Bob Dylan at ‘The Castle’ in LA
I’d just moved into The Castle with Tom. Bob rented a room for two weeks just before the release of Blonde On Blonde and before his European tour started. He got the suite on the second floor and was writing songs. I was the housekeeper and chief cook and bottle washer and late evenings I would give him massages. He drank a lot of chocolate milk shakes so I took it upon myself to feed him healthy dinners. We went out shopping to Fred Segal’s on Sunset Boulevard. That is where he bought his polka dot long sleeved shirt. — it’s still there. He was writing all the time. I photographed his desk with his typewriter. He didn’t crumble papers up and throw them in the trash or I would’ve kept them! He would type a song and then write over it and add things. If you look at the books that show his writings, you can see the notations. People always ask me if he let me shoot pictures. He didn’t stop me but a couple times he’d make faces at me. He had a way of looking at me that was intimidating.
On April 10th, 1966, we went to hear Otis Redding at the Whisky a Go Go. Taj Mahal opened for him. [With the Rising Sons and Ry Cooder.] Bob, Tom and I were in a booth and Otis and his band blew me away so I jumped up and shot lots of pictures, many which were out of focus because Otis never stopped moving. Those photos were then used by Atlantic Records for promo and one later became the cover of his last album, Deep Memphis Soul, years after he died. We went backstage afterwards and Bob asked Otis if he wanted one if his songs for a new album. [Manager Phil Walden said it was “Just Like A Woman.”]
In 1968 we drove a caravan of buses and trucks with our [communal] group called the Jook Savages from Santa Fe to New York for the opening of Hair. We lived in Woodstock for awhile and Tom and I drove over in our 1947 Chevy converted flatbed mobile home to visit Bob and Sara.They were already having their babies and living in the forest, which was very nice. It was a wonderful time for Bob. And what a dynamic woman Sara was — so much his soul mate. They were a match — they even looked alike! Bob gave me a little child’s rocking chair for my daughter, Pilar, who was a year old then.
The magic about Bob was that he always looked different and sang different, he went from acoustic to electric. People used to call me: “Why is he doing this? Why is he doing that?” I would say Dylan’s never going to be the same. He always changes. He always surprises you. That’s who he is. The only thing that I don’t quite understand about him is when this whole Iraqi war was going on and he had the opportunity in his concerts to sing his songs like “Maters of War”, “License to Kill”, “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”, “With God On Our Side” and “Gates of Eden”– his anti-war songs – that he didn’t lead the brigade against the war. He said he wasn’t like that. He wasn’t political. The audiences were ready to sing along with him. He did do “Blowin’ in the Wind”.
When I saw him playing at the Grammys in February, he had 11people in the band behind him [Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons] and he was singing and playing harmonica without his guitar. He was smiling! He’s changing now – smiling more often. There was a period there he wouldn’t look at his audience. He wouldn’t relate to them whatsoever. He’d sing his songs in a way he never sang ‘em before so the audience was confused. [laughs] People would walk out of his concerts! Other times he’d really get down, really play, have fun and sing great!
He’s one of the most important people in my life because without Bob — without knowing and photographing him at The Castle and other concerts later– my reputation wouldn’t be what it is. So I owe a lot to him and I love him.
Stephan Pickering/Chafetz Chayim benAvraham
11/22/2016 02:43:17 pm
Shalom & Boker tov...Shabtai Zisel / 'Bob Dylan' met Otis Redding late the night of 8 April (NOT 10 April) 1966, and with Mickey Jones and Robbie Robertson present, played for Mr Redding an acetate of 'Just Like a Woman'. He flew out of L.A. early on 9 April 1966 for Honolulu where, that evening, he opened his world tour at Honolulu International Center Arena.
Mary Jo Mauro
4/2/2022 08:23:23 pm
Great website, Lisa & Pilar! Thank you for your iconic works of art! Hugs, MJ Mauro💜
Leave a Reply.