‘It was absolutely deafening!: The time Steve Hackett blew away the Yardbirds’ Jim McCarty

Steve Hackett has worked with the Yardbirds’ Jim McCarty on a pair of studio projects, bringing a touch of the Genesis-style prog — not to mention a huge guitar sound.

First, he sat in on two tracks — “Average” and “Trouble” — from the 1986 album Strangeland by the Yardbirds offshoot band, Box of Frogs. To that point, McCarty was only aware of Hackett via his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career, not in person. “I just knew he was a very good player and he was a very nice guy,” McCarty tells DMME.net, “and he turned out to be a big fan of the band, so it seemed like a good idea he should be involved.”

Then Hackett plugged in. “It was quite funny, actually, because him, of all people, had a huge rig, with a huge amount of speakers,” McCarty remembers. “And when he set it up in the studio, he sat in the control room and played — we were all in the control room — and I don’t know what he was going through [laughs] but if you walked into the studio, it was absolutely deafening! The sound! It was amazing; I never heard anything like it!”

Loud as it was, McCarty must have appreciated what he heard. Hackett later appeared on the stalwart Yardbirds drummer’s 2009 solo project Sitting on the Top of Time, and the song “Living from the Inside Out.” “It seemed to really cry out for that style of guitar,” McCarty adds, “that real ’70s, like you say, harmony type of thing.”

Box of Frogs, who were active from 1983–86, included original Yardbirds Chris Dreja and Paul Samwell-Smith, as well. McCarty just finished a well-received U.S. tour with an updated lineup for the Yardbirds.

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