The Bob Dylan vs. AJ Weberman Collection gathers rare books, magazines, flyers, letters and ephemera from the career of A.J. Weberman, the world’s first and foremost “Dylanologist,” who printed and distributed the first bootleg of Bob Dylan’s experimental novel “Tarantula,” before it was published in 1971; both editions included in the materials below.
A.J. Weberman, a wire-headed Yippie stoner, self-described “underground cat and garbologist,” became obsessed with and terrorized Bob Dylan in the late 1960s, when he attempted to decode the Nobel Prize winning musician’s lyrics with a crude “hemeneutical” approach he termed “Dylanology.” Weberman advanced a “Current Bag” (C.B.) theory of Bob Dylan, believing that Dylan had stopped writing political music because he’d gotten strung out on heroin. Either the CIA was involved, or Dylan liked his “current bag.” Thus, Weberman formed the Dylan Liberation Front (DLF): Bob Dylan had to be freed from himself.
By then, Weberman had appeared in the national spotlight for going through Bob Dylan’s garbage, there trying to find clues to his lyrics. He furthered his notoriety through his brand of faux communist radicalism and Trumpian humor and self-awareness. Weberman took on the 1960s injunction to fashion one’s life into a work of art by bringing it to a limit. He is a warning of infinite obsession, which culminated in brief incarceration for money laundering in the Metropolitan Detention Center in 2001, what he called “an all-expense-paid vacation.” There, he wrote his magnum opus: the encyclopedic “Dylan to English Dictionary,” a 536-page tome published in 2005.
Included in this collection are his published books, his first edition bootlegs of “Tarantula” and their spin-offs across the globe, magazine articles, pamphlets and zines dedicated to Weberman, and his correspondence with music critic Ralph Gleason. Particularly notable are the first edition bootlegs of “Tarantula” (items no. 1 & 2), the first and only vinyl press of the “Weberman Tapes” interview with Bob Dylan (item no. 10), and the striking “Dylanology” flyers (items no. 16 & 18).