Gary Lambert (almanac) Mon 20 Jan 03 18:44
BTW, I was doing a bit of searching for accounts of that night at Folk City, and came across some pretty amazing stuff from an interview with Patti Smith, which confirms some of the Dylan/Ochs tension in the air: http://www.oceanstar.com/patti/intervus/770318bd.htm
Larry Ratso Sloman (ratsosloman) Mon 20 Jan 03 20:07
Gary, First of all that Patti Smith account of Gerde's Folk City is a little self-aggrandizing and way off the mark. If you want to see a picture of Bob and Phil and me taken a few days before that birthday party for Mike Porco (not press conference to announce the tour as she had it!) then buy the new edition of my RT book. I can talk about Phil with great authority because he was my roommate at that time! I had actually inherited his apartment from him and Jerry Rubin. Rubin was going back to California to lead the health food movement and take EST courses and Phil was stuck with no place to go so my roommate and I let him crash with us on the living room couch! A lot of the Dylan Phil encounters are in the book as well as Phil coming to see the Night of the Hurricane and loving every second of it. Look, if Phil hadn't been in the throes of a horrible manic-depression there's no doubt in mind that he would have been on that tour. Bob understood that Phil was in no shape to go. The awkward situation that Patti talks about in that article revolved around Phil grabbing Dylan's hat and wearing it onstage when he performed an incredible few songs at Porco's birthday party. The hat was eventually rescued and restored to Dylan's crown. But the notion that Dylan was doing some kind of Don't Look Back Donovan number on Phil is just wrong. Dylan may have thrown Phil out of a car when Phil criticized one of his songs in '66 but in '75 Bob was very sensitive to Phil's feelings (he even stood and listened to Phil's drunken rap for over a half an hour at that party!) and seriously considered having him along until they all realized that Phil was in no shape to tour anywhere. I could cite many more examples of Phil's crazy behavior at that time, in fact, I'm quoted extensively in the good book about Phil (not Marc Elliot's piece of garbage). I will say that I still am the proud possessor of a check made out to me from Phil for one million dollars.
Gary Lambert (almanac) Mon 20 Jan 03 22:32
Wow... I think I must've once known that you were Phil's roommate, but had long since forgotten. Guess I asked the right guy! And I am relieved to hear of Dylan's sensitivity to Phil's plight, and that he was still seriously considering taking him on the tour until it became so clear that Phil was in no shape to go. I suspected that Phil was already pretty far gone by then, and it's good to know that Bob regarded him with compassion. I agree with your assessment of Marc Eliot's sloppy, inaccurate, agenda- driven Ochs book. His Springsteen book was trash as well. It's criminal that this guy keeps getting book deals. I have, for some stupid reason, never gotten around to reading Michael Shumacher's "There But For Fortune." But I will have to hunt down a copy, especially now that I've learned that you were a source! Damn, I miss Phil Ochs... Thanks for the info.
Michael Simmons (michaelsimmons) Mon 20 Jan 03 23:51
Rats, understanding that you weren't there, how was the second leg of Rolling Thunder from what you've heard from Kinky and others? What other musicians were there for the second but not the first and vice-versa? Did you go to any of the gigs?
johnlee (johnlee) Tue 21 Jan 03 06:46
I'd be interested in knowing the general dates for the 2nd leg of the tour.. surely the music on "Live 1975" must be from the first leg, as its damm good.. thanks.
Larry Ratso Sloman (ratsosloman) Tue 21 Jan 03 07:18
Mikey, Didn't go to any of those gigs. And any attempts to get info from Kinky came up with the old "swiss-cheese" refrain. For the dates, we'd have to go to some of those Dylan minute by minute books.
Michael Simmons (michaelsimmons) Tue 21 Jan 03 13:45
"On The Road with BD" is considered a classic of rock and roll writing. Why was it initially only issued in paperback and why did it take 4 decades for it to be reprinted? What do you think of "Love and Theft", by da by?
Jules Renard (hdonlon) Tue 21 Jan 03 15:20
>Why was it initially only issued in paperback and why did it take 4 decades for it to be reprinted? And...the first issue in the UK (which features the Kinky intro) has only been very recent. I'd like to ask Larry what made him decide on Helter Skelter Books, if I may?
Larry Ratso Sloman (ratsosloman) Tue 21 Jan 03 23:29
Mikey, Four decades? I'm not THAT old! It came out in 1978 as a Bantam Paperback Original because that's the deal my then-agent could get. It was my first book. It got good reviews and was even chosen as the best original paperback of that year by School Library Journal but after a year, as happens to many mass market paperbacks, it went out of print. I'd been approached over the years by many people asking me to put it back in print and I alwas resisted. First, I planned to do a hardcover version of it with 200 pages that were edited out of the original manuscript restored. An auteur's cut, so to speak. I will still do that, but I figured that getting it out as a trade paper would enable me to reach the new generation of Dylan fans that have sprung up. The book came out at the end of the summer - shortly after I was approached by Dylan's people and told that Bob was releasing a live two cd set of Rolling Thunder performances and asked to do the liner notes for that. So all of a sudden there was this great RT synergy. I'm still hoping to get that limited edition hardcover out in the next few years. As for Love and Theft, it's absolutely brilliant. It seems to me it's "Mind Out of Time". The songs are truly timeless and for me, a pleasant surprise because I thought for a second that Bob had painted himself into a corner, especially with "Highlands" closing that previous album. I like the looseness of the production, and its refreshing to get a respite from that heavy Lanois vibe (mind you, I loved both the records he produced for Bob). What can you say about the lyrics? Nobody writes songs like those.
Larry Ratso Sloman (ratsosloman) Tue 21 Jan 03 23:33
Jules, Helter Skelter approached me years ago to do the book. One of the reasons that the book was never published in the UK before was that my co-agent there in 1978 actually asked me who Joni Mitchell was. Helter Skelter managed to get the book reviewed favorably in the London Times, another mention in the Times, and they placed a long, long excerpt in Uncut Magazine that featured amazing never before seen photos by Ken Regan. As Leonard Cohen says when you ask him how he is, "Can't complain."
David Gans (tnf) Tue 21 Jan 03 23:59
> 200 pages that were edited out of the original manuscript Could you be persuaded to share a few choice passages with us here?
the System Works (dgault) Wed 22 Jan 03 00:08
Great stories everyone, thanks for writing them. It's great to hear folks still talking about Bloomfield, one of the smartest guys ever. Wish he was still around, but he'd be going crazy about the politics in the mideast.
gumbo diplomacy (gjk) Wed 22 Jan 03 09:00
>>> still hoping to get that limited edition hardcover out in the next few years. <<< I'll buy that. But please not to dilly-dally; none of us are getting any younger.
Michael Simmons (michaelsimmons) Wed 22 Jan 03 12:09
dgault: Just out of curiosity, what WOULD Bloomfield's take on the Mideast today be? Rats: Speaking of post-book reactions, how did our pal Chet Flippo react to his less-than-flattering portrayal in your book?
Larry Ratso Sloman (ratsosloman) Wed 22 Jan 03 15:50
David, I'd love to post a few passages but unfortunately the original manuscript is in cold storage. This was all pre-computer of course. When I get a breather, I'm going to scan the whole thing.
David Gans (tnf) Wed 22 Jan 03 17:36
I don't suppose that'll be while this interview is running.
Larry Ratso Sloman (ratsosloman) Wed 22 Jan 03 20:16
David Maybe early 2005.
Larry Ratso Sloman (ratsosloman) Wed 22 Jan 03 20:17
Michael, Having heard from Chet this go round but he wasn't too pleased the first time the book came out. He told me that he was putting me on during those conversations.
Michael Simmons (michaelsimmons) Wed 22 Jan 03 21:02
Rats: Did Dylan have any other reaction to the book other than his now legendary "The War and Peace of Rock and Roll"?
Larry Ratso Sloman (ratsosloman) Wed 22 Jan 03 21:39
He once told me that it would be the largest-selling book I ever wrote. Who knows, in a hundred years he might be right.
Oliver Trager (oliver-trager) Thu 23 Jan 03 02:32
Ratso Your RT tome was the most but I'm also a fan of your book on the NY Rangers. How did the two experiences compare? Oliver
RUSirius (rusirius) Thu 23 Jan 03 10:55
Hi Ratso! Any illuminating observations on Dylan's political attitudes? Drug proclivities and attitudes? RU Curious
the System Works (dgault) Thu 23 Jan 03 11:44
It's obviously difficult to put words in the mouth of of a brilliant renegade who's been dead for 20 years, but I do remember that Bloomfield was very disappointed with Israel based on his short visits there in the 70s. The best thought I've heard recently about mideast conflict involved locking the disputing parties in a room with unlimited beer and pizza. I suspect Michael might have liked that idea.
Dan Mitchell (mitchell) Thu 23 Jan 03 14:04
hold the sausage.
Dan Lynch (ndjd88) Thu 23 Jan 03 16:51
Listening to Live 1975 this morning, I noticed that Dylan's little intro to Romance in Durango mentions Larry--something along the lines of "do you remember Durango, Larry?" Is there a backstory to this, or is it just some random playfulness, Larry?
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