Respected Australian actor and musician John Waters turns his attention to the works of folk hero Bob Dylan in his brand-new live show, 'Dylan Revisited'.
Much like Bob Dylan, John Waters requires no introduction. A mainstay of Australian music, film and television, John may be best known to people of a certain age from his nearly 20-year tenure on 'Play School'.
In 'Dylan Revisited', John gives his own interpretation to what many would consider some of the greatest songs ever written. “Bob Dylan would be one of the great influences on me, as he was for everyone of my generation,” John says.
“The truth is, yes, I am one of those people who really is quite attracted to the songwriting of Bob Dylan, and as a man I think he's extremely interesting but it's just a great catalogue of songs.”
Dylan's music gave voice to a generation, with his songs 'Blowin' In the Wind' and 'The Times They Are A-Changin'' becoming anthems for the Civil Rights and anti-war movements. “Dylan kind of shied away from being labelled 'the spokesperson of a generation' or a 'conscience of a generation', all that kind of stuff, and I understand why,” John says.
“I love the fact he never explained himself, he just said 'listen to the songs, don't ask me to interpret my own songs' and I get where he's coming from there. A lot of them are very straightforward – we do the song 'Hurricane', which is a straight-out political statement about a racist trial of a black boxer in America [Rubin Carter] who was found guilty of a murder he never committed.
“Songs like 'Hard Rain's Gonna Fall' and 'Mr Tambourine Man' have very abstract lyrics and I find rather than saying 'what's the meaning?' – I've never done any of that with Bob Dylan – I just listen to these songs and let the words wash over me, and I think that's the genius of songwriting, that the song will mean something different to everyone who listens to it.”
Over his career, Dylan has transitioned through several performance styles, most notably in his singing voice, which has drawn ire from both fans and critics. For John though, his focus isn't on emulating Dylan's vocals but to present his songwriting talents to a new era of Dylan converts.
“There's a particular thing about the way Bob Dylan sings lately his versions of his own songs, which he's decimated then put them back together again in a different way, people like that,” he says.
“My versions of the songs, I'm going to make people who don't really like Bob Dylan's singing think 'wow, that's a great song', so I hope to reintroduce the songs to people who are just ambivalent about Bob Dylan.
"I think that it's not too much to say I'm not planning to be able to sing these songs better than Bob Dylan, I'm just putting them in a voice that more people might be able to relate to.”
John Waters 'Dylan Revisited' 2019 Tour Dates
Sat 24 Aug - Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL (Sydney) Fri 30 Aug - Twin Towns (Gold Coast) Sun 1 Sep - The Tivoli Theatre (Brisbane) Wed 4 Sep - Canberra SC Club Fri 6 Sep - Wests New Lambton Sat 7 Sep - Panthers Penrith Fri 13 Sep - Hurstville Civic Theatre (Sydney) Sat 14 Sep - The Art House (Wyong) Sat 21 Sep - Norths Leagues (Sydney) Fri 4 Oct - Astor Theatre (Perth) Sat 12 Oct - WIN Entertainment Centre (Wollongong) Sun 13 Oct - Mittagong RSL Thu 24 Oct - C.ex (Coffs Harbour) Fri 25 Oct - Manning Entertainment Centre (Taree) Sat 2 Nov - Bathurst Panthers Fri 8 Nov - Riverside Theatre (Parramatta) Fri 15 Nov - The Juniors (Sydney) Sun 17 Nov - Ettalong Diggers (Central Coast) Fri 29 Nov - Brother’s Leagues Club (Cairns) Sat 30 Nov - The Ville (Townsville) Fri 6 Dec - Wrest Point Casino (Hobart) Sat 7 Dec - Country Club Tasmania (Launceston) Mon 9 Dec - Devonport Entertainment & Convention Centre