SPOTLIGHT on MUSIC
Bob Dylan Article
With the December 1997 premiere of the official Bob Dylan Web site, bobdylan. com, sponsored by Columbia Records, Coyote wrote an article called "Tracking Bob Dylan". He weaves together personal recollections of crossing Dylan's path in Greenwich Village and Woodstock in the '50s and '60s with Zen-inflected meditations on his style and significance.
"No one, not even he knows why his songs come over his spinal telephone; what created his rage and urgency. He exists in it, like a whirlwind, his fate, to be the voice of the rest of us whose 'heads are exploding.' What more can one ask of an artist except that they give honest and exact form to the inchoate feelings we sense but cannot articulate?"
Coyote, the Musician
Coyote has always been passionately involved with music and during the Sixties played and performed often. He has been writing songs for forty years and describes it as a "passionate hobby." Some years ago, after numerous requests from fellow Diggers and some old communards about the fate of his songs, he gathered some old and new friends, fine players like Norton Buffalo and Chris Michie, and set down nineteen tunes on a cassette. In honor of their Digger heritage, he named the tape "FREE STORE" and on the first edition, his name was not on the cover. He mailed out about 200 copies one Christmas, and as requests poured in, tried to fill them. To date, he has sent out about 2,000.
Having grown up in a house where his father, Morris Cohon, was an avid jazz lover, it was not surprising to have the house filled with musicians for impromptu jam sessions. During the Sixties, he was fortunate to find himself in the company of some of the greatest artists of that era like Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead who sponsored his trip to England with Ken Kesey to meet the Beatles.
"I used to be a drummer and from the time I was twelve studied with Cozy Cole, a great, big-band era drummer. In 1960 I began to play the guitar informally and began writing songs about two years later, something I have never ceased doing. These songs were largely composed between 1967 and 1975 when I was living on communes and in my truck; a time when music was one of the manly arts, and a currency in its own right for travelers, who with music, never arrived anywhere empty-handed. The tape was composed at the request of friends who missed the music and it was mailed as a free gift. Over the years, word has gotten out and it is now in its third release. I'd like to do a new one with later songs, and so I'm considering selling off my inventory. I'm asking $10 a cassette to cover actual costs and mailing, and any extra will be donated to an organization which aids indigent jazz musicians." ...Peter Coyote