The best Bob Dylan stories you know

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#1. When my dad was in college at Stanford in the mid-'60s, he worked for a little while at a record store in the Bay Area. One afternoon, the store was empty, nothing much happening, and in walks...Bob Dylan. My dad was a huge fan (he impressed girls -- or tried too, anyway -- by knowing all the words to "Subterranean Homesick Blues"), but was either too stunned or playing it too cool to say anything. Dylan walked around the store, poked in various bins, and eventually wound up in the "D" section. He flipped through some records, then picked out a copy of "Highway 61 Revisted," looked at the front and back covers, and set it carefully up on the display shelf right above the bin. Then he nodded at my dad, said, "G'd afternoon," and headed out the door.

Jesse Fox (Jesse Fox), Saturday, 29 March 2003 07:46 (twenty-one years ago) link

#2. One of my friends (a fine singer-songwriter in his own right) opened a couple of shows for Dylan a few years back. He never actually got to speak to the man, but he was allowed to hang out in the wings and watch the set each night. The first night, Dylan had just started into the second verse of "Everything Is Broken" when there was a weird noise overhead and -- whoosh, crash! -- a big lighting fixture fell 30 feet down onto the stage, landing just about 10 feet from Dylan himself. The band finished the song, then they paused while the mess was cleaned up and the stage hands ascertained that no more mishaps were likely. The next night, in a different town, the band again started into "Everything Is Broken." When Dylan reached the second verse, the same line where the light fell the night before, my friend saw Dylan pause just a second and cock his head just slightly upward, looking at the ceiling. Then he sang the line. Nothing happened, of course. But I like the head-cock.

Jesse Fox Mayshark (Jesse Fox), Saturday, 29 March 2003 07:52 (twenty-one years ago) link

He wrote that "Mighty Quin" song.

Helltime Producto (Pavlik), Saturday, 29 March 2003 07:55 (twenty-one years ago) link

He was looking at houses in Crouch End.

N. (nickdastoor), Saturday, 29 March 2003 13:09 (twenty-one years ago) link

This happened at the Newport Folk Festival last summer (the one where he wore the wig and beard).
Dylan usually goes on right on time, but for some reason there was a big delay. The spaghetti western music that he always signals his impending arrival kept playing for about 30 minutes. Behind us, in Newport Harbor, was a huge cruise ship that had been anchored there all day. Finally, it pulled up its anchor and started creeping away. As soon as it left, Dylan bounded on to the stage.
I wouldn't be surprised if he demanded that the ship leave before he went on. There was also an announced request that no one take photos during his performance. Yeah, right.

Jazzbo (jmcgaw), Saturday, 29 March 2003 14:25 (twenty-one years ago) link

Certainly none of the ones from "Tarantula".

Fivvy (Fivvy), Saturday, 29 March 2003 14:40 (twenty-one years ago) link

"Go see Kiss, they'll rock you all the way down to the PIT"

dave q, Saturday, 29 March 2003 14:41 (twenty-one years ago) link

ok, this story comes from the mouth of ryan adams, so take it for what it's worth:

Neil Young was playing some festival with Bob Dylan a few years back when Young was routinely playing shows with Pearl Jam. Shortly before Dylan's set, Young sneaks back to Dylan's dressing room where Dylan is writing on a scrap of paper. Young tries to get Dylan's attention, asking him if he's making a setlist. Coldly Dylan responds: "you tell me, Captain Grudge" (mangling "grunge").

Jeff, Saturday, 29 March 2003 19:06 (twenty-one years ago) link

This isn't a story, but I love the interview with Dylan in the book Written in My Soul. He's talking about recording technology, and he says, "When I started making records, you sat in a room and sang your songs and what it sounded like on your side of the glass is what it sounded like on the other side of the glass. Somewhere along the line that changed, and I'm not sure why. I honestly didn't know you could do an overdub until like 1975."

Mark (MarkR), Saturday, 29 March 2003 19:15 (twenty-one years ago) link

A friend of mine has a family member whose son was on a Little League team w/ one of Dylan's kids (Jakob?) during Bob's born-again period. At one point, a stray dog ran into the diamond during a game, and somebody yelled "Get that goddamn dog off the field!" Unmistakable voice arises from the bleachers: "Ah, that's a _what_ kind of a dog?"

Douglas (Douglas), Saturday, 29 March 2003 22:57 (twenty-one years ago) link

It's a wonder he never got a well publicized ass kicking.

roger adultery (roger adultery), Sunday, 30 March 2003 01:28 (twenty-one years ago) link

He was looking at houses in Crouch End.

That's not even the best Crouch End-related Dylan story.

The Crouch End connection is because Dave Stewart lives there. Dylan was in London, and decided to go and see his fellow Travelling Willbury. So he headed up to N8 and knocked on what he thought was the right door. But it wasn't.

A woman came to the door, and Bob said "Is Dave there?" Thankfully, her husband was also called Dave. So she said "No, but he'll be back soon if you want to come in and wait." So she sat him down and made him a cup of tea. Didn't have a clue who he was.

So this ordinary bloke from North London comes home to find Bob Dylan sat down looking slightly bemused in his living room. That's got to be strange.

James Ball (James Ball), Monday, 31 March 2003 14:06 (twenty-one years ago) link

Maybe apocryphal maybe true...I have heard that Dylan likes to wander round undisturbed in disguise, which explains the hooded tops of the last few years. The story goes that when he was in Dublin in around 1995 he decided to cycle from his hotel somewhere around Steven's Green to the venue at the Point Depot. Upon arriving at the gig and trying to get in through the Stage Door, he was turned away by one of the door staff on the grounds that he was 'some old derelict'.

Gatinha (rwillmsen), Monday, 31 March 2003 23:59 (twenty-one years ago) link

According to a friend of mine from Duluth, stories of young Bobby Z are well remembered among his parents generation. He had a motorcycle at one point and did kind of a Brando act, "any you chickies wanna ride" etc.

g--ff c-nn-n (gcannon), Tuesday, 1 April 2003 02:01 (twenty-one years ago) link

eight months pass...
I don't know how well known this story is:

On a tour in the 80s Bob's backing band included Ron Wood and Ian MacLagen from the Faces. One evening, after the show Bob emerged to get together with the boys wearing frilly romantic ruffles and black longcoat. Maclagen, on seeing this remarks "You're looking very Byronic, Bob!" Dylan stops in his tracks, taken aback,and shoots Maclagen a venomous look. For the rest of the evening, and the next few days, Dylan is upset, and does not speak to Maclagen, who remains perplexed. Finally Maclagen decides to ask the great man why he is in his bad books. "Aww, you can insult my performance, but why'd you have to go and call me moronic?" comes the reply.

pete s, Tuesday, 16 December 2003 02:23 (twenty years ago) link

Has Bob Dylan ever told the truth in any of his interviews?

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Tuesday, 16 December 2003 03:05 (twenty years ago) link

There once was a man who liked Bob Dylan very much. He usually sat at home listening to Bob Dylan all day long. His friends, who weren't Bob Dylan fans, decided to take him out, in order to get him away from all this listening to Bob Dylan. And then one night he joined them, but only because it was Bob Dylan night in the pub. Then he sat there with a beer and listened to Bob Dylan. He really enjoyed it, so he came back several times. But he always made the bartender play Bob Dylan, because he couldn't live without Bob Dylan. Then one night while he was enjoying a beer and Bob Dylan, he met a girl. And luckily, she was a Bob Dylan fan, too. They had a nice chat, one thing followed another, and shortly thereafter they were fucking to Bob Dylan. They fell madly in love with each other and couldn't endure one minute away from each other, so they stayed at home and listened to Bob Dylan. But after a while, the lady was bored... it wasn't that fun to just stay at home and listen to Bob Dylan all day long. So with a "YOU LOVE BOB DYLAN MORE THAN YOU LOVE ME!!!", she left him and slammed the door. The man became depressed and started listening to Bob Dylan's depressive period.

But one day he realized his ex-girlfriend was right; he couldn't just stay home all day long and listen to Bob Dylan. He needed to get a job! But it wasn't easy for him to find a job, since he didn't know much about anything apart from Bob Dylan, but in the end he got a job as a trucker for a vegetable company. "This is great", he thought, "now I can work while listening to Bob Dylan!" So he drove around humming to Bob Dylan's tunes. But he became a little too engrossed by the song. Around the next turn a truck was driving on the wrong side of the road, and he didn't see it because a beautiful passage by Bob Dylan had made him close his eyes, and then BOOOOOOOMMMMMMM! Car parts were flying all over the place and tomatoes ricocheted off the mountains and were crushed when they hit the road. Then, one tomato said to the other: "Come on ketchup!"

man, Tuesday, 16 December 2003 04:04 (twenty years ago) link

three years pass...

does anyone remember or have at hand a dylan interview quote where the interviewer asked him something really vapid like "how did you get where you are" and dylan made up a weird, long story involving running away from a fire, or a girl or something? i know this is really vague. i think i saw it on ILM before.

max, Tuesday, 27 November 2007 06:17 (sixteen years ago) link

found it:

PLAYBOY: Mistake or not, what made you decide to go the rock-'n'-roll route?

DYLAN: Carelessness. I lost my one true love. I started drinking. The first thing I know, I'm in a card game. Then I'm in a crap game. I wake up in a pool hall. Then this big Mexican lady drags me off the table, takes me to Philadelphia. She leaves me alone in her house, and it burns down. I wind up in Phoenix. I get a job as a Chinaman. I start working in a dime store, and move in with a 13-year-old girl. Then this big Mexican lady from Philadelphia comes in and burns the house down. I go down to Dallas. I get a job as a "before" in a Charles Atlas "before and after" ad. I move in with a delivery boy who can cook fantastic chili and hot dogs. Then this 13-year-old girl from Phoenix comes and burns the house down. The delivery boy - he ain't so mild: He gives her the knife, and the next thing I know I'm in Omaha. It's so cold there, by this time I'm robbing my own bicycles and frying my own fish. I stumble onto some luck and get a job as a carburetor out at the hot-rod races every Thursday night. I move in with a high school teacher who also does a little plumbing on the side, who ain't much to look at, but who's built a special kind of refrigerator that can turn newspaper into lettuce. Everything's going good until that delivery boy shows up and tries to knife me. Needless to say, he burned the house down, and I hit the road. The first guy that picked me up asked me if I wanted to be a star. What could I say?

PLAYBOY: And that's how you became a rock-'n'-roll singer?

DYLAN: No, that's how I got tuberculosis.

max, Tuesday, 27 November 2007 06:23 (sixteen years ago) link

i forgot about this thread. i still like story #2.

tipsy mothra, Tuesday, 27 November 2007 09:04 (sixteen years ago) link

When Bob Dylan heard Nirvana play Polly (a song about a serial killer tying up a young girl and... lighting her on fire?), he choose it as his favorite song of the night and said of Kurt Cobain, "The kid has heart."


Better personal Dylan story: We went to go see Dylan at some kind of Harley convention. Dylan is on the front stage, his shirt open down to his belly button, he looks drunk, hair is pouring out from his chest, and he's warbling all the words to all his songs. He sings the Mighty Quinn (for apparently the first time in years) and all we can say to each other is: What the hell is he playing?
On our way out, a huge biker mama takes off her shirt and shakes around her enormous chest. We cover our eyes and make a b-line for the exit.

Mordechai Shinefield, Tuesday, 27 November 2007 10:11 (sixteen years ago) link

That Playboy interview - isn't that the one where Dylan asked the questions himself and then gave a bunch of outlandish replies? It was arranged by Net Hentoff, who was more than happy to comply.

Jazzbo, Tuesday, 27 November 2007 19:50 (sixteen years ago) link

At Frank Sinatra's 75th (?) birthday TV special, when all stars present assembled on the stage through the end credits, Dylan came up to proletarian-comedian icon Roseanne and told her, "I really like the way you sang the National Anthem."

Dr Morbius, Tuesday, 27 November 2007 20:43 (sixteen years ago) link

At a show in the late '80s he talked to some fans while lying under a random car in the venue parking lot, and told them he really liked MC Hammer.

Also, when he was touring with the Dead, he got all disguised and, along with a roadie, wandered among the Deadheads, in the crowd, in the parking lot for a couple hours. He didn't say a word the whole time, but when they got backstage Dylan turned to the roadie and said, "Man, these people are really the DREGS aren't they?"

dally, Tuesday, 27 November 2007 22:11 (sixteen years ago) link

Keep 'em coming people. I could read these all day.

kornrulez6969, Tuesday, 27 November 2007 22:18 (sixteen years ago) link

At a show in the late '80s he talked to some fans while lying under a random car in the venue parking lot, and told them he really liked MC Hammer.


Z S, Tuesday, 27 November 2007 23:18 (sixteen years ago) link

My fave was one where he was auditioning to play piano or something with Bobby Vee, and Vee asked him what his name was.

"Elston Gunn," replied Dylan.

Vee laughs at this obviously wonky pseudonym and says, "Is that "Gunn" with one "n" or two?"

"Three," says Dylan.

deedeedeextrovert, Wednesday, 28 November 2007 00:44 (sixteen years ago) link

Dylan out-bullshits Lou Reed by a mile

snoball, Wednesday, 28 November 2007 01:09 (sixteen years ago) link

bob dylan walks into neil young's garage. "hey shaky," bob says, "i'm gonna record a new record." "that's nice, robert," says neil, "i'm gonna walk my dogs tomorrow." "it's a fundamentalist christian record, is what i meant to say." "you're shitting me." "swear to jehovah." "i don't BELIEVE you." "wanna bet then?" "what do i win?" "i'll play sax on your next record. but if i win, you have to record a disco album." "deal."

kamerad, Wednesday, 28 November 2007 02:52 (sixteen years ago) link

This could get me in trouble in race-sensitive ILX-land but it's been said amongst the people who know him that Dylan usually dates black women because they usually don't know who he is the first time they meet him and thus he can feel like a normal person since he doesn't have the god-like rep amongst blacks like does when it comes to white folks.

(think about it: how many black women--or men for that matter--have you ever seen at a Dylan show?)

dally, Wednesday, 28 November 2007 18:20 (sixteen years ago) link

I hear Jimi Hendrix saw him once.

Bobby Seale loved him some Dylan.

Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 28 November 2007 18:25 (sixteen years ago) link

Been to a Dylan show lately?

dally, Wednesday, 28 November 2007 18:27 (sixteen years ago) link

i cant get into dylan shows without my kkk membership card

max, Wednesday, 28 November 2007 18:30 (sixteen years ago) link

why would anyone in their right mind go to a Dylan show in this day and age

Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 28 November 2007 18:37 (sixteen years ago) link

you guys are more cranky than usual today.

dally, Wednesday, 28 November 2007 18:41 (sixteen years ago) link

why would anyone in their right mind go to a Dylan show in this day and age
To see all the hot, college chicks dancing in front of the stage.

Jazzbo, Wednesday, 28 November 2007 18:56 (sixteen years ago) link

He hires good bands, but his voice is thoroughly destroyed.

dally, Wednesday, 28 November 2007 19:06 (sixteen years ago) link

back to the stories! i actually wrote an article for the Onion AV Club this past summer detailing Bob's weirdest onstage moments. Some old, oft-told tales, but my fave is the Harry Dean Stanton/Chabad Marathon one:

tylerw, Wednesday, 28 November 2007 21:40 (sixteen years ago) link

one year passes...

Letter to Bob Dylan #1

Dear Bob,

I had just seen you Bob, at the Orpheum Theater, in Omaha, NE, '1991' or '2' or maybe even, "Love Minus Zero equals No Limit".

At the end of the show, there was a little line forming around to the side...

Exit stage left!

Those standing in that line, had high hopes, and enchanted dreams of meetings, and things, interviews, pictures, and or, at the very least, all I want, is an autograph...

Actually, I to give... For it is better, than to receive!

It seemed to me, that in all pro Bob (Top of the) bill at he, (Probability) like Elvis, you too, Bob, had left the Building. Although conflicting reports, of course, stated otherwise...

The Line was going in 'no direction known'. (Fast, I had to eat soon, or my muscles would be doomed, to the bones of the cancerous cellular fat head phones, wringing them bells like bottlenecks. All the way to the Gates Of Eden!)

After about 10 minutes, the tout. (I mean, tour. But come to think of it! I guess he was about the same tautness as I!) The Tour Manager hadn't shown his face, once yet... Don't think Twice, It's Alright Ma, I'm only frying... My brains out from the colorful sight of the bright stage light and a little dose of LSD too went he (25 or 6 to 4) Clive. Next Stop Chicago!

Already at the "End of the Line", I didn't have to step back, just to the side, and a one, and a two, and a... (My friend Bo Rose, says: "Clive! What in the Hell are you doing Man?") I took a Leap on Marianne & Ginger's Faith Hill, and, on, onto the stage!

As the island slowly sank...

It wasn't long then. (And maybe it never will be?)

From out of the shadows, enter stage fright...

The tour manager says: "Can I help you?"

I say: "Well, I don't know? Who are you?" (I really wanna know?) (Who who) (Who who) Like a Roger Doll tree and Re:Pete-ing Town send HOWL.

He says: "I am the touring Manager"

I say: "Well then!" (I meant now, but I was using Minnesota speck.) "Yes you can! Could you please make sure that Bob Gets this?" Pulling the Cassette tape out, that I had pocketed for the leap, up-staged... (By everyone, because I'm just a jest and a bumbling poetaster that does old psuedo neo doggerel tricks).

Extending my hand, to hand it to his hand, which, as soon as he saw what it was, he withdrew his hand.

He could not "Handle With Care"

Backing up, as if the tape was demonic.

He said: "Oh no no no!" (I don't smoke it no more) "No cassettes, Please! Because of Street Legal reasons we can't accept any tapes, I'm so sorry".

I said: "Well now!" (Saying what I meant, and meaning what I said, a Californian/Nebraskan's word may not be 100% in their in suing ways? But in my cassette tape case it is, and was, as I was speaking in NE/CAL speck now!) "Hows about a nice.....................


Partially inspired by Bob, with Bob, as Bob, playing Bob himself, with a cameo role in it" (The Poem That Is!)

(I'll bet you thought, I was going to say Hawaiian Punch?)

Well now, the Touring Manager was all friendly, and stuff, stepping toward me again.

The poem was folded, and placed inside, with the tape. He was a little apprehensive, yet again...

I had to assure him, of no tricks or tapes. (My Hollow Weenie was coming up soon! I saw a pretty girl winking).

I was getting a little shaky at this point, because I never knew of the poisonous qualities of ferro-chrome-oxide.

And out it came, THE POEM, that is, which he, positively 4th street guaranteed, that you Bob, was fan of your fans...

And further more, demands, that all of your fans poetry be accepted, and hand delivered, immediately, if not, by the OK Sooners. (Hey wait a minute... We're in NE REM remember) (It's not the end of the world as we know it... YET!).

And you would most definitely get it...
(Even if you got it, would you really get it?)

So Bob,
Did you get it?

The title was:
"Christmas 1990 Whatever"

By Clive

evilCozPoetry, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 22:05 (fourteen years ago) link

The engineer from Love and Theft recounts some great stories here.

The best one is about "stadows..."

there’s a lyric on the song where Bob sings, “The leaves cast their shadows on the stones,” and, when he was singing it live, he was reading his lyrics off a piece of paper, and, I guess, for a split-second, he got dyslexic, because on the live take, he actually sang, “The leaves cast their *stadows* on the stones.” So, the only time I did any editing on that song, was when I heard this word “stadows” go by, I knew he meant shadows, because I had the lyric sheet in front of me. So, when I tried a remix, I took the vocal, and I found a “sh” from somewhere else, and I chopped the “st” out and put that in, so he was singing “shadows,” y’know. And Bob was listening to all these mixes, and he kept saying, “Nah, man, I really wanna use that rough mix.” Finally, I said, “Well, you know, on the rough mix, you don’t sing ‘shadows,’ you sing, ‘stadows.” And he took a long hit on his cigarette, and he kind of looked at me deadpan, and he went, “Well, you know:*‘stadows.’

kornrulez6969, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 22:39 (fourteen years ago) link

lol, yeah that is great

tylerw, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 22:42 (fourteen years ago) link

one month passes...

bob dylan arrested for being creepy old man.

flying squid attack (tipsy mothra), Saturday, 15 August 2009 01:02 (fourteen years ago) link

great collection of people (e.g. joan baez, johnny cash, allan ginsberg, etc) recounting their first encounters w/ mr zimmerman

Michael_Pemulis, Saturday, 15 August 2009 01:15 (fourteen years ago) link

six months pass...

I went to try to get Dylan to sign a copy of his Complete Lyrics book when he played San Antonio some years ago (mid 90's). He was playing in a beautiful theater called 'The Majestic Theater'.
I was hanging out before the show and started chatting to another collector whom I saw regularly when we were trying to get autographs.
"Do you know about the Hood?" he asked me.
"The Hood?!" I replied.
Does he mean 'the ghetto'? The 'urban' area here in San Antonio?
"You know Bob wears a hood when he wants to be left alone, and no one speaks to him..."
I just sort of chuckled and thought that that was crazy... that my friend was a bit daft. We waited for a while and then around the corner came this old, black RV... with a trailer attached. And it was MATTE black - not shiny black. Not 'showroom quality modern paint technology' black, but like... can o' spray paint black. I was like "no way" that that's Bob Dylan... But it pulled right up to he stage door. A guy got out, opened the trailer, went back in, came back out with a big dog, and commenced to feeding the dog. The scene was a bit surreal and I was probably not paying close attention to the real reason I was there. My friend said "There he is!" and I looked up to see a desheveled looking gentleman exiting the bus... It was Bob.
We began walking towards him and all of a sudden he pulled a hoodie-like hood over his head and made a bee-line for the stage door. Hoodies are quite common now, but back then they were more like a sweat-suit kinda gym class thing. I was flabberghasted! "THE HOOD! It is true!!!" "How freakin' weird!" And no one spoke a word to him as he meandered around the back and to and fro the bus. I believe he even took off down the street, but I didn't follow. I didn't want to be a nuisance to Mr. Dylan.
The guy that was feeding the dog took a plastic bag and set it somewhere on the trailer. It blew down or fell down and started blowing towards me. I could tell there was some paper or something in it because it had weight and was moving slowly across the concrete towards me. I thought "if it makes it to me, I'm going to pick it up and see what's inside of it"... It did and I did. There were some receipts from various 'truck-stop' type places for hat pins and suff and a UPS slip from New Mexico sent to the hotel La Mansion across the street. I wish I would've held onto everything in the bag but I didn't... I thought it was just a bunch of trash (it was)... But I held onto the slip because of the address.

Later that night, at the show, Bob was playing. A girl held up an LP for Bob to sign in the middle of the performance. "Not now honey... I'll sign it after the show." I knew for an absolute FACT that she would NOT get her album signed. He was lying.
After the show had ended, people started surrounding the stage door and the path to the 'Darth Vader RV'. I was stationed perfectly right in front of the bus door, off to the side. Perfect.
Bob came out and the bus door opened. He through up the hood and parted the sea of screaming fans. I saw the girl with the album. She was short and engulfed by the throng of people surrounding her. She held up her LP... I don't know which one it was... You could't even see her; just a little arm and hand holding the flat cardboard. Almost like it was planned, Bob turned, reached out and took her album and signed it! "Holy Smokes!" I know I'm gonna get my book signed!
"Mr. Dylan? Could you sign my book?"
"I can't right now! Go to Austin... I'll sign it in Austin!"
"But, I'm not going to Austin!"
And the door closed. Me and my buddy were shut out!
I can't believe that chick got her album signed! But she seemed like a real fan, so god bless her!

My friend and his mom went to Austin... His mom got Bob to sign something for them and they talked about Education or teaching or something to that effect.

I never got my book signed. Never tried again either.
But I did find out just recently that the address and name on the slip belonged to Bob's driver...

funkymonkstemple, Saturday, 6 March 2010 23:59 (fourteen years ago) link

A friend of mine used to tell a story about the first time Dylan played Dublin in '65: they tried to get to talk to him after the show in the Adelphi, but didn't catch him, but heard he would be getting the train to Belfast next morning. So they waited at Amiens St, and, sure enough, he shows up with his entourage and boards the train. He sits in a compartment for a while, but eventually they cajole to a door - my friend who has been silent up til know, proffers some paper and asks for an autograph.... Dylan goes 'later, man': and at that exact moment the train pulls off....

(nearly) thirty years later, Dylan is playing at a festival in Tramore at which I'm working. He was followed by Jerry Lee, and I'm standing at the monitor desk, and JLL is rockin' - I turn to my friend Davy, who's kinda short, and who was standing there, and say 'this is a great!' - the unmistakable voice rises from below shoulder level 'yeah, man' .....Davy has stood back to let Bobby see.

sonofstan, Sunday, 7 March 2010 08:27 (fourteen years ago) link

ten years pass...

Tommy Shaw told a story on a podcast recently about how one time Styx played L.A., someone sent a message saying, “Bob Dylan’s at the back door of the theater, he wants to see the show.” They didn’t believe it, and blew it off. A while later, Shaw went to a Van Morrison show and ran into Dylan. Shaw introduced himself, said “big fan,” etc. — Dylan told him, “I tried to get in to see you guys once, but they wouldn’t let me in.”

Charging for Brewskis™ (morrisp), Saturday, 13 June 2020 07:38 (four years ago) link

Larry Charles has the greatest Bob Dylan story. It's funnier to hear him tell it, partly so he can do his Dylan impression where appropriate:

But if you want to read it, I'll copy in Business Insider's report on it...

[Larry Charles] mentions that back in the 90s, Bob Dylan was endlessly touring and stuck on a bus a lot of the time, so to combat his boredom, he would become "addicted" to different genres of movies and watch "every single one of them" during that period.

At one point, he became "deeply into Jerry Lewis" and decided he wanted to star in a slapstick comedy. Not only that, but he wanted to do it as a TV series for HBO. It wasn't long before Charles got a call.

Charles described the whole experience as "very dreamlike" and says he really only took the meeting so he could tell his friends he had a meeting with Bob Dylan. Charles describes the surreal meeting:

"He owns a boxing gym in Santa Monica, I meet him in the back of this boxing gym in a cubicle, he's chain-smoking the whole time...completely smoke-filled...and his assistant comes over and says 'do you want something to drink' and it's attached to this coffee house so I say 'yeah, I'll just have an iced coffee' and Bob responds 'I want something hot. I want a hot beverage,' because that's sort of how he talks, he talks in this very ornate way. So they bring a hot coffee for him, a cappuccino or something, and they bring an iced coffee for me and they put them together in the middle of the table and he immediately grabs my iced coffee and starts drinking the iced coffee.

"And I'm watching him drink it, and I'm not touching the other thing I didn't want the other thing, and finally he almost finishes my drink and goes 'why aren't you drinking your drink' and it's like 'you're drinking my drink,' y'know, and he kinda laughed, and that kinda broke the ice, strangely enough. It's like going to see a sorcerer...'cause it's like all a test...he drank my drink, how would I react?"

As the meeting progressed, Charles got some fascinating and unique insight into Bob Dylan's writing process.

"He brings out this very ornate beautiful box, like a sorcerer would, and he opens the box and dumps all these pieces of scrap paper on the table...and yes, that is exactly what he does...every piece of scrap paper was a hotel stationary, little scraps from Norway and from Belgium and Brazil and places like that, and each little piece of paper had a line, like some kind of little line scribbled or a name scribbled, 'Uncle Sweetheart,' or a weird poetic line or an idea or whatever, and he was like 'I don't know what to do with all this,'...and for some reason I was able to go 'oh y'know you can take this...this is a line, this is the character, and the character could say this line.' And he said 'you can do that?' and it's like 'yeah, yeah you can do that' because I realized that's how he writes songs, he takes these scraps and he puts them together and makes his poetry out of that.

"He has all these ideas...and then just in a kind of subconscious or unconscious way he lets them kind of synthesize into a coherent thing, and that's how we wound up writing, also. We wound up writing in a very cut-up technique, we would just take scraps of paper, put them together, try to make them make sense, try to find the story points within it, and we finally...we wrote this very elaborate treatment for this slapstick comedy which was filled with surrealism and all kinds of things from his songs and stuff. So we say to Bob, 'if you come to HBO with us, we'll definitely sell the project because they won't have the balls to say no to your face,' and he agrees."

"So he showed up at the meeting...and at the time, by the way, I was only wearing pajamas everywhere I went, I used to just wear pajamas, I worked at 'Mad About You' for two years, I started wearing pajamas, everywhere I went, I would take my kids to events and I'd be wearing pajamas...I probably was having a nervous breakdown and didn't realize, but I wore pajamas everywhere I went."

"So I show up for the meeting in my pajamas...and he shows for the meeting at HBO in a black cowboy hat, a black floor length duster, black boots, he looks like Cat Ballou or something, he looks like a Western guy who's carrying six guns.

"We stride down the hall at HBO, if you can imagine that scene, my hair is super long, beard down to my belly button in f*ckin' pajamas and Bob Dylan is dressed like a cowboy from a movie. We go into the meeting and Chris Albrecht who was the president of HBO says 'Bob, oh, so great to meet you, look I have the original tickets from Woodstock' and Bob goes 'I didn't play Woodstock' and then he walks over to the other side of the office which has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the city and proceeds to have his back turned to us for the entire meeting.

"He never turns around, I have to start pitching this thing...this is who he is. Gavin Polone was there, who has my manager at the time, and he whispers 'he's like a retarded child.' So I would go 'Bob's going to do this, right Bob?' and at the end, ironically, despite all this discomfort, they bought the project, indeed.

"They bought the project, we go out to the elevator, Bob's manager Jeff, my manager Gavin, me and Bob, the 3 of us are elated we actually sold the project and Bob says 'I don't want to do it anymore.' He says 'I don't want to do it anymore, it's too slapsticky.' He's like not into it, that's over. The slapstick phase has officially ended. He's not into it anymore, and Gavin Polone said to me 'you gotta get out of this', and I said 'I'm on the Bob Dylan train, I'm going to take this train wherever it takes me' and we wound up re-writing that into kinda like a serious movie, and that's what we wound up shooting, which took another year to do that.'

birdistheword, Sunday, 14 June 2020 04:46 (four years ago) link

Amazing - thx for posting that

Charging for Brewskis™ (morrisp), Sunday, 14 June 2020 06:12 (four years ago) link

two weeks pass...

This guy has one:

Pat McGroin (morrisp), Saturday, 4 July 2020 20:10 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

Glyn Johns anecdote (from 2014):

“Dylan’s a fascinating character,” says Johns. “When I finished recording his European tour in 1984, he and I had to choose which performance of which song to use from eight or nine concerts. He single-handedly chose the worst performances. I assumed he was testing me, because he let me win in the end. Afterwards, I had him on the phone every night for a week, talking about songwriting. He was very pleasant.” Did he go to hear Dylan in concert still? “No, the element of risk in getting your money’s worth is too great.”

katebishopfan616 (morrisp), Sunday, 5 December 2021 07:37 (two years ago) link


So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 5 December 2021 10:36 (two years ago) link

Ian McLagan has some funny stories from that tour in his autobiography. Apparently there were few (if any) rehearsals, and if Bob called a tune Ian didn’t know, Ian had to just figure it out on the spot. After one of the early dates on the tour, Ian went up to Bob in the hotel bar and made some suggestions for the setlists. Bob said, “Tell you what, write all those songs down and slide the list under the door to my room.” Ian did so, and for the rest of the tour, none of those songs were played.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Sunday, 5 December 2021 13:29 (two years ago) link

McLagan was also present when Peter Grant introduced himself to Bob. “Hello Bob, I’m Peter Grant. I manage Led Zeppelin.” Bob stared at him for a second and said, “I don’t come to you with my problems.”

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Sunday, 5 December 2021 13:32 (two years ago) link

Ian did so, and for the rest of the tour, none of those songs were played.


hocus pocus, alakazam (PBKR), Sunday, 5 December 2021 14:34 (two years ago) link

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 5 December 2021 14:49 (two years ago) link

xp lol

Cow_Art, Sunday, 5 December 2021 14:51 (two years ago) link

And insanely/predictably, someone bootlegged a subsequent audition/rehearsal that must have been recorded not long after after GE's anecdote. Maybe later that night? Next day?

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 5 December 2021 14:54 (two years ago) link

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Sunday, 5 December 2021 15:33 (two years ago) link

G.E. Smith's recollections are great. Gonna sit down later and listen to the entire interview with him. He's a natural storyteller.

The first and best time I saw Dylan was in Ottawa 1988 when he was backed by G.E. and band. No idea how closely they were adhering to a set list. You could see how he was following Dylan's hands for clues and then indicating the song to the rest of the band. Clearly not an easy task but he pulled it off brilliantly.

doug watson, Sunday, 5 December 2021 15:59 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

Jack White to Release Bob Dylan Collaborative Performance of “Ball and Biscuit”

White sat in with Dylan during show his show at the Detroit State Theatre in March 2004. As The White Stripes frontman recounted in a 2012 interview with The Wall Street Journal, the entire moment was by sheer happenstance. “That was just by accident. I went and saw him play in Detroit and he said to me, ‘We’ve been playing one of your songs lately at sound checks.’ I thought, Wow. I was afraid to ask which one. I didn’t even ask. It was just such an honor to hear that. Later on, I remember I went home and I called back. I said, ‘Can I talk to the bass player?’ I called the theater. I was like, ‘Did Bob mean that he wanted me to play tonight? ‘Cause he said some things that I thought maybe – maybe I misconstrued. Was he meaning that he wanted me to play with him tonight? I don’t want to be rude and pretend that I didn’t hear or something like that.’ So turned out yeah, we played together that night. He said yeah, come on, let’s play something, and we played ‘Ball and Biscuit,’ one of my songs. It’s not lost on me that he played one of my songs, not the other way around.”

birdistheword, Friday, 6 October 2023 18:11 (eight months ago) link

My friend worked on Shadow Kingdom. She was given the basic “don’t bother Bob” instructions. So she had zero interactions during the shoot. But when the finished he went right up to her, kissed her on the lips and then walked out the room without saying anything.

bbq, Friday, 6 October 2023 19:56 (eight months ago) link

How did your friend feel about this?

Cow_Art, Saturday, 7 October 2023 03:35 (eight months ago) link

Totally cool with it. She described it as a comedy bit.

bbq, Saturday, 7 October 2023 15:47 (eight months ago) link

But I also heard probably untrue, but super dark Bob story from an acquaintance of Tony Garnier if any one wants to hear it.

bbq, Saturday, 7 October 2023 19:12 (eight months ago) link

Well if it’s “probably untrue”…(?)

Chavez video on MTV, July 1995 (morrisp), Saturday, 7 October 2023 19:14 (eight months ago) link

Let me preface this with all caveats about third hand stories. I cannot confirm any of this and it’s just something a guy who said he knew Tony Garnier told me.

But he was a motorcycle guy. Bob and Tony were big riders in the 80s and 90s. That’s how they would spend time before shows and. So part of Bobs circle and security team were Hells Angles.

Around this time Bob had a pretty intense stalker. She legally changed her name to Sara Dylan and she would show up backstage because she was able to convince people she was his ex wife. She would contact his kids, show up at his house, do the things a stalker would do. One day, according to the story I heard, she just disappeared. Any it was implied that the security team of Hells Angels made her disappear.

Again this is just a story a guy told me. I think it’s probably untrue

bbq, Saturday, 7 October 2023 19:30 (eight months ago) link

I’m pretty skeptical, including the part about Hell’s Angels being his security detail, but he does indeed love motorcycles and others like Mark Howard also remember bonding over that.

birdistheword, Saturday, 7 October 2023 20:09 (eight months ago) link

His week long affair with Nico and “I’ll keep it with mine” from that new Lou reed book

calstars, Saturday, 7 October 2023 21:32 (eight months ago) link

That song isn’t much by BD standards

calstars, Saturday, 7 October 2023 21:32 (eight months ago) link

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