Out Today: Pledging My Time–Conversations with Bob Dylan Band Members
"More fine stories than you can count" –Greil Marcus
Hi everyone, at long last, my book Pledging My Time: Conversations with Bob Dylan Band Members is in stores today! Hardcover, paperback, and ebook versions. Before we get any further, here’s the link:
Some people far smarter than I have said some very nice things about it:
Ray Padgett is the ideal interviewer—he really knows his stuff, so he can draw the best out of every musician he talks to. This is a tremendous collection of acute, revealing, often funny stories from those who’ve played on stage with Bob Dylan.
— Michael Gray, author of Song and Dance Man: The Art of Bob Dylan
There already is an endless supply of books about Bob Dylan in the world. What could possibly be written now that seems fresh, much less indispensable? Enter Ray Padgett, one of the great modern Dylanologists, who has done the Lord’s work of tracking down Bob’s many collaborators over the years and getting the inside story. The result is insightful, fascinating, hilarious, illuminating, and, yes, indispensable.
— Steven Hyden, author of six books including Long Road and Twilight Of The Gods, and the co-host of the Bob Dylan podcast Never Ending Stories
These talks open up like running streams. There seems to be no guile, no self-promotion, no agendas: maybe because Ray Padgett doesn’t do either. There’s less I Was There than ‘and then I wasn’t’—and more fine stories than you can count. I love Louis Kemp on negotiating with Walter Yetnikoff—even if he does have a 13-year-old Bob Dylan singing Jerry Lee Lewis and Chubby Checker in 1954.
— Greil Marcus, author of Folk Music: A Bob Dylan Biography in Seven Songs
Ray Padgett's Dylan scholarship combines obvious enthusiasm, deep knowledge, broad understanding, and an abiding need to get things right. This is essential work both now and for the future.
— Caryn Rose, author of Why Patti Smith Matters
If you're like me, you've waited your entire adult life for this book. Padgett digs deep and shines a spotlight on the people standing (and sitting) behind the man behind the shades.
— Jon Wurster, writer/performer/drummer (Mountain Goats, Bob Mould, Superchunk)
But I don’t need to give you the hard sell, because I know many of you have bought it already. Many of you, in fact, bought the book before it even existed, via the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. Your faith in the project is seriously appreciated, and seeing your tweets and emails as books have begun landing in your mailboxes has been enormously gratifying (and to those of you still waiting, thanks for your patience, they’re going out as fast as I can get ‘em in the mail!)
If you haven’t placed your order yet though, here’s that link again:
The book contains 40+ original, in-depth interviews I’ve conducted with Dylan bandmates and some behind-the-scenes people associated with his life on the road (tour managers, sound engineers, Soy Bombs). Some have run in this newsletter, but half are brand-new for the book. Many of these stories have never been told before.
Here’s the Table of Contents. Some names you will know; some names you won’t. A secret of this book is that some of the best Dylan stories come from the least-known people (often members of the touring party) no one has ever interviewed before.
Book options are hardcover (will look the purtiest on your Dylan-books bookshelf, but also pricier than I wish it was due to printing costs), paperback (cheaper, and will work equally well on your shelf or next to the toilet), and ebook (I don’t know how that one goes on a shelf, but feel free to try).
Note: To make the hardcover version a little cheaper, enter the code PRIDE15 to get 15% off in the Lulu store. Expires June 30.
More stores will continue getting added in the next week or two as it populates in more places, particularly for the two physical versions. It will also become available for brick-and-mortar bookstores to order.
Two other things:
I’m planning Zoom book parties later this summer with some of the band members I interviewed. They’ll be private and ticketed virtual events. This was a tier for the higher-level Indiegogo supporters, but if you didn’t pull the trigger then and decide to change your mind when you see the lineup, there will be a way to do that. More info soon.
I’m uploading audio snippets from some of my interviews to YouTube. Here’s one of the longer ones, a medley of Fred Tackett, Billy Cross, Louie Kemp, Ronee Blakley, Larry Campbell, Kinky Friedman, Gary Burke, and Christopher Parker discussing particularly memorable shows they played with Dylan. You can head to my channel to see the rest (I’ve got some more to add in the next few weeks too).
If you like the book, any help spreading the word is much appreciated. Post a photo of your copy on Facebook or Twitter. Write a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Tell a Dylan-loving friend in your life. One of the things about going this alone is that there's no book-publisher muscle behind promoting this book. No ads, no social media campaigns, no PR. The only way anyone will find out is via word of mouth from one Bobfan to the next!
That’s all for now. Here’s that ordering link one more time:
PS. Here’s me hand-delivering one of the first copies of the book to one of its cover stars, Larry Campbell: