He was fired in 1967 after his relationship with Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman disintegrated following the Monterey Pop Festival. In the new photo book The Byrds 1964-1967 (via Variety), the former bandmates outlined a disagreement that arose a short time earlier.
“We were up at the Columbia offices when Paul Simon came in,” McGuinn said. “I had worked with Paul when I was a session musician in New York, and I played on his demo of ‘The Sound of Silence.’ But I didn’t remember that at the time. David said to Paul, ‘Hey, man, we’re playing tonight, you should come down.’ Paul said, ‘Well, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll go.’ I was kind of cranky and I said something like, ‘Well, you don’t have to go to the gig, man.’ Paul said, ‘I know I don’t have to.’”
Hillman noted that “David thought Roger was not being polite to Paul Simon. I don’t know what happened, but Paul leaves. It wasn’t in a huff or anything. Then David says, ‘I can’t believe you treated Paul Simon like that.’”
McGuinn said it was only “this little exchange … but David got mad. He said, ‘Are you so jealous of Simon and Garfunkel that you’re acting like that?’ We just got into it with each other. And then David said, ‘Millbrook’s off!’ Timothy Leary had a sort of acid commune in north upstate New York, in a town called Millbrook. We were going to go there, but David was the liaison between Leary and us. I just remember him saying, ‘Millbrook’s off.’ So, we didn’t get along for a while after that.”
Crosby added, “It’s funny because now I don’t have any memory of that whatsoever!” But, Hillman suggested, “Maybe this was the beginning of the end.”
The 400-page The Byrds: 1964-1967 is available for preorder via the book’s website. Multiple limited editions are for sale, including some signed by the three musicians.
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