"Use All the Crayons!" newsletter no. 47

Happy 80th Birthday Bob Dylan!

Happy 80th Birthday, Bob Dylan!

• I didn’t become a Dylan fan until I was in my mid-30s. The three songs that over time helped turn me from a mocker to rocker are: “Hurricane,” “Tweeter & The Monkey Man” and “Brownsville Girl.”

• Not a fan? Stop up at The Tin Lizzy all this week. You give me 40 minutes and an open mind, I’ll give you, say, two beers and some of the musical reasons why Dylan is an essential stitch in the American fabric.

• My wife once asked me the spousal minefield question if I’d ever remarry in the event she died before me. I responded with some boilerplate answers about the kids, her memory, blah, blah, blah. Then I told her the real reason: “I wouldn’t want to have to explain Bob Dylan to another woman all over again.”

My Favorite Bob Dylan Story

My favorite Bob Dylan story is about the time he was arrested for vagrancy in Long Branch, N.J. It was July 23, 2009. Dylan at the time was 68. The officer involved was Kristie Buble — and, yes, it’s pronounced “Bubble.” I didn’t see her age listed, but I’m inferring she was of the N-Sync generation. Officer Buble responded to a 911 call of a confused-looking old man wandering the streets

(Full story here)


• From my friend Quinn Fallon: “Whenever somebody tells me they hate Bob Dylan, I always say, ‘Which one? ‘cause there are like 15 of them.’”

• Tom Petty on rock’s hierarchy and his place in it: “Yeah, sure, I’m a rock star and that’s great, but it’s not like I’m Bob Dylan.”

• Why Dylan? On the 2006 song, “Thunder on the Mountain,” he makes a sensible rhyme of the word “orphanages” with the phrase “sons of bitches.”

• Dylan says he and Canadian songwriter/poet Leonard Cohen were “like brothers.” Once Dylan told Cohen how much he admired the song “Hallelujah.” “He asked me how long it took me to write it,” Cohen said. “I told him two years. Then I told him I admired ‘Jokerman’ and asked him how long it took him to write it. He said, ‘Fifteen minutes.’”

• One of my favorite Dylan productions was his “Theme Time Radio Hour,” that ran for 100 episodes from 2006-2009 on Sirius satellite radio. It’s Dylan broadcasting an eclectic mix of musical genres built around weekly themes (mothers, baseball, jail, etc.) interspersed with offbeat celebrity interviews, listener e-mails. It’s deliberately hokie and a real hoot. Check it out right here.

• Bob Dylan in 1973 wrote “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” and has performed it thousands of times since. My fear is when Dylan, 80, complies with his mortal absolutes old-timers will hear him and say, “Oh, it’s just that Dylan kid again. He’s been knock-knock-knockin’ on Heaven’s Door for years.  Just ignore him. He’ll eventually go away.”

Relateds/The Traveling Wilburys …

• Still seems like a dream. But it really happened. At one time, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne sat down in the same room and said, "Let's start a band!”

• How can it be that George Harrison is my favorite Beatle but isn't even my third favorite Wilbury?

• As monumental they were as a band, they couldn't have come up with a more fraudulent name. The never toured, never gigged a local bar. Hell, they never left the studio. Traveling Wilburys? Right. They were the Stationary Wilburys.

Zeitgust Word of the Week (a word I made up with the goal of getting it into an actual  dictionary) …

Bulldozin’: The non-constructive act of any spouse who pretends to sleep to get out of things like household chores or late-night love.

Related blog posts, “Happy 70th Birthday to Bob Dylan (& my blog)

Today Bob Dylan turns 70 and this blog turns 3. It’s certainly presumptuous of me, a not impartial observer, to even make the claim, but of the two it’s this blog that is on track to make the more significant cultural contribution. First, Dylan has written 458 songs in his life. But he didn’t really write anything until he was about 17 years old. This post is the blog’s 444th, a near perfect equivalent. So it took Dylan about 53 years to accomplish what this blog’s done in 3. Compared to Dylan, this blog’s a prodigy.

(Full story here)

My night with the Bobs, Dylan & Nutting (from ’09)

I went to see Bob Dylan last night and left a fan of John Mellencamp. The two, along with Willie Nelson and the Wiyos played to a sold-out crowd at a minor league ball park in Washington, Pennsylvania. It’s a night I’ll long remember because Valerie and I got to bask in the genius of three legends (well, maybe two true legends) and because I got to confront a face of pure evil.

(Full story here)

Bob Dylan, multiple marrieds & me

I’ve long maintained that nobody -- and I mean nobody -- should be allowed to get married without checking with me first. I’d spend about 15 minutes with every prospective bride and groom. If they fail to convince me they’re going to make a worthy couple, then that’s it. They’re done. “You guys had some swell times together, but it’s over. Time to move on. Good luck to you both.” And that would be that.

(Full story here)

Concluding words (& Tweet of the Week!) …

• Help me understand: What do people who don't like Bob Dylan talk about when there's one of those uncomfortable lulls in the conversation?

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