I don't wanna keep you too long. And, you know, there were periods of time when they didn't have a mandolin player. And I thought, "Uh-oh. So Clarence ended up selling the guitar to Joe Miller and Joe Miller was the one who had it in his possession. When I was in The Hillmen, we were I mean, he didn't play rhythm like Jimmy Martin; he didn't play rhythm like Lester Flatt. He exciting. He just played without guard to thinking about it so much, consciously thinking about it so much as to just be an integrated part of a band and enjoy himself and play rhythm guitar the only way that he knew how to do it. Multi-talented, mostly country music, but there was a bluegrass band there, a band called the Country Boys, and my father used to listen to them religiously every Sunday. Wow, that's an incredible story. He just sort of had his own style in a way that he … his own technique. It was beautiful. Well, the next day I was on a plane from Kentucky out to meet Joe Miller with a guitar at a Sheraton Hotel at the airport in Los Angeles. Crowe in the early '70s. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. He only wanted to scare her. And I remember asking Clarence, "Is that a D-18?" Tell me what a rose smells like." And so we agreed on $550. He was like having a loaded machine gun Probably the best story I ever heard about it was from Roland White, that Clarence, around 1965 or '66, had started to take an interest in electric guitar playing. We became friends because, at the time, there was only two bands — bluegrass bands — in the whole Los Angeles area, and they were the Country Boys and my father had just started a band called the Golden State Boys. I have an imaginary line if you're good you'll come up to, and He wasn't even playing lead. I do remember coming to an age where I was pointed out certain licks my father did on the guitar that no one else could replicate…. So I said, "Well, give me the first one you got." You know, people ask me, "Well, what did Clarence mean to you?" But other than that, I really don't know. I know, it's hard to summarize what someone means to you when they mean so much. I do remember this very well: Whenever Clarence and the White Brothers and myself and my brothers ended up playing a lot of those places in L.A. — Ash Grove, the Troubadour, you know, so many places that were out there at the time. of him for a couple of years. The D-28’s sad condition may have led to the dumbest of all dumb-kid stunts: the day Clarence leaned the guitar against a … Well, how about we do it this way: Why was it so important to you to acquire this guitar? We became friends and I never took a guitar lesson from Clarence White or anything like that. You listen to the later Byrds It seemed like everything started to grow and the White family and my own family became friends and, whenever we could see each other or visit or do whatever, we would get together any way we could. You're presented with choices. Yeah, I can, although it's on the Internet about 500 times. So one day, it was in 1960, my father got ahold of somebody over there and asked them if they could put me on the air singing a song. He said, "There are so many things in all music forms that there is only one word you can use to describe some of the different facets involved in any music forms," and he said, "That word is mysterious." with Clarence and it's so loud. It wasn't one And so I told Joe Miller, I said, "Well, Joe, would you be willing to split the difference?" Chris Hillman - Connect Savannah, Jim Reed, Well, then, we always did that. happen for a reason. Photo by Jordan Klein. And I don't even think it was something that he practiced. And there was a very renowned guitar player that played with Buck Owens that had a Fender Telecaster guitar that Clarence wanted. I mean, we covered a lot of ground. I'm sure it's a story you're always asked to tell. His playing on 'Notorious Byrd Brothers', before he joined, is beautiful. And he brought it there and I brought the cash there and give him the cash, you know, got the receipt, walked out of there with that instrument for $550. And I did go through a period where I wanted to play like him and would practice that and practice that and practice that and I think I was even into my mid-teens before I figured out I ain't gonna be able to do this. Albums White will be inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame at this year’s IBMA Awards in Raleigh. Clarence White - Clarence interview Holland 1971 (Stringbender) by Toon de Corte. Clarence White, far left. Thank you for re-telling that for me. hindsight I could have stayed and played with Clarence, who was a fabulous Is there a particular piece of music that Clarence played that maybe moved you the most? But to wrap, if we wanted to get one cool, one great sound bite to summarize what Clarence meant to you, what would you say? That's still open for speculation to some degree. My name is Tony Rice and I play with a guy named J.D. And Joe Miller knew all about the J.D. Now, Rice has lent his voice to another poignant IBMA Awards moment — this time on behalf of his dear friend and personal hero, guitar pioneer Clarence White. And it was actually discovered how good he was by a very renowned country electric guitar player named James Burton. of tracks. Joe Miller's family owned a chain of liquor stores in Pasadena, California, and were very successful and very wealthy. And, as best I remember, he said, "I wouldn't sell it to anybody else, but I would sell it to you," or that he would consider it. again, living way out of LA and playing in country groups in bars and Crowe's band was Bobby Slone. So, as your career developed, what aspect of his playing was always present with you? The fact that Clarence had no fear of the guitar when it came to playing rhythm and throwing in different board substitutions and syncopations that had never been done in bluegrass before. You know? Don Parmley would later on become a full-time member of the band and different people would come and go over the years: Vern Gosdin and Rex Gosdin were part of the band and what not. Well, one of the members of J.D. We were a good studio band, and It happened so fast that this guy that, you know, I had no idea played any lead at all, it just seemed like, in a matter of weeks, he went from being somebody who didn't play any lead at all to being one of the most incredible, unique guitar players, in terms of his ability to play lead and still have it sound like it was a natural, integrated part of bluegrass music. He's gonna come back with some figure that's gonna be off the scale that there's gonna be no way in the world that I could afford it.". I mean, he had no fear about throwing those things into a band. There was this bluegrass band, the Country Boys — you know Clarence and Roland and Clarence's brother Eric on bass and Billy Ray Latham on banjo and LeRoy Mac was on dobro — and boy, what a sound! I asked him … it looked to me a little bit like a Martin. thought it was time for me to leave (the Byrds). Can you tell me about the time that you first met Clarence? and they were playing all the time out on the road. But the guy told Joe Miller, he said, "Well, this guitar is in pretty ragged-out condition," he said, "even though it is a Martin D-28," he said, "I'd say if it was in real good shape, it might be worth around $600, but in the shape that it's in," he said, "I would put it in the $450 to $500 range." And Bobby was a fiddle player for a while with the Country Boys, who were then called the Kentucky Colonels. It would come on every Sunday afternoon; it was a live radio broadcast. A lot of this stuff is hard to answer. straight out of his amp. The beauty of Clarence White was on 'Time Well, the next day at home, just to play a long shot, I got on the phone. etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. But, anyway, my father and I went back there. And I said, "Well, would you consider selling it?" © 2020, THE BLUEGRASS SITUATION, LLC. went on to make after that was pretty bad. White when he was playing with us. Because he was different from anybody else that I had ever heard in a way that's very hard to describe. ", So I waited and called back: Lo and behold, Joe Miller was there. Well, we can't talk about Clarence without talking about the guitar a little more. In fact, the guitar was not played for about nine years when the subject came up, you know, as to who had the guitar, where it was, because the whole world thought the guitar was just inaccessible to anybody. Lyrics The final song that Gram Parsons wrote before his own death, “In My Hour of Darkness,” was in part a tribute to White. Why was he such an inspirational figure for you, as a musician and even as a person? I think it was just Clarence White's musicianship. And, as a result of my inability to play like Clarence White, out of that came my own identity as a separate musician from Clarence White altogether, with the exception of, you know, a few things like rhythm style and some of the techniques he used. It's really an honor and a pleasure. And such as the case, you know, as it is here. He said, "Yeah," he said, "I think I could do that." he was always way over it. It was beyond description to see this guy sitting there that young and playing rhythm — that's the only thing he played at the time. Lede image: Tony Rice, 2005 RockyGrass. Clarence White and Roger McGuinn in the Byrds, September 1972. And then I would say, "Okay, tell me about it. So I got on the phone and I called information and asked them do they have a number for Miller's Liquor, and the operator said, "Yeah, we have nine of 'em. Well, Clarence very quickly learned to take up the slack where his brother had left off and it seemed like it happened overnight. And you know, I wish there were more definitive ways of being able to answer a lot of the questions that a lot of people wanna know about my own relationship with Clarence White and what he meant and what he means today and you know, etcetera, etcetera. But nonetheless, it's like not knowing what happened, there's a reason why Clarence never was allowed to get that guitar back from Joe Miller. And the person that answered the phone said, "No, Joe is not here, but he'll be back probably in about an hour. There's some of those things that are just like the scenario with the rose. The next good part was the onstage fun I had with Clarence It might have been a year or two after — or maybe even three years went by — and Roland got drafted into the Army and that left a void there of another instrumentalist that took solos as an integrated part of the band. Which was not November 2008. Well, she give me a number and the first one I got, I called and I said, "Is Joe Miller there?" Musicians Crowe Band and knew who I was and everything. I'll be 64 in a number of weeks, and I think now that all things And geez, you know, when I think back at the years that went by before anybody else was even known about — and not that many people even knew about Clarence, in terms of his ability to play lead — and then, next, I think around 1963, Doc Watson would come along and a couple of other people people would come and become more familiar with Norman Blake. Unbelievable. But he came back, he called me back and he said he took it to the last place that Clarence had had the guitar worked on.
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