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inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #0 of 81: Ron Hogan (grifter) Tue 9 May 00 20:19
    

Inkwell.vue is pleased to provide a conversational arena for a handful of
the 50 writers who contributed to "Encounters with Bob Dylan" (Humble
Press, Feb. 2000), a book of essays about first-person meetings with this
reclusive, enigmatic poet, musician and star.

Among those who have been invited to join the discussion are:

Tracy Johnson: a longtime Dylan fan and freelance writer who lives in San
Francisco.

Timothy Chisholm: a native of Chicago suburbs who currently teaches at a
middle school in Southern California.

Lee Parham and Jenny Langley: Lee, 53, is a musician and personal
assistant who met Jenny, 36, in 1985. Jenny, a paraplegic, was the first
person in that state to prove that living at home was less expensive than
living in a nursing home, which resulted in the establishment of the
state's Independent Care Waiver Program. Lee and Jenny are currently
building their own home in McDonough, Georgia.

Marc Silber: a musician, luthier, and vintage instrument dealer who lives
in Berkeley, California. In 1963, he opened Fretted Instruments in
Greenwich Village, which quickly became the gathering point for the
musicians who helped shape the folk revival of that era. He is currently
the owner of Marc Silber Music in Berkeley.

Veronica Lambert Hall: a resident of Spain and a primary school teacher
and psychologist-turned-translator, from Catalan and Spanish into English

Lawrence Morrissey: a Dylan fan since the release of "Another Side" in
1964.

Also joining us in Inkwell.vue is Jon Sievert, founder of Humble Press. He
is a former longtime editor and staff photographer for Guitar Player
magazine and the author of Concert Photography: How to Shoot and Sell
Music-Business Photographs.

Leading the conversation is Gary Burnett, who has been jera@well.com for
almost 10 years. Gary is an Assistant Professor at the School of
Information Studies at Florida State University, where he teaches courses
in information technology, technical writing, information design, and web
development.  He is also a writer, and his "The Grateful Dead: A
Meditation on Music, Meaning, and Memory" will appear in The Grateful Dead
Reader, which is soon to be published by Oxford University Press.  He has
been an obsessive Dylan fan since the moment he first heard Positively 4th
Street sometime in 1966 or 1967.
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #1 of 81: Phantom Engineer (jera) Wed 10 May 00 13:35
    

 Hi, everybody, and welcome to inkwell.vue!  I'm very happy to have
 the opportunity to moderate this conversation about one of my
 favorite topics.

 The idea of publishing a book about face-to-face encounters with
 Bob Dylan (rather than, say, a book about his lyrics or about
 his music) is intriguing, given Dylan's reputation as very
 reclusive and unapproachable (I seem to remember a story told
 by Patti Smith, who toured with him in 1995, to the effect that
 they never actually spoke, even though she dueted with him
 on "Dark Eyes" at several shows).

 Tracy and Jon, could you talk a little about the genesis of the
 book?  Where did the idea of a collection of encounters come
 from?
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #2 of 81: Jon Sievert (humblepress) Thu 11 May 00 12:20
    
It looks like Tracy is not going to be able to participate so I'll
have to fill that role. The idea for the book was her's. As a longtime
Dylan devotee, she says she often fantasized about meeting him. Over
the years of attending his concerts, she discovered she was not the
only one with such fantasies. "Standing in line at shows, nearly every
fan I encountered shared memories of having met him or dreams of doing
so. And with every single tale at every single venue, I was entralled
by these conversations and  wondered if others might be, too. Thus came
the idea for the book."

She'd been working on the project about a year when I first heard from
her. She was looking for unpublished photos of Bob. I had one she
liked, and we struck a deal for her to use it. At the time, St.
Martin's was showing interest in publishing the book.

Last June, a little more than a year later, I heard from her again.
St. Martin's had backed out because the material wasn't salacious
enough to suit their needs. She was planning to self-publish but didn't
have a clue about what was involved. I was intrigued by the idea
primarily because it was different from all the other Dylan books out
there, namely biographies, discographies, photo books, and
analysis/criticism. As a longstanding Bobcat (and Deadhead), I
appreciated the fans' point of view and decided to get involved. She
had maybe 30 usable stories at the time, so I started contacting people
that I knew who had met him for their stories.
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #3 of 81: Phantom Engineer (jera) Thu 11 May 00 12:56
    
It certainly is different from every other Dylan book!  And, as
far as I'm aware, from books on other musicians (though there
have been other fans-eye books -- David Gans' collection of
reminiscences of Jerry Garcia comes to mind).

What do you think (or what do you hope) this approach adds to our
understanding of Dylan's work, or of his impact?
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #4 of 81: Jon Sievert (humblepress) Thu 11 May 00 21:32
    
And, of course, there was Paul Grushkin's landmark "Book of the
Deadheads," but I don't think anyone else has approached it in quite
this way. I'm not sure it adds much to our understanding of his work,
but it does give us a clue about the impact his songs and music have on
his fans.

More than any other artist I can think of, Dylan changed peoples'
lives in fundamental ways both politically and socially. As many of the
authors mention, his music changed the way they viewed the world. One
thing I like about the book is that it is as much about the fans who
wrote the stories as it is about Dylan.
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #5 of 81: Phantom Engineer (jera) Fri 12 May 00 14:58
    
I'd be very interested in seeing comments from some of the authors
about a couple of things along these lines:

What was it about Dylan that drew you so strongly, not only to
his work, but to a sense that you wanted to actually meet him?

Also, does anybody care to talk about just how you feel his music
actively changed the way you viewed the world?
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #6 of 81: Jenny Langley - Lee J Parham (jenny-leej) Fri 12 May 00 17:38
    
Hi everyone...Jenny and Lee J here.  
    LJ:  In the early sixties ('62) I was playing in a garage rock
band, but had participated in "Hootenanny"s, which was more of a folkie
thing performed by somewhat "square" performers.  I had particularly
liked "Blowin' in the Wind".  I bought "Freewheelin" sometime in '63. 
After the initial shock of Dylan's voice and delivery, I found the more
I played it, the better I liked it.  Being a draft card carrying,
bomb-fearing, peace-loving teen, Dylan was speaking to my concerns.  I
still "loved you, teen queen" and listened to Rock-a-day Johnny, but
there was something gripping about this man.
   By the time I was actually drafted, Dylan and Frank Zappa seemed to
annoy my military superiors more than anyone else with their wild hair
and unacceptable lyrics and music.  I worked for a time for the Armed
Forces Radio Network, Dylan was banned from official lists.  Like good
GIs though, we had a network of record buyers at home who sent us
Dylan, the Doors and other assorted "banned bands".  I still consider
"Like A Rolling Stone" to be the greatest rock song ever.  The opening
rimshot is to die for!
  JENNY:  I was drawn to Bob's music in the car listening to my big
brother's 8-track of "Blood on the Tracks", singing loud all the way to
school "Tangled up in Bluuuuue!"
  LJ & J:  We never expected to meet Bob that night, although we had
front row seats and lots of hopes.  His lyrics had affected us both for
many years and we just wanted to hear him up close and see him. We
both are music lovers and go to many concerts, but we are not groupies.
 We go to hear the music and see the performance!
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #7 of 81: Jon Sievert (humblepress) Fri 12 May 00 17:51
    
Good to see people starting to check in. Hopefully, some of the other
authors will join us soon.

I think it's important that folks who haven't seen or read the book
get a chance to read the stories of all the authors scheduled to be
here. All are posted on the humble press web site at

www.humblepress.com/Encounters/Pages/Silber.html

www.humblepress.com/Encounters/Pages/Chisholm.html

www.humblepress.com/Encounters/Pages/Parham.html

www.humblepress.com/Encounters/Pages/Lambert.html

www.humblepress.com/Encounters/Pages/Morrissey.html
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #8 of 81: Phantom Engineer (jera) Fri 12 May 00 18:01
    
Yes.  I'd encourage everybody to check out these stories, and
to track down copies of the book, as well.  Among the authors
who are scheduled to be here, we have people who have had
contact with Dylan in a pretty wide variety of circumstances
as early as 1962 through the '90s.  It's an excellent read!
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #9 of 81: Timothy Chisholm (tchisholm) Fri 12 May 00 21:27
    
Hi, folks.  Thought I'd jump in here with some musings of my own.

When I was  15 or 16 (early to mid 70s), a high school student looking
for an identity, looking to belong somewhere, hoping for a symbol or
message to make my own so I could be a part of something greater than
myself, trying to make sense out of the world - that’s when I
discovered Bob Dylan’s music.  I was about the age Dylan was when he
first began to create his music.  The timing was perfect.  It occurred
at a time of awakening for me - as I was shedding adolescence for young
adulthood, and I was being drawn to social consciousness and personal
struggle.  His music struck a chord in me that still resonates.   The
poetry, the imagery was inescapable.  And I was oh so ready for it.

I had been listening to the Beach Boys and Elton John (8-tracks, like
Jenny), and to tell you the truth, I was a little embarrassed about it.
 I thought I’d be laughed at if caught listening to such pop fluff by
my older brothers (who were in college at the time).  But I knew I was
safe with Dylan's music - because the music itself was NOT safe.  It
was daring, revolutionary.  It commanded respect.  It seemed so much
more grown up  - so much deeper - so much more important.  You had to
work at Dylan's music.  It wasn’t just a reflection of pop culture - it
was a barometer of the human experience.  When I listened to it, I
felt it was calling my name.  It was that personal.  Yet, it also made
me feel a part of something greater than myself.

Yeah, I still get carried away.  That’s because Dylan’s music still
means that much to me - it’s a part of me, a part of my identity.  
There are countless friends & acquaintances in my life who - asked to
describe me - would mention my being a Dylan fan right up there at the
top of the list.

So, meeting him was, and still is for me, almost unbelievable, and yet
completely RIGHT - perfect somehow.  I never expected to meet him,
never dreamed it.  In retrospect, it seems more like some strange sort
of inevitability - like fate.  And I love the fact that I didn't meet
him because I stalked him or waited around at the backstage door hoping
to catch a glimpse.  The fact that it was Dylan who requested to meet
me is something that still gives me a thrill.  He said I added to his
show.  How cool is that?
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #10 of 81: Veronica (veronica-l) Fri 12 May 00 23:40
    
Hi everyone,
I'm Veronica. The first time I saw Dylan was in 1978 at Blackbushe. I
was living quite near there at the time and a group of friends wanted
to go and see this all-day concert. I had heard of Dylan, but had no
idea as to what his music was really about. In fact, I was more
interested in seeing Eric Clapton and Joan Armatrading!! But when Dylan
came on the stage in that top hat he was wearing I was intrigued, and
by the time his set ended some hours later he had woven his magic spell
on me. I don't know how he does it, but his presence on the stage is
so incredibly strong. Soon after the concert a friend brought round
Blonde on Blonde and that was it.. I was hooked! 
I started to buy all his albums and for the first time I sat down and
really listened to what the guy was saying, and I identified with it. I
don't think I would say that Dylan actually changed the way in which I
viewed the world, but he helped me come to terms with how I viewed it.

Over the years my life has gone through many changes, as has
everyone's, but Dylan has always been there with his words of wisdom.
At moments when I felt that I couldn't go on I listened to Dylan and
thought that if he could pull through then so could I!! He was like a
best friend who was never too busy for me.
Dylan is the only musician whose songs have affected me so intensely
that I have wept. The first time I heard songs like If you see her, say
hello, Idiot Wind, Boots of Spanish leather or You're gonna make me
lonesome when you go I was so moved. How could this guy know exactly
how I was feeling?? :-) There were times I felt he was my only friend
in the world. 
The press gave such a bad image of Bob, he was rude, anti-social and
all the rest, I was so sure that he was just misunderstood and I wanted
to find that out for myself. My two all-too-brief encounters with Bob
were obviously not enough to find out if he is the same as the man
behind the songs, but you just have to look into those deep eyes of his
for a few moments to know that the guy is genuine. (As if I could have
doubted it after hearing his words!!). I saw in those eyes a guy who
looked tired and lonely, a victim of his own fame. 

May your wishes all come true.
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #11 of 81: Phantom Engineer (jera) Sat 13 May 00 05:34
    
It seems as though the central image of Dylan interacting with
people are those scenes in Don't Look Back in which he is so
willfully difficult, and even rude (particularly the scene in
which he is baiting the science student, which a cousin of
mine thought was so offensive that he stopped listening to Dylan
altogether).  It's good to hear that this isn't the only
Dylan.
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #12 of 81: Jenny Langley - Lee J Parham (jenny-leej) Sat 13 May 00 07:56
    
LJ:  I noticed on one of the reviews of our story in the book that the
reviewer referred to our encounter as "kitschy".  I had read in one of
my Dylan books that Bob had a friend in a wheelchair and actually had
him on stage with him.  All of our wheelchair friends are constantly
searching for people who will accept them as they are without going
into the sympathy or pity bag.
     A man that would write words like "No need to get excited, there
are many here among us who feel life is but a joke....you and I we've
been through that and this is not our fate, no need to talk falsely
now, the hour is getting late" has to have developed some insight into
more than everyday life.
     Derek Barker said in his foreword he would probably not like to
meet Dylan.  We certainly could not say we "met" him, encounter is
definitely the better word.  I would have to concur with Derek in one
way because I wouldn't know what to say to him that he hasn't been told
a zillion times.  On the other hand, I would love to meet him just to
hear what he has to say and be in his presence.
     Veronica's description of weeping at some of his music hits home.
I often wondered how "MR. Bitter" could write some of the most lovely
love songs, but then, aren't we all that way? Think "I'll Remember
You".
     The gesture he made to Jenny that night at the Fox told us that
somehow he understood the struggles she faces in daily life and
appreciated that she was there.  I have read a quote from him that the
best one can do is inspire someone.  I believe there was a mutual
inspiration that night.  If that's kitschy, so be it!
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #13 of 81: Jon Sievert (humblepress) Sat 13 May 00 12:06
    
Nothing kitschy about it at all. Lee, where did you see that review? I
missed that one. Dylan is obviously a sensitive man or he couldn't
write the words that he does. But Gary's right when he says the
enduring image of Dylan interacting with people is in "Don't Look
Back," a 35-year-old film. I think the book shows he's not that
one-dimensional, and that he's perfectly capable of interacting with
fans in a meaningful way. The stories of the authors here prove that. 

Of course, we're looking at an arc of more than 40 years, and Bob has
certainly changed over that time. Anyone who's watched over even part
of that time will agree that he's become more verbal, especially in
concert, and more open in the last few years. In her story, Patricia
Maher suggests it may have something to do with his Grammy for "Time
Out of Mind."

that he can run the guantlet of emotion, depending on the situation
and his mood. 
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #14 of 81: Marc Silber (marc-silber) Sat 13 May 00 13:43
    
HELLO, 
    WELL (NO PUN) I FINALLY GOT ON TO THE CONVERSATIONAL SITE AND LOOK
FORWARD TO  TALKING WITH PEOPLE INTERESTED IN THIS BOOK OR WITH ME AND
WHAT I RECALL FROM THE GREAT DAYS IN GREENWICH VILLAGE, ANN ARBOR,
AND/OR BERKELEY.  BEING CENTRALLY INVOLVED IN THE SCENE AT THOSE TIMES
I HAVE GREAT MEMORIES AND AM ANXIOUS TO HEAR FROM OTHERS WHO WERE ALSO
AT THESE PLACES, AND KNEW BOB DYLAN.   LET'S TALK!
     PEACE, 
                     MARC SILBER 
( aka BIG BOY ONCE, THE MUSICAL DUNCE)
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #15 of 81: Veronica (veronica-l) Sat 13 May 00 13:44
    
I often wonder about Dylan's public image. There's no doubt that when
he was in his 20s he wanted to come over as an angry young man with a
message. He told blatant lies about his background, but that was all
part of the image. He probably never thought for a moment that he would
last so long in the public eye!!! So, here's the problem, you have
built a public image that is fine when you are twenty, but how do you
adapt it when you are in your 30s, 40s and 50s? I think the recent
changes in Bob's public image are simply that he has matured and
reached an age when he really couldn't care too much about what people
think of him, he doesn't have to prove himself any more, so he is
starting to relax and be himself at last. And finally the "real" Bob is
coming through, the gentle caring person, who is desperately shy, but
who doesn't have to pretend any more!!

May your wishes all come true.
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #16 of 81: Jenny Langley - Lee J Parham (jenny-leej) Sat 13 May 00 14:47
    
JENNY:  Bob's caring and understanding stepped to the forefront with
"Time Out of Mind". He passes through all emotions: happy, sad, joy,
tears, love and hate.  Scars that we've had in all our lives, written
in a way that they seem to relate personally.  It seems to bore some
people to tears, but I can hear end to end, sing every word and feel
each emotion.  Pretty powerful for a record!
LEE J:  Two things I think we have in common with you, Timothy. 
First, our experience at the Fox was RIGHT...time, place, and what
happened.  Second, I didn't get a harmonica, but I took a "G" one with
me, hoping Bob would ask someone for one (which I had been told he had
done before).  Alas, I returned home with it in my pocket.  I did get a
pick off one of the stage hands, though!
J:  He forgot to tell you he also played "air piano" on the stage
surface at John and Bob's feet!  I saw both of them look a couple of
times.  John really seemed to get off on it.  In fact, we had great eye
contact with him throughout the concert.
L:  John is John Jackson, who Larry replaced (lead guitar). Along the
"Don't Look Back" image, I thought Bob was pretty cool at the time
because he was making fun of stupid people with stupid questions. I
think he reflected a lot of the attitude that accompanied the times and
the way our generation felt toward "socially acceptable".  I think he
has mellowed over time the same as most of us.  After all, wasn't he
the one that said "get out of the new world if you can't lend a hand,
for the times they are a'changin"?  I think he and Frank Zappa thought
the same:  if you want to be outraged, I am perfectly happy to do so.
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #17 of 81: Timothy Chisholm (tchisholm) Sat 13 May 00 18:44
    
I like what Veronica said regarding Dylan's public image, that he
doesn't have to prove himself anymore, so he is starting to relax and
be himself at last.  I agree with Lee that he has certainly mellowed
over the years - as have we.  I'd say his appearance on Dharma & Greg
certainly proved that.  That made me smile.  He also seemed to enjoy
handing that Grammy to Santana, and he's been more playful & animated
in his last couple shows I've seen in '98 and '99.  Now the recent
announcement that he'll be doing a special for HBO - some strange sort
of variety hour - seems to suggest that he is indeed relaxed and
enjoying himself.   Perhaps it all stems from a realization/meditation
of one's own mortality, which I believe is at the heart of Time Out Of
Mind.
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #18 of 81: Phantom Engineer (jera) Sun 14 May 00 06:30
    
I certainly an happy with the Dylan we've been seeing for the past
few years ... he seems happy to be onstage, & his performances
are engaged & passionate, and his music, in my opinion, as strong
as anytime in his career.

But I'm not so sure that all of the masks & role-playing have
dropped, at least in terms of his public persona.  Here's a man
who, as Veronica points out, invented himself through lies, and
even literally created a name for himself as he changed from
Zimmerman to Dylan.  And who has spent much of his career both
literally and figuratively wearing masks ... the "Bob Dylan mask"
of the 1964 Halloween show, the whiteface (and the character of
Renaldo) in Renaldo & Clara, the enigmatic "Self Portrait" of
an album of cover versions ...

What I think we're seeing now, at least in terms of his stage
persona, is Dylan-as-Elder-Statesman, who has given his life
to the tour and to the stage, taking his music endlessly around
the world to the people.  I think that he's patterning himself
after other Elder-Statemen musicians like Muddy Waters, Ralph
Stanley, & Bill Monroe, and that you can see it in a lot of
things ... the way he dresses, his choice of cover versions
(those wonderful bluegrass gospel numbers, Hootchie Cootchie
Man, etc.).  And, perhaps, in the glorious ways he mines the
lyrics of the folk tradition in Time Out Of Mind.

In this context, one of the interesting things about the stories
you folks all tell in the book is the way in which they give
us glimpses of the actual man, through moments during which
the guardedness of the publice personae fall away & we have
fleeting access to a man who is simply one of us, away from
all the craziness of the demands of the performing life.
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #19 of 81: a web reader writes... (tnf) Sun 14 May 00 07:30
    

From Andy Miller <am@psychology.nottingham.ac.uk>:


Hi fellow authors and others, from England in the Springtime.

I'd like to continue the theme of 'encounters' and 'celebrity' a bit further.

Like the Phantom Engineer's cousin, I was pretty wary of the film 'Don't
Look Back'. After reading reviews I kept well away from it. I'd read that
Dylan came across in various 'negative' ways in the film and I wanted to
preserve whatever it was that I (and presuambly millions of others) had
built in my mind about whoever it was who could produce that continous run
of incredible songs through the first half dozen albums. But the point is I
think, looking back, - which we've been told not to do, - that my motive at
the time was to preserve something that I had built up for myself, and that
that phantasy wasn't necessarily that close to the reality.

So, millions of us probably had our expectations of who or what Dylan
should be. And what kind of pressure must that be to live under?

We, - and probably most of those others we see around us at concerts, and
all the others at all those other concerts he plays around and around the
world, - want to have our 15 minutes with Dylan. For him that's must be a
life sentence. And that's without all the record company/manager/accountant
hassles and pressures.

Little wonder, I suppose, looking back (again), that when his genius was in
such intense flow, the welter of encounters took their toll. And he was
very very young to be hailed as a genius, even a god. How does anyone stay
human, creative, even sane, in the face of that type of onslaught?

I wanted to title my chapter to the book 'If you see him, leave him be' but
Tracy and/or Jon edited this bit, probably for the better. But this is I
think the paradox. We do understand the pressure on this creative artist
that we all do our tiny individual bit to create, but such is the effect of
Dylan's massive body of creative achievement on us that we would, at the
same time, all like our 15 minutes.

I really loved the cummulative effect of the chapters in the book and, for
me, that review was spot on when it said that a great deal is said about
Dylan in the book, without it ever being said directly.

Take heed, take heed of the Western wind

Andy
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #20 of 81: I Can Be A Complicated Communicator (dam) Sun 14 May 00 09:20
    
I also got an advance copy from th3e well for review.

I read it in one sitting.....the stories go from excellent to piss poor but
on the whold, it is a good read.

I would much rather read a book like C.P. Lee's "Bob Dylan and the Road to
The Manchester Hall" (which I have).....Clinton Hyelin's A life in Stolen
Moments (which I have) and Bob Dylan:  Performanace Artist by Paul Williams,
which I have.

I read ISIS so that may tell you that i am into slong lists, show reviews,
bootleg stuff, etc.

Would I buy this book......I doubt it......is it a bad book, no.......just
no very intersting for someone like me.
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #21 of 81: Jon Sievert (humblepress) Mon 15 May 00 12:12
    
Dan, I can appreciate your taste for books by Lee, Heylin, and
Williams; they've devoted much of their lives to researching and
writing about Dylan, and they provide a lot of information (and
speculation) about him. I've read two of the three you mention.

I published this book precisely because it was nothing like the three
you cite, or any other book about Dylan for that matter. The nature and
tenor of his songs invite scholarly research, but some of the
pretentious crap written about him really turns me off--like somebody
really knew what Bob was thinking when he wrote his songs. I can
imagine him reading that stuff and laughing his head off.

This is a book by Bobcats for Bobcats, though some won't like it. But
at least there are no pretentions. I've been following Dylan almost
from the start (though I'll admit I didn't pay much attention to the
'80s and early '90s), and I'd seldom heard the kind of stories that are
in the book. The man has always somehow managed to keep the mask up.

For a guy who's been around for four decades, I think it's kind of
remarkable there aren't more stories, particularly substantial ones
like the pieces by the authors participating here. It took Tracy two
years track these down through the internet and fanzines. In hindsight,
I might have eliminated a few of the weaker pieces, if only because
they tend to dilute the better ones. But I really like all the
different viewpoints and levels of devotion, and I think they all
finally add to the overall picture. 

And speaking of pictures, I really enjoyed tracking down all the
previously unpublished images. Rowland Scherman's story and photos from
the 1963 Newport Folk Festival, including the cover shot, are
terrific. Now for the $64 question (boy, does that date me): Who can
identify the picture of Bob in the book that isn't Bob?
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #22 of 81: Steven Solomon (ssol) Mon 15 May 00 12:17
    
I live in Northampton, MA, and Dylan played a show here at Smith
College a year or so ago. He rolled into town early, and for an hour or
so proceeded to deepen his enigmatic stature by utterly confounding
expectations. He borrowed somebody's bicycle and bopped around
downtown, occassionally stopping and briefly chatting with folks. I've
never heard of such public behaviour on his part, before or since, tho
I haven't yet read this book.
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #23 of 81: Phantom Engineer (jera) Mon 15 May 00 13:10
    
>> Who can
 identify the picture of Bob in the book that isn't Bob?

I can!  And it's a picture you took yourself, Jon!
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #24 of 81: Phantom Engineer (jera) Mon 15 May 00 13:14
    
Another question for Jon (and for the others as well):

Do you think that the kind of approach this book takes is particularly
appropriate *because* it's about Dylan, given his persistent use
of masks & transforming identities?

I may be wrong, but I don't think a book with stories about having
met Mick Jagger would be nearly as interesting (or, in all likelihood,
as varied).
  
inkwell.vue.74 : Encounters with Bob Dylan
permalink #25 of 81: Marc Silber (marc-silber) Mon 15 May 00 13:46
    
I have been reading the entries herein about Bob Dylan and I want to
express my own feelings about what an Artist is, so as to clarify what
we will be getting into discussing here.

When one lives in a "Culture" there are usually non-defined lines of
behavior, and there are always defined lines of behavior. (remember
when some authoritarian figure asked you " can't you just behave
yourself?"...and I have wondered all these years how do we ever NOT
behave ourselves?")  And now, we here in the USA have grown up and
lived in either no-Culture, or a pretense of the old version of
Culture, and this makes it difficult to discuss the things that make up
the attributes or those lacking in any crafts-person.  For it is when
a crafts-person is deemed to excell in a traditional culture  that the
word ARTIST starts to become applied to that person and to their
creations, etc.)

To me Bob Dylan is an Artist.  He is an Artist in a non-defined area.
And he has helped to create an "Illusion of Culture" for those of us
who live in this  Illusion on a daily basis.  He would be an artist in
any Culture because he describes and deals with the interplay of
people's feelings, and describes settings within which these feelings
are understandable .  In this way I find he is similar to a playwright,
or to Charles Dickens, or to those who can transfer a personal message
even outside their own indigenoues language group...Dylan is talking
to and about people...or he has often been doing this, and even though
I have not heard all his recordings it is obvious that he is reaching
people,  and even creating groups of people made of folks with similar
beliefs and affections...we are now joined together by things that have
supplanted the traditional idea of Culture and we get our songs from
sources that are preserved, usually by electronics. 
So thanks to Dylan for helping bond folks together.
( I have heard some children "bonding" into a mutual culture by
discussing which Shopping Mall they grew up at???  This then often goes
to "what electronic games did you play whole at this same Shopping
Mall??)  If this all sounds too serious it is because I am highly
disturbed by the "remoteness" of Life which accompanies this type of
development.  It makes me think that children can not tell the
difference between shooting and killing on Video Games at Malls, and
shooting their own friends at school.  What do you think?
  
      My own musical roots are equally divided between folks I have
heard and encountered live, and music I have heard from recordings. 
This is a phenomenon of the 20th Century and came with the advent of
recording.  Dylan is the same in this way.  
     And he has brought his personal art to life from a multitude of
sources, and made it appear in the present time so we can hear, feel
and deal with what he is singing and saying.  He can achieve this even
through the medium of recording.  And he continues to perform in real
life.  He is an Artist.  But he is not an Artist who needs money.  He
performs for some other reasons, and we, the public, are the
beneficiaries of this need of his.  There are only a few artist who
make great earnings from the "royalties" gleaned from others singing
their creations.  And these few often get lazy, and no longer  have to
earn a living, etc.  But there are some who perform for other reasons,
and they are unusual. Paul McCartney is another who continues to
perform many years after performing being a matter of bread.

     So as far as Bob Dylan being perfect, and consistent, and always
satisfying everybody through all the decades, well, I do not think it
is reasonable to ask this of anybody.  But especially not of our
creative people.  Dylan has given us so many great songs, and is such a
fabulous singer that I feel we should just enjoy what he gives us, and
disregard it when he creates something we do not like or enjoy. after
all, we have not gone to Beethoven's waste basket and found things he
discarded and then criticized these discarded creations. We just need
to like waht we like, and enjoy it.

     Here's a statement from me and I would love to get some feedback
abut this:  I think Bob Dylan is the most influencial singer of the
1950-2000 period in the Western part of our world.  And I am not
talking here about his particular voice...just his singing abilities. 
Think about it and drop us a line...

     So in this book we find reactions and descriptions of many
different people's takes on Dylan,  and I just want to frame it up with
my opinions of who he is and where he stands in what we live in,  and
where we live.  

     And I want to get one other thing straight here, before I make my
very first recording.  I will not be paying any royalties to Bob Dylan
for any verses he himself has gleaned from older recordings, and seems
to not give any credit to the creative people who came before him.  On
"Time Out of Mind" he has used many, many verses and ideas which were
previously recorded and which I have myself used for over forty years,
and he will not get one cent from me for using this material. Bob, you
do not own these old verses, OK?  Give credit to Furry Lewis, and Lemon
Jefferson, and Muddy Waters, and Robert Johson or to who ever you
first heard sing these words.  Remember the greatness of Dock Boggs or
Mississippi John Hurt by giving some credit for what you have borrowed.
 

      So read this book, and join me in some verbal ramblings here on
this site.  I appreciated the various takes on Dylan I read within "If
You See HIm Say Hello" .

PEACE,     MARC SILBER (aka : Big Boy Once, the Musical Dunce)  
      
  

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