Bob Dylan is coming to St. Louis Park on Saturday—or at least his music is.
is returning to the for the fourth straight summer. The show is named after Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" album and was originally organized by Kevin Odegard, a Minneapolis based-musician who played guitar on that album.
Among others joining Odegard on stage for the free concert—which will also double as a Guitars for Vets benefit—will be St. Louis Park's own Dan Israel, who has released 11 albums in a 20-year career.
St. Louis Park Patch sat down with Israel before last year's show. Here is that interview:
St. Louis Park Patch: What was it like growing up in St. Louis Park and how did that influence you?
Dan Israel: It really gave me some inspiration because there were people from St. Louis Park who already had started having some success in music, politics, literature and journalism. When I was growing up, it wasn’t quite as apparent, but the Coen brothers were starting to come along … (And) I did know Peter Himmelman. I saw his band, Sussman Lawrence, at the when I was 12. If you want to pinpoint a moment where I thought, “Hey, there’s a guy from here who’s doing it—I want to do it,” that (was it).
St. Louis Park Patch: Do you think your childhood comes out in your music?
Israel: Yeah, I think so. There was a previous album where I actually wrote a song about the house I grew up in on Salem Avenue. I think a lot of people ask why St. Louis Park is this hotbed for creativity, and I think it’s just this common denominator of having childhoods where people were generally encouraged to be creative and got good educations.
St. Louis Park Patch: Tell me a little bit about the history of “Blood on the Tracks Live.”
Israel: They started doing this several years ago, before I got involved with it. A couple of the guys played on “Blood on the Tracks” when they recorded here in Minneapolis. (Kevin Odegard) started organizing this concert event a few years ago, and I actually went to see it at the Pantages Theater. I think I just said something to Kevin at the time like, “If you ever do this again, I’d love to be involved.” And then he asked me to get involved a couple years ago when it started at Wolfe Park.
St. Louis Park Patch: Is it something that you’d like to keep doing in St. Louis Park?
Israel: Yeah, it seems like a great tradition. It’s been jam-packed with people the last couple of years. It’s amazing, and it’s sort of like a big reunion because everyone seems to kind of come out of the woodwork. What’s not to like? It’s a free concert on a Saturday night in a nice little park in St. Louis Park.
St. Louis Park Patch: Does it mean more to you that you get to play in St. Louis Park, in your own backyard?
Israel: Yeah, for sure. My family comes out, and the last couple of years, I’ve just seen so many people I know there. It’s just been a really good time.
St. Louis Park Patch: How did you get into Dylan and how has he inspired you?
Israel: There was this concert when I was 14. I already knew of him and liked him, but I didn’t know a lot of the stuff. They had this concert at the Dome, and it was Dylan and Tom Petty and the Grateful Dead. And apparently, if you weren’t on the main floor, like I was, you couldn’t hear a thing. Somehow I lucked into those seats, and even though the Dead were terrible … and Bob was sub-par for (his standards), it was still my first Bob Dylan concert, and it got me more interested in hearing more of his stuff. Leaning toward being kind of a folksy singer-songwriter myself, I don’t know how you’re going to avoid stumbling onto Bob Dylan. He pretty much invented the genre. Over the years, I just got more and more into his stuff.
St. Louis Park Patch: Have you met Bob Dylan?
Israel: I don’t know if you can call it meeting him. I guess I did. One time, while I was living in Austin, Texas, a friend snuck me into Willie Nelson’s 60th birthday party. I couldn’t believe I got in there. I was standing behind the governor of Texas walking in. And I get in there, and I walk by and there’s Lyle Lovett. There’s Paul Simon. I waved to Paul Simon. People think I’m making this story up when I tell them, because it doesn’t even seem believable … So Bob Dylan was there, and I had one of my demo tapes with me. Bob’s like six feet away and I walk right by him and I said, “Bob, hey, I wanted to give you this,” and I hand it to him. It goes into Bob’s hand and his bodyguard plucks it out of Bob’s hand and hands it back to me and says, “You keep that.” But (Dylan) said, “Oh, thanks,” or something.
St. Louis Park Patch: Is there any chance of getting Dylan to come to Wolfe Park one of these years?
Israel: Bob will never show up at Wolfe Park. I really doubt it. I mean, I was at the Cabooze once … and there was some rumor he would show up. Every once and a while you’ll hear that Bob is around. And he is here all the time—his farm is out west of town … (But) he’s a mystery. He doesn’t go out.
IF YOU GO
- What: "Blood on the Tracks Live"
- When: Saturday, July 28, 6:30 p.m.
- Where: at Wolfe Park (3700 Monterey Dr.)
- Price: Free, though donations of cash or used guitars to Guitars for Vets will be accepted