Bob Price here from the New Jersey Herald. I thought I'd reach out to you for my Dylan Fest preview because you hold the rare position of having played with the man himself. Would you mind answering the following:
Gary: Bob - be glad to help!
Bob: What is it about Dylan's music that speaks to people so universally and has for so long?
Gary: Haven't got a clue except for the fact that it is a massive body of work that represents an entire man's creative life. There is a Bob Dylan in there for everyone.
Bob: I know you guys have been to the Warwick festival several times. What do you think of the event and why do you think it's so popular?
Gary: People can't get enough of Dylan's music it seems. They also can't seem to get enough of the Crowmatix at the Warwick Winery either! We've been blessed to be asked back time and again. In addition, it's a wonderful family-friendly venue on a gently sloping grassy hill with great food and wine. You can twirl like a dervish or chase your dog. What's not to like?!
Bob: Have your always been a Dylan fan? When, for how long and under what
circumstances have you played with Dylan? What is the experience like and
what is he like?
Gary: I have a tough time with being a "fan." In fact, I've always envied the people in the audience, the real fans, who very obviously give themselves over to the moment and just soak it all in like they're taking a shower. I've done nothing but play music all my life, being on the other side as it were, with the generators of music. When the bell rings, I'm off the stool and into the ring. I make a lousy audience member, plus, I know where all the bodies are buried.
Gary: I joined Dylan for the second tour of the Rolling Thunder Revue. The representative record was the "Hard Rain" album and the hour-long TV "Hard Rain" special. It was my very first "big gig" and I was in my tender 20s (I'm in my well-done 60s at the moment). The only thing I can compare it to would be something like Mad Dogs and Englishmen. It was a traveling circus - tour buses, semis, doctors, lawyers, bodyguards and lots of crazy people.
To this day I'm always asked "What's it like to work with Bob Dylan?" I always answer that it's the greatest jazz gig in the world, and of course they give me a look like the old RCA Victor dog with the tilted head. By that I mean that Dylan is probably the most spontaneous musician onstage you can work with. You can be halfway through a song and if he doesn't like the way it's going, he will just stop it in its tracks and move on to something else. You have to be on your toes! Right before we recorded the "Hard Rain" concert at Fort Collins, Colorado we worked on an arrangement of "Tangled Up In Blue" the night before (a rare rehearsal). It was very involved and we spent quite a lot of time on it. The next day we counted it off and Bob took it somewhere else, entirely dismissing the whole arrangement we worked on...hang on! By the way, while performing outside at Fort Collins it was actually snowing. I have an endearing memory of looking over at Mick Ronson playing his guitar with gloves on..
So Bob, there you go. If you actually make it up to the fest, come up and say hello. - Gary Burke
Prof. Louie in Novosibirsk, Russia
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PL&C with horns at Sellersville Theater, PA