Friday, October 24, 2014

INTERVIEW: Guitarist Wayne Moss on working with Bob Dylan on Blonde on Blonde


 Nashville studio musician Wayne Moss talks with TV STORE ONLINE about recording Blonde on Blonde with Bob Dylan..

TV STORE ONLINE:  Before we start talking about Bob Dylan and the recording of Blonde on Blonde....I have to tell you that recently picked up copies of Southern Comfort and the S/T album from your band Barefoot Jerry....I've been listening to Southern Comfort a lot in the last few days...

MOSS:  Thanks very much...  We had a jam session that went forty-six minutes when we recorded Southern Comfort and out that we had three different songs....

TV STORE ONLINE:    I know the recording of Blonde On Blonde was such a long time ago....But I was wondering if we could talk about the recording of 'Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35'....

MOSS:
  I can tell you that we all got inebriated on Dylan's request.  He didn't want to sing a song with the lyrics: "Everybody must get stoned...." with a bunch of straight people.   He sent out for some spirits...Our bass player [Henry Strzelecki] got so drunk that he couldn't play--so I played bass on the recording.   He was so drunk that he was rolling around on the floor playing the bass pedals of an organ with his hands.   We had a good time with it.  When we all left the studio that night none of us remembered to sign our time cards. 

TV STORE ONLINE:  Did you know anything about Dylan before you met him?  Were you familiar with his music?

MOSS:  Well, at that time--I didn't know much about him.   I only knew that he was the guy who wrote 'Blowin' in the Wind'.  I had a saxophone player friend of mine that had known him a bit and he told me that Dylan was into motorcycles and that he was originally from Minnesota.  I once went through Dylan's home town in Minnesota and at the city limits there is a sign that reads "Home of the World's first Strip-Mine".  (Laughing)  You'll think that they'd have something up about Dylan there....(Laughing)    

Dylan was really a treat to play with in the studio though.   As a guitarist--there isn't much outstanding work on Blonde On Blonde--except, maybe on 'I Want You.'    I also played on 'Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands' and 'Stuck Inside A Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again' as well.  The recording of 'Sad-Eyed Lady' went from 2 o'clock in the afternoon until 8:30 a.m. the next morning... We only did two takes of it, and they ended up using the first on the album...

TV STORE ONLINE:  What do you remember about the recording of 'Stuck Inside a Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again'?

Wayne Moss today.
MOSS:  Not too much actually.  I really like the song though. It's a great bluesy song, and it was a pleasure to play on it.

TV STORE ONLINE:   I've read some things over the years about the recording of the album...In particular, how during the recording of 'Sad-Eyed Lady' there was a break and Dylan escaped off to write some aspects of the song in the middle of the recording session...Could you talk a bit about his process as you observed it?

MOSS:   His way of working wasn't what any of us studio guys were used to.   We were used to recording four sides in a single session.  That would be over three hours and then we'd leave the studio.  When Dylan came and recorded Blonde on Blonde--it opened the doors and things changed.  Artists would come in and they would take their time recording.    After Dylan came everyone started to come: Joan Baez, Simon & Garfunkel, Charlie Daniels.....

TV STORE ONLINEHow did Dylan interact with you and the other studio musicians?

Dylan with manager Albert Grossman
MOSS:  We'd ask him: "What do you want me to play on this?"   He'd respond with, "I don't know. What do you think?"  It didn't take too long for us to realize that we could just do what we wanted.    He respected us and allowed us to shine.

TV STORE ONLINE:  How about your guitar playing on 'I Want You'....

MOSS:  Well, I was just playing some Chet Atkins licks there.   It seemed to go over well with everyone in the studio.  Al Kooper told me that he liked what I was doing so we went ahead and recorded it.   I was playing 16th notes and Al Kooper heard that and said, "You don't hear a lot of people playing 16th notes up in New York City...."

TV STORE ONLINE:  How did Dylan work with [Producer] Bob Johnston?

MOSS:  Bob was a lot of fun to work with. They got along really well.  I remember, he came out of the booth one day and tried to run a song down for us on the piano.  He started playing and it sounded like one of the early Elvis Presley songs.  It wasn't the way any of us were working so we just kind of looked at him as if he was crazy.   Dylan's manager, Albert Grossman, didn't think much about Dylan coming to Nashville to record--and while we were recording you could find him sitting around and throwing quarters up at the ceiling tiles of the studio.   Once the record sales came in for Blonde on Blonde I think he changed his mind about Nashville though. 

Interview Conducted By: Justin Bozung
Want more with Wayne Moss?  Please visit his official website here.