Clare Sidoti Staff Writer
Who better to write a tell-all book on the iconic Bob Dylan than a man who was with him for so many of the main events? Now it looks like the story from Victor Maymudes’ point of view will finally be told.
Maymudes was Dylan’s close personal friend and unofficial road manager through the 60s and worked with the folk legend from 1988 on the 12-year run of the Never Ending Tour. Their friendship came to an abrupt end at the turn of the century when a personal quarrel between the two forced Maymudes to leave. With time on his hands, he decided to write a book about life with Dylan.
Things were looking promising for the memoir – Maymudes had signed a $100,000 deal with St. Martin’s Press and recorded hours of personal recollections on a collection of tapes. However, fate had other ideas and Maymudes died suddenly from a brain aneurysm in 2001.
For 12 years Maymudes’ son Jake has held onto these precious tapes and he hopes to now complete his father’s project. With the aim of self-publishing the book (because it enables him to “retain a lot more creative control”), like everyone these days Jake has started a Kickstarter to fund this.
The book covers Maymudes’ entire life with Dylan: from meeting in New York’s West Village Gaslight Club in early 1961 to their friendship-ending argument in 2000. Giving fans an insider’s view of life and the music scene at that time the book provides glimpses of life on the road, touring, the drug culture, meeting The Beatles, encounters with fan,s and mateship.
In the early 70s the two friends split as Maymudes wished to settle down and raise a family though they still kept in touch. It was Dylan that Maymudes turned to in the late 80s when in financial ruin due to bad real estate deals. Jake recounts how his father called up Dylan and said, “‘I need a job’. He was like, ‘Great. Can’t wait to have you back. I’ll give you a job on the road. We’re going to Europe. All the roles have been filled and we already have a tour manager. I don’t know what you’re going to do, but just come on the road and I’ll pay you.” That started a 12 year journey together that resulted in Maymudes quickly becoming tour manager.
In the late 80s Dylan started giving money to Maymudes to invest in real estate and it was this that ultimately ended their friendship. Maymudes invested money in his daughter’s coffee shop in Santa Monica. With no advertising or promotion the shop lost $100,000 and words were said from all sides - Dylan’s accountants, Dylan himself and Maymudes. This resulted in Dylan’s firing of Maymudes’ daughter, and because of the way he did it – Jake describes it as “in a way that would not be cool for anyone to be fired” – Maymudes and Dylan got into a huge fight and all contact was dropped between them.
Not long after this incident Maymudes started writing his book. Though relations were chilly at best between his father and Dylan, Jake believes that if his father hadn’t died that they would have eventually patched things up. “They’re two grumpy old men. They fucking flip out, and then get over it.”
At the time of his death Maymudes had only written 20 pages of the memoir, and though he had the tape recordings of his father’s memories, Jake couldn’t touch the project for a number of years. He estimates that it will only take him another five months to finish off the book, but he needs fan support to do this. The Kickstarter campaigns finishes tomorrow (12 June) and still needs significantly more pledges in order to meet its $45,000 goal. While he likes the idea of self-publishing, Jake wants to have his father’s story told and so is “open to working with a publishing house if the deal makes sense”.
You can read the full interview Rolling Stone conducted with Jake here.