THE YARDBIRDS Drummer JIM McCARTY Talks Band History And Solo Career, Working With RUSH Guitarist ALEX LIFESON On New Solo Album
July 7, 2018, 2 months ago
The impact of The Yardbirds on the formation of hard rock cannot be underestimated. Their influence on Led Zeppelin, Rush, Aerosmith and Rainbow and many others is undeniable. Drummer Jim McCarty was the only ever present member of the band and saw Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page come and go. Metal Express Radio correspondent Mick Burgess called him up to chat about his new solo album, Walking In The Wild Land, that sees him in a more singer/songwriter reflective mood. He explained the Rush connection that saw Alex Lifeson, Terry Brown and Hugh Syme become involved in his record. He also spoke candidly about his time in The Yardbirds and the enticing possibility of a reunion one day with Beck, Clapton and Page.
Q: You were able to call on a couple of Toronto residents to help you out. How Alex Lifeson of Rush get involved in your record?
McCarty: "I know the music scene here and have a lot of friends out here. Alex is a big fan of The Yardbirds and Rush did covers of 'Heart Full of Soul' and 'Shape of Things' on their Feedback EP a while ago and he also worked with Terry Brown who produced some of the older albums. Terry thought it`d be a good idea to ask him and Alex thought it`d be a great idea to do it."
Q: Did you work together in the studio on 'Soft In A Hard Place'?
McCarty: "He recorded his parts in his own studio and sent them over."
Q: Did you give him an idea of what you wanted from his contribution or did he pretty much get a free hand?
McCarty: "That`s quite a softish song and he put that hard edge into it which worked well with the song. He basically did what he thought would go with the song and I think it turned out great. I`m really happy with it."
Q: Would you like to work with him again in the future?
McCarty: "Well, you never know. We`re going to get together and have a chat and see where it takes us. I don`t know what he`s doing now that Rush is finished and he`ll probably have his own group, but I`ll find out when I see him next."
Q: In keeping with the Rush connection, Terry Brown co-produced and mixed the album. What did Terry influence the recording process?
McCarty: "I`ve known Terry for a while but I was recording with George Koller and Tom Reynolds, the keyboard player in the studio and I played some of it to Terry and he took them a little further. He said he`d mix it as he had some ideas of what to do. It was his idea to use the flugel horn on Charmed. He put quite a few touches into it that I really liked."
Q: There`s is also ANOTHER Rush connection on your album with Hugh Syme adding keyboards and orchestration to 'Changing Times', 'Dancing Leaves' and 'So Many Questions'. What you were looking for from him?
McCarty: "It was Terry`s idea as I wanted some string parts and he said Hugh was very good at that. Hugh is actually an artist rather than a professional musician and he did a great job. I wanted something quite subtle and he did it just the way that I wanted. Hugh is English and he brought a real English feel to it."
Read the complete interview here.
"Soft In A Hard Place" featuring Alex Lifeson