Tell us about DYLANesque. What inspired you to write this show?
Well, it’s full name is DYLANesque – the Bob Dylan Story, so that’s a bit of a give away really. It’s a narrated concert, which takes the audience on a journey through Dylan’s life, over 2-hours, weaving the stories of his life around key Dylan songs, from when he was first starting out as a 19 yr old busking in New York City, first getting signed by Columbia Records, to who he was seeing, what was going on in the world at the time – we incorporate all the events that shaped him and his music.
I guess it all came about because often after a gig with my band The Dukes of Despair, people would come up to me afterwards and say how much I sounded like Dylan. I wasn’t sure how to take that at first, as Dylan’s voice isn’t to everyone’s liking – but they liked the fact that my voice has that DYLANesque timbre going on.
And I’ve been scuffling away in bands for years, been an actor, singer, writer since I was a teenager, so I drew on all that experience, read everything I could get my hands on about the man (I have a skyscraper of Dylan books by my bed) and just started to pull together ideas and narrative for what I knew would be a really interesting show. The more I read about Dylan the more I saw how perfect he is as the subject of a rock n roll show, as he has a huge and fiercely loyal fanbase, yet his music has polarized people for years, and ultimately he’s written a prolific amount of music which has evolved as he’s grown as an artist over the years.
What is your favourite Dylan song? Why?
Oh man I dread this question. People come up to me after every show and ask me this – but look when you’re talking about a man who has one of the greatest catalogues ever written, of over 460 songs, where do you begin? As soon as I pick one I then immediately correct myself. It depends on my mood too. And each song is so complex, and individual; his songs are like children, you couldn’t pick a favourite. At the end of the day, it’s just a real honour and privilege to be playing his songs.
How would you describe Dylan’s sound in food form and why?
I love this question – Dylan’s ‘sound’ is like an Italian Mama’s pasta speciality; it gets handed down from generation to generation and tweaked a little each time. Dylan himself took those old traditional folk songs as his inspiration and created a whole new genre of folk, and since then artists all around the world have done the same with his songs. We’re all continuing the hand me down tradition.
Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.
I’ll get shot for telling you this, but my partner Helen is 13 years younger than me and grew up in the UK and when she first heard me strumming Knocking on Heaven’s Door she called downstairs ‘I thought this was a Dylan show, why are you playing an Eric Clapton song?’ And that’s one of the things the guys in the band love most – that SO many of Dylan’s songs were actually made famous by other bands and famous singers, that we get people being really surprised when we play It Ain’t Me Babe, that it isn’t in fact a Johnny Cash song and that All Along the Watchtower isn’t by Jimi Hendrix, it’s by Bob.
How do you feel about the upcoming shows?
We’re really excited to be playing a return show this Saturday night at Wheeler’s Hill’s Satellite Lounge. Playing on a stage that has such a huge rock n roll history is humbling – and we’re old enough to remember awesome pubs like the Wheeler’s Hill Hotel where you’d go on a Friday night to hear the likes of Rose Tattoo or The Angels. Caravan Music Club is another venue we’re excited to be playing in April, as well as Castlemaine Old Gaol, and then we’re playing regional gigs like Sale’s Performing Arts Centre, as well as inner city venues like Thornbury Theatre. We’re excited, it’s great to have so many shows booked in and to see the immense enjoyment people are getting from the show.
What’s your scene?
Put me in a beer garden with a rockin band, some good food, an ice cold something in my hand, with my friends and family around me and I’ll have a grin on my face like a pig in poo.
A 2-hour show celebrating the life, times and music of the legendary Bob Dylan.
“Folk Singer, Rebel, Beat Poet, Rock Star”
Jeff Jenkins, lead singer, opens the show with a tale from 1961, when a young 19 yr old hitch-hiked his way from Duluth Minnesota to New York City with a guitar and $10 in his pocket – and went on to become one of the world’s most successful songwriters of all time.
Starting from his humble beginnings busking in cafes, ‘DYLANesque – The Bob Dylan Story’ is a 2-hour narrated rock show that leads you through the songs and events that shaped Dylan; his relationships and breakups, religious conversions, the dramatic scenes when Bob ‘went electric’ at Newport Folk Festival in 1965, how he went from playing solo to playing with The Band, through all his incarnations including the much loved Travelling Wilbury’s. This Bob Dylan tribute is a theatre piece that takes you on a moving and powerful musical journey.
Jenkins performs with an electrifying 4 piece band giving incredible performances of ‘Blowin in the Wind’, ‘Lay Lady Lay’, ‘Tangled up in Blue’, ‘Rolling Stone’, ‘Hurricane’, ‘All Along the Watchtower’ and many more – this is a show not to be missed!
“Jeff sounds eerily like Dylan, he’s great but eerily similar!” – Lindy burns, ABC774 Radio Host
“I saw Bob Dylan in concert but I prefer the DYLANesque version” – Phil Kafcaloudes, ABC radio
“Fantastic…and that’s from someone who knows the words – and intonations – of every single Dylan song!” – Jill Fraser, TV Producer