5Q :: Iron Rangers want Bob Dylan to ‘come home’Though Duluth is listed as his hometown on Facebook, Bob Dylan rarely plays the Northland — and he hasn’t returned to Hibbing for a performance since his talents were rejected as a teenager. To make amends, a group of Iron Rangers has set up a campaign to “bring Bob home.”
Bob Dylan’s ties to the Northland have been well-documented, but a group of Iron Rangers want a new chapter to be written: The idea behind the “Come Home Bob” campaign is to have Duluth’s most famous native son play a gig near Hibbing, where he was raised and — as was so keenly retold in Toby Thompson’s “Positively Main Street” — where the living legend, then known as Robert Zimmerman, first felt the very-real pangs of rejection.
To learn more about this effort, the Budgeteer chatted with Cheyenne Denny, the Iron Range Tourism Bureau’s executive director:
Budgeteer: When and how did this campaign “get its legs”? Have you wanted to do this for awhile?
Denny: We originally came up with the concept late last summer. Knowing that Bob Dylan is known around the world, and since he moved to the Iron Range at a young age and spent his childhood here, we thought this campaign would be the perfect way to grab the attention of Dylan fans world-wide and invite him to come back home.
Aside from the annual Dylan Days celebration, how will you prove to Bob that his hometown is more welcoming these days?
We have set up a Web site, www.comehomebob.com, and we are asking all of his fans, and the people of the Iron Range, to join the movement by signing the petition to bring him home.
The Iron Range has changed since the days when Dylan was “booed” off stage and literally unplugged. The times have changed and so have the people of the Iron Range. In fact, Dylan fans can upload their own videos and photos to help convince Bob why he should come home.
Personally, when did you first fall in love with Bob? Do you remember which song or album hooked you?
I am a huge fan of Dylan, personally, but mainly because of his poetry and the fact that a man from the Iron Range is such a major success. I think my favorite song is “Must Be Santa,” which was released with his Christmas album (“Christmas in the Heart”). It’s such a lively song; it reminds me of the polka dances my grandmother brought me to as a child.
If Dylan did accept your invitation, what venue would you use for the show? Hibbing’s legendary high school auditorium, perhaps?
If Dylan accepts and agrees to do a concert on the Iron Range, it would have to be held at an outdoor venue. He has so many fans who would like to see him perform that any indoor venue would be too small. The people of the Iron Range are working so hard to bring him home for a concert that I’m confident we would find a suitable location.
Finally, have there been any talks about establishing a Bob Dylan museum up on the Iron Range? I was blown away by the Iron World exhibit, but I was a little surprised something permanent wasn’t put up.
The Hibbing Public Library has a permanent Bob Dylan exhibit which is open for tours year-round, and Zimmy’s, [a restaurant] located in downtown Hibbing, also has a ton of Dylan memorabilia and artifacts.
The Iron Range would welcome a Dylan museum or an expansion of what already has been developed.
NEWS TO USE
Sign the petition to “bring Bob home” at www.comehomebob.com, and follow the Rangers’ efforts to host a Bob Dylan concert near Hibbing at http://twitter.com/comehomebob and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Come-Home-Bob/207286653979.