Another side of Bob Dylan / Victor & Jacob Maymudes

4 Aug 2017

Victor Maymudes, a close friend of Bob Dylan for almost 40 years, recorded in 2001 his memoirs on tape and then died. More than a decade later his son, Jacob Maymudes, put the stories on paper and in 2014 published the book: Another side of Bob Dylan.

 

The two met in the early sixties when Dylan was performing in bars and clubs, trying to make a name for himself. Victor, 6 years older than Dylan, was a rather successful promoter of other artists who performed in his cafe the Unicorn on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Woody Guthrie, Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, Peter, Paul & Mary and Odetta were his friends. Victor went to check out Bob Dylan who was beginning to get known in the world of folk music. They became friends and spend hours together, talkin' and walkin' and playing chess all night. With Victor's experience as a promoter he became Dylan's tour manager, his employee.

 

 The book is full of wonderful stories. How they would scavenge 2nd hand clothes stores and assemble the most outrageous outfits you can imagine. And wear them.  One day in May they took a long drive to Dylans hometown to visit his parents. Dylan told Victor to wait in the car. Moments later Dylan's mom came out and told him to come in. It was Bob's birthday. She insisted, so Victor went in, had a piece of cake and stepped out again. Dylan came after him and yelled at him: “I told you to stay in the car!” Makes you wonder.

 

But Bob trusted Victor and knew you couldn't wish for a better tour manager. After one particularly badly organized show, that lost money, too, Bob said: get Victor. One other time Dylan sent a messenger all the way to the west coast to knock on Victor's door: Bob says he wants you on the tour.

 

Being a tour manager wasn't a full time job, so Victor dabbled in real estate, designing houses for the rich. Also for Bob, who didn't like the job Victor had done and told him so.

At one point Victor's business went bust and he called his friend Bob. “I need a job,” Bob answered: “You're hired.”

 

Victor stopped being Dylan's tour manager in 1996. He was (falsely?) accused of a sexual offense. When in prison his one phone call was to Bob, who didn't ask questions, but put the best lawyers on the case.

 

At Victor's funeral service someone spotted a scraggy old man at the door, hiding his presence with sunglasses and a hoodie. If it was Dylan paying his last respects, Victor says thanks.

 

A great read, highly recommended.

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