Interview by Joseph Hett

The Yardbirds will make a stop in Atlanta, Georgia at the City Winery on June 19. We had the opportunity to speak with drummer Jim McCarty. Please check out our exclusive interview below. Tickets are still available and can be purchased HERE.

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MRM: How did you get into music?

McCarty: I played the snare drum in the boys brigade marching band, and then I heard early US rock’n'roll like Buddy Holly, Everly Brothers etc and had a school group.

MRM: What is the origin of The Yardbirds’ band name?

McCarty: Keith Relf, the singer, found it in a Jack Kerouac book.  It meant hobos that traveled on steam trains and lived in the rail-yards.

MRM: How did The Yardbirds become a hotbed for recruiting amazing guitarists (Clapton/Beck/Page)?

McCarty: The type of music we played (blues) was the perfect platform for lead guitar, so we needed a good player and also, for some strange reason, they all lived within 13 miles of each other

MRM: Do you still keep in touch with those guys?

McCarty: Yes, we worked with Jimmy Page last year on a new version of a live album we recorded in 1968 at the Anderson Theatre in New York.  Jimmy remixed it and we all got together to work on the album cover, etc.

MRM: What is the backstory of using Chris Dreja’s drawing for the “Roger The Engineer” album cover? 

McCarty: It was based on an American serviceman we once met in an airport called Private Faubus.  It was always a bit of a band joke.

MRM: I love “Stroll On” off of the 1966 film “Blow-Up.” Is that the heaviest The Yardbirds ever got?

McCarty: “Stroll On” was based on the song “Train Kept a Rollin’” which had a particularly heavy riff.  We were also pretty heavy on the song “Dazed and Confused” which we actually used to play before Zeppelin did.

MRM: What is your favor era of The Yardbirds — music-wise ?

McCarty: The best era was 1966 with the Jeff Beck line-up. Jeff played on some of our best hits.

MRM: With some of The Yardbirds’ early tours of the U.S. — what was the reception like?

McCarty: It was always very good because we were part of the “British Invasion”

MRM: Any fond memories in Atlanta, Georgia?

McCarty: I don’t remember ever playing there.  For some reason, we hardly every played in the South apart from on the Dick Clark tour in 1967.

MRM: Speaking of Atlanta, The Yardbirds will stop at City Winery on June 19. What can fans expect when The Yardbirds come to town?

McCarty: We play most of the well known hits together with some of our best Blues covers like “Smokestack Lightning” and “Drinking Muddy Water.”  The band is very powerful, and we play well together.