Trevor Heath/Brian Malloy The Yardbirds kicked off a new U.S. trek on Friday in Norfolk, Connecticut, with a completely different lineup than the one that’s toured in recent years save for founding drummer Jim McCarty. Singer John Idan, who previously fronted the group from 1992 until 2009, is back in the fold, joined by three veteran American musicians — guitarist Johnny A, bassist Kenny Aaronson and harmonica player/backing vocalist Myke Scavone.

McCarty tells ABC Radio that the reconfigured band is “working out really well,” pointing out that the new musicians “are really good and they’re very keen, energetic [and] very up for it, because they’re all Yardbirds fans.”

Aaronson has a particularly impressive resume, having recorded with Bob Dylan, Billy Idol, Joan Jett and many other stars, as well as being a member of the bands Stories and HSAS, which also featured Sammy Hagar and Neil Schon. McCarty says Kenny was especially excited to be playing with The Yardbirds because they’re his favorite band.

McCarty says that one factor behind the lineup change was that the group’s previous version featured musicians who were decades younger than him. “Somehow wasn’t quite as authentic as this,” he maintains. “You know, this sort of authentic age group, it seems a bit better.”

The Yardbirds initially had planned to launch this tour back in the spring, but it was postponed because of a health crisis McCarty experienced. He reveals to ABC Radio that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent an operation to remove the gland. He reports that, thankfully, “everything’s fine…I’ve had two sets of tests and they’re all clear, negative. So, [it] looks like I’m okay.”

As for what fans can expect to hear at the shows, McCarty says the set will be similar to the ones the group showcased at other recent tours, with a few different tunes thrown in to keep things fresh.

Among the songs are “Please Don’t Tell Me ‘Bout the News” from The Yardbirds’ 2003 album Birdland, “Back Where I Started” from the Box of Frogs project’s self-titled 1984 album, and the early Yardbirds gems “New York City Blues” and “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.” Another interesting addition to the set, McCarty says, is the title track of the band’s 1967 album Little Games, a song that Johnny A insisted be included.

“He’s got some quite clever effects worked out for that one,” McCarty notes. “He’s playing the lead guitar, but he’s playing some string parts at the same time…I don’t know how he quite does, but it sounds really good actually.”

Jim says that the band plans to uniquely segue from “Little Games” into The Yardbirds’ classic psychedelic tune “Shapes of Things” during their shows.

The Yardbirds’ next concert is tonight at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City. The tour is scheduled to run through a November 22 gig in Northampton, Massachusetts. Visit TheYardbirds.com to check out the band’s full schedule.

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