On Being Bob Dylan.

Sharing a laugh with Jeff Tweedy.
Sharing a laugh with Jeff Tweedy.

This article in the current Esquire magazine ( about Bob Dylan got me thinking. The article is about being Bob Dylan. Not about songwriting or influence. About being. I mean, the guy’s gotta be somewhere doing something every minute. We all do. So what does he do? Where does he go? Give it a read.

I’ve talked about it before but I’ve been to over 200 Bob Dylan concerts and have spent way too much money on all things Dylan. If you include money spent traveling to some of those concerts, food, etc., it’s probably extra scary to think about. I was lucky that many of them came on business trips. These trips were always bona fide business trips with real objectives. They weren’t boondoggles. But the fact remains, they were planned with great forethought around Dylan’s touring schedule. The fact that I didn’t see him until 1976 and that I’ve only seen him twice in the last five years leads to a mathematical exercise that boggles the mind as to what 1979-2002 must have looked like. My biggest year was probably 1999 with approximately 25 shows including my best ever weekend, four shows in three days. I’ve never seen him outside of the United States but inside our borders, I’ve seen him in at least seven states.

The closest I’ve come to having the chance to meet him were some backstage passes in Oakland in ‘78 that went unclaimed because my mother didn’t relay a phone message she thought was a cruel joke. Had I gotten the message, I would have gone to a party at the Miyako Hotel in San Francisco that Dylan actually attended. Of all the things I’ve missed in my life, this is my favorite. Because I have no interest in meeting Bob Dylan.

Our relationship is pretty perfect as it is. He writes music, performs it and does weird and quirky stuff. I consume the music and, depending on my mood, acknowledge or ignore the weird and quirky stuff. I really don’t want to screw this up. The chances that we’d meet and, what? Hang out? Become BFFs? Those are pretty slim. I could do without some oddball awkward moment or scribbled line on a piece of paper. I don’t do fanboy very well. I don’t buy or sell collectibles. I don’t actually have all that much dignity left at this point in my life but one bit I do have is that I don’t feel the need to pander to celebrities.

Bob seems to have settled into a nice groove on the whole “being Bob Dylan” thing and that makes me happy. If you can believe what you read, he has homes all over the world that he never goes to and friends who he considers close that he never sees. I couldn’t cope with the hassle of being Bob Dylan. Not a bit. It seems to work for him.

I just want the music that’s like a huge tapestry woven just loosely enough so that if you pull a thread, you don’t know where it will take you. So I keep pulling threads and finding new music, new thoughts and new states of mind.

It’s nice to think that they’re out there, thoughts and states. I owe Bob a debt of gratitude for the ones he’s shown me but he has no desire to hear about it and I have no desire to tell him.

It’s working for both of us just fine.


One thought on “On Being Bob Dylan.

  1. Dear Words Rang True: what an interesting article — thanks for sending. I agree with you that it makes no sense to meet Dylan but that keeps alive that idea that he might meet you. Let him make the first move, the first remark. Let him buy you a beer and demur if he talks about having you over his house. By the end of the night he’ll be asking you about the last time you saw Johanna.

    Well done, my friend!

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