adrian is rad



Filed under: — adrian @ 11:42 pm

This morning, I finished Bob Dylan’s autobiographical Chronicles, Vol. 1.

It’s not your average autobiography by any stretch. It just arounds to a few different periods of his life and focuses on those. Those periods include when he first moved to Minneapolis and later New York and hadn’t been signed yet, a period shortly after his motorcycle crash in the last 60s and a period at the end of the 80s when he was recording Oh Mercy with Daniel Lanois.

He just between these, giving little reference to time and intervening facts. If you don’t know some of the Bob Dylan story going in, you’d probably get lost in these jumps. Reading the Dylan wikipedia entry would serve you well.

Even in these little parts that he focuses on, he doesn’t provide the reader with the facts and chronology as much as he provides his thoughts on what was happening.

It’s a funny biography. The reader goes in and comes out of it the same in many ways; he doesn’t give the Chronology of many events, he doesn’t talk about writing or recording his most famous albums; he doesn’t talk of his stint (or permanent change to?) christianity; he doesn’t talk about going electric; he doesn’t talk about “Blowin in the Wind”, “The Times, They are a-Changin'”, or “Mr. Tambourine Man.”

It is nearly three hundred pages long, so he does talk about something though. He somewhat extensively talks about the folk scene in NYC in the early 60s. He also talks extensively about his early influences, including, of course, Woody Guthrie.

He also writes quite a few pages about a new guitar playing style he developed in the late 80s and early 90s. Not so interesting.

In the way he writes the book and in various passages in the book, it seems clear to me: Dylan doesn’t want to be what people want him to be. He doesn’t want to be the Voice of a Generation and he doesn’t want to write about “Blowin’ in the Wind” or going electric.

All of that being said, for the most part, he writes interestingly and he really shows the hunger of his young self. Just don’t expect him to tell you all his little secrets.

Next up: perhaps King Dork by Frank Portman.

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