Author Friedman: Bob Dylan a Role Model of Longevity

Saturday, 11 Aug 2012 10:45 PM

By Dan Weil and John Bachman

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Rock legend Bob Dylan distinguished himself through his music, but the biggest lesson he teaches us about life is “longevity,” says Jon Friedman, MarketWatch’s media columnist.

The journalist, a Newsmax Insider, is author of a new book “Forget About Today: Bob Dylan’s Genius for (Re)invention, Shunning the Naysayers and Creating a Personal Revolution.”

As for the longevity, “Dylan’s been around for 50 years. Think about it. . . . I want a 50-year career,” Friedman told Newmax.TV. “And he’s still going strong, new album [Tempest] coming out soon and tours all the time. The man never stops working. He’s a real role model in the sense that he always reinvents himself too.”

Watch our exclusive interview. Story continues below.

Dylan is a lesson in keeping himself relevant, Friedman says. “Bob Dylan has shown us through his example how to . . . keep people engaged, how to stay ahead of the pack, and think for yourself,” the author maintains.

“These are qualities that [would help] any entrepreneur, CEO, journalist, anybody. Speaking for yourself, not sticking with a pack, always trying to innovate, always trying to be different, always trying to expand your audience, trying to expand your reach, trying to break new ground all the time — these are good qualities.”

So how has Dylan been able to thrive for half a century, while rock stars Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin both essentially killed themselves before the age of 28?

“Dylan’s a survivor,” Friedman says. “He’s a careerist in the best sense of the word. He wanted to have a long career. From the moment he came to Greenwich Village in 1961, Dylan had in mind the kind of career, a 50-year career. And he’s still going strong.”

The motivation behind Dylan’s work is work itself, Friedman says. “He loves the work. He loves to play music. He loves to play in front of people. He likes recording.

"This man loves to perform.”

Dylan’s creativity comes through in concert when he plays the same song differently each time. “He finds this fascinating, because he has a chance to innovate within the same songs,” Friedman says. “These songs are not to him old hat. These songs are chances for him to innovate and break new ground.”

The author offers high praise for the “Tempest” album “It’s a great album,” Friedman says. “It’s going to be groundbreaking in the sense that Dylan is, again, breaking new ground. . . . I don’t want to spoil it for your audience, but they’re going to like this album a lot.”

Dylan’s voice is impressive on the album, Friedman says. “There’s always been a question about his voice because it’s so rough in concert. But his voice sounds good. The songs are great. . . . It’s a fascinating experience.”

The album demonstrates Dylan’s continuing quest to create. “Dylan never stops innovating as a musician, as a cultural figure,” Friedman says. “He never wants to stand still. . . . New direction, new music, new style, new vocals, new bands. And the man wants to keep you interested as an audience member, as a fan. He wants you to be engaged too.”

And "Tempest" is unlikely to be the iconic musician’s last album, Friedman says. “Dylan will keep working until he drops and he’s not dropping for a long time, let’s hope.”

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