‘It got to be a bit mad there’: How Yardbirds stalwart Jim McCarty found peace

You might expect to find Jim McCarty in the hustle and bustle of London. Instead, the long-standing Yardbirds drummer can be found in a French retreat, far from the streets that defined his early life — and his band’s early sounds. “Back in the ’60s, we were heavy rockers who lived close to the edge,” McCarty has said. “But eventually everyone wants some privacy and peace of mind — even original Yardbirds.”

Initially, he and wife Elisabeth moved to a two-story 17th-century house in Roussillon, France — a village perched on a picturesque ridge. It was there, after having state-of-the-art recording gear installed by the son of original Yardbirds frontman Keith Relf, that McCarty wrote his 2009 solo project Sitting on the Top of Time.

Soon, however, even Roussillon — which has an emerging tourist economy of its own — started to feel too rushed. McCarty has since moved to another village 100 miles away.

“It’s a very quiet culture,” McCarty says in a new talk with WTMJ. “It’s in Provence, not too far from the sea. It’s quiet, compared to living in a big metropolis like London. I did live in London, until about 10 years ago, and it got to be a bit mad there. It’s quite different but, on the other hand, I can still travel around. I can travel from Nice airport, and get where ever I need to go quite quickly.”

That includes the U.S., where McCarty and the Yardbirds just completed a well-received tour. Up next: An August 22, 2014 stop at the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival.

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