|I wasn’t there, but Bob Dylan by all reports blew into Austin, put on 2 amazing shows in 2 nights, having taken the ACL Festival goers to church all over again on Sunday night at Zilker Park. Someone also mentioned that Dylan probably gets $50,000 to play a gig like ACL. Whether that’s true or not, he gets something with that many digits in it, I am sure.|
I got to thinking...”Man. You get to be a musician of Dylan’s reputation, and you don’t even need to leave your house more than 5 times a year to gig.”
Then I thought about the implications of that. Do I wish for that? I can’t even imagine having to make the choice, but look at Dylan. He tours all the time. I saw him back in 2006 in Albuquerque. It was, well...HIM. In the flesh, the poet laureate of folk music. Singing maybe 16 of his songs, when he could have sung 45 and still left us going, “But he didn’t sing...” And he messed around with them musically, some of them. This was no 1960’s folk revival -- there were dueling solos and organ licks. It was great, though. "Like A Rolling Stone" stirred something inside us, and "Blowin’ in the Wind" gave me goosebumps.
I think it probably gives Dylan goosebumps, too, maybe...because he still tours. He doesn’t have to. He doesn’t have to rehearse endless hours, roll up and down the highway in a bus, and hang out in green rooms, but he does.
This isn’t a business you get into to reach some magical monetary happiness point where you can “retire” and “stay home.” If you are a troubadour, if you are about music for the masses and lyrics for the soul...then by god you had better be taking it TO THEM. You’re not just working your way up the ladder of bar gigs and playing outside in 95 degree Texas heat because you want to hang it up when you’re 50. Some professions are like that, and that’s great. That’s a good end to a good life, too. But this one costs too much, in a good way, to want to put in your 25 and cash out.
And we still need Dylan. We need our poet laureate to be out among us in America, seeing how it is and then telling how it REALLY is. The American songbook is the best sort of historical and cultural preservation we have, as well as the best call to change and improvement we can embrace.
That’s no 9 to 5 job.
In the dime stores and bus stations,
People talk of situations,
Read books, repeat quotations,
Draw conclusions on the wall.
Some speak of the future,
My love she speaks softly,
She knows there's no success like failure
And that failure's no success at all.
- Love Minus Zero/No Limit (Bob Dylan, 1965)
Labels: business, inspiration, musicians