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The Byrds' Chris Hillman, Who Lives In Ventura County, Pens New Candid Memoir

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They say that if you remember the 1960s…you weren’t there.

But Chris Hillman of The Byrds – who lives in Ventura County – has been sharing his own memories of his time in the influential band in his new memoir.

The Byrds were one of the biggest and most influential bands of the 1960s and early 70s, with enduring hits like Mr Tambourine Man and Turn Turn Turn.

Chris Hillman, who lives in Ventura County, was the band’s bass player. He says the old adage is true…you've got to fake it to make it.

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Credit Lori Stoll
Chris Hillman

"I knew the fella that was working with three of the guys - they weren't The Byrds yet - he was working with them. He says, 'Can you play the bass?', and I said, 'oh yeah.'

"I said to myself, 'I'm going to fake this', because I don't know how to play the bass. I'd never held a bass.  I was a mandoline player in a bluegrass band. So I said, 'yeah I can play it,' and I went down there and said to myself, 'I hope I get this gig.' 

"I got it."

And so begins rock history.

Hillman has penned his candid new memoir – Time Between: My Life as a Byrd, Burrito Brother and Beyond. 

Hillman says he doesn’t tire of playing The Byrds big hits – although his live shows this year have been postponed until next year. 

"You have to. That's what people want to hear. They don't want to hear you politicize, they don't want to hear you proselytize on stage. They want to hear you sing and entertain them with the songs they knew you for. You have to go up and sing Mr Tambourine Man like it's the very first time you ever sang it.

"I think Turn Turn Turn is The Byrds signature song. It's just a beautiful song. 

"It's almost like out of a handbook of life...so it addresses those things on a subliminal level."

He's philosophical about the cancellation of his live shows this year. 

"I'm 76 years old. If it doesn't happen...I had a great career...that's the way I look at it."

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Chris Hillman on the far right with Lyle Lovett, Stephen Stills, Elton John and Bernie Taupin