Bob Dylan: Influenced by Freakshows?
Folk pioneer Bob Dylan claims that it’s a “mystery” that he has sold any records at all.
Bob Dylan has recently spoken out about how he feels that he learnt his craft from going to freakshows.
In an interview with his website, bobdylan.com, he also put forward that he is a “Byronesque” artist, adding: “When I started out, mainstream culture was Sinatra, Perry Como, Andy Williams, ‘The Sound Of Music’. There was no fitting into it then and of course, there’s no fitting into it now. Some of my songs have crossed over, but they were all done by other singers.”
Dylan went on to say that his stage skills were honed at travelling circuses, ogling their pageants of the trans-mundane.
“People have different emotional levels. Especially when you’re young. Back then I guess most of my influences could be thought of as eccentric,” he said. “Mass media had no overwhelming reach so I was drawn to the travelling performers passing through. The side show performers – bluegrass singers, the black cowboy with chaps and a lariat doing rope tricks. Miss Europe, Quasimodo, the Bearded Lady, the half-man half-woman, the deformed and the bent, Atlas The Dwarf, the fire-eaters, the teachers and preachers, the blues singers. I remember it like it was yesterday.”
“I got close to some of these people. I learned about dignity from them. Freedom too. Civil rights, human rights. How to stay within yourself. Most others were into the rides like the tilt-a-whirl and the rollercoaster. To me that was the nightmare. All the giddiness. The artificiality of it. The sledgehammer of life. It didn’t make sense or seem real. The stuff off the main road was where force of reality was. At least it struck me that way. When I left home those feelings didn’t change.”