Born in 1935--Pased away January 28th, 2001
is proud to announce that
Victor Maymudes and Bob Dylan
(photo by Lisa Law)
It Is Good To Look Back
Victor was 65 years old when he passed away there in the Pacific Palisades.
I had spent many
days with him personally and on the phone the last couple of years of his life. I know I was
hearing stories about his life of music no-one had ever heard. We had many times together where
we would talk and I would help him go back and remember where he had been on the musical
trail that he had made through his life. I was helping him write his book about his years in the
music business and work on a book about his years with Bob Dylan, which by the way, was
only a chapter in a man that was no doubt part of the history of folk and rock and roll himself.
In 1999, I became his Webmaster for a site we were dreaming up called Little Feather.
idea was to be a online publishing company that would publish books by and about some of
the characters that he had run into over the years, and several books that he wanted to write. He
wanted it to be a family company that his kids and friends could benefit from helping with and
owning. He then hired me to be the ghost writer to help him publish his book JOKER AND A THIEF...
Victor got his first guitar in 1949, hence began his musical career.
Victor produced the first concerts
by Odetta. In 1955, Victor was part of the energy that became the Unicorn, which was the first
coffee house in Los Angeles. It was on Sunset Blvd., and became the place where Allan Ginsberg
and other new poets were reading their material. Victor was always around the new cutting edge
of music and in many respects was making it happen. As a producer he was helping many young
musicians make their music.
In 1957, Victor worked again with Herb Cohen to open the Cosmo Alley where
the whites and
the blacks were first hanging out together. "Marlon Brando, Dennis Hopper, Odetta, Peter Fonda
and all the other 'hipsters.' Lenny Bruce was working the Cahunga Burlesque and he would come
down after work and do his own special comedy at our place," Victor once told me.
He ran with Ramblin' Jack Elliot and Woody Gutherie. It was Ramblin'
Jack Elliot that took Victor
to New York and introduced him to "the kid," who was in fact Bob Dylan. Victor went on to work
with and for Mr. Dylan for two plus decades serving as tour manager and wearing many other
hats for Bob Dylan. He was tour manager for some of the biggest tours like Rolling Thunder and
when Dylan and the Band cut trails everywhere. He was at the Monterey Pop Festival, with Dylan
at the Pyramids in Europe, on the Never Ending Tour, there when Dylan posed for Andy Warhol,
he built Bob's Bus (and Neil Young's and Waylon Jenning's bus)
Victor worked with and was friends of folks like Paul McCartney, Will Geere,
Johnny Cash, Al
Cooper, Aldous Huxley, William Borrows, Waylon Jennings, Hugh Romney (Wavy Gravy),
George Harrison, Tom Petty, Joan Baez, the Mamas and the Papas, the Grateful Dead, The
Beatles, The Band, Neil Young Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Pete Seeger, Harry Dean Stanton
to just mention a few. His tales and times with Woody Gutherie, Will Geere and Ramblin' Jack
Elliott, who first introduced Victor to Bob Dylan, is the kind of story that not only movies are
made of...but are stories of what history is made of.
The man was at the beginning and an intricate part of the Bohemian scene
that gave birth to artist
like Allen Ginsberg, William Borroughs, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso and Gary Snyder,
then he was there when the coffee house and folk scene were born in Los Angeles and in New
York. Victor had an important story that he wanted to tell and it is sad that his words are only
in notes and now who he was is in memories.
As I had mentioned, I was working as a "ghost writer," if you will, for Victor on his book about his years
working for and with Bob Dylan. Victor also had several other writing projects and below you will find the
short synopsis on each of the books that he wanted to write over the next years and be part of his
publishing company LITTLE FEATHER PUBLISHING. Little Feather was to be a Publishing company
that was to be family owned and operated. Victor and I collaborated to created this idea and I always
felt like a creative partner with Victor on this dream. Most of the idea came together over the year we
were working close on the Bob Dylan book.
Children's book about a 170 lb.
||IT IS GOOD TO LOOK BACK
will discuss how jazz and poetry
first fused, how this new art form
influenced folk music, how folk
became rock, how rock helped
to set the western world free,
how the beats turned Bob Dyan
on, and how Bob turned the
Beatles on before the Beatles
changed the entire world. From
Victor Maymudes, the man who
lived it, a book about music,
revolution, politics and the fight
for liberty of expression in the last
Victor and I worked first to write the outline and sample chapters to present his book to St. Martin Press. He would pay
me a hundred bucks when I would come over. Have a bottle of wine, roll a few joints and I would bring my tape recorder
and a timeline I had put together to help him remember important dates in his past years with Dylan. Then he would tell me
stories that I knew the world wanted to hear...the Preamble to the book began...
In 1935, the Juke Box is invented. Will Rogers dies in a plane crash, Bob Wills records his first record, and Patsy Montana records, "I Wanna Be A Cowboy Sweetheart". I was born that year, along with Loretta Lynn, Elvis Presley, Dennis Hopper and Jerry Lee Lewis. I was given the name Victor Maymudes.
While I was growing up Western music and the Singing Cowboys were the order of the day. Tex Ritter moves to Hollywood and the Sons of The Pioneers appear with Bing Crosby in "Rhythm on the Range". By the time I am 3 years old Roy Rogers is number one at the box office and electric guitars have first appeared on the market. The Grand Ole Opry has just made it to TV.
When I am six years old World War II begins. Earl Flynn stars in the "Santa Fe Trail" and Woody Guthrie joins the Almanac Singers, the following year Jerry Garcia and Hendrix are born. Roy Rogers is soon to become "King of the Cowboys, while a near-riot of bobby-soxers in Times Square greeted Frank Sinatra's singing engagement at the Paramount Theater in New York City. Muddy Waters moves to Chicago. The war rages in Europe.
1945, the US drops the Atomic bomb on Japan. The war ends and the men come home to the women in waiting. Every woman that could conceive did. I was a few years older than this new generation that would be called the "baby boomers", for every one of us there are 20 little brothers and sisters. 1946, Hank Williams records his first record on Sterling, and "Annie Get Your Gun" opens on Broadway..."There's no business like show business...like no business I know," Annie Oakley sings from the show. Remember we are talking about Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show here.
The remainder of the forties would see
technology race at record breaking speeds, in fact the speed of sound
was broken, then Bell lab perfects the transistor. Before the chip
before LSD, the transistor was the first
tablet to turn us on. It made the electronic revolution possible. And
the electronic revolution made possible the music revolution. Speaking
of revolution, in 1948, Columbia Records introduces the L.P. (Long
|THE FIFTIES BEGIN
1950, WAR IN KOREA BEGINS. Cable TV is introduced. Hank Williams has first big hit with "Love Sick Blues". Every kid in the country now had a $5.00 connection to the mass message through the transistor. I was experiencing the evolution of the electronic age as it regards music and entertainment. Through music the youth could demand social revolution. At the same time a now power in youth marketing was being born.
Ramblin' Jack is a true American original, "The Last Brooklyn Cowboy". Jack has since the early 50s personified the footloose, carefree, hitchhiking, singing for your supper troubadour. He is Woody Guthrie's spiritual heir and an early inspiration to two generations of fledgling folkies. In the early 50s, Jack heard his first Woody Guthrie recording, and like that first trip to the rodeo, it changed his life. he arranged a visit to Guthrie's home in Howard Beach, New York, and as Woody's wife has since joked, he came
and stayed 2 years. I had met Jack when I was 17, he had driven Woody Guthrie across the country in a sports car when we met.
1957, Jack Kerowac releases ON THE ROAD. In 1958, the Kingston Trio's recording of "Tom Dooley" won the first Country Music Grammy. Elvis is drafted in the army and Explorer 1, first U.S. satellite is launched. The integrated circuit was invented. Chuck Berry is hot and the Everly Brothers' "Bird Dog" is popular.
Feb. 3, 1959..."Bye bye Miss American
Pie. Drove my chevy to the levy, but the levy was dry"...
Later that year I flew to New York. Ramblin' Jack was already in New York, so he picked me up at the airport. We went to the Gaslight Cafe on MacDougle Street, where everyone hung out. When we came in Bob Dylan was in the back room where the performers hung out. He had been typing on an old typewriter in the back room. He was a two-finger typer. He was writing a new song. This one would be about a hard rain that was going to fall. Ramblin' Jack introduces us.
Maybe it was not sleeping all night and walking into the morning sun, or maybe not, I don't know. In those days everything seemed so bright, and colorful, and intense. Everything seemed, well...so bright and intense that you couldn't say if you were high or not. All I know is that Mott Street never looked so intense and colorful and bright. I am in one of those up all night energy levels of saying good-bye because I am going to Mexico. In the last six months since we met we had been together every day. Mushrooms, Pyote pot chess and coffee were the order of the day.
The pawn shops, dime stores and Jewish stores, the smell of kosher food and the white smoke of the Chinese laundries, the yellow flash of the passing taxies, the jellybeans glowing in the simi-gloom of than afternoon. Reality took another dimension. It was then that I had the vision. Right there on Mott Street, among second hand clothes shops and dirty little markets. Among poor Jewish immigrants--like my parents, and the Dylan's grandparents had been. All of a sudden, I knew that Dylan would make it big. He would become everything that he dreamed he would be--and more.
A few weeks after the vision on Mott Street, I was laying in the sand of remote Yalapa watching the sunset with Tom Law, who later becomes tour manager for Peter, Paul and Mary and Joan Baez. He is looking at the sunset, I am laying with my face in the sand. A stranger comes up and asks Tom if he knows a "Victor something?" Tom says, "Maybe, why?" He says he was asked by someone in Puerto Vallarta, that knew he was coming here, to tell Victor a guy named Bob Dylan wants him to come to New York.. I thought it wild that this word even got to me, in that we were in this remote area where there was no electricity, phones and it took a boat to get to the place we were at.
Days later I go into Purto Valarta and call Albert Grossman. The only phone that they had was a short wave radio phone. Grossman said there would be a ticket for me at the airport. I left Mexico and flew back to Los Angeles where I stayed with Jim Dixon, who was on the verge of creating the Byrds. When my plane landed in L.A., I heard that Jack Kennedy was shot. A few days later, I was in New York and I met Bob to put the puzzle together and build his first tour and get him ready to go into the studio.
Victor told me the story of when he and Bob turned the Beatles on to pot in a hotel room in New York...stayed tuned.
IS GOOD TO LOOK BACK
BOOK WILL TELL STORIES ABOUT MANY
NAMES IN ROCK & ROLL
George Harrison and his friend Victor
joined each other above in 2001
Josh Hassle, James Rado & Victor Maymudes
|MY LIFE STORY IN
ROCK AND ROLL
44 Years of Rock and Roll
history from the man
who lived it.
Another book coming from Victor's pen
by Victor Maymudes.
This is a story of four guys
"I went home to my bus."
will tell stories about the
IF A TOUR BUS COULD SPEAK
Go backstage to Hollywood