Mike James

Once Upon A Time There Nearly Was

                                                an erasure from a Bob Dylan interview

and outrage that had once enlarged a whole American generation.  It pleads against the controversial eight-year-incarceration for murder of ex-boxer Rubin (Hurricane) Carter. Simultaneously, Dylan was readying his first road show since his tumultuous comeback tour of ’74.  The itinerary would detour the mega-buck impresarios, the multiseat superdomes, the computerized ticket networks and re-create the modest small-club minitours that characterized the years when he first left Hibbing, Minn.  But his entourage includes friends like his ex-lady Joan Baez, plus Ronee Blakely, the discovery of the movie Nashville.  Undeniably, Dylan creates in a genre in which minimal art is almost impossible, and so his latest comeback may live up to its ironic title…the Rolling Thunder Revue.
                Dylan is himself, after all, the most influential figure in American pop music (and thus pop culture) since 1960.  His garbage was analyzed years before Henry Kissinger’s.  Every syllable or solecism of his life is subject to fearful scrutiny. Dylan, now 34, and as scruffy, wiry, and taut as ever, looks back and sees it all as only a colossal accident. “It was never my intention to become a big star. It happened, and there was nothing I could do about it. I tried to get rid of that burden for a long time. I eat and sleep and, you know, have the same problems anybody else does, and yet people look at me funny.”
                If Dylan had his way, he would not be looked at…at all.  He has granted very few major interviews in eight years, and this was his first in some 18 months. “I was playing music in the ‘50’s,” he begins, “and man, it was all I did. It saved my life. I’m not a hermit. Exclusive maybe, but not reclusive.”
                “I didn’t consciously pursue the Bob Dylan myth,” he continues. “It was given to me…by God. Inspiration is what we’re looking for. You just have to be receptive to it.” While reports of Dylan’s ardent Zionism are almost certainly exaggerated, he has unquestionably returned to his Jewish roots, or at least to a generalized spiritualism

(Editor's Note: Not a Tom Petty poem, obviously, but Tom and Bob were close, toured together, and it felt right to include this one!)

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