Summer ‘66 and the world destroyed Dylan. Not on some rocky road/highway 61. Neck broken by harmonica holder cycling through village. Somewhere back in ‘65, maybe at Forest Hills, the crowd devoured his image while masturbating itself. But Dylan still exists hidden in Woodstock, New York with wealth, wife, and piano. Stoned with Clapton one night, we visited. What remains is a residue of recollections.
The “I Wanna Be With You If You Wanna Be With Me”
fiction interview with Bob Dylan
– Michael March
Reprinted with permission from Fusion, October 31, 1969
Michael March: Like why don’t you come out?
Bob Dylan: The image. The image. Wearing a wig was a bad scene. All those people screaming and amphetamine. And where it’s at. Grossman wanted me to ball Baby Jane Holzer for press.
MM: With protrusions and pearls…
D: And Chinese flutes. Now I must compose and shop in supermarkets.The broken neck covered my tripping out. Man, those fuckin’ gigs. England.A roomed life with wall to wall jokes. And people clawing to get inside of me and my shoes when all I know is the farmer’s daughter.
MM: What about your appearance at the Guthrie Memorial Concert?
D: What about it? The man was a genius. What I did was for him and no one else. But everybody gets so excited. “He‘s wearing a suit”, rehearses the audience…
MM: And the band…
D: Friends. We just play together ‘cause we’re friends.
MM: What about Baez?
D: Haven’t seen her in two years – doesn’t like my voice or somethin’. Electricity scares her. Morbid lyrics scares her. So she sings in the same pitch – records my songs ‘cause she’s too scared to record her own. In the old days. Beautiful. Used to wipe herself with an American flag after doin’ it. Sure, I still love her even though she’s straddled on peace an’ some punk ex-resident-from-college-kid. Yeh, and the way she drops acid lying naked on ol’ Fats Domino records.
MM: Love was a four-letter word in Don’t Look Back.
D: Right, man. Four years ago in some dog-shit farce. When I was developing as an international noise. Subterranean Home-sick Blueshit fourteen while posing for Pennebaker who posi-tioned himself for the networks and the show-must-go-on hype and Grossman’s contractual constipation. Making me peeking through a keyhole down upon my knees…
MM: And the electric transformation?
D: In Minnesota at seventeen when I played fo’ food an local ball I was into rock. Cut “Mixed-up Confusion” in ‘62 with electric backup. So for like three years I sang Caruso – hitting all the notes and holding my breath three times as long until “Like a Rolling Stone”. I was electric on the ‘65 European tour. Filmed me and the band doin’ a little for another film called Nine Below Zero – don’t think it’ll be released though.
D: Look, I always wanted to be Little Richard. If ya don’t believe me, look in my ol’ high-school yearbook. I used to stand there with a piano and scream and everybody laughed at the amps. I came to New York an’ got into folk ‘cause that’s what was, man. I wrote what people wanted an’ Grossman created the image with all this stuff about my leavin’ home and stuff. Suddenly people were doin’ me – I had the bread an’ fame so like I reverted to high-school-eleventh grade to be exact. And there was me in this movie screaming in the Olympia in Paris and Grossman said cut the tracks but wait a few takes on the image, Bobbie.
MM: You’ve always been aware of your image and public taste. Was your Woodstock seclusion just another bit to gather the tribes?
D: I knew it was time to stop,that’s all. Someday I may be hungas a thief.
MM: You’re not copping out politically?
D: I say what I have to, man. The artist is the most political figure in society because he stands outside. John Wesley Harding is religious and political – besides, they’re both the same. “Where another man’s life might begin that’s exactly where mine ends.”
MM: “He was never known to make a foolish move.”
D: So “don’t go mistaking paradise for that home across the road.” Let’s take that again. “All Along The Watchtower” contains an encapsulated “Desolation Row” in science fiction terms. “There must be some way out of here said the joker to the thief.” What’s political man? Sorry I can’t do that William Zan Zinger stuff anymore. Besides, none of them along the line know what any of it is worth. Everybody wants to be inside my shoes and I’m married with three kids – where the fuck is Nashville in space?
MM: But as a poet you must realize that people associate your musical thoughts with their existence.They want…
D: Did I hear product or me? They’ve pirated the basement tape, xeroxed “Tarantula”, and made me cut my hair off. But there’s about eighty cuts that they ain’t gonna hear because Columbia won’t release ‘em. Right now I’m into my existence and it feels good.
MM: Has your voice changed? On Nashville Skyline it’s higher and smoother…
D: That’s because I’m higher and smoother.
MM: I mean…
D: “Music is so much less than what you are.” OK?