Saturday, June 23, 2012

"If you are stuck on a line, just say what it is you want to say"

From here:

“I learned so much from Bob Dylan,” says Tom Petty. The Heartbreakers toured as Dylan’s backing band from 1986 to 87. “He gave us a kind of courage that we never had, to learn something quickly and go out on stage and play it. You had to be pretty versatile because arrangements could change, keys might change, there’s just no way of knowing exactly what he wants to do each night. You really learnt the value of spontaneity, of how a moment that is real in a concert is worth so much more than one you plan out.”
Later, Petty and Dylan collaborated in the Traveling Wilburys. “We’d sit down together and write lyrics. What a privilege. I remember he said to me, ‘If you are stuck on a line, just say what it is you want to say, and don’t worry about the metre or the rhyme or anything. Just write down the sentence, and then find the key words and, wallop, you’ve got the line.’ He tended to write many more verses than we needed, and sometimes maybe in the seventh verse something would pop up that was better than anything in the first three. George (Harrison) once told me ‘Bob makes Shakespeare look like Billy Joel’. He was joking, but Bob is so far above the rest of us. He is the wandering minstrel, the travelling troubadour and his gift is so great.”


Sean said...

"Bob makes Shakespeare look like Billy Joel." What a great line! R.I.P, George Harrison. And gratitude to Tom Petty for remembering it, and for the rest of this too.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much, Sean! :)