I had the honor of meeting Bob Dylan back in 1993. It was backstage at The Supper Club in New York City during yet another leg of his never ending tour. He was in the midst of yet another career resurgence and this intimate show was to show the music world that THE Bob Dylan was back (as if he ever went away).
I was there with the WNEW-FM crew: Scott Muni, Pat St. John, Marty Martinez, and Ken Dashow. Scott’s son Mason was the label rep at the time and put it together. As a unashamed Dylan fan, this was IT for me. A chance to meet the man who completely flipped my world around in terms of songwriting, performance, craft, the whole nine.
I heard some stories about Dylan encounters and not all of them were good. So I was in the back of my mind, I was prepared for some funkiness.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Bob Dylan couldn’t have been more courteous and gracious than he was saying hello – and hanging – with us. He showed mad love for Scott and Mason – he called him ‘Scottie’ and put his arm around Mason and said ‘You got a great kid here Scottie. A great kid’. It was everything that I was hoping it would be: amazing.
That whole day, I went through in my mind over and over again what I would say to Dylan. What do you say to a guy who has blown your mind time and time again? What do you say to a guy who with every single release, has written songs that will be sung for generations to come? This just burns through my skull the entire day.
So what do I do when Bob Dylan extends his hand and says hello to me?
I shake his hand, open my mouth and nothing comes out.
I was in the midst of greatness. I was in complete shock and awe. I was like Moses on the mountain.
But unlike Moses, I said nothing. I didn’t have an Aaron to back me up.
I just stood there with my mouth open fighting for the words – completely awestruck. I was inches away and conversing (or trying to) with BOB DYLAN!
I was so stupified, that I failed to take the planned group shot with the camera that I was holding in my left hand. Total brain lock.
I think he got a kick of it. Or he probably thought, ‘Who’s the crazy Black dude who doesn’t speak?’ I’m sure I wasn’t the first person to have that reaction and I know I won’t be the last. The WNEW crew loved it. Scott never let me live it down. He laughed his ass off. I didn’t care. I can go to my grave knowing that I got to meet Uncle Bob.
By the way, the show was amazing.
Another funny story from that night. While we waited for Bob to arrive, Marty notices a large table filled with coffee cups all lined up and individually named with just about every flavor you can think of. Marty asked either one of the roadies or I believe Bucky Baxter, the pedal steel player, what was up with all of the coffee. Dylan had quit drinking and it came down to everyone working with him that there was no booze on stage or backstage. So everyone resorted to drinking coffee. The reason for all of the assorted flavors? They were all trying to find out which flavor gave off a similar buzz!
Happy Birthday Bob. Thank you for all of the extraordinary work. God Bless!