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Bob Dylan memoir reveals unwilling counterculture icon
Updated: 2004-09-27 11:09

US folk legend Bob Dylan reveals in his long-awaited memoir that contrary to his renowned image as an icon of 1960's counterculture, he was in fact an unwilling rebel who dreamt of a simple nine-to-five existence.

This photo from Simon & Schuster shows the cover for US musician Bob Dylan's new book called "Bob Dylan Chronicles: Volumne One" which will be published by Simon & Schuster on 12 October. The book is the first in a series of the artist's self-penned personal histories, with this volume being comprised of first-person narratives focusing on significant periods in Dylan's life and career. [AFP]
While a generation of hippies and counterculture rebels gyrated to Dylan's voice and music, the man behind the lyrics reveals he felt a prisoner in his own home where he packed a Colt pistol and Winchester rifle in fear of "rogue radicals," according to excerpts from Dylan's memoir.

The excerpts are published in Newsweek magazine which hits newsstands Monday, along with a rare interview with the singer from an unidentified Midwest motel room.

The 63-year-old singer who drew thousands to see him perform on stage during the era's Woodstock counterculture festivals appears on the cover of the weekly magazine wearing a pearl-colored cowboy hat and sporting a pencil-thin moustache.

The excerpts are likely to surprise, if not shock many Dylan loyalists.

"The world was absurd ... I had very little in common with and knew even less about a generation that I was supposed to be the voice of," Dylan says.

"I was fantasizing about a nine-to-five existence, a house on a tree-lined block with a white picket fence, pink roses in the backyard.

"Roadmaps to our homstead must have been posted in all fifty state for gangs of dropouts and druggies.

"I wanted to set fire to these people," Dylan recollects, saying the hordes of fans who turned up at his family home in Woodstock and walked over his roof or tried to break-in drove him and his family to seek refuge in New York.

Although the memoir presents Dylan as an unwilling son of the 60's, Newsweek reports it is thin on landmarks in the singer's life.

"His famous 1966 motorcycle accident gets a single sentence, and there's nothing about his 1977 divorce, his 1978 conversion to evangelical Christianity or the origin and the making of such masterworks as 'Blood on the Tracks' (1975), 'Slow Train Coming' (1979), 'Infidels' (1983)," according to the magazine.

Dylan says he felt like a mannequin in a shop window as the 60s roared past.

He says his family were the most important part of his life and that "even the horrifying news items of the day, the gunning down of the Kennedys, King, Malcolm X ... I didn't see them as leaders being shot down, but rather as fathers whose families had been left wounded."

American legend ballad singer Bob Dylan's memoir is to be published this autumn. [baidu]
"We moved to New York for a while in hopes to demolish my identity, but it wasn't any better there. It was even worse. The neighbors hated us," Dylan recalled.

And he blamed his anointment as "the Big Bubba of Rebellion, High Priest of Protest, the Czar of Dissent," largely on the press who labelled him as the spokesman for a generation.

"The big bugs in the press kept promoting me as the mouthpiece, spokesman, or even conscience of a generation. I felt like a piece of meat that someone had thrown to the dogs," he said.

"I had very little in common with and knew even less about a generation that I was supposed to be the voice of," Dylan claims.

He acknowledges that his lyrics "struck nerves that had never been struck before," but said he grated at the way his songs' "meanings (were) subverted into polemics."

As time passed and the 60's receded into the 1970's and then the 1980's, Dylan said he found happiness and inner peace.

"In my real life I got to do the things that I love the best ... Little League games, birthday parties, taking my kids to school, camping trips, boating, rafting, canoeing, fishing ... I was living on record royalties."

Dylan's memoir, "Chronicles," will be released by Simon and Schuster publisher David Rosenthal.

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