According to Bob Dylan’s former touring guitarist, there’s a specific signal the rock legend uses when he doesn’t want to be spoken to.
Billy Burnette toured with Dylan in 2003, accompanying the icon as he trekked through Australia and New Zealand. “It was a big thrill,” Burnette recalled of the experience during a recent conversation with Rolling Stone. “I remember at the first day of rehearsal, Dylan picks up his acoustic guitar. He goes, ‘This is my thing.’ I go, ‘You’re right about that.'”
Even though Burnette got along well with Dylan, he soon learned when the singer-songwriter was not to be approached – namely, when he put a hood over his head.
“When he wears the hood, you’re not supposed to talk to him,” Burnette explained. “I didn’t know that until one day we were in line to get on a plane at the airport. I tapped him on the shoulder. The drummer said, ‘No, no. He don’t talk to anyone when he’s got the hood on.’ I was like, ‘OK. I’m glad you told me.’”
The guitarist was also surprised that Dylan – one of the most famous musicians in the world – could seemingly disappear on a whim.
“He’s slippery,” Burnette noted. “He can walk in an airport … they lost him one day. They couldn’t find him anywhere. I’m in this little gift shop and I turn around, and there he is. He goes, ‘Hi, Billy.’ I was like, ‘How did you get in here?’ He moves around. It’s a weird thing.”
In addition to his stint with Dylan, Burnette enjoyed eight years as a member of Fleetwood Mac. The guitarist is currently prepping a new album featuring Mick Fleetwood on drums.
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