(excerpt from Chapter Five of Rock & Roll Medicine©)
Uptown Photo by Mike Webber
You Gotta Serve Somebody...Bob Dylan
When I ask the tour manager if I can get the newly painted wall in the tiny Uptown kitchen signed by Bob Dylan, he tells me, "Oh, I don't know if that's possible." Acting as if Dylan can't be bothered, he says, "Maybe on the last night he's here. We'll see. Who's signature is this?"
"Timothy Leary," I tell him. Leary is on a lecture tour and just appeared here a few days before and his showy signature is scrawled across the blank wall.
'WE DEFIED GRAVITY. FABULOUS TRIP... LOVE, TIMOTHY LEARY'
As dinner is being served in the VIP room by my nieces Kelly and Paula, I stay put in the tiny kitchen dishing up bowls of scrumptious banana pudding from the refrigerator to interested takers from the crew. After replacing the large pan of layered vanilla pudding, thickly sliced bananas, piles of creamy whipped topping on a vanilla wafer crust, back into the fridge, I turn around and find none other than the legendary Dylan standing in the doorway holding out his plate.
He is slightly built, dark eyes gazing out from beneath his large frock of hair, smiling faintly. I am taken aback. He says to me in an almost inaudibly soft voice, " I hear you might have some banana puddin' in here. Could I maybe have some?"
In my surprise and never one to miss an opportunity, I reply, "Well sure, but while you're in here could I get you to sign the wall?"
He looks at me quizzically. I tell him to step in and I close the big door so he can see the entire wall. Now it’s just me and Bob in the little closed room. I have him all to myself.
He seems a small figure, dwarfed by the activity that surrounds him. He looks up at the wall and asks if his band has signed it. I show him the signatures of Fred Tackett, Jim Keltner, Spooner Oldham, Tim Drummond, and the two lady singers. He looks pleased.
(pictured: Spooner Oldham, Keith Luecke,
(Spooner, Vicki, Fred, Paula, & my young daughter, Ambre.)
Then he points to the giant scrawl and says, "Who is this?"
I tell him it's Timothy Leary.
"Oh really, he was here? What does he do?" he asks.
I tell him, 'he talks.' He is very surprised and interested. He reads the scrawl and asks me what it means. I tell him Leary walked off the edge of the stage during his performance and Dylan forces out a sputtering laugh. I hold up a big magic marker and he takes it from my hand.
He positions himself to the left of Leary's
signature. His feet squarely planted on the ground as if to embrace
In a large sweeping
motion, with flamboyant strokes, in huge letters, he writes,
Jim Keltner, Kelly, Paula, Fred, & Ambre
Jim Keltner, bartender, Fred
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