Another book about Bob Dylan? What’s left to say, you ask? For a man who guards his privacy like all the gold at Fort Knox, what new anecdotes could be told about the greatest “song and dance man” of our time?
Another Side of Bob Dylan: A Personal History on the Road and Off the Tracksis a new memoir by former tour manager and long-time close personal friend and confidant, Victor Maymudes. Maymudes met Dylan in 1961 and spent four decades on and off the road with him. Victor passed away in 2001 after recording more than 24 hours of memories of his life. His son, Jacob Maymudes used those tapes and other material to shape and complete his father’s memoir.
Here are a few choice bits of untold Dylan trivia from the book:
Bob Dylan’s infamous motorcycle accident amounted to him “tipping over.”
While much has been made of Dylan’s motorcycle accident on July 29, 1966 near Woodstock, it has never been clear just how serious the mishap truly was. While there was some type of accident, many think Dylan used it as an excuse to get out of upcoming tour dates and to save his sanity. Maymudes, while not at the scene, states that Bob and his wife Sara were moving some belongings to a new house. Sara was driving a car and Bob was in front on his motorcycle, “…and in slow motion fell over. He was going about one mile an hour, not fast enough to sustain his balance. When he tipped over, he tried to compensate by turning the wheel sharply…He hit his head, hurt his neck and was fairly banged up from such a simple accident.” Maymudes remembrance is that “it was merely a small incident that Bob was embarrassed by and his reluctance to talk about it fed everyone else’s wild speculation.”
But wait, there’s more!
Bob Dylan once lived next door to Katherine Hepburn.
Who knew that Dylan once rented a townhouse in Manhattan’s Turtle Bay neighborhood, right next door to Katherine Hepburn?
Here’s a great note I found – in Bob’s handwriting – inviting Ms. Hepburn to his daughter’s “graduating party.” Yes, Bob was raised right!
Wait, there’s more! Maymudes claims that Bob’s bullmastiff, Brutus would use Ms. Hepburn’s flowerbeds as his own personal bathroom. Supposedly, Hepburn didn’t mind, but would simply call Victor to clean up after the pooch. Maymudes reports, “The dog could really lay some logs.”
As the Beatles got high for the first time, Bob Dylan passed out on the floor of their hotel suite.
You’ve heard about how Bob Dylan turned the Beatles on to marijuana at the time of their first meeting in August 1964? Well, that’s only part of the story, according to Maymudes. As John, Paul, George and Ringo got stoned, Bob passed out on the floor in front of them – from too much booze and not enough sleep! He missed the whole scene.
Wait, there’s more! Maymudes claims that the Fab Four knew nothing about proper pot etiquette, hanging onto (or “bogarting”) the joint instead of taking a hit and passing it on. Maymudes kept rolling and soon each Beatle has his own marijuana cigarette. While this might be the truth, it’s not quite as fun to think about as this:
Dylan stops drinking – 1994
Maymudes describes this as “an important milestone in Bob’s life,” adding that upon quitting, Dylan didn’t “talk as much…and he didn’t laugh as loud either…Bob lost a bit of his self-esteem when he sobered up, too, became a little more introverted and less social.”
Dylan once employed former World Boxing Association Lightweight Champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini as his sparring partner.
Any Dylan fan worth his salt is aware of Bob’s love of boxing. From the songs “Who Killed Davey Moore” and “Hurricane” to his friendship with Muhammad Ali, Dylan has long been interested in “The Sweet Science.” In the 1990s, Dylan purchased a building in Santa Monica, CA as an investment and put Maymudes to work, designing and building what was to become the 18th Street Coffee House. Bob insisted on including a full-size boxing gym, complete with ring, accessible through a walk-in cooler door. He hired Boom-Boom Mancini to train and spar with him.
Wait, there’s more! Four days after losing his November 1982 fight with Mancini, Korean boxer Duk Koo Kim died from brain injuries. Mancini went into a deep depression and his career never recovered. Mancini – and the bout are immortalized in a song by Dylan friend, Warren Zevon. Dylan himself covered Zevon’s song only once – in Seattle in 2002.