Sixties icon McGuire performing in Chimacum
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"Eve of Destruction" singer Barry McGuire, left, is seen in concert with John York, who performed with The Byrds. They will be giving a benefit concert Saturday in Chimacum.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

CHIMACUM — The singer of one of the 1960s' most poignant protest anthems is headlining a benefit that is intended to subsidize the operation of the Port Townsend Winter Shelter.

“Trippin' the '60s,” featuring Barry McGuire and ex-Byrds member John York, will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Chimacum High School auditorium, 91 West Valley Road.

“I can't think of a more perfect connection than this show and Port Townsend,” said Skip Cadorette, who is organizing the event.

“And the money we raise will go to running the winter shelter next year.”

This is the second performance by McGuire and York in the area.

In 2009, they appeared at a benefit for the same cause that raised $6,000.

Cadorette hopes this year's event will raise $10,000 toward the operation of the shelter during the 2013-2014 season.

The shelter, located in the basement of the American Legion at 209 Monroe St., closed for the season last Friday.

McGuire is best-known for “Eve of Destruction,” the prototypical protest song that he feels still resonates today as it did on the Hit Parade in 1965.

“It was just a bunch of newspaper headlines set to a folk melody,” McGuire said of the P.F. Sloan-written anthem.

“It wasn't anything that people didn't know.

“When we sing it today, it is more valid than it was in 1965: 'The Eastern world, it is exploding; violence flaring, bullets loading' — and it says that 'a handful of senators can't pass legislation.'

“They still can't pass legislation.”

McGuire became a born-again Christian in the 1970s and refused to perform his signature song for several years but has resumed its performance, often with updated lyrics.

McGuire's passion for social justice continues.

He characterizes modern times as “the dawn of desolation” and has harsh words for President Barack Obama.

But he has distanced himself from the attitudes and behavior of his youth.

“We were looking for freedom, but freedom without rules will kill you,” McGuire said.

“Back then, we were like a bunch of puppies poured out on a kitchen floor out of a cardboard box, running around spilling the milk, getting into the trash, getting under the sink.

“We were eating stuff that was killing us. We didn't know,” he said.

“We didn't realize that rules are there to protect us and not inhibit us.”

McGuire said Saturday's show will present a sampling of his favorite songs — those written and recorded by himself and his friends — along with stories about their origin and the recording sessions.

“We tell the stories that are behind the scenes: how these songs all got written, all the people we used to work with and the stupid things we did.”

One story has to do with singer-songwriter Hoyt Axton, who was one song short for an album and was told he needed to make something up on the spot.

After a few minutes, he came up with “Joy to the World,” his most famous song and a huge hit for Three Dog Night.

Some of the songs McGuire performs come from a different perspective than when they were first recorded, such as The Beatles' “In My Life.”

“It's one thing to write a song looking forward about what you think it will be like when you are 70 years old, and it's another thing to be singing it when you are that age looking back,” said McGuire, 77.

McGuire, whose distinctive voice was introduced to most of the world in the New Christy Minstrels' hit “Green Green” in 1963, said the high point of the 1960s for him was appearing in the original Broadway production of “Hair.”

The low point was hearing about the murders of Sharon Tate and four others by the Charles Manson “family” in 1969.

“When I heard about that, I adopted a rule back into my life: that maybe we shouldn't kill each other,” McGuire said.

“I had turned people on to drugs who died of overdoses, and I had murdered two unborn babies who would be here now if they hadn't been aborted.

“I have a son who is now 51 years old, and I wanted to have him aborted, but his mother wouldn't have it.

“I would have murdered him if I had the chance.”

McGuire doesn't have a booking agent or a manager. He'll come play when he's invited.

“I don't have an agenda,” he said.

“I'm a color, and people can paint me into the picture.

“If they like my color, I'm available.

“If they don't like my color, I'll just stay home and work in my flower bed.”

Tickets for Saturday's show are $21 each and are available from Quimper Sound, 230 Taylor St.

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at

Last modified: March 19. 2013 6:10PM
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