Bob Dylan Violently Confronted an Overzealous Fan: ‘I Had It Coming’

After moving to New York to pursue music, Bob Dylan quickly picked up a fan following. He had several well-received albums and played for ever-expanding crowds. Soon, he even had a group of fans who referred to themselves as Dylanologists. Leading this group was Alan J. Weberman. Though Dylan and Weberman had a number of lengthy conversations, Weberman’s dedication frustrated and troubled Dylan. On one occasion, Dylan attacked Weberman.

Bob Dylan plays the guitar and stands in front of a microphone with a harmonica near his face. Bob Dylan's early acoustic performances drew a large number of fans.
Bob Dylan | Val Wilmer/Redferns

Bob Dylan had a ‘Dylanologist’ fan 

As a self-proclaimed Dylanologist, Weberman did whatever he could to learn about Dylan, including going through his trash. 

“You know, the term garbologist existed — in Australian, it meant a garbage collector — but there was no garbology, which is the study of garbage. So, I invented the word ‘garbology,’” Weberman told Tablet in 2015. “It’s come to mean studying garbage to see what you can know, to increase recycling and understand socioeconomic divides and this and that. I did it just to spy on Dylan, essentially.”

Bob Dylan attacked his fan in New York City

As his fixation on Dylan grew more intense, Weberman quit his job and wrote two 500-page volumes about the hidden messages in Dylan’s writing.

“Dylanology, a word I coined,” Weberman wrote in the introduction, per Salon, “is exclusively concerned with digging behind the text of Dylan’s poetry to find the subtext . . . ‘The Dylan To English Dictionary’ is years ahead of its time and like any new, controversial new [sic] theory — is found to meet with resistance from those who wish to maintain the cultural and academic status quo.”

To get closer to the musician, Weberman requested interviews. When that didn’t work, he showed up at Dylan’s apartment, demanding to speak with him. While they had several long conversations, Dylan grew frustrated with Weberman’s obsessive behavior, particularly because he had a wife and kids at home. Weberman had agreed to stop going through Dylan’s trash, and when he went back on his word, Dylan snapped.

“He grabbed me, threw me to the ground, and started bangin’ my f***in’ head against the sidewalk,” Weberman said. “I had it coming.”

Bob Dylan eventually offered A.J. Weberman a job

On more than one occasion, Dylan sat down to speak with Weberman, both in person and on the phone. Weberman secretly recorded their phone calls and, in 1977, released Bob Dylan vs. A.J. Weberman – The Historic Confrontation, an album of their phone conversations. Dylan once even offered Weberman a job, which he refused.

“Dylan called me later on, when I got back to Sixth and Bleecker, and he says, ‘Hey, how’d you like a job as my bodyguard or a chauffeur?’” Weberman explained. “So I says, ‘You’re trying to buy me off, man. You’re trying to co-opt me and it’s not going to work.’ And I started hanging around the studio with him and we had a great time. He writes about it in Chronicles, you know — allegorically.”

In recent years, Weberman said that spending so much of his life trying to decode Dylan’s lyrics was a waste of his time.

“I wasted my f***ing life trying to f***ing understand this stuff,” he said.

RELATED: George Harrison Said Bob Dylan Was Often Scheming to Find a ‘Regular Job’

Read the original article from The Cheat Sheet


Bob Dylan Violently Confronted an Overzealous Fan: ‘I Had It Coming’
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