Saturday, August 15, 2009

If only he'd stayed forever young

If only Bob Dylan had stayed forever young, maybe the New Jersey cops would have recognized who the hell they were about to run in.

As it is, a scruffy looking old man walking through a neighborhood is enough to cause homeowners to freak out and have cops ready to arrest America's greatest living songwriter for vagrancy. Ironic that this story breaks on the 40th anniversary of Woodstock.

The hippies grew up, got sober -- more or less -- sold out . . . and now we're almost arresting freakin' Bob Dylan for being a bum. Kind of like how Omaha cops have been known to harass church ladies for feeding the animals homeless in a downtown park.

Thing is, the theory -- an entirely reasonable one -- some folks float in this ABC News story about why Dylan was in that particular Jersey neighborhood is kind of sweet:

Was Bob Dylan looking for the home where Bruce Springsteen wrote "Born to Run" in 1974 when he was detained by police near the Jersey shore last month?

The 68-year-old music legend was picked up one Thursday last month by a 24-year-old cop who failed to recognize him as he walked the streets of Long Branch, N.J. in the pouring rain.

It may have been as simple as it appears: Dylan told police he was talking a walk and looking at a home for sale.

But the area where Dylan was picked up was just a couple blocks from the beachside bungalow where Bruce Springsteen wrote the material for his landmark 1975 album "Born to Run."

In the past nine months, Dylan has visited the childhood homes of Neil Young and John Lennon, in both cases appearing without fanfare and barely identifying himself after he was recognized.

Last November, Winnipeg homeowner John Kiernan told Sun Media's Simon Fuller that Dylan and a friend arrived unannounced in a taxi to his Grosvenor Ave. home, where songwriter Neil Young grew up.

Dylan, Kiernan said, was unshaved and had the brim of his hat pulled down over his head. He asked for a look inside and inquired about Young's bedroom and where he would have played his guitar.

Dylan has shown a deep affinity for the Canadian rocker over the years, most recently in his 2001 song "Highlands." And Young said at a Nashville concert in 2005 that he once lent Dylan one of his most precious musical treasures -- Hank Williams' guitar, for which Young wrote the ballad "This Old Guitar." Both men revere Williams, a country music legend.

In May, Dylan joined a public tour of John Lennon's childhood home, according to the BBC. A spokeswoman for the National Trust, which runs the home as London landmark, said Dylan "took one of our general minibus tours.

"People on the minibus did not recognize him apparently," the spokeswoman told the British news agency. "He could have booked a private tour, but he was happy to go on the bus with everyone else."


While it remains unclear whether Dylan was looking for Springsteen's old home in this case, and he never mentioned that he was to Buble, the description that the Winnipeg homeowner gave of Dylan when the singer visited Neil Young's home last year was similar Buble's story.

"So these guys were standing at the front of the house about to get back into their taxi,'' Kiernan, the homeowner, said of Dylan and his friend in Canada. "I noticed he was wearing these expensive-looking leather pants tucked inside these world-class boots. Then I studied his face and tried to keep cool."

It was Bob Dylan, who'd grown up just over the U.S./Canadian border, in Hibbing, Minn., Kiernan said.

"When he said, 'Would Neil have looked out this window when he played his guitar?'," said Kiernan, "I realized what a spiritual experience he was having at that moment, knowing that he would have been doing the same thing at the same time in Minnesota.

GEEZ. Where's Chris Crocker when you need him?


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