The treasure-trove that is the recently-digitalized Stanford archive is starting to unpack itself. Last week, Jay Barmann at the SFist, spotlighted a particularly choice gem (two gems, in fact) – Ginsberg and Bob Dylan, talking backstage, on December 11, 1965, in San Francisco, and then Dylan performing an entire concert with a band. “It comes”, he notes, “via Dylan fan and YouTuberist Keith Gubitz, who, simultaneously, has uploaded a second, similar recording, from December 12, 1965 in San Jose — the latter includes some chatter at the beginning between Ginsberg and a passing fan who asks, “Is Joan Baez here tonight?””
By Tuesday morning , the tapes (they were not among the digitalized material that Stanford had made available and were illegally uploaded to You Tube) had been taken down
While, it should be stressed, in no way condoning the piracy and illegality, here are a few brief transcript notes sent to The Allen Ginsberg Project, a little fleshing-out of Cush’s account:
Allen begins, singing the praises of his nifty new tape-recorder (“It’s small play-back, it’s.., but.. for it’s size, it’s very good – BD: Hey, why don’t you tape some of the concert?) – making it clear that this was not some surreptitious bootlegging by Allen – (AG: Actually, it would do quite a good job. I’ll give you the tape if you want? – BD: Well, no, I’d just like to hear how we sound… Hey, we got a new drummer tonight”…)
Bob Dylan – on meeting Marlon Brando:
BD: Hey, I was really wrong, man, when I talked to you last week [about L.A.] – I got this.. … like it wasn’t like I thought it would be at all.
AG: What, harder?
BD: Well, no nothing was really happening there.
AG: Nobody yet with eyes?
BD: Well, it’s not that, but there’s nothing really happening there. I mean, no matter… you can go out, and you’d be happening, you know. but….
AG: Wally Berman? (What about the Bermans?)
BD: They were not there at the time.. I spent a lot of time with Marlon Brando
AG: What’s he like?
BD: I spent a lot of time with Marlon Brando.
AG: Was that the first time (you met him)?
BD: No, I met once before .
AG: What’s he like?
BD Oh, man, I talked to him for three hours, you know, and…
AG: He was like you?
BD: Yeah, I’ll talk about him some other time, later, remind me, should we ever talk about anybody – but it was very pleasurable, to say the least, and very.. and very… He certainly wasn’t disappointing, man, in any kind of way.
AG: What’s he doing?
BD: He’s just making movies..
AG: Teaches making movies?
BD: No, he’s just making movies, that’s all.
AG: Making and directing films?
BD: No, no, no. He only directed that one flick because the director copped out on him…
BD: And so he had to do it, like a week before, One Eyed Jacks, but, like there was, like just , you know, just…
AG; (But he had some) big Romantic ambition?
BD: He had no… No, man, he had no ambition..
BD: Man, I don’t know.. I just can’t make it,.. you know, I can’t get into it… I… I…
AG: I used to have…
BD: ..I wanted to take him some place, you know, to show him some things, and explain to him why, you know, and (that’s) something which he never does, you know, is go out , and… and it would have been cool.
(AG: What does he do?))
BD: Well, he stays, he just stays (indoors really) and reads
AG: Does he read books?
BD: Yeah, he reads, I guess…
AG: What’s he (read)?
BD: …And he thinks about the universe – Like you! you know… And he says all these things.. right?
AG: that there’s nothing’s going on?
BD: Yeah yeah. He used to be..
AG: Did he dig the (visit)?
BD: I don’t know, He’s just a very plain simple common ordinary Nebraskan cat and really that is all really it amounts to.
on Allen and Phil Spector
BD: : But, shit, I couldn’t really say go down there [ to L.A.], because it’s lively or anything. Last time I was there, it was.. but maybe that was just me, you know. I did talk to someone about you…
AG: Visit Wally Berman,, he’s really nice
BD: Yeah. You know, I talked to Phil Spector about recording you.
AG: What is that? Columbia?
BD: No, Phil Spector’s independent, he’s just a cat…
AG: Is he a young kid? ..
BD: He’s about twenty four….and he’s, you know, he’s one of those people who… I talked to him about recording you..
AG: What did he say?
BD: And he’s very interested, in that. Very interested.
AG: I’ll look him up sometime.
BD: Oh yeah, and I told him, and he was very, very interested.
On poet-musician David Meltzer
BD: You gave all the tickets away?
BD: You did give them to people who wanted them, didn’t you?
AG; You know he’s playing guitar and singing?
BD: Yeah, last time I saw him he was playing banjo
AG:: He’s playing electrical guitar
AG: He’s playing the electrical guitar?
BD: Is he good? What does he write?
AG; I don’t know what he’s written
Unidentified: (He writes, but) that song he was doing was bluegrass.
BD: Yes, that was what he was doing last time
Unidentified: You met him here that time?
BD: No, I met him a long time ago.
AG: Did you ever see his books?
BD: His books?
AG: Of poetry.
AG: He had a couple of good poems out that I liked….
And so it goes on. The first seventeen-minutes of this first tape is all this, like we say. fly-on-the-wall, backstage banter (much of it, it has to be said, hard to decipher) and the concert recordings (despite Allen’s boast), pretty execrable, of very poor quality. Even so…
We’ll be returning to more legitimate and more quality Ginsberg Stanford tapes, as we’ve promised, in the weeks to come (“over two thousand”, there’s hardly a paucity of them!)
Gary Snyder – Gary Snyder made a rare local appearance last week at the Open Book in Grass Valley, Nevada, reading alongside professor and author, Jason Wirth, reading, on the occasion of the publication of his Mountains, Rivers, and the Great Earth: Reading Gary Snyder and Dögen in an Age of Ecological Crisis. Video and a brief account may be found here
Notwithstanding Bob Dylan’s disparagement of LA in 1965… If you happen to be in L.A. this weekend. Opening last night, and performances tonight and tomorrow – Artaud In The Black Lodge (music by David T Little, libretto by Anne Waldman), part of REDCAT‘s 2017 New Original Works Festival)