Patsy Dennehy & BP Fallon & Bob Dylan at Slane Castle 1984.
Photography by Nutan Photographic

Today is Bob Dylan’s 75th Birthday.
To mark this milestone occasion we present:
THE CURIOUS TALE OF BOB DYLAN & JOHNNY THUNDERS & SID VICIOUS & VAN MORRISON
by BP Fallon
Slane Castle, County Meath, Ireland 1984… and beyond
Written NYC July 15/16th 2003

1984 and the Orwellian seer Bob Dylan. Chinwagging with The Big Zee in his trailer before the gig, him asking you ’bout that guitar-toting buzzard Johnny Thunders who you’d introduced him to at a Link Wray show in London some six or seven years before. Dylan had been kinda startled as Johnny reached out for Bob’s wet fish handshake. Said he’d never heard of The New York Dolls, was more interested in where he could get a new coat.

Sid Vicious’ Nancy wobbled up, tits hanging out and eyes closing down. This apparition heaves itself onto Dylan’s skinny bosom, she a sloppy floppy messy deadweight bodybag of mascaraed custard landing heavily onto the poet’s ribcage unprotected by Dylan’s tatty old leather coat that he’s had for ages. Dylan winces.

“Sex!” this clinging eyeshadowed amoeba blurts out to The Voice Of A Generation who twitches like he’s stuck outside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again and as he tries to free himself of this snaily woman he shakes his shoulders, Bob Dylan the frazzle-haired and frazzled creaky old rumba dancer at the YMCA with a junkie on his back.

You explain to Bob that Sex is the clothes shop run by Vivienne Westwood and her partner, the wideboy rock’n’roll manager Malcolm McClaren. “They sell coats and stuff, bondage gear”. Bob perks up perceptively. “Rubber stuff?” he queries. “Malcolm managed the Sex Pistols” you soothe. On cue, The Voice Of Degeneration shrills out like a petulant lost baby seal. “Nance-yyy!” It’s Sid, calling out for his monkey minder and her mind-numbing medicine.

Later that night Sid asks you to be his manager. “Malcolm’s your manager” you point out. Sid had an expedient way to get out of his contract. “I’ll cut his fuckin’ throat”, chortle chortle snivel snot, wipe nose on leather jacket sleeve. At least Sid was polite enough to wipe his dribbling nose on his own leather jacket. You, you’re already managing Johnny Thunders – full-on too much JT junkie bizness, a true-blood Noo Yoik rock’n’roller as magic as Gene Vincent Meets Keef Richards, turning himself to shit with smack.

Johnny and Sid have already played live at The Speakeasy as The Living Dead. Well, Sid climbed up onto Johnny’s stage and stumbled off again. Now they want to call their group The Junkies. Things like that could do your head in. I don’t think Bob Dylan ever got his new coat. The NME had a photo of me’n’Bawb at the Link Wray gig. What can you do?

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Bawb’n’BP at the Link Wray/Robert Gordon gig at The Music Machine – image from NME June 24th 1978. Photo of Dylan/Fallon by Sarah Wyld.

So now we’re back at Slane watching Paul Brady honoured to show this gnarled lizard how to play The Lakes Of Ponchatrain in this crappy trailer by the banks of the Boyne. Bob does just fine, fumbles and mumbles and shy ‘Aw shucks’ cowpoke grin as his long fingernails scratch at an acoustic guitar.

BPFallonBobDylan Now Bob is out in the sunlight by the Boyne’s dancing waters, fondly recalling Liam Clancy and Tommy Makem and Liam’s brothers and the friendship they’d bestowed on him when he first arrived in New York, the huge influence they’d had on him, eulogising The Clancy Brothers as film cameras capture the bashful bard paying tribute to his back pages. The filming, it’s for a Clancy Brothers documentary.

And now you’re standing on the side of the stage with Patsy watching Bob Dylan and his band rockin’ out like electric methedrine with lumps in it and there’s Bono and Ali taking it all in too.

Van Morrison shuffles up to where we’re standing, picks up an acoustic guitar, puts it down, looks grumpy. You look at Bono and he looks at you and the vibe is ‘Aw, fuck, doesn’t look like Van will sing with Dylan now’. But of course Van does, the ornery bastard, goes on and has Dylan singing with him on Van’s own Tupelo Honey, the two voices clashing and meshing and dancing around each other like refreshed lovers probing. The Goat On The Barbed Wire Fence and The Mighty Lion’s Roar are now singing Bob’s It’s All Over Now Baby Blue together and untogether and it’s poetry emotion.

“Take what you have gathered from coincidence…” You know a couple of guys in Dylan’s combo. That’s why you and your girl are here at Slane in such an exulted viewpoint. You trip over a wire causing the PA to stab out a sharp metallic crackle and Dylan jumps back from his mic all shook up and you put on your best ‘What, me?’ face and hide behind Patsy.

There’s Mick Taylor from The Stones twanging majestically, his guitar like liquid mercury. And over there, the keyboards swirl from the fingers of another dear chum from the rock’n’roll daze, this lovely grinning diamond Ian MacLagan, he from The Small Faces/Faces/Stones and more. He wrote about this special day and this night-until-dawn in his book All The Rage, Mac did, this very last night of this European tour.

Ah, yes. Maybe it’s odd but you feel proud of these guys as they play behind Bob Dylan. It’s very warming. Many rivers to cross and they’ve burnt a few bridges, come out from the storm to find the blessed chalice now sometimes free from harm. Instant calmer’s gonna get you. And His Master’s Voice, it’s wheezy and raspy and magic and sinewy like a snake from the Book Of Isiah, curling around Van’s magnificent full-chested roar of redemption. “She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey” indeed. Perfect.

-by & © BP Fallon 2003


Van Morrison & Bob Dylan at Slane Castle 1984 by Sean Hennessy

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Bob Dylan & Patsy Dennehy & BP Fallon at Slane Castle 1984
by Larry ‘Ratso’ Sloman

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BP Fallon & Johnny Thunders at The New Inn, Dublin April 1990
by Paul Murphy

“Thunder on the mountain and there’s fires on the moon
A ruckus in the alley and the sun will be here soon
Today’s the day where I’m gonna grab my trombone and blow
Well, there’s hot stuff here and it’s everywhere I go…”
-Bob Dylan, Thunder On The Mountain

🙂 In loving memory of Johnny Thunders and of Kevin Dunne who loved Bob and of all who sail ahead of us x

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A powerful BP Fallon ‘I Believe In Elvis Presley’ to a wildly responsive audience introduces Imelda May at Marlay Park in Dublin

“I believe in being in Dublin
The referendum was great, I have to say
I believe in rock’n’roll
I believe in Imelda May!”

Says BP Fallon: “I had the pleasure of introducing Imelda May on stage at Marlay Park in Dublin to 32,000 fans, doing a spoken-word ‘I Believe In Elvis Presley’ with a new last verse. She’s incredible and her band are fantastic, the audience were full-on rocking and the whole boogaloo was a gas”.

Video by Shimmy Marcus.

Also appearing on the show were Alabama Shakes and Paolo Nutini.

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BP Fallon ‘I Believe In Elvis Presley’. Photography by Michelle Geraghty/Golden Plec

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Sitting on the double bass – Imelda sings Blondie’s ‘Dreaming’ with Al Gare playing ukelele. Photography by BP Fallon

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Hand on shoulder… Photography by BP Fallon

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BP Fallon Photographer photographed by Shimmy Marcus

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Drummer Steve Rushton goes wild, wonderfully. Photography by BP Fallon

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BP Fallon sitting at the side of the stage. Photography by Shimmy Marcus

And later in artists’ catering:

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Under The Table – Three Generations – Imelda May & her dad Tony & her daughter Violet. Photography by BP Fallon

And simply because this is completely brilliant:


Jeff Beck & Imelda May & her band perform The Shangri-Las classic ‘Remember (Walking In the Sand)’

Jeff’s guitar-playing is truly amazing – and dig how he reacts to Imelda when she starts singing. Yes!

🙂

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“You want me to pay for them?!” Joe King Carrasco & BP Fallon & Mike Mills & Danny B Harvey. Photography by Mike Webber

Mike Mills of REM comes to see us play and afterwards he’s saying how much he enjoyed it, the songs are great, the vibes on stage are great, the band is great, etc.

I pull out the BP Fallon & The Bandits CD and the ‘BP Fallon Live In Texas’ CD and ask “Do you have these?”

“No” says Mike, thanking me as he takes them.

“They’re $15 each” says I and Mike says “You mean, you give me your CDs and then you want me to pay for them?!”

“Yes please” I say.

Mike takes out two $20 notes and, laughing, with a wave of his hand indicates that he doesn’t want the change.

I pocket the $40.

Then a few shows later he ends up playing live with us.

A gentleman.

BP Fallon – vocals
Danny B Harvey – guitar
Joe King Carrasco – guitar
Mike Mills – bass guitar
Clem Burke – drums
Annie Marie Lewis – backing vocals/percussion

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Video: BP Fallon – Does Anyone Care What Anyone Says In Rock’n’Roll

‘Does Anyone Care What Anyone Says In Rock’n’Roll’ from the albums BP Fallon & The Bandits ‘Still Legal’ and ‘BP Fallon Live In Texas’. Written by BP Fallon/Aaron Lee Tasjan/Nigel Harrison/Clem Burke

Video & freeze-frames by Radek
with extra appreciation to Kim Galusha & Alejandro Escovedo

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🙂

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BP Fallon – Thoughts On BB King

Posted by BP Fallon on Friday May 15, 2015 Under Brown Bread, Magic, Music, The Blues, Writing

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I first saw BB King in 1969, at The Royal Albert Hall in London.

There was this party for Release – the organisation set up by Caroline Coon and pals to assist in the legal defence of people who were getting busted – and suddenly Sgt Pilcher and his drug squad were pouring in, the smell of hash suddenly overtaken by the smell of bad vibes.

“Where’s George? Where’s Eric?” Pilcher wanted to know. Pilcher was told that George Harrison and Eric Clapton had left. “They’re gone, mate”. On hearing that his pop star targets were no longer present and now there were no big names to fry, Pilcher and his forces withdrew immediately and everyone started skinning up again.

George and Eric had gone to The Albert Hall, to worship at the alter of BB King. Seemed like a good idea. At the backstage door a bunch of guys were trying to scam their way in, telling the aged fellow guarding the door in his uniform that they were in a band too and loved the blues, they simply had to get in.

The stage doormen in those days seemed like relics from the Boer War, doddery old codgers, mostly sweet but not much of an idea about this rock’n’roll thing. Better at handling opera punters.

“Excuse me, would you be kind enough to show me to the dressing-room?” you say authoritatively to the old geezer, waving your briefcase at him. “Oh certainly sir” says he, not a clue as to who you are or who you aren’t, ushering you in past the Fleetwood Mac chaps still trying to get in.

And BB King was amazing.


BB King – Live At The Regal (1965) Complete album

BB King ‘Live At The Regal’ in 1965 opened the door for me. I loved the rougher guys – Muddy, Howlin’ Wolf – but B has this sensual caress to his guitar-playing like no-one else. He flew and even when he cried the tears of his music elevated you and washed away the pain. And what a singer – listen to BB and Bobby Bland together on ‘The Thrill Is Gone’…


BB King & Bobby Blue Bland – The Thrill Is Gone (1977)

BB is gone now too. I am blessed to have seen BB in many different settings, from riding the monster with U2 and their ‘When Love Comes To Town’ to following him around Mississippi for four days as he tithed the money from the four gigs to the Medgar Evers Foundation, something he did every year, The King Of The Blues BB King playing what was left of the down-home chitlin’ circuit where the sheriff on the horse was black.

God bless you, B. You were a gentleman. We salute you. Fly on, sir.
Sept 16th 1925 – May 14th 2015

– BP Fallon May 15th 2015

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BP Fallon remembers Joey Ramone


Joey Ramone by & © BP Fallon

Letter from America by BP Fallon: Sunday April 15th 2001
Reprinted from The Irish Times April 24th 2001

I’m sorry to have to tell you that the Mayor Of The East Village Joey Ramone died this afternoon. He died from lymphatic cancer. His mum Charlotte said he was listening to U2’s In A Little While in his room at New York Presbyterian Hospital when he died. “Just as the song finished, Joey finished,” Charlotte said. He was 49.

Only a month or so ago I saw him on his perambulations, gangling down St. Mark’s Place, this rubbery creature who towered giraffe-like above the gaggle of excited Japanese girls who formed a moving clucking mass around him as he walked. And as he walked his neck craned down to meet their smiling upturned faces, this most unlikely – and enormously likeable – apostle of cool, mane of black hair blowing this way and that, automatic hand tugging it back, those yellowy-orange prescription shades like the bottoms of milkbottles that when the light hit them in a certain way you would see those bulbous eyes that he hid from the world, these eyes still excited by the quest but equally – more? – still shy and self-effacing.

Just a pop singer…

Just the singer in the fastest, blastest, tightest, rockin’est, coolest band of their magic moments.

Just fucking Joey Ramone.

First time I saw Joey was at the Roundhouse in 1976 when the Ramones blitzkrieg bopped into London for the very first time, waving a ‘Gabba Gabba Hey!’ placard and taking no prisoners. It was the Bicentennial Fourth Of July, a fact trumpeted by these feisty young American invaders from Queens, New York. Bloody hell.

The Ramones nailed ev’ryone to the wall.

Johnny’s chainsaw guitar, legs apart, moptop flying. Dee Dee’s barked exhortations of “1,2,3,4!” Tommy attacking the drums like the bloke from Black Sabbath on Lemmy-quality speed.

And in the middle at the front at the mic stand stands the human stick insect Joey Ramone, a mess of hippy hair at British punkdom’s Damascus, the hand holding the mic drowned by this scraggly waterfall of Woodstock visual, the face virtually absent, this humanoid freak looking like a geek and singing like Adonis.

Make no mistake, Joey was a romantic.

The Ramones sound, it was like a stripped-down Phil Spector record, speeded up and the sweetening gone and the naked engine snarling, heavenly choir transformed into gutter-gaunt revving roadster, this little monster hot-rod racing, rockin’ tough and hard. Hoodlum music with a smile, delinquent teen vignettes like Teenage Lobotomy and Beat On The Brat and Cretin Hop and Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment. Gene Vincent, the punk from Norfolk, Virginia who’d scored with Be Bop A Lula twenty years earlier, even Gene Vincent couldn’t have said it better. Really, the titles say it all, fast and funny and to the point. I Wanna Be Sedated. Sheena Is A Punk Rocker. Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue. Classics…

And on top of this full-speed full-tilt amped-up electric mayhem there’s this voice of pop that when Phil Spector finally got to produce the Ramones – ‘cos he did and even if it was mad and even if it was crazy which of course it was because that’s just the way it is sometimes with ol’ Uncle Phil, well it was fated and that’s it. Anyways… down the line Phil gets to produce the Ramones and he takes this Joey voice, this perfect pop voice for today people and he melds it to Baby, I Love You and God forgive me but it’s as good as Ronnie Spector’s immaculate vocal on the Phil Spector-produced original by The Ronettes. But while Mrs. Spector had sang it with wet-lipped joy and celebration, in Joey’s reading it was as if he was pleading his love. It was beautiful.

Last time I saw Joey sing was with Ronnie Spector. Ronnie sang Don’t Worry Baby and then they did a song written by one of Joey’s peers, Johnny Thunders, a song Joey had produced for Ronnie Spector’s new EP, Johnny’s song You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory…

There on St. Mark’s Place we nodded greetings at each other.

Joey had always been one of those characters who you weren’t really sure if they actually remembered you or not, he seemed so gently affable but kinda out there at the same time.

The Boomtown Rats did a tour, their first tour of England proper, supporting Talking Heads and the headliners the Ramones, in 1977. Joey was the same then, Mr. Vagueout dreamin’ his dreams, charismatically freakish on stage and genuinely sweet to the ever-awed fans who crowded into the dressing-rooms after ev’ry show.

Then another BP charge with the unlikely name of Snips, a mate of Chris Spedding who’d sung with Ginger Baker, Snips landed the support on the latest Ramones tour. This is ’78. On the plane to Belfast I find myself sitting next to Johnny Ramone, Mike Clark Byrds hair framing a tight face. “How old are you?” I say idly (as one does…). Johnny thinks about this for a while, then ponders the question a bit more, then drifts into further cogitation. Finally, he takes in air and says, with great consideration, “Mid twenties”.

Dee Dee was another story altogether (see BP Moves Into Chelsea Hotel, Dee Dee Visits. Weird scenes from inside the goldmine vol. 69).

Anyways, when the plane gets to Belfast – this is the gig before the epochal Dublin gig at the State Cinema in Phibsboro – when the plane gets to Belfast all the Ramones, this cartoon rock’n’roll band of hair and leather jackets and ripped jeans, they scruff into a scruffy van and their manager Linda Stein, she swans into a flash limo. Ah, rock’n’roll high school…

After that Ronnie Spector gig here in New York at Life in the West Village a year and a bit ago, Arturo Vega the Ramones lighting guy from the year zero, he does all their graphics and stuff, he’s introducing me to Joey yet again,”Uh, you know BP Fallon?” “Yeah, you were on the tour we did with Snips,” Joey deadpans back drily, quick as a button and on the button too, memory sharp as an owl’s. “You used to wear a short green velvet robe, didn’t you?”

So on St Mark’s Place a few weeks back, we nod our greetings and amble on by.

I never thought I’d never see him again. God bless Joey Ramone. Gabba Gabba Hey!

– BP Fallon, East Village NYC April 15th 2001.


Local TV Coverage of the death of Joey Ramone on Easter Sunday 2001


Joey Ramone and fan at CBGB 2000 by & © BP Fallon


Ronnie Spector & Joey Ramone NYC 1999 by & © BP Fallon


Debbie Harry & Joey Ramone from Punk Magazine 1976


Just kids: Dee Dee & Joey via Phyllis Stein’s Facebook


Not kids anymore: Joey, Ronnie, Keith & Dee Dee

Joey Ramone May 19th 1951 – April 15th 2001
Dee Dee Ramone September 18th 1951 – June 5th 2002
Johnny Ramone October 8th 1948 – September 15th 2004
Tommy Ramone January 29th 1949 – July 11th 2014
God Bless Da Brudders x
and Arturo Vega October 13th 1947 – June 8th 2013
Linda Stein April 24th 1945 – October 30th 2007

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