Gordon Taylor (warfrat) Thu 18 May 00 10:59
It's not just a deadhead point of view at all. Audrey points out that Bob did an interview where he specifcally says GD had a great impact on him. Obviously, the impact that Bob had on the Dead was tremendous. I seem to recall that Phil Lesh got turned on to rock and roll after listening to Dylan one afternoon on a portable radio in his mail route truck (and the rest is history, as they say). Yes, nice to see your name again Jon! Petty/Dylan was before the Dead/Dylan tour. About a year or so.
Timothy Chisholm (tchisholm) Thu 18 May 00 11:12
As Jon said, the influences cut both ways, and I imagine Dylan must've rededicated himself many times over the past 40 years. My point is we all color our understanding with shades of our own perception.
jumping the railroad gate (vasudha) Fri 19 May 00 13:04
When people criticize a hero, that's what the fans always say, "It's a reflection on *you,* if you don't like that person" The hero can never be questioned. For me, Bob Dylan points to the fact that great artists are not necessarily nice or good people. The real disillusionment with Bob Dylan for me was that he wasn't just an obvious play for the money and fame. Many big pop acts don't bother me. It's like, "Yea, they're after money, they are corrupted by fame but hey, they don't pretend to be more." So it doesn't really disappoint me anymore or rub me the wrong way. For me the real disgust I feel for B. Dylan is the kind that one would feel for a preacher or one who gets on a high-horse in a moral sense, and who you *then* find out is corrupt. It's just more of a scam in that case. IMO. I went to High School in Beverly Hills and found out that a mutual friend of me and my best friend (who became a junky), was a supplier of heroin to Bob and his wife at the time. And I learned other stories about him - - some that did reflect well on him. But most that did not. I couldn't stomach his music afterward. It just didn't jibe with the man. Part of what I liked about his music was his idealism and honesty. When I found out those qualities were fake or were not deep but were actually phoney, i guess you could say I was disillusioned to the point that i couldn't enjoy his music to the degree that i had before. For me it was just a complete letdown that the writer of "Masters of War" , "Hurricaine" (later, of course and other great politcal tunes) was just as big a sell-out as anyone else. It made it worse for me because of his pretense to caring about higher political ideals and to his pretense of complete honesty. In some of the stories above he reminds me of nothing so much as a cowardly puffed-up Guru, who surrounds himself with sycophants; Who preaches judgemental high-falutn' philosophy and wisdom to entrance his audience, but who actually is very fucked-up personally. The idea that his manager and not himself was behind the order for the road crew to hide reminds me so much of the scene around some Guru-s. The "fans" blame the handlers. But *of course* the boss has nothing to do with the incident. The boss only hired the handler in question. The boss only gives the orders. But people really have a *need* to see their idols *as* idols. It sounds to me that he looked like Michael Jackson. <seabrook> quotes Geffen in _Nobrow_: "Geffen was bored by my attempts to discuss money and art in rock. When I asked him if he thought there ever was any social or political meaning to rock - - whether the artists were ever motivated by ideals, rather than by money - - he said, "That was all a lot of bullshit then, and it is now. It isn't that different. Most of the artist were trying to make a living, tring to get laid, trying to figure out who they were. They weren't trying to change the world. That's what other people put on them. I knew all those people. I knew them all intimately and well. Bob Dylan. I would say that Bob Dylan is as interested in money as any person I've known in my life. That's just the truth."
Marc Silber (marc-silber) Fri 19 May 00 13:20
I want to ask VASUDA a few questions as the blurb while interesting is a bit confusing. What do you know about Gurus? And if all these "POP" musicians are the same as concerns money and fame and getting a chance to grow up while getting laid then why are there sometimes words and lyrics and melodies that we carry around with us, and that have inspired us at least in our past? SO even if these type of hyped musicians seem the same it is obvious they are not. Vasuda seems to be venting some personal and moralistic disappointments cloaked in the discovery that BOb Dylan is the same ass any other commercial artist. Hey, my first electric band was called "THE SELLOUTS" and it was named after me. Just because I liked many types of music during the heydey of the Folk Revival, and still followed my friend John Sebastian into having a Rock 'n Roll Group when I lived in Greenwich Village I do not feel that I am a commercial and unvaluable person. ANd Mr. Bob is certainly not without value. And neither is Mr. John Lennon, who also had both bad habits and a girlfriend/wife that were perhaps not acceptable...but his work remains full of meaning to me, and still popular all these years after. his death. SO I say enjoy the fruits of what Dylan has produced, and if you do not enjoy it then simply so not bother with it. And to be disappointed with the living habits of an Artist is kind of shallow to my way of thiniking for even when I tried this same method it just failed. I liked things anyhow that I was trying not to like, and I now I hope to not interrupt my own enjoyments by prejudging things. "Words keep falling endless like some rain into a paper cup...." PEACE, BIG BOY ONCE, the MUSICAL DUNCE.
Gordon Taylor (warfrat) Fri 19 May 00 13:44
Bob Dylan IS HUMAN. I know of no one in this world is not a hypocrite to some degree or another. The key is not to focus on the man, but on the music. The music is what brought you to him in the first place and they lyrics behind it all are what rings true for you. The lyrics still hold truth, no matter if Bob were to sing them or Saddam Hussein (although the accent might be a bit hard on our ears..:-)). Alot of us deadheads had to come to that very same realization when we all found out that Jerry was A) a junkie and B) a multi-millionaire partly from selling TIES. After all was said and done and his ashes were scattered over the Golden Gate, he was still a human being, full of imperfections and faults. As human as the rest of us, including Bob Dylan. And I still like Bobs music despite his very bad Michael Jackson impression (he forgot the glove!).
Dan Marsh (dam) Fri 19 May 00 15:46
If we based our musical likes on the "goodness" of the musician.....I'm afraid most of our heroes would not qualify. Dylan Lennon Garcia Springsteen etc., etc., etc.
Gordon Taylor (warfrat) Fri 19 May 00 16:02
'Zactly! Unfortunately, I think Geffen was speaking the blunt truth about peoples motivations for becoming musicians. While it may not have been forefront to be rich and famous, no one denied the money (but a few of them struggled with the fame). I love Bobs music, as I stated. When I was forced to stand shouldertoshoulder with my peers on the back of that truck, I laughed heartily. Then, on my break, went out and enjoyed one hell of a Bob show. If I had thought about what Bob or his manager made us do, I laughed again and continued to enjoy the music. I think I would have robbed myself of pleasure had I held onto the vision of that bad Michael Jackson impression. It's interesting to note, however, the similarities in that moment on the loading ramp and Michael Jackson but only from the perspective of how a "superstar" handles fame. I think, like MJ, Bob has had to deal with an enormous amount of attention not only to his music but his words, from a very early age (although MJ got his start as a tot). That must've had a huge impact on Bob and how he dealt with the general public to the point where even stagehands had to "avert thine eyes". While the money was nice, the fame was excruciating and difficult to deal with. Huge expectations are placed on you and your words are often taken completely out of context. Sometimes, hiding behind a hooded sweatshirt is the only way to deal.
Jenny Langley - Lee J Parham (jenny-leej) Sat 20 May 00 08:09
LJ: In 1981, I had the good fortune to security for a well-known actor during the filming of a movie here in Atlanta. One of the most poignant moments I remember during this 120 days was the night he picked me to accompany him to a closed set in an office building downtown. He instructed me that I was to sit in the hall in front of the locked door to the set and NO ONE was to disturb him for one hour. All this man wanted was to be alone. He just had to get away from the dozen or so folks that were with him constantly everywhere, all the time. I found myself feeling sorry for this man who had money, fame and anything he wanted except privacy. We had deceptive plans to move him around town (using his stunt double and a limo to distract people while we traveled in a cargo van). We always worried that a "fan" would attack him in some way, and when he did walk through crowds and breached his security wall, we grimaced and worried. Yet, personally, he was a caring, funny and personable guy. It just seemed everyone wanted a piece of him all the time! Not a great way to live! Perhaps this might explain why famous people are somewhat skeptical of others wanting their moment. I recall hearing Bob Dylan quoted as saying "appreciate your obscurity". As for musician's motives, I have been playing since 1962. During this time I have spent thousands of dollars on equipment, rehearsed thousands of hours, been stiffed by club owners and promoters, received bad checks, been booed by patrons at clubs where our agent booked us in the wrong type of venue, but I still do it. I doubt I will ever get the money back I have invested nor be famous, but it is the drive to perform, react with fellow musicians, and get that occasional appreciative remark that motivates us to continue. The critics usually can't play, sing or dance, so they get their jollies dumping on those that try. Agents and promoters are looking for a cash cow they can exploit. It's enough to make anyone cynical, and the first thought from your mind is "what do YOU want?" You do something nice, you are faking it; you lose your temper and say something nasty, you are a "conceited asshole". Fantasty is always better than reality, so perhaps people should keep their fantasies. As Pete Townshend says, "they are your f***ing icons, they are my friends!" Jenny and I have encountered a number of artists, and we are happy to share our Bob story. Like Tim, we would rather be in this book than one that attempts to "analyze, categorize, finalize and advertise" Bob Dylan.
Dan Marsh (dam) Sat 20 May 00 21:16
a nice interview with the author in the current issue of ISIS (number 90)
Jon Sievert (humblepress) Sun 21 May 00 16:33
I always wonder how *any* really famous person manages to remain gracious and patient with the kinds of demands and expectations put on them by their fans. Dylan is no less a prisoner of his fame then Elvis was, but at least Bob has survived and thrived as an artist. Re: Dan's note in #59: Derek Barker at ISIS has been very kind to the book. I think he understands that its potential readers are the kind of fans that read his magazine. We also got a review in this morning's Examiner Magazine on page 6. It's actually part a group review along with--the DVD reissue of "Don't Look Back." and the 994-page "Song and Dance Man III--The Art of Bob Dylan" by Michael Gray, which the reviewer calls "a staggering work of amateur scholarship." He goes on to introduce his comments on "Encounters" with "On a (blessedly) lower plane is "Encounters with Bob Dylan," and concludes with the sentence, "Not great literature, but amusingly unpretentious." I can live with that assessment.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (peoples) Sun 21 May 00 16:34
Well said, Lee. It has got to be pretty wearing to be in the limelight all the time, and the brighter that light, the more crazy-making for the individual.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (peoples) Sun 21 May 00 16:35
Phantom Engineer (jera) Sun 21 May 00 16:51
People's comments over the past couple of days have made me think about the relationships between artists and their audience, particularly in those situations in which "fame" comes into play. Two things seem apparent to me: 1. More generally: we, as fans, are in trouble whenever we let our assumptions about artists interfere with what those artists are actually doing in terms of their art. One of the things this means is that we have to be on the lookout for any form whatsoever of idealization. Everybody, even Dylan, can be an asshole sometimes, and can fail to live up to our expectations. Although that can have a significant impact on our perception of their art, it really has little (if anything) to do with the art itself. 2. More Specifically: Dylan is human. And, given the situation under which he must do what he does, it's utterly amazing that he continues to be able to interact with his fans (as the book demonstrates) *and* that he continues to be able to produce *amazing* work. The recordings of recent shows that I've heard just take my breathe away with their sheer beauty & artistry. As I type, I'm listening to a recording of "Highlands," & can't even imagine anything more focused & beautiful.
Dan Marsh (dam) Sun 21 May 00 18:19
there is nothing amateur about Song and Dance Man.....I have it.......I just don't know if I can be *that* serious about Bob Dylan!
David Gans (tnf) Mon 22 May 00 06:50
Lee Parham said: >You do something nice, you are faking it; you lose your temper and say >something nasty, you are a "conceited asshole". Yup. Just yesterday, after my set at a muddy outdoor festival in Pennsyl- vania, I was talking to a fan and another guy walked up and interrupted to ask if he could ask me a question. I said, "Do you mind waiting until we are finished with our conversation here?" The guy said, "Never mind," and walked away. A few moments later, I went back to this guy and said, "What can I do for you?" "I forgot what I wanted to ask you," he muttered, and it was clear from his demeanor that he was angry. I just know this guy is going to carry the image of me as a "conceited asshole" away from this encounter which he initiated by being rude both to me and to the guy I was talking with. My experience is a microscopic version of those real stars' stories. By the way, I wrote back to the guy whose email I mentioned the other day, asking why he chose to tell me his story about nasty ol' Bob. He replied, "The reason I shared it now was I had just discovered your site.... I just wanted to give you some personal insight, that the man is not the GOD you portray him to be." I'm not sure where on my web site (www.trufun.com) this guy found anything about Bob Dylan, let alone anything portraying him as a GOD. I wrote back, asking, "do you really think that because he wasn't nice to you on one occa- sion, he is a terrible person? Did you really get rid of all his records because of that?" My correspondent replied, "No, it was his whole attitude, guess you had to be there. He was rude to myboss also, sure everyone has a bad day, but we had driven 3 hours to his house and he acted like he was doing us a favor letting us clean his pool." The writer went on to describe a much more pleasant inci- dent working for another famous musician. "He was a real person and Dylan was trying to project this super star image. Sure his songs were and still are great, but not sung by him! His voice reminds me of my garbage disposal!" I have no trouble imagining how Bob got tthe way he is. He has been deified so hugely, had his every utterance analyzed, his character projected upon -- he has been USED by so many people that I can easily see how the person he really is can get lost inside the gigantic thing that is BOB DYLAN. It is a prison of his own devise, to a certain extent, but it is also the nature of fame in the mass-media era. And it is also the inevitable fallout of the immense power of his work. Jon said: >Dylan is no less a prisoner of his fame then Elvis was, but at least Bob has >survived and thrived as an artist. A very good point. Jerry Garcia, too, seemed to have a hard time being JERRY GARCIA.
Neil Glazer (neil-glazer) Mon 22 May 00 07:41
I've been reading this discussion for a while now, and I must say that I find it interesting how people react when an artist does not live up to their expectations of how that artist 'should' have acted in particular circumstances. Artists are just people, and like any other people, they have good days and bad days, good moments and bad moments. Not to mention, as David so aptly pointed out in his example from his recent PA gig (how was the mudfest, anyway?), that some people just expect too much, period. Never mind that they interrupted another conversation, or a train of thought, or whatever. Who exactly is being rude? Anyway, artists are artists. Does it come as a surprise that some artists are tempermental? It is, after all, a commonplace or at least a cliche. Though I've never met Bob Dylan, I do know people who have and, no surprise, some have said nice things about him and some thought he was a complete jerk. Robert Frost was as obnoxious and dislikeable as they come, but wherever you go in Vermont or New Hampshire, they revere him. Why? He was one of the country's greatest poets. I had the good fortune to meet Jerry a couple times, and saw a couple different sides of his multi-faceted personality, but he was generally a personable, likeable guy, if a bit wierd. So what? I know people who saw him at his worst, but they still came back every time to hear him play. If you enjoy or appreciate an artist, it is almost certainly because you enjoy or appreciate her or his art. Leave it at that and everything will be copacetic. But to throw out all that artist's work because you got a cold shoulder or glance? Now who's being wierd? It's all about the art; always has, always will. Some artists are just really great people; some are quite tempermental; and some are absolutely dislikeable. I don't think many of them really care if you like them as people. They just want you to appreciate their art.
kick ass in the name of love (sd) Mon 22 May 00 11:50
I get the impression when people say that someone famous is "a nice guy" they mean, "I was able to speak to him, he didn't blow me off so I have some worth." That seems pretty sad to me. What are the odds that the fan had anything to say much more than, "I like your music, man."? Imagine that 70%+ of the people who came within earshot of you had to make a little contact, perhaps ask a favor or two, a photo, an autograph. Wouldn't that pretty much drive you crazy?
Jon Sievert (humblepress) Wed 24 May 00 13:12
Looks like interest in this forum has been pretty well spent but I'd like to invite all of you to a signing/reading at Borders in San Francisco on Wednesday, May 31, at 6:30pm. Present will be editor Tracy Johnson and five authors, who will read, sign books, and answer questions about their experience with Bob. The five authors are: Bill Amatneek, the bass player on the first David Grisman Quintet album. Bill met Bob in 1963 at his first appearance in Philadelphia. Larry Cragg, who was Bob's guitar tech for five years in the late '70s. He has some very interesting tales to tell. Larry was an original founder of Prune Music in Mill Valley. For the past 25 years, his primary allegence has been to Neil Young, with whom he tours as a guitar technician, utility musician, and all-around assistent. Michelle McFee, who had her encounter with Bob at his famous 1965 press conference televised on KQED. Marc Silber, who met Bob in the early '60s, jammed with him, and sold him several guitars, including the Gibson Nick Lucas acoustic seen in "Don't Look Back." He was also responsible for getting the then largely unknown singer on the bill for the 1962 University of Michigan Folk Festival. Olivia Weinstein, who first met Bob on the 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue. She has since had face-to-face encounters with him on a number occasions. Please come see us. Borders is located on Post Street, across from Union Square.
Phantom Engineer (jera) Wed 24 May 00 15:10
Well, I was just about to come in & try to stir things up a bit with a couple of questions, since it's been so quite here the last couple of days ... I'd be real interested in having Marc (if he's still reading this) say something about a couple of issues that I think would be of interest to a lot of folks: 1. Dylan and guitars, since he's sold several to him (and says in the book that Dylan had little sense of what they were worth). I'd be particularly interested in what, if anything, Dylan was looking for in the guitars he bought. 2. The Greenwich Village scene in the early 60s out of which Dylan emerged. The bits in the book just whet my appitite for more!
Gail Williams (gail) Wed 24 May 00 15:17
Yeah, that must have been quite the scene.
beating on my trumpet (vasudha) Wed 24 May 00 19:10
>>I want to ask VASUDA a few questions as the >>blurb while interesting is a bit confusing. What do you know about Gurus? I followed one for many years and watched the scene up close. Still do. >> And if all these "POP" musicians are the same as concerns money and fame and getting a chance to grow up while getting laid then why are there sometimes words and lyrics and melodies that we carry around with us, and that have inspired us at least in our past? I don't think i said they were all the same. I think what i said or at least what i meant to say is that the fact they are after money and squander their fame (in my opinion) doesn't bother me about *most* musicians. It only bothers me about Mr. Dylan because he seemed to *almost* make it into another direction - - i.e. speaking very honestly through his songs and speaking politically. When I found out he was an asshole in many situations, surrounded by sycophants and basically a bullshit artist as far as politics goes, it just hurt. Simply because my expectation was higher. Most musicians have a kind of integrity. For instance you - - you *called yourself* a sell-out. You weren't pretending to be Jesus Christ. To me that has integrity. You were being honest about yourself and sort of self-mocking. The whole picture makes sense. One knows what one is getting. No bait and switch. Dylan has never been self-mocking in that way. He is always deadly serious about himself. The heroin part didn't bother me. I can't really blaim Mr. Dylan personally. I don't know him. I don't know his story. I am just talking about my reaction to his work. It's very difficult for me to separate a person from their art. For me it's not that the artist *has* to exist upon a higher plane and be subjected to a higher judgement than anyone else. But if the art itself calls to a higher motive and that calling or pointing is merely a ruse, is merely an artistic elaboration without substance, well i feel burned. >>SO even if these type of hyped musicians seem the same it is obvious they are not. Vasuda seems to be venting some personal and moralistic disappointments cloaked in the discovery that BOb Dylan is the same ass any other commercial artist. I thought you were going to say, "The same ass as any other pop star idol", but i see it was a typo.:) I didn't say he was the same. He is different. He is worse, in my opinion. Like i said I consider him worse because he makes a show or made a show in his lyrics of being above the usual. In my opinion. >>Hey, my first electric band was called "THE SELLOUTS" and it was named after me. This is very cool, in my opinion. >>Just because I liked many types of music during the heydey of the Folk Revival, and still followed my friend John Sebastian into having a Rock 'n Roll Group when I lived in Greenwich Village I do not feel that I am a commercial and unvaluable person. I never thought the movement to electric was a mistake. >> ANd Mr. Bob is certainly not without value. I don't think he is without value. I just can't take him seriously. >>And neither is Mr. John Lennon, who also had both bad habits and a girlfriend/wife that were perhaps not acceptable...but his work remains full of meaning to me, and still popular all these years after. his death. I remember Lennon conmmenting in a interview to the effect that he didn't want to end up like Dylan, surrounded by sycophants. And he made certain changes in his life to avoid that. I think the scene around Dylan affected his mind. And he implied such a situation would not be good for his art. Sure, Lennon was a junkie. But you know what, he practiced what he preached as far as the political part of his art. He staged a love-in for peace with Yoko. He was also an asshole in certain and many situations but for some reason it doesn't interrupt my enjoyment of his work. I think Dylan is just in some ways smarter, so for me the greater disappointment. Dylan just wrote better political songs. Lennons were just jingles for peace and love (in my opinion). Nothing wrong with that. Just that, again, there was no thwarting of my expectations involved. No bait and switches. No lack of irony as to one's self-importance. Sure he said "we are more popular than Jesus Christ," *BUT HE WAS JOKING!* That was his sense of humor.
Earl Crabb (esoft) Wed 24 May 00 19:15
re Dylan and guitars, I remember talking with him at Shelton's place on Waverly after a SingOut Hootenany at Carnegie Hall, must have been summer of '63, when he claimed to not be a musician. He said he was a poet, not a musician. He kept his guitar off in a corner, and if something he wrote happened to sound like it could be a song, he might pick up the guitar and put some music to it, but he was really a poet, writing poetry.
Earl Crabb (esoft) Wed 24 May 00 19:16
Gail Williams (gail) Wed 24 May 00 19:55
Simultaneous posting is a slippery matter.
Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 25 May 00 13:31
esoft, even though you aren't in the bog, I would still love to hear about your encounters with Bob Dylan! You said you'd spent a total of a few hours with him?
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