“I was at A Hole In The Wall in New York, and I’d seen Dylan the night before. So I did an impression of him singing I Want You. I did an impression of him singing Grace. I talked about how he sailed through some songs and was brilliant on others. People were shouting ‘But he’s still got it, right?’ And I’m going: ‘No. This is not Blonde On Blonde. This is him now. You guys are living in the past.’ Man, the next day I was in Tompkins Square Park, staring at the ground with the snow falling, wishing I was never born. My A&R man was saying, ‘Well, Bob feels dissed.’ But I really didn’t. I just loved him so much I sent him up.”
Unluckily for him, Bob Dylan’s management had been in the audience and failed to see the funny side of his performance. Below is a letter of apology Buckley later wrote to Dylan — a letter he also read out in public the next week. A recording of that reading can be heard above.
Image courtesy of O’ me O’ my!
I don’t know how to start.
Last Saturday my man Steve Berkowitz broke it to me that you were told of something I’d said from the stage and that you’d felt insulted.
I need for you to listen to me.
I have no way of knowing how my words were translated to you, if their whole meaning and context were intact, but the truth is, is that I was off on a tangent, on a stage, my mind going were it goes, trying to be funny, it wasn’t funny at all, and I fucked up. I really fucked up.
And the worst of it isn’t that your boys were at the gig to hear it — it doesn’t really bother me. It just kills me to know that whatever they told you is what you think I think of you. Not that I love you. Not that I’ve always listened to you, and carry the music with me everywhere I go. Not that I believe in you. And also that your show was great.
It was only the Supper Club crowd that I was cynical about, and that’s what I was trying to get at when I said what I said, and I’m sorry that I’ll never get to make another first impression.
You were really gracious to me, to even allow me backstage to meet you. I’ll never forget you, what you told me, as long as you live. You said “Make a good record man.” And I’m very honored to have met you at all. I’m only sad that I didn’t get a chance to tell you before all this intrigue. The intrigue is not the truth. Lots of eyes will read this letter before it gets to you Bob, which I accept. Some day you’ll know exactly what I mean, man to man.
Always be well,