Jet time. A quick phone call to Peter, a fast drive to Van Nuys airport and they were flying to wherever John was ferrying folks. One trip to Vegas was to pick up of a very serious stocky man wearing gold. He sat down, looked at Peter, pointed at him and said, “I know your father.”


Peter wanted to make a difference. With friend Dennis Hopper, they decided to beat the Hollywood game and make a film like no other on a shoe-string budget. They would be the main characters with a young Jack Nicholson. After the film was in the can, Peter gave Dennis his entire record collection to put on the sound track as a place holder. He and Dennis loved the effect. Contemporary sounds on a contemporary movie.
 Peter wanted one song that was written expressly for the movie, so he carried the film cans to New York and screened it for Bob Dylan.Bob watched the movie. Bob didn’t like the ending; he scratched some words on a paper napkin. Handing the napkin to Peter, he said, “Give this to McGuinn, he’ll know what to do with it.” Peter, took the film cans, got back on a plane, flew to Los Angeles and drove to Roger’s house (by now Jim had changed his name to Roger). Peter reverently gave him the paper napkin, “Bob wants you to have this man. I think this is a little pastoral. Maybe you can put an edge on it.”
Roger got out his guitar, made up a tune and finished the words. The line “All they wanted was to be free” cinched the song for Peter. Dennis asked Roger about that line. “Hey man, what does it mean?” Roger said, “Think about it” After a few moments, Dennis exclaimed in a whispered voice, “Wow ... that’s heavy man.” Peter also asked Roger to record Dylan’s song, “It’s Alright Ma” for the movie.
       After Roger saw the movie he said to Peter, "Wish I could have been in it. " Peter smiled, " You were man." 


Years passed. In August 2015 while performing at the Historical Iao Theater in Wailuku, Maui, Roger was surprised backstage with a visit from his old friend Peter. Parky, Peter’s wife, and I stood watching two old friends flashing back to the days when they shared adventures. We were smiling and commenting on how they looked like two school boys laughing at their memories. 


        Roger received a phone call from Peter. Peter was excited about celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the movie “Easy Rider” and wanted Roger to be part of it. The idea was to show the movie with the sound track being performed live by the artists. Roger would do anything for his old friend and the thought of seeing Peter again was definitely worth it even though there were logistical problems.


        “OH NO!”
I didn’t think Roger would be that upset over the increase in the Spectrum Cable bill. When I turned my head, I saw the anguish on his face. He had just read that Peter had died. Peter wasn’t with us anymore.
Roger immediately said he didn’t want to go to NYC because he was just doing it for Peter. I pointed out to him that Peter had called and asked him to do it. Roger had to go perform “The Ballad of Easy Rider” and "It's Alright, Ma" for Peter at the celebration of Peter's movie “Easy Rider.”

Roger will be singing for the celebration of  “Easy Rider”                           but more importantly; Roger will be singing
 for the  celebration of a dear friend’s life;
                                       Peter Fonda

Peter and Roger backstage in Maui!