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Weberman, A.J.

In the late sixties and early seventies was the self-proclaimed world's leading Dylanologist who, after three years of self-publicity, finally met Dylan in 1971.

Clinton Heylin:"Bob Dylan: Behind The Shades, a Biography"

He became known for his new "science" called garbology, in which he went through the subject's trash in order to gather scraps of evidence to support his theories. Thinks that on the Highway 61 Interactive CD-ROM , Bob Dylan "has two messages to me on the disk".

Weberman rummaging through Dylan's garbage

"One night I went over D's garbage just for old time's sake and in an
envelope separate from the rest of the trash there were five
toothbrushes of various sizes and an unused tube of toothpaste wrapped
in a plastic bag. 'Tooth' means 'electric guitar' in D's

"Dylan's Garbage's Greatest Hits," in Twenty Minute Fandangos and
Forever Changes, edited by Jonathan Eisen (Random House, 1971), p.

Date:    Sat, 27 Apr 1996 09:57:12 -0400
From:    Seth Rogovoy (rogovoy@BERKSHIRE.NET)
Subject: Re: The AJ Way

The Universal Standard Dictionary defines Weberman thusly:

Web-er-man (n): 1. a lowlife, lowest of the low 2. a scavenger or garbage
picker 3. an offensive person who simply must always be where one does
not belong [from A.J. Weberman, self-styled "garbologist" -- one who makes
a study of human refuse in an attempt to divine ill-begotten truths --
who "analyzed" castoffs of celebrities including Henry Kissinger and
Robert Allen Zimmerman ("Bob Dylan") in an attempt to "expose" their
secrets] christine brehm):
I came across a strange LP titled "Robert Zimmerman vs. AJ Weberman" a few years ago in a used music store. I bought it and discovered it was a recorded phone conversation between Dylan and Weberman (a Dylanologist). Dylan was unaware that it was recorded until mid-way through. Has anyone ever heard of this? Does anyone know anything about it-when it was recorded, why? Please let me know-it's truly bizarre! Also, what ever became of this Weberman person? (JfryBlair):
The conversations were recorded in January, 1971, in the weeks following a demonstration outside Bob's NYC apartment organized by Weberman. Weberman was a misguided 60's radical who felt (correctly enough) that by the early 70's, rock music had ceased to be a force for radical political upheaval in the U.S. and had been co-opted by the establishment. He founded an organization called the Rock Liberation Front trying to get artists re-radicalized. Interestingly enough, John Lennon was briefly affiliated with the group in his ultra-left-wing New York period (He once wrote in an open letter to McCartney in Rolling Stone "Join the RLF before it comes for you!!") Embarassingly enough to those of us who try to bring some honor to the term these days, A.J. seems to have coined the term "Dylanology." But he is also known as the pioneer (?) of what he called "garbology" (alluded to on the tape in question), or the "science" of finding stuff out about someone by DIGGING THROUGH THEIR TRASH. Bob and Sara took to putting doggy doo in the trash cans, but nothing would stop ol' A.J.

These conversations are indeed incredibly fascinating. If anyone has a transscript (they were published in underground newspapers at the time) they should post it here, but like any of Bob's songs, they must be *heard* to be truly understood. The way he reacts to one of A.J.'s misquotes with a tired and agonized "Nooooo, maaaaan......." belongs as a post on the "Greatest Phrasings" thread!!
In my humble and I hope discussion-provoking opinion, Weberman's efforts, though ridiculous and offensive, did indeed have an effect on Bobby. Later that year (a very reclusive one for him) he played the politically-oriented Concert for Bangladesh in New York, and there made a very concerted (pardon the pun) effort to "return" to his 60's style, appearance and material.

If you found the LP several years ago, Paula, it probably means you have the original "official" pressing on Folkways? A rare find! It is also available as a bootleg LP, which I own.

Weberman is still a writer. I own a recently reissued copy of his Kennedy- assasination-conspiracy tome "Coup D'Etat in America" , which comes complete with transparency overlays so you can compare the "mystery tramps" from the boxcar behind the grassy knoll with certain CIA personnel such as Watergate creeps E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis! Old radicals never die, they just get more and more disturbed...... :-)


Date:    Fri, 10 Nov 1995 15:11:19 -0500
From:    Daniel Michael (dqm7726@IS2.NYU.EDU)
Subject: Weberman and Phil

in response to the "where the hell is the weberman" question, he's still
kickin, just did an article that's in the latest issue of "on the tracks"
where he talks about bob's cd-rom, but the guys so out there only 1/4 of
the article is actually about the cd-rom, he just talk about it to
segueway into his method of dylanology and about how bob said if
weberman held a birthday pary with his students for him, he would never
talk to him, which he did, and now he's beggin for forgiveness. also, he
was sayin how bob hated him exposing certain things about him then a
couple lines down he mentions how dylan used to funnel money to israel,
and he wonders why bob doesnt talk to him. and of course, weberman still
thinks practically every song dylan writes is secretly directed toward
him.  but, i mean for all weberman did, he has to be admired for some of it.
i agree with the intro to the article that says "even if you do not agree
with everything weberman does or thinks, one must concede he is a man of
unique thought.  he invented the "dylanological method" of lyric
analysis, and he realized the need for a bob dylan lyric
concordance...his gift is to stay focused on analyzing a subject until he
feels he's turned it inside out."  maybe a bit off-center, but an
indispensible asset to dylanology.  also, i think that weberman phone
conversation with dylan is the best boot i got, he knew where to poke
bobby and didnt hesitate. like tellin dylan his new music (nashville
skyline) is him just turning to the escapist music industry of the
thirties "because people dying is really a good thing and the last thing
you wanna do is speak out against it." and then there's just some
hilarious bits:
dylan: "you're a pig man"
weberman:"i'm a pig? you're the fuckin pig man, i fight!!"
dylan:"yeah, you fight to go through my garbage."
that cracks me up

in other news, just thought i'd come to phil long's defense. i dont know
him well or anything, all i know is that i traded with him a little while
ago and everything was fine. of course, i dont know what he's up to now,
i'm just sayin that there was no scamming involved when he traded with
me, just give him some time before we pull out the torches and chase him
though the village streets.
see you later, allen ginsberg,

Dylan fights Weberman

From "Tangled up in Bob", Rolling Stone article by Marc Jacobson

As students of primeval D-ology know, A.J., who quit college
in 1968 to create the first computer-generated Dylan Word
Concordance, is most famous for going through Bob's garbage.
This "garbology" action was part of a full-scale assault
launched by the Dylan Liberation Front, a bunch of Yippie
pot smokers who thought Dylan, the most angel-headed head of
the generation, had fallen prey to a Manchurian
Candidate-style government plot to hook him to
sensibility-deadening hard dope. These findings were based
on A.J.'s highly idiosyncratic interpretations of "Dylan's
secret language," a code that, once cracked, revealed words
like "rain" and "chicken" (as in "the sun is not yellow --
it's chicken!") to actually mean "heroin." It was Dylan's
addiction that led the poet to make sappy records like
Nashville Skyline and New Morning when his great gift could
have been better used speaking out against Vietnam, A.J.
contended. "Dylan's brain belongs to the People, not the
Pigs!" was among the fervent cries back in 1970, as A.J. led
the forty or so smelly hippies in his Dylanology class to
Bob's home at 94 MacDougal Street, where they screamed for
Dylan to "crawl out yer window" and answer charges that he
had been co-opted. After an unsolicited DLF-inspired block
party for Dylan's thirtieth birthday, which resulted in the
NYPD shutting down Bleecker Street, and a long series of
hectoring phone calls (the tapes were compiled on a Folkways
Records release entitled Bob Dylan vs. A.J. Weberman, now a
major Bob collectible), Dylan struck back.

Three decades later, A.J., now fifty-five, his once-wild
mane receded to silver fringe (but still talking very fast),
recalls the incident, one of the more colorful in the often
drearily hagiographic Dylanological chronicles: "I'd agreed
not to hassle Dylan anymore, but I was a publicity-hungry
motherfucker. . . . I went to MacDougal Street, and Dylan's
wife comes out and starts screaming about me going through
the garbage. Dylan said if I ever fucked with his wife, he'd
beat the shit out of me. A couple of days later, I'm on
Elizabeth Street and someone jumps me, starts punching me.

"I turn around and it's like -- Dylan. I'm thinking, 'Can
you believe this? I'm getting the crap beat out of me by Bob
Dylan!' I said, 'Hey, man, how you doin'?' But he keeps
knocking my head against the sidewalk. He's little, but he's
strong. He works out. I wouldn't fight back, you know,
because I knew I was wrong. He gets up, rips off my 'Free
Bob Dylan' button and walks away. Never says a word.

"The Bowery bums were coming over, asking, 'How much he
get?' Like I got rolled. . . . I guess you got to hand it to
Dylan, coming over himself, not sending some fucking lawyer.
That was the last time I ever saw him, except once with one
of his kids, maybe Jakob, and he said, 'A.J. is so ashamed
of his Jewishness, he got a nose job,' which was true -- at
least in the fact that I got a nose job. . . ."

Dylan vs Weberman at

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