Tag Archives: Jack Kerouac

Live: The Dylan-Kerouac Connection

Jack Kerouac (left) and Bob Dylan.

To celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday, a very special event, “The Dylan-Kerouac Connection,” will be held in Berkeley, CA on Friday, May 18, 2018.

Former Rolling Stone Senior Writer/ West Coast Music Editor Michael Goldberg and acclaimed Bay Area singer/guitarist Johnny Harper will be collaborating on a night of words about and music by Bob Dylan.

Goldberg will read from his new essay, “Bob Dylan’s Beat Visions (Sonic Poetry),” which has just been published in the book “Kerouac On Record” (Bloomsbury). Harper will perform exciting solo versions of “Desolation Row,” “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” Mr. Tambourine Man,” “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” “Like a Rolling Stone” and more!

The two set evening will begin at 7:30 pm at The Art House Gallery & Cultural Center, 2905 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

Goldberg’s essay focuses on how Jack Kerouac and other Beat writers had a profound influence on the songwriting of Bob Dylan. In reviewing “Kerouac On Record,” Mojo magazine wrote: “Among the strongest in a strong lot are Michael Goldberg’s examination of Dylan’s lit roots and Kerouac’s own musicological piece — ‘The Beginning Of Bop’ – that attempts to capture jazz in words – and succeeds.”

Johnny Harper is a well-known Bay Area singer, lead guitarist, songwriter, bandleader, arranger, and producer of recordings and concerts.

Harper has been known, for many years, for leading rockin’ bands (Johnny Harper & Carnival and the earlier Hot Links) specializing in the joyous, upbeat, and funky New Orleans R&B sound – the music of artists like Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, the Meters/ Neville Brothers, Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, and many more. He lived in New Orleans for several years at one point, soaking up the Crescent City’s magic first-hand.

In addition to his work in bands, Johnny is a powerful solo performer, accompanying himself in complex lead/rhythm and finger-picking styles on electric and acoustic guitars. He is a veteran performer in a wider range of American roots music styles – blues and gospel, vintage rock and classic country, R&B/ soul, traditional and contemporary folk, and more. He is an expert on the music of The Band, and knows over 100 Bob Dylan songs! And he is a born storyteller whose comments on the music are by turns moving and highly entertaining.

The show will take place at: The Art House Gallery & Cultural Center, 2905 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA. Suggested donation: $15.00 – $25.00

For additional info, please contact Johnny Harper: jjmusic@ix.netcom.com

– A Days of the Crazy-Wild post –

Bob Dylan’s Beat Visions – A Rock’s Back Pages Excerpt

We’ve known for years that Bob Dylan borrowed melodies from older songs, and that particular songs and poems inspired him to write his own lyrics. In a nearly 12,000 word essay in the just published book, “Kerouac On Record: A Literary Soundtrack,” I detail just how extensively Dylan made use of Jack Kerouac’s writing in some of the songs Dylan wrote for Highway 61 Revisited.  You can read an excerpt from my essay at Rock’s Back Pages.

Here’s a bit of what you’ll find there:

‘No rhyme, all cut-up, no nothing, except something happening, which is words’

I couldn’t have written those songs back then. If I had just come out and sung “Desolation Row’ five years ago I probably would have been murdered – Bob Dylan to Nat Hentoff, autumn 1965, unpublished interview for Playboy

Following the 3 May 1965 publication of Jack Kerouac’s Desolation Angels, the publisher, Coward- McCann, a subsidiary of G. P. Putnam’s Sons, ran full-page ads in the Sunday Times Book Review, the daily New York Times, the New York Review of Books and elsewhere. If you were in New York, and dug Jack Kerouac, it would have been hard not to know that the “King of the Beats’ had a new novel in the stores.

Hi Lo Ha (the house Bob Dylan had just bought in Woodstock, New York, was where Dylan said he wrote the rest of Highway 61 Revisited in the six weeks between the 15 and 16 June sessions in Manhattan where “Like a Rolling Stone” (which he’d written in early June) was recorded, and the late July and early August sessions at which the rest of the Highway 61 Revisited album was completed. (Dylan, ever the poet, said that in one interview, but in another with Jann Wenner for Rolling Stone he said he wrote the Highway 61 song “Desolation Row” “in the back of a taxicab” in New York.)

More interesting than where the songs that comprise Highway 61 Revisited were written is that just six weeks after Desolation Angels was published, Dylan used the book as a major source of raw material for his new songs. “Desolation Row” took the first half of its title from Kerouac”s new book, and Dylan seems to have gotten the idea for the song’s main theme from Kerouac as well. In Desolation Angels, Kerouac writes about “Surrealistic Street,” and describes a wild cast of characters that he sees out on skid row. What is “Desolation Row,” as Dylan describes it in his song, if not a dark, at times horrific version of Kerouac”s “Surrealistic Street”?…

Read the excerpt here and buy the book here.

Cover of “Kerouac On Record.”
– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post –

How Jack Kerouac Influenced Bob Dylan & More

Cover of the upcoming “Kerouac On Record.”

In a 12,000 word essay, “Bob Dylan’s Beat Visions (Sonic Poetry),” that appears in the upcoming book, “Kerouac On Record: A Literary Soundtrack,” I explore how Bob Dylan was profoundly influenced by the Beat writers, and especially Jack Kerouac.

The book is being published by Bloomsbury and will reach book stores online and off on March 8, 2018. Rock’s Back Pages will be publishing an excerpt from my essay, and the April issue of Mojo magazine (see full review below) includes a rave review that says in part: “Among the strongest in a strong lot are Michael Goldberg’s examination of Dylan’s lit roots and Kerouac’s own musicological piece — ‘The Beginning Of Bop’ – that attempts to capture jazz in words – and succeeds.”

Nice to be mentioned in the same sentence as Kerouac!

In addition my Dylan piece, I also have an interview with writer (and one time rock critic) Richard Meltzer in which he talks at length about Kerouac.

The book also contains essays on the influence of Kerouac on a number of musicians including Tom Waits, the Grateful Dead, Jim Morrison, Van Morrison, Patti Smith and others. And there are excellent pieces about the influence of jazz on Kerouac’s writing style.

As we get closer to the publication date I’ll share more about this fascinating book.

Here’s the Mojo review in full:

Review in the April issue of Mojo.
  • A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post –

More Hype About My New Novel, The Flowers Lied

tfl-fb copy

Remember back when you first wanted to become a rock critic? Or perhaps first started reading rock reviews. Those are the days of The Flowers Lied, my new rock ‘n’ roll coming-of-age novel.

Writerman, the narrator, is a rock critic wannabe obsessed with music – favorites include Captain Beefheart, the Blue Oyster Cult, the 13th Floor Elevators, John Coltrane, Pearls Before Swine, Slim Harpo, Neil Young, Sam Rivers the New York Dolls and, of course, Bob Dylan.

If you grew up in the ‘60s or ‘70s, or ever wondered what it was really like to be a teenager back then, I think you’ll dig this novel.

Witness Writerman fighting his record buying addition at Odyssey Records as store owner Lucky Larry guzzles Green Death and applies the “upsell”, attending a Neil Young concert in 1973 and confronting Neil backstage, pursuing the Visions of Johanna chick of this dreams and ending up naked at the top of a Ferris wheel, alone with his best friend’s girl.

What the critics say about my novels:

“If Lester Bangs had ever published a novel it might have read like this frothing debut…” – Rolling Stone

“Radioactive as Godzilla!” – Richard Meltzer

“Kerouac in the 21st Century.” – Dennis McNally

“Penned in a staccato amphetamine grammar…” – Simon Warner

“Holden Caulfield meets Lord Buckley?” – Paul Krassner

More info here:

The Flowers Lied – Reviews

A Journey Towards Cultural Freedom (And Bob Dylan) ‘On Highway 61’

The musicians and writers whose art presaged and influenced and influenced The Sixties.

By Michael Goldberg.

On Highway 61 – Music, Race and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom, Dennis McNally, Counterpoint Press (471 pages)

Let me start at the end and tell you that the final section of On Highway 61, some 120 pages, provides the best portrait of Bob Dylan and his creativity, what nurtured it, and how it evolved, that I’ve read to date.

Additionally, author Dennis McNally focuses on how Dylan’s worldview – and the songs he wrote and/or sung – can be characterized as part of the ongoing search for freedom in all it’s manifestations, physical, spiritual and cultural. And more. Dylan was at least as influenced by the music made by African Americans, as he was by white country and folk musicians. And this is important, as it is simply one of many examples in this terrific book that make the case that African Americans are primarily responsible for what is truly great in American music.

But there are other reasons it’s appropriate to start with Dylan. Like some of that artist’s surrealist (or perhaps hyper-real) songs of 1965 – “Desolation Row,” “Ballad of a Thin Man” and “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” — McNally has populated his book with an incredible array of iconic figures — including Henry David Thoreau, Miles Davis, Mark Twain, Bessie Smith and Jack Kerouac – who, like Dylan, have allowed those who have paid attention to their art to experience, as McNally puts it, “a widening of vision, a softening of the heart, and an increase in tolerance.”

No Anita Ekberg (“to make the country grow”)) and no Shakespeare (“with his pointed shoes and his bells”), but what the hell. As artfully as Dylan in his songs, McNally has made his superhuman crew fit seamlessly into this treatise on cultural freedom. In fact, those artists and their work is the story of cultural freedom.

And what is cultural freedom?

Taking from the past and making something new.

Leave it to Mr. Dylan, who McNally quotes from a 1987 US magazine interview, to give us a clue.

“When I first heard Elvis’s voice I just knew that I wasn’t going to work for anybody and nobody was gonna be my boss,” Dylan said. “Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail.”

Art that makes you feel like busting out of jail. That would be one definition.

Or, as Dylan sang it, “I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.”

Yeah, cultural freedom.

But there’s more to it…

Read the rest of this review at Addicted To Noise AU.

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

[I published my novel, True Love Scars, in August of 2014.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book. Read it here. And Doom & Gloom From The Tomb ran this review which I dig. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]

Destroy the Mood: Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’ Reduced to a Google Maps Trip

Photo of Jack Kerouac via Flavorwire.

And so it has come to this.

The mythic travels of Sal Paradise reduced to a Google Maps trip.

Gregor Weichbrodt’s “On the Road for 17527 Miles” removes all the poetry from Kerouac’s journey.

The Guardian says of the book:

Going through On the Road with a fine toothcomb, Weichbrodt took the “exact and approximate” spots to which the author – via his alter ego Sal Paradise – travelled, and entered them into Google’s Direction Service. “The result is a huge direction instruction of 55 pages,” says the German student. “All in all, as Google shows, the journey takes 272.26 hours (for 17,527 miles).”

Weichbrodt’s chapters match those of Kerouac’s original. He has now self-published the book, which is also part of the current exhibition Poetry Will Be Made By All! in Zurich, and has, he says, sold six copies so far.

“To me it’s a concept, an idea. It’s odd in which rational ways we discover, travel the world,” he said. “If Kerouac had a GPS system, he would have probably felt less free. I find it rather discouraging to go on self-discovery with a bunch of route directions.” On the Road, he added, “fitted the idea of the concept I had in mind, but I’m not a beatnik groupie”.

Read the full review here.

The book is self-published and thus far Weichbrodt says he’s sold six copies.

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Allen Ginsberg Photos of Bob Dylan, Kerouac, Patti Smith & More Donated to University of Toronto

Jack Kerouac by Allen Ginsberg.

Nearly all of Allen Ginsberg’s photographs have been donated to the University of Toronto by the Larry & Cookie Rossy Family Foundation, according to the Huffington Post.

The nearly 8000 photographs include images of Bob Dylan, Jack Kerouac, John Cage, William de Kooning, Paul McCartney, Patti Smith, William Burroughs and Iggy Pop.

Patti Smith by Allen Ginsberg.

The Huffington Post reports:

Comprising a nearly complete archive of Ginsberg’s surviving photographs, the collection, spanning the years 1944 to 1997, includes original snapshots and prints of various sizes. The silver gelatin prints are unique in that they are hand-captioned by Ginsberg. All of these images will be available to scholars, and some will be on display.

Although known primarily as a writer, Ginsberg was an avid photographer. The collection includes images of writers Amiri Baraka (formerly known as LeRoi Jones), Paul Bowles, Doris Lessing, Josef Skvorecky (who was a professor of English at U of T) and Evgeny Yevtushenko. Other Ginsberg subjects were photographer Robert Frank, psychologist R.D. Laing, author and activist Dr. Benjamin Spock and psychologist, and drug guru, Timothy Leary. Ginsberg’s friend and, fellow writer, Burroughs appears in more than 300 photographs. Another frequent subject is Ginsberg’s lifelong partner, Peter Orlovsky.

The Ginsberg prints provide visual insight into New York urban landscape from the 1950s to the 1990s. They also document Ginsberg’s international travels to Canada, France, India, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, the USSR and many other nations.

Linda & Paul by Allen Ginsberg.

For the whole story head to the Huffington Post.

You can see many of Allen Ginsberg’s photographs here.

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Obit: Beat Writer/ Muse Carolyn Cassady Dead at 90

cassady

Carolyn Cassady, who will forever be remembered as the model for Camille, the second wife of Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac’s Great American Novel “On The Road,” died on Friday near her home in Bracknell, England. In real life, Ms. Cassady was married  to (and later divorced from) Neal Cassady, who Kerouac based Moriarty on. She was briefly Kerouac’s lover, with the encouragement of her husband. Her daughter Cathy Sylvia confirmed that Ms. Cassady lapsed into a coma after an emergency appendectomy, according to the New York Times. Ms. Cassady wrote two books, “Heart Beat: My Life With Jack and Neal” (1976) and “Off the Road: My Years with Cassady, Kerouac and Ginsberg (1990).

For more, read obits in The Guardian and The New York Times.