Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan and Marlon Brando

An interesting little clip of audio.  This, from a tape in the Stanford archives Allen in San Jose, 1965 backstage with Bob Dylan, trying out his brand new tape-recorder

and making this extraordinary recording.  

Dylan banters with him while getting ready to play a concert.

We are (over the years, and via the foresight of Allen, and the technology), flies on the wall.

Marlon Brando (1924-2004)

(Today, April 3, would’ve been Brando’s 99th birthday)

BD Are you coming down to Hollywood this week?
AG: I think it’ll take me a week to get back.
BD: Hey, eight hours – I was really wrong, man, when I talked to you last week – I got a.. Like, it wasn’t what I thought it would be at all.
AG: What part of it?
BD: Oh, nah, just nothing is really happening there.
AG: Nobody’s…
BD: Well it’s not bad. It’s like there’s nothing really happening there. I mean, you can go out, you’ll be, I don’t really know, you’ll go out and you’ll be happening, you know.
AG: Well, what about The Byrds?
BD: They’re not there.. 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: Never met him?
BD: No I met him once before.
AG: What was he like?
BD: Oh man, I talked to him for about three hours, you know, and..
AG: He was like you?
BD: (Yeah, I’ll talk about it later, some other time…..) ..but it was very pleasurable to say the least. And very. .and very.. It certainly wasn’t disappointing in any kind of way.
AG: What’s he doing?
BD: He’s just making movies.
AG: Making any writing? directing?
BD: No, he’s just making movies, that’s all. He only directed that one flick because the director cut out on it
AG: Yep.
BD: And so he had to do it before – the One Eyed Jacks – But, like, there were just political..
AG: Certainly he had a big romantic ambition.
BD:  Did he though?   No man, he had no ambition.
AG: Why?
BD: Man, I’d like to help.  I just can’t make it back in,  I can’t get into it. I…
AG: I used to have..
BD: I wanted to take him some place and show him something and explain to him why, you know, something that he’d never done, you know – “Let’s go out” – and it would’ve been cool – Well he stays, he just…
AG: . ..doesn’t express it…Does he read much?
BD: Yeah, he reads, I guess, and he thinks about the universe like you, and he says all these things, right?
AG: On the set? while alone?
BD: Yeah, yeah. He’s..
AG: Did he dig the singing artist?
BD: I don’t know, he’s just a very plain, simple, common, ordinary Nebraska cat, basically. that is all really it amounts to.
But, shit, I couldn’t really say go down there 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 somebody about you ..
AG: Wally Berman was here at the time

BD: Yeah. I’ll..I’ll.. You know, I talked to Phil Spector (sic) about recording you and he is very interested
AG: Yeah, with Columbia?
BD: No, Phil Spector’s independent. He’s just a kid.
AG: Oh he’s a young kid with long..
BD: He’s about 24, one of those people you’d meet anywhere… but I talked to him about recording you…
AG: What did he say?
BD:  ..and he’s very interested, very interested..
AG: I’ll look him up.
BD: I told him that you’re here, you know..

Another great Brando Beat moment –  Jack Kerouac writes him a letter, circa 1957,  begs him to buy up the rights and film and star in a movie adaptation of  On The Road.  Nothing ever came of it. The book wasn’t made into a film until much later, 2012, when Walter Salles adapted it.


  1. Great to see this posted, however there is one significant omission.At 0.47 of the conversation I think that you missed one of Allen’s characteristic inquiries in your transcription.

    • Thanks, Philip, for your observation. There are a number of places in the transcription which perhaps? can be improved (it’s not the easiest of audios to decipher!) – please feel free to proffer amended/alternative readings

  2. Gotta love Dylan .

    “You know something is happening, but you don’t know what it is… Do you?
    Mr. Jones….. “

  3. Wow ,Dylan talking about Marlon Brando, far out, I wish he had said more about it. He told Ginsberg “I’ll talk to you later about it ” ,I wonder what that was about! Definitely two of my favorite heroes, Brando and Dylan! I’m doing a sculpture of Dylan right now, and I’m definitely going to do one of Brando, this piece sealed the deal on that for sure.

  4. I’ll probably do one of Ginsberg too, he’s a freaking luxury for a sculptor like me ! LOL

  5. “One Eyed Jacks” is now revered as a great movie. If only Brando could have done a director’s cut..(He was the director, it was the movie studio that cut it down in a way he hated).

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