New Bob Dylan biography based on road manager's tapes in the works

New Bob Dylan biography based on road manager's tapes in the works
Photo By Kevin Winter

Bob Dylan's penetrating but cautiously restrained 2004 autobiography, Chronicles: Volume One, provided significant insight and observations from the enigmatic songwriter. Since then, the wait for Volume Two has been a long and so far fruitless one for longtime Dylan fanatics.

But a revealing new book about Dylan is in the works. Dylan's steadfast friend and early road manager Victor Maymudes kept hours upon hours of Bob-related stories on tape, and signed a book contract with St. Martin's Press to eventually publish those tales. But he sadly died in 2001 just as he had started writing the book. Maymudes's son Jake recently started up a Kickstarter campaign -- which unfortunately expired unsuccessfully this week -- to finally write the book his father always wanted to, and share those intimate stories about Dylan with the world.

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Hopefully, that setback will prove to be a temporary one for Jake, as he sits on a veritable treasure trove of insights and anecdotes that would reveal plenty of heretofore unknown stories about what things were like in the early days for Dylan and his circle of friends. According to Rolling Stone, the book will cover Victor's long friendship and business relationship with Dylan.

"My father met Dylan in New York at the Gaslight club in early 1961. Bob was literally just sitting in the back of the club typing on a typewriter. The few people there knew he was something special." says Jake. "He was six years older than Bob and way into the counterculture scene. One of the reasons they got along so well is because my old man had a little bit of insight into this new world that Bob was kind of jumping into."

The Rolling Stone article goes on to quote some of Victor's revealing stories about Dylan, including his historic initial meeting with the Beatles in 1964 at the Delmonico hotel, during which Maymudes was entrusted to score some weed for the guys, as well as a touching moment where Dylan played Victor the entirety of the as-yet-unreleased Blood on the Tracks on an acoustic guitar to show his old friend how his new songs sounded.

Despite not reaching the Kickstarter goal, these stories are special enough to generate plenty of interest in the publishing world, especially with no signs of Dylan's own Volume Two being finished anytime soon.

In other Dylan news, the venerable songwriter just received another distinguished honor (in addition to recently being awarded the Presidential Medal Of Freedom and getting voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters), this time from France. Dylan has recently been decorated by France's Légion d'honneur, being named a foreign honoree to the historic French civil and military order, which was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte. The Légion grants foreign luminaries honorary titles within the order, though they aren't considered full members of the dignified Légion.

Dylan's honorable designation was initially met with opposition from the conservative party of France over Bob's opposition of the Vietnam War as well as his experimental drug use throughout his musical career. According to the Wall Street Journal, Légion Grand Chancellor Jean-Louis Georgelin admitted that the Légion thoroughly "examined" Dylan's past, "deepening its knowledge of his chaotic life and the texts of this man outside the norm."

The inquiry determined that Dylan's prominence as a "great singer and a grand poet" in the U.S. made him worthy of the order, with Mr. Georgelin eventually deciding that the Légion "acted in good conscience."

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