Simi's Mickey Jones drums up memories on Dylan documentary

September 22, 2005

Mickey Jones always can say that it was Bob Dylan who wanted to see him at the Whisky A Go-Go. He also can lay claim to being in Dylan's band the night a British crowd booed the singer for going electric, prompting Dylan to whip around and demand that Jones "play ------- loud."

Jones, a longtime Simi Valley resident and veteran character actor, played drums on Dylan's historic and controversial 1966 world tour. A DVD featuring home movies Jones took of that tour came out last year, and now Jones will be part Martin Scorsese's Dylan documentary airing Monday and Tuesday on PBS.

"This is probably going to be the most definitive piece about Bob ever done," Jones said Monday in between a movie shoot in North Carolina and promotional work in New York for "No Direction Home: Bob Dylan."

Jones was drumming for Johnny Rivers one night at the Whisky in early 1965 when Dylan motioned him to his table, told him he loved the way he played and wanted to record with him.

By 1966, Jones was playing with Dylan for $750 a week. The tour didn't go well; this was the infamous one in which Dylan went electric, offending lots of folk fans. "We got booed everywhere we went," Jones said.

But it didn't deter Dylan; Jones recalled that he was like a "caged animal" in the dressing rooms, anxious to get onstage with his new sound, which led to the famous "play loud" moment. The tour was cut short in August 1966 when Dylan was badly hurt in a motorcycle accident.

Jones, 64, found Dylan to be a "real quiet and very soft-spoken" professional. To most people, Jones noted, "Bob is more of a myth than a person. ... He's almost too good to be true."

Jones said Scorsese's documentary will clear up things about Dylan and might even transform fans. "They are starved for anything Bob, and they don't get much Bob," he said, alluding to Dylan's reclusive nature.

-- Brett Johnson