Brief Encounters With Bob Dylan!
May 20, 2007
In 1963, I was writing songs and producing records under my real name, Wayne Kent, and my friend Jerry Landis, who was about to change his name to Paul Simon, was a song plugger for E.B. Marks music. I was thrilled when he asked me if I’d like to meet his producer at Columbia records, Tom Wilson, who had started producing the “Wednesday Morning 3:00 AM” acoustic album.
We adjusted our ties and sport jackets, as we waited on the couch in the A&R dept. at Columbia records then…Tom Wilson’s door opened. I was surprised to see a nattily dressed, 6’3″ black man emerge ( Paul never mentioned his ethnicity) followed by a scrawny pale white guy in a gray suit and a pink dress shirt, unbuttoned at the collar. I recognized him from the album cover I’d been playing for about a year, “Bob Dylan”, which John Hammond produced. Jerry ( I mean Paul ) introduced me to them as Wayne Kent and we had a casual conversation which I honestly don’t remember. I do, however, remember the feeling that I had being in the presence of greatness that was yet to be realized. Three men who would eventually change the course of popular music, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and Tom Wilson!
The next time I was introduced to Dylan was about a year later, when I was recording and writing under the name, Artie Wayne. I just had a hit as a writer and producer with Joey Powers and, “Meet Me At Midnight Mary”( Raleigh/ Wayne) , but royalties were slow coming in. Paul Simon, convinced me to start playing showcases at the Bitter End and Gerde’s Folk City in Greenwich village, so I could get some work and even offered to play back-up guitar. During a break after one of our sets, I was standing by the rail of the Tin Angel, all decked out in neatly creased denim, when an old pal from 1650 Broadway, Al Kooper walked over. The last time I saw him was when he was riding high on the charts with a song that he wrote, “This Diamond Ring”, by Gary Lewis and the Playboys.
I hardly recognized him, with his hair down to his shoulders, black boots and a cape that almost touched the ground. I also couldn’t stop raving about his organ playing on “Like A Rolling Stone”. As we were catching up on old times, Bob Dylan, looking “Positively 4th Street” walks over and reminds Al that they have to be somewhere. Al introduces me to Bob as Artie Wayne, who stares at me with a slight look of recognition in his eyes. I didn’t say anything, cause I figured he’d never remember our first encounter anyway!
In 1969, I was recording under the name Shadow Mann, and was going around the country promoting my album, “Come and Live With Me!” On my trip back to New York, I saw that a concert promoter friend of mine, Ron Delsoner was putting on a show with Laura Nyro. I asked if I could get a couple of tickets, but they were sold out. Then he invited me to stand with some of his friends backstage and watch the show from the wings. One of those friends turned out to be Bob Dylan.
I was a bit embarrassed to meet him this time dressed in my evening Shadow outfit, which included a custom made black suede jacket with a Giant Red Eagle on the back, black suede bell bottoms, and a big black floppy hat. Ron proudly introduced me to Bob, as his old friend Shadow Mann. I noticed Bob glancing at me from time all during Laura’s concert…then halfway through the show, he looked at me, smiled enigmatically, and said,
“Are you holding? (slang for do you have any drugs?)
Shit if I had, I’d have a more exciting end to this story!
Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne
For Brief Encounters With Paul Simon http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/10/23/a-brief-encounter-with-paul-simon/
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