Hey, Bill Graham. Whatcha doing?
“What am I doing? Working! What, does this look fun to you? Sitting here, arguing with gonifs all day long? Phone keeps ringing, one putz after another trying to steal from me. Every call is like a robbery and you wanna know what I’m doing. Unbelievable.”
Today’s an anniversary for you.
“Eh. Not as bad as Dylan died when he did his Christian bullshit.”
No, Bill. You actually died.
“And I’m telling you: still not as bad. When I booked him, he was a Jew! Shows up with a cross around his neck like a preacher, singing this dreck about Jesus. You ever some have asshole waste your time? Some jackoff thinks he’s funny, he tells you one of those stories sounds like a joke, but it just goes on and on? Like that, except with a crowd. Around an hour in, the kids realized they weren’t getting any of the hits. Got ugly. Had it not been for the strict ‘No Refunds’ policy I adopted a half-hour in, I would have been ruined.
“I go backstage after the first show. ‘Bob! You’ve blessed us,’ I tell him. Dylan’s skittish, so I’m kissing his ass. Can I get, can I do, the whole song-and-dance. He wants Jujyfruits, so I get him Jujyfruits. Gotta admit: that’s a solid candy choice. Man’s a pain-in-the-ass, but he’s got taste in candy. Bob Dylan has his candy, his bible, he’s thrilled with life.
“Meanwhile, I got a house full of miserable customers. I mean: in between the songs, which are caca, he’s haranguing people. ‘We’re all gonna burn in Hell, and this and that.’ You can’t even imagine the effect this was having on t-shirt sales. Shit night for ancillaries from the beginning: when he walked in, Bob overturned the merch table. Screaming about money changers in the temple. Still: it’s Bob Dyan. You make allowances for genius. If Stephen Stills had pulled this shit, I would have thrown him out the window.
“So I’ve made nice with Bob, he’s got his candy, he’s happy. And we’re schmoozing about this guy, that guy, and I get into what I came in there for.
“‘Bob,’ I say. ‘What about the dessert? The kids are here to hear your message. They love you, Bob. Great show. And you give them a meal, Bob. Your message is a meal. After a meal, though? A treat, a reward. You give ’em an old number. Anything you choose, a short one.’
“And then it’s quiet in the room for a good long while. I just sit there. Who knows with Dylan?
“Finally, he says something.
“‘RRmnbwaugh fmum bismny mmmm.’
“It’s Bob Dylan with a mouth full of Jujyfruit. I got no fucking idea what he’s saying. I just keep nodding. ‘Yes, Bob. Yes, Bob.’ What the hell am I agreeing to? Not a clue.
“All of a sudden, this huge grin comes across his face, and he leaps out of his chair and grabs my head! He drags me over to the shower, and would you believe that crazy motherfucker baptized me? That’s what he was saying! I figure at least we made a deal, a baptism for a a Mister Tambourine Man, something. I’ll take a baptizing for show biz. I’ve taken worse.
“Nope, bupkes. Fourteen shows, fourteen sermons. Roughest two weeks of my life, except for the part with the Nazis.”
You have the best stories, Bill Graham.