Jakob Dylan Has Been Born Again

Bob's Not The Only Dylan On Comeback Trail

Jakob Dylan and The Wallflowers
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Jakob Dylan and The Wallflowers

By Seth Rogovoy

Published December 05, 2012, issue of December 14, 2012.
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Jakob Dylan may have had his fate set in (rolling) stone when his father immortalized him in song when he was still a child. When Dylan, who turns 43 this December, was 5 years old, old man Bob rewrote the Friday night Sabbath blessing over the children, turning it into a folk hymn that became the all-purpose rock anthem “Forever Young,” with its biblical imagery not-so-cleverly disguising it as a gift to his youngest son (“May you build a ladder to the stars / And climb on every rung”).

Jakob would grow up to be the only one of the brood to follow in his father’s footsteps (older brother Jesse became a video director; older sister Maria married Peter Himmelman, a Minnesota-bred Jewish folk-rock singer songwriter just like dad; not much is known of the other Dylan siblings), making it all the way to the cover of “Rolling Stone” on the basis of his leadership of the rock band.

The Wallflowers (possibly named after an obscure Bob Dylan tune called “Wallflower”). The group enjoyed huge popularity and commercial success in the mid to late 1990s, outselling anything that Dylan pere ever did, before going on hiatus for much of the aughts. The Wallflowers have regrouped and are back out on the road this fall with a terrific new album, “Glad All Over,” their first in seven years. It boasts a revitalized sound and the group’s strongest lineup ever, with founding members Rami Jaffee on keyboards and Greg Richling on bass, recent addition Stuart Mathis on guitar and a new drummer in Jack Irons — a founding member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a former drummer for Pearl Jam,and a member of the Rock and Roll of Fame.

The album also pairs Dylan up with his longtime musical idol Mick Jones, from the iconic English punk-rock group the Clash. In interviews dating from the early 1990s, Dylan has consistently paid tribute to the Clash as a key influence. Jones was the only Jewish member of the Clash, and he lends a hand here on two tracks: the bright, poppy “Misfits and Lovers” and the very Clash-like “Reboot the Mission,” a musical remake of that group’s rock-rap classic, “The Magnificent Seven,” with Dylan stepping in for the late Joe Strummer. The lyrics, which serve as a kind of manifesto for the newly re-formed Wallflowers, name-check Strummer and note that Irons served a stint with him, thereby bringing it all back home.


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