‘It’s quite interesting': Addition of original guitarist has changed the Yardbirds’ dynamic

Even as the Yardbirds’ new U.S. tour got underway last night, stalwart Jim McCarty is taking note of the differences between Ben King and Top Topham — and in the band itself. King, who has been with the Yardbirds since 2005, was joined by Topham in a rebuilt guitar tandem last year. Topham co-founded the group with McCarty before giving way to a trio of legends in Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.

The Yardbirds, which also includes singer/harp player Andy Mitchell and bassist David Smale, began an eight-date U.S. jaunt last night in Lake Tahoe. They’ll appear in Ferndale and Seattle this weekend, then continue on to Dallas, San Antonio and Milwaukee, among others, through the end of the month.

Already, McCarty says he’s noticed a refocus on “the bluesier side of the band,” now that Topham has returned. “They have quite different styles,” McCarty tells ABC News Radio, “and it’s quite interesting, if they’re swapping guitar solos, to see the difference. You know, one’s sort of more authentic and one’s perhaps a bit more dynamic.”

McCarty’s own band is also performing select dates, including a first-ever opening gig for the Yardbirds on June 29, 2014 in Peoria, Illinois. He’ll have copies of his Record Store Day release Frontman, which includes select tracks from his solo career and stints in Renaissance, as well as two re-recorded songs from the Yardbirds’ most recent studio effort, 2003’s Birdland.

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