Dylan & Me: 50 Years of Adventures
Louie Kemp, author
"It was at summer camp in northern Wisconsin in 1953 that I first met Bobby Zimmerman from Hibbing. He was twelve years old and he had a guitar. He would go around telling everybody that he was going to be a rock-and-roll star. I was eleven and I believed him." So begins this honest, funny, and deeply affectionate memoir of a friendship that has spanned five decades of wild adventures, soul searching conversation, musical milestones, and enduring comradery. As Bobby Zimmerman became Bob Dylan and Louie Kemp built a successful international business, their lives diverged but their friendship held fast. No matter how much time passed between one adventure and the next, the two "boys from the North Country" picked up where they left off and shared experiences that will surprise and delight Dylan fans and anybody who loves a rollicking-good rock-and-roll memoir. From little Bobby's very first public appearance (on a roof at Herzl Camp) through his formative years in Minnesota and New York and his rise to global superstardom, Louie Kemp was by his side-a trusted ally and confidant as Bob figured out how to share his gifts without compromising who he was. Louie produced Bob's groundbreaking Rolling Thunder Revue-described in riveting detail here-and traveled with him in the rarefied world of the rock star, but he also shared quiet moments and intimate experiences. Louie's own words best describe the relationship at the heart of Dylan & Me: "We have always had open minds, taken risks, helped the underdog. We have laughed at the same jokes and confided our deepest thoughts and fears. We have never needed anything from each other but have always been there for each other." What better definition of friendship could anybody want?
In this intimate and entertaining debut, Kemp takes readers into his 50-year relationship with Bob Dylan, whom Kemp first met in 1953 at a Jewish summer camp in Wisconsin. When Dylan was 12, he was a “prankster who liked to stir things up” and told everybody he was going to be a star. Kemp believed him, and after Kemp went off to run his father’s Lake Superior fish business and Dylan moved to New York City, the two kept in touch. Kemp joined Dylan on his epic 1974 reunion tour with the Band, and, after the tour, the two then spent time together in Mexico, where Dylan starred in Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. The following year, Kemp organized and managed Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour. Kemp is a fluid writer who exuberantly shares stories about calming a drunken Stephen Stills in a hotel room while Dylan was playing songs from the yet-unreleased Blood on the Tracks (Stills mistakenly thought “Idiot Wind” was about him), having a playful food fight with Joan Baez, and sharing a Passover seder with Dylan and Marlon Brando. This loving account of a long friendship will thrill Dylan fans. (Self-published)
This review has been updated for clarity. A previous version of this review also incorrectly stated Bob Dylan filmed Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.