September 13th 1978 was quite an important day for me. I was up at 5am. Showered and got a ride to a private part of Los Angeles International Airport. At 7:30am I finally found the Intertek Aviation private lounge. I went in and there were a few member of Bob’s band. I had never met them before, but, I did recognise them because I had now photographed them a few times. I quietly sat down and kind of nodded at anyone who made eye contact with me. I don’t recall speaking to anyone at all. The lounge started to fill up with all band members and lots of people that I didn’t know at all. After about 45 mins an old red car pulled up outside. I can’t remember what it was and more importantly, all American cars looked pretty much the same to me at that point. Then out of this oldish basic looking car jumped Bob Dylan. He had driven himself there. Someone took his car keys and he grabbed a small holdall from the passenger seat and he walked straight into the lounge. Then Road Manager, Mike Crowley said “OK, lets go”. Everyone grabbed their hand luggage and we all boarded the airplane. I went up the steps and found myself a seat on one of the armchairs. It was a real Rock n Roll jet. Beds, lounges, couches etc.. For its day, it was very luxurious. So, there I sat on my own as the doors shut and we started to taxi off and away ready for our flight. We were actually heading right over to the other side of the US. Our first destination was Augusta, Maine. It wasn’t long before we were airborne and on our way. After about half an hour, we had levelled out at our flying altitude and someone wandered around with a tray asking me if there was anything that I wanted. I glanced at the tray and declined. I couldn’t see any chocolate biscuits so they could keep all of the strange looking things on that tray! There were two members of the band sitting across the plane from me playing BackGammon. They were the whole width of the plane away from me. So, we hadn’t spoken at all up until this moment. One of the guys looked over and said “are you Danny the photographer” I said “Yes, I am” he said “come on over and sit with us” So, over I went and sat with them. I was watching their game, but, I didn’t have a clue how BackGammon is played and still don’t. I asked one of the band member’s his name and he was Jerry Scheff. I asked him how long he had been with Bob and he said about a year. I then said who were you with before Bob? He just said “11 years with Elvis” I nearly choked on my whatever I was chewing.. I then said to the other guy (Steve Douglas) and you? He said, “Elvis too”. This was amazing. I was thrilled. Anyway, as time went on, I took some photos on the plane. After a couple of hours, Bob sent someone down the plane and said, “Bob wants a word.” Up I got and went and sat with Bob for about an hour. I took some photos of him sitting on a couch. Bob, then took one of me standing up as I was holding a drink. Oh, and I also have hair! Well, I was only 20..
I had a lovely conversation with Bob on that first flight. We spoke about many bands I had worked with and he seemed rather interested in one band I had worked with quite a bit at the time, Dire Straits. That was a great flight and it was my first real conversation with the legend that is Bob Dylan.
I have posted a few stories leading up the the start of this Dylan tour 40 years ago. I will stop boring you all now and save the rest of the Dylan tour for my book. I can hear you all gently sighing with relief. Well, you can all now relax.
Here are a few photos from that first flight.. Including one of me, taken by Bob Dylan himself..