Joe's Dylan Stories


During the recording of "Little Love Letters", I had the honor of singing and playing drums with Carlene and Dylan on a track called "Trust Yourself". click here to hear mp3 of "Trust Yourself"

The track never made it to "Little Love Letters", but was released years later on Carlene's "Hindsight 20/20" and then on Dylan's "May your song always be sung"

"Trust Yourself" was originally released only in Germany by Giant Records on Carlene Carter's CD single, "Sweet Meant To Be". The CD contains 3 songs from her album "Little Love Letters" and a 4th song,"Trust Yourself" which does not appear on the album. The song was written by Bob Dylan. Carlene Carter does the lead vocals. Dwight Yokam, Howie Epstein, Joe Romersa, Kevin Welch, and Bob Dylan are on backup vocals.

Dylan 2

Howie Epstein (bass player for Tom Petty and producer for Carlene) and I were the rhythm section for Dylan's 'guitar player auditions' held up at his house in Malibu in '91.

My first meeting with Dylan was unforgettable. We were in the middle of recording with Carlene when Dylan walks into the studio. Ofcourse the recording stops and everyone moves out to the livingroom. Dylan was the last one to leave the room. I was sitting behind the mixing board, he stopped, looked at me and said the following, I remember every word. It went like this....

D - What do you do?

J - I sit back here, and make sure nobody screws anything up.

D - Eh. You look like a cowboy.

J - I'm a Soy Cowboy.

D - Eh. You ever ride a horse?

J - yeah.

D - You ever ride bare back?

J - No.

D - You ever fight a bull?

J - My ex-wife.

D - eh. You ever ride a bull?

J - No.

D - Well, you look like a cowboy.

...and then he walked out of the room to join Howie and Carlene in the livingroom. I stayed in the studio for a while and thought about what had just happened. The conversation I had with him was in itself a song. It started with the chorus, went through a verse and ended with the chorus "You look like a cowboy". It was perfect!

Just thought I'd share that special moment with you.

  Another one of my experiences with him was when he came by the studio to tell us his Elvis Sighting.  

One day Howie, Carlene and I were in the middle of a session for Carlene up at Howies studio, when Dylan comes walking in looking like he'd seen a ghost. With a real strange look on his face said "I gotta tell you guys something that happened to me." We stopped what we were doing to listen to Dylans story.

He said,"I don't know if you guys are gonna believe me or not, but it's true".

He said he was on a small tour I forgot where he said exactly, somewhere in the mid-west I think. Anyway, he was on the tour bus traveling through beautiful country side when the bus pulled up to a little diner next to a lake. The bus stopped and Dylan got out and walked over to an area with a view of the lake. He was enjoying the tranquility and beauty of the lake and trees enjoying the fact that no one was around to bug him.

After a few minutes of this, he could see a man with a cooks apron walking towards him from the diner. Dylan thought, "oh great, this guy knows who I am and is going to start talking to me, and I wasn't really in the mood to answer a bunch of stupid questions, and break this perfect moment with nature".

The guy said,"You're Bob Dylan aren't you? You played last night a few miles away didn't you?" Dylan said, "yes", wishing this guy would just go away. The guy said he was learning to play guitar and wanted to make a living singing and playing songs, and said a few other things, but Dylan wasn't really listening, he just wanted him to leave him alone. Then the guy said he was the cook at the diner and asked Dylan if he wanted a coffee. Dylan said yes just to make this guy go away for a while.

When the guy came back with the coffee, he started talking again about the music business, but this time Dylan noticed he was sounding more like someone who has been in the business for a long time, saying things like,"There's nothing new anymore! All the music has been mined already!", and other things that were so deep only someone like Dylan could relate to.

By this time Dylan was starting to pay attention to this 19 maybe 20 year old guy prophesizing about the future and past of music. Just then noticed when this guy turned his head, he had the perfect profile of a young Elvis. By this time Dylan was awstruck with the vision and words coming from what appeared to be a young Elvis.

Dylan listened to this guy speak for a while, and then rapped up the conversation, and the guy went back to the diner.

Not sure of what he just experienced, was it really the spirit of Elvis? Did he just have a conversation with a ghost?

Excited and a little confussed, Dylan went back to the bus which was parked just a few yards away. Dylan asked the bus driver if he saw the cook talking with him. The driver said, "No. I didn't see him". Dylan said, "Yeah, this guy looks just like Elvis. He's the cook at that diner there. Let's go in! You gotta see this guy!".

Dylan and the bus driver walked over to the diner, sat down at a table and asked to see the cook. A large man came to the table and said, "I'm the cook. Did you guys want to talk to me?". Dylan said, "No, I wanted to talk to the other cook that works here!". The large man said, "I'm the only cook here!".

That's the story.

I've told that story to many people, but I love my daughters view of it. I asked my daughter, Reyna, what she thought. Did she think Dylan really taked to the ghost of Elvis? Did she think Dylan made up the story? Her response was one I had not thought of. She said, "I think the bus driver was in on it!".

Well, what do you think? e-mail me


My only other experiences were at his house in Malibu playing drums. Dylan was auditioning guitarists for a tour and asked Howie to play bass and to bring a drummer. I was Howie's choice!

Elvis Story