VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: The Byrds’ Chris Hillman On How The 60s Band Stayed Friends
Former member of The Byrds, Chris Hillman, shared details about his career and his stories from the new docu-series Laurel Canyon on Epix.
Hillman sat down with uInterview’s Erik Meers, and explained what inspired him to become a musician.
“I remember seeing Elvis on Ed Sullivan, but I really remember The Beatles on Ed Sullivan in February of ’64,” Hillman said.
“I didn’t have any inclination or desire to learn the guitar then, I loved the music … when folk music came along, and my older sister had gotten me into the really good stuff, Pete Seeger and Lead Belly and things like that,” Hillman said. “And on from there I went into bluegrass and Bill Monroe and all that, that’s what got me and I learned the guitar and mandolin in that order.
“Never thought I’d make a living at it, I just loved it, I had such a passion, and I just fell into things,” the musician said.
“I kept thinking I was going to go next semester to college, I was going to go register for the next semester, and something would happen, a door would open,” Hillman said. “And it went from being in a bluegrass band in L.A. when I was 18, and playing in country western bars with a fake ID, to getting into The Byrds.”
He still cites The Beatles on Ed Sullivan as what got him, and many others, into music in the first place, which is discussed in the documentary.
“And shortly after seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and all that, me and a million other guys that played guitar all of a sudden plugged in,” he said.
Then, after explaining how he got into music, he explained how he got into The Byrds.
“I got the call and bluffed my way into it, Eric,” Hillman said. “They said ‘Can you play the bass?’ and I said ‘Oh yeah, I’m fine with the bass!’ I had never owned a bass.”
Hillman went on to say that he had so many memories with David Crosby and the rest of the band, that they would take “two hours” to talk about. He teased that many of his issues with The Byrds will be revealed in his memoir coming out in September.
Hillman noted the band stayed best friends.
“We were one of the only bands, Eric, that sat together at the rock and roll hall of fame induction,” Hillman said. “And most bands are spread around the room, they don’t speak to each other.”
“My analogy is all five people are holding the same paintbrush and painting the Mona Lisa smile,” said Hillman.