Lisa Salem covers all things audience for the workbook and in this week’s post she shares some audience insight from Bob Dylan. “How to Build Your Audience and Keep It” is the first of a number new additions to the Workbook network. The site features an extensive “how-to” on building an audience in addition to an ongoing blog that features interviews, insight and examples.
I’m reading Bob Dylan’s autobiography ‘Chronicles’ – an amazing (and amazingly written) book. It’s hard to put down.
The other night I came across the part where he’s talking about touring in the 80’s with an eye to retiring. Feeling like he was all dried up and being fine with that. He knew that he had to get through his last big tours though (one with Petty and one with the Dead) and was feeling like he almost didn’t have it in him. It was taking it’s toll and when the Dead made some requests he felt he just wasn’t up to, he walked out with the intention of not coming back.
He had a couple of revelations though that did bring him back. Not only to the Dead gigs, but which made him want to tour intensely for the next three years, perfecting a technique of playing he’d discovered that liberated him and his songs. But he realised that if he was going to do this, if he was going to play this way and perfect this technique, he was going to have to find a new audience:
“… my audience at that time had more or less grown up on my records and was past the point of accepting me as a new artist… in many ways, this audience was past its prime and its reflexes were shot. They came to stare and not participate. That was okay, but the kind of crowd that would have to find me would be the kind of crowd who didn’t know what yesterday was.”
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