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The thrill of the chase for Dylan

The idea that I might get to interview Bob Dylan definitely created some stress this past week. What kind of question do you ask somebody that everyone knows almost everything about?...

Photo with Wilco
From left to right: Sarah Alabsi, John Stirratt and Clara Hatcher pose for a picture after Wilco's set at Bayfront Festival Park (Budgeteer News)

The idea that I might get to interview Bob Dylan definitely created some stress this past week. What kind of question do you ask somebody that everyone knows almost everything about?

Idiotically, my first thought was to ask him something weird that he probably hadn't heard before, like what his favorite color is. Then I rethought that, not wanting to sound like I didn't know what I was doing.

I ended up deciding that, if I did get the chance, I would just blurt out whatever came to mind at that moment.

Trying to talk to Bob Dylan is like trying to get a hold of the president -- at least, that is what Christine Dean of KUMD told me. I found that to be very true.

When my editors assigned my fellow intern, Sarah Alabsi, and me the impossible task of interviewing Bob Dylan while he was in town, I did the first logical thing I could think of. I called my dad, Dr. John Hatcher (he made us call him Dr. Hatcher for a week after he got his Ph.D. in journalism from Syracuse University).

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The way I see it, journalists know everybody. Honestly, everybody. Due to all of the articles we have to write, we gain a lot of sources and friends that will have connections to somebody somewhere somehow, so I figured that my dad may know someone who had a connection to Dylan.

After he gave me a name, Christine Dean, I called her up at KUMD hoping that she had some kind of friend who knew a relative of Dylan, or maybe even Dylan himself. I really should have toned down the optimism.

When Dean didn't know anything I went on to call Dylan's childhood friend (my boss' boss, Robin Washington, got me the number -- connections, am I right?) who lives in Los Angeles. Then I tried calling a cousin of his who still lives in Duluth.

When neither of them picked up the 20 times I tried calling, I resorted to asking my Jewish friend, Sam Rosenzweig, if he knew Dylan's cousin because it seems like every Jewish person in Duluth knows each other.

I kept putting it out there via Twitter and Facebook friends that I was looking to talk to Bob Dylan and if anyone knows him, or someone who knows him, to give me a call. When I received a tip that he was staying at the Radisson

I was feeling pretty confident that I might actually be able to talk to him -- if I knocked on every door in the hotel.

The night of Dylan's Bayfront Park concert I was feeling pretty desperate and thinking things like, maybe I could jump on stage and start singing Mr. Tambourine Man until he agreed to talk to me. Don't worry, I didn't do that. Instead, I talked to a security guard who informed me that Dylan would probably leave the hotel right before he went on stage, and then would leave for Saint Paul the second he finished.

Talk about a small window of opportunity.

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Sarah and I impatiently stood watching the opening bands, trying to think of something to try when our editors, Robin Washington and Naomi Yaeger, told us that he was confirmed to be at the Radisson at that moment and we had to run over there and catch him before he left to get on stage.

We sprinted to the Radisson, discovering how out of shape we were along the way, and each stood in front of an elevator trying to somehow will him to come down to the lobby because we were there and so close to our goal.

That's when Robin came sprinting in telling us to go wait by the black Mercedes van, obviously there to bring a famous rockstar over to Bayfront. When we ran out, the van was gone. Dylan must have passed us at some point. We had been so close.

The disappointment hit hardest when we walked back to Bayfront and saw him walk on stage ten minutes later.

Here's to hoping that he will read this and give me a call.

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