Chris Hillman, Byrds/Flying Burrito Bros. Co-Founder, Publishes Memoir

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The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers co-founder Chris Hillman has published his memoir, Time Between: My Life as a Byrd, Burrito Brother and Beyond, via BMG Books. The book, released on Nov. 17, “takes readers behind the curtain of his quintessentially Southern Californian experience.”

Written in “an honest and unadorned style,” says the press release, “Hillman’s memoir recounts his early experience in bands like the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers and the Golden State Boys, which included future country music legend Vern Gosdin. He shares the story of getting his hands on a borrowed bass—an instrument he’d never played—to try out for the Byrds, and offers up details on why Miles Davis was responsible for their success. He shares about the moment the Byrds were nearly axed from The Ed Sullivan Show following an explosive showdown with the producers, and reveals how participating in a recording session with South African trumpet player Hugh Masekela inspired him to write his very first song, ‘Time Between,’ which then became the first true country-rock record.”

Watch the Byrds perform “The Times They Are A-Changin'” on Hullabaloo

Additionally, Hillman “sheds new light on his productive but sometimes-complicated relationship with Gram Parsons and offers insight into the real man behind the ever-growing myth. He tells us what really happened on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry when the Byrds made their controversial appearance during the recording of the Sweetheart of the Rodeo sessions, and offers up the details on the band’s disastrous trip to South Africa. From becoming one of the first musicians to move to the artistic enclave of Laurel Canyon, to the historic moment he quit the Byrds, to breaking new ‘outlaw country’ ground with the Flying Burrito Brothers, to recording with Manassas, to making the connections that launched the careers of Buffalo Springfield and Emmylou Harris, to his vastly different experiences as a performer at both Monterey and Altamont, Hillman opens up the fascinating pages of his life and career with engaging detail.”

Chris Hillman in his Byrds days

The author also “reveals the details of his personal life with candor and vulnerability. He writes honestly about his father’s suicide, his subsequent struggles with anger, and how his spiritual journey led him to a place of deep faith that allowed him to extend forgiveness and experience wholeness. He writes of overcoming his overwhelming shyness, building a family with his beloved wife Connie, earning a second degree blackbelt in karate, battling a life-threatening disease, and escaping three house fires.”

Time Between features a foreword by Dwight Yoakam and dozens of photos from Hillman’s personal collection, and is filled with Hillman’s encounters with characters such as Lenny Bruce, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bo Diddley, Otis Redding, Chuck Berry and Buck Owens, as well as his musical collaborations with Clarence White, Bernie Leadon, Stephen Stills, Dan Fogelberg, Herb Pedersen, John Jorgenson, Al Perkins, Jay Dee Maness, Tom Brumley and more.”

The tale spans hanging out at the famed Ash Grove club in Los Angeles as a teenager to Hillman’s 2018 Sweetheart of the Rodeo anniversary tour with Roger McGuinn and Marty Stuart.

Related: Read our review of the 2018 Sweetheart of the Rodeo tour

Watch Chris Hillman perform “Turn, Turn, Turn” with Herb Pedersen

On the day of the book’s publishing date, Hillman did a livestream event with “my two best friends,” Pedersen and Jorgensen.

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3 Comments so far

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  1. Steel guitar Slim
    #1 Steel guitar Slim 20 August, 2020, 12:23

    Chris’s work with steel guitar legend Jay Dee Maness is really good. Thank you Chris for all the great music. I appreciate you.

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  2. bucky
    #2 bucky 21 August, 2020, 16:25

    I second that. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to enjoy Chris Hillman’s music since I was in high school. I’m 69 y.o. Thanks bunches!

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  3. Cisley
    #3 Cisley 18 November, 2020, 16:12

    My copy of Chris’ book just got here from Amazon today. I was going to wrap it up, put it under the tree and read it after Christmas but life is short so I will start it this evening. I agree with everyone else, thank you Chris for all the wonderful music and now, for writing your story.

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