Bob Dylan and the Bass Guitar

The Phone Call

On November 30, 1965, I received a call from my cousin Jody who was then
the  representative for Fender Guitars on the East Coast.  It was some time
after we both  worked at the Fender service Center in Flushing Queens. He
asked if I wanted to go with him into Manhattan to take some publicity
photos for Fender.  When he told me it was Bob Dylan they were going to
photograph,  I was naturally flabbergasted.  Jody is one of the legendary steel
guitar players who is a member of the
Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.  
He was the first person to play a triple neck steel guitar and had a personal
relationship with Leo Fender.

We drove into Manhattan to the Columbia records recording studios.
When we entered the studio, everyone in the control room, including Dylan
were listening to the song they had just finished recording.
I recognized the song  as one that I had loved immediately when I heard him
perform it in a recent concert. I remembered the name clearly..."Freeze Out".

If you are a true Dylan fan and you go back that far, you will know that the
name of this song was changed sometime after this session to "Visions of
Johanna" .  In actuality, the
 log from the session states that  there were 14
takes of this song and all were transcribed as "Freeze Out" (scroll down to
November 30, 1965)

Although I was not familiar with the faces at the time,  the musicians in the
studio were as follows.

Musicians: Robert J. Gregg (drums), Richard Manuel (piano), Rick Danko
(bass), Garth Hudson (organ), Robbie Robertson (guitar) Bruce Langhorne
(guitar), Al Kooper (organ), Joseph Souter (guitar) (only 2:30 - 7:30)  

There were also a couple of guys with small wire rimmed sunglasses on in
the studio (perhaps the lights were too bright for their tender eyes) who I
later learned were members of The Byrds.

I remember reading somewhere that all of the
Blonde On Blonde record
album was recorded in Nashville. Unless all of these cuts were entirely
discarded, that is not true.

The Photos

I have no idea which take we were listening to, but when the song came
to an end, I remember my cousin Jody talking to Albert Grossman
(Dylan's manager) discussing the intent to take a break at this point
and have the photographer take some publicity photo's for Fender.  

Dylan appeared extremely annoyed. He got into a heated argument
with Grossman and I recall him saying that he was not going to
"bastardize" himself by taking these photos.  The argument continued
as all parties were in a heated discussion. The photographer was there
and hired by Fender for this sole purpose and Dylan was refusing to
comply.

Somehow, Grossman finally convinced him to take the photos.  Dylan,
still very pissed off decided to "put them on".  I vividly remember him
grabbing on of the bass guitars. I was standing in the studio just to his
right side. He looked over at me, winked, smiled and told the
photographer to go ahead and take the pictures.

All the way home in the car,  Jody cursed Bob and could not make it
more clear to me that he hated his attitude and arrogance by
performing in such an immature way.  Sometime after this incident, the
official photo  of the session was publicized  the world over.
The officially released photo
Jody's Fender publicity photo
The Fender mural in Hollywood......reproducing the images of Bob and Jody side
by side.
The photo to the left was taken from an 11 x 14 1/2  (1971) publication
by Steven Pickering named   
Praxis:one.

Bob is looking at me and giving that little "smirk" as if to say  " some day
in the future there are going to be  a bunch of my fans who actually
think I can play a bass guitar".
It is the only other photo of this session that i have ever seen. It is not
available (as far as I know) on the internet. If you can find more photos
from this session, I would love to see them. Please let me know.
The Bitter Irony

I'm not sure when it happened, but Fender had a mural installed on a wall in Hollywood.  
Jody is at the center. To his left is Jimmy Hendricks. To his right is........yep you guessed it,
his best buddy Bob Dylan.
The officially released publicity photo.