bob neuwirth

Bob Neuwirth is a folk/rock musician who was a major player in the 60's folk scenes in New York City and Boston. He's a longtime companion of Bob Dylan: they used to hang out in Greenwich Village together, and Bob was part of the Rolling Thunder Revue.

Clinton Heylin, in From the Velvets to the Voidoids, writes about Patti's first encounter with Bob Neuwirth in late summer of 1969:

It was professional friend-of-the-famous Bobby Neuwirth who was Smith's next mentor. They met in the lobby of the Chelsea—inevitably. Neuwirth asked her where she had learnt to walk the way she did. She admitted it had been from watching Don Pennebaker's cinéma-vérité study of Dylan's 1965 UK tour, Don't Look Back. Neuwirth, Dylan's regular sidekick in those days, cracked up>
PATTI SMITH: He said, 'Come here, what do you have in that notebook?' I said, 'Nothing,' and I was really acting tough but I was instantly and totally in love...Bobby looked in my book and asked me who wrote that stuff and I told him I did...I think he immediately recognized something in me that I didn't even recognize in myself, and he took me under his wing.

I was writing a lot of poetry then, a real rhythmic kind of poetry...He really loved the poetry. To me he was a real hot shit. Don't Look Back and all that...I thought he was the classiest, sexiest guy. It was 1970 and the guy had dark glasses...Bobby started me out...tried to inspire me with the poetry. He built up my confidence. Treated me like a prodigy. He'd say, 'Don't treat Patti Lee like a groupie, she's a poet.' I never got laid because people don't think that poets fuck. He taught me how to drink tequila, too. I got in my rock & roll period then 'cause I was hanging around his friends.

Bob Neuwirth has continued to be active in the folk/rock scene. He was at one time in a band called Guam with T Bone Burnett, David Mansfield, Steve Soles, and Roger McGuinn. His more recent albums include Back to the Front (Gold Castle Records, 1988), Look Up (Watermelon Records, 1996), and (with John Cale) Last Day on Earth (Watermelon Records, 1996?). Look Up includes a track with Patti Smith: the song "Just Like You" was co-written by Patti, and she sings the vocals for it. (See "Appearances" section on discography page for more details.) Neuwirth has collaborated with numerous other people including Janis Joplin ("Mercedes Benz"), Gary Lucas (new album?), Dan Zanes (Cool Down Time), Tom Russell (Hurricane Season), T Bone Burnett (My Own Hat), and Peter Case (Six Pack of Love). He often appears live, especially in folk concerts and festivals, and appeared with Patti at the 3/26/96 concert at the Roxy in Los Angeles (see review).

Some links:

a poem Patti wrote for Neuwirth

Lou Reed site's page on Bob Neuwirth and John Cale album, Last Day on Earth — includes interview with Neuwirth

notes on Dylan film Renaldo and Clara w/ multiple Neuwirth appearances

entry on Neuwirth in Bob Dylan Who's Who

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