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Dylan, the Fugs and rock'n'roll riots: the wild life of Larry 'Ratso' Sloman

He drank with Leonard Cohen, ribbed Bob Dylan and Joan Baez gave him his nickname. Now, 68 years into an extraordinary life, the writer is releasing his first album – with a little help from Nick Cave

Late on a Sunday morning in February, in the 2nd Avenue Deli in Manhattan,it is hard not to notice Larry “Ratso” Sloman. There’s the unkempt hair, the wild beard, the fact that, in his garishly patterned suit, he doesn’t blend in with the brunchers. And there is the fact that, in this crowded eating spot, he is not only being interviewed but also being filmed for a documentary. Not that the deli’s staff seem to mind: as well as our sandwiches, we also get a stream of complementaries, finishing with a huge piece of chocolate babka and chocolate egg creams for each of us.

Over the ensuing two hours – in a more or less unbroken monologue – Ratso will range over how he got his first writing assignment for Rolling Stone by being present when the crowd at the 1970 Summerfest in Milwaukee erupted when a drugged-out Sly Stone came on stage 90 minutes late and left after moments (“they started tearing down the fences, setting fire to things”); how to deal with Bob Dylan (“I’d kid with him: ‘Ah, you’re just a midwest Jew; you’re not like a New York Jew”); about going to Leonard Cohen’s house (“There’s Leonard, with four or five ladies. He’s singing, he’s playing Jew’s harp, there are 10 empty bottles of wine on the table”); about getting Mike Tyson to read Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo (“He goes: ‘Why did you send me that book? Did you think I was a superman?’ And I said: ‘No, man, I thought you were just a guy that could get some solace from it’”).

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Source: The Guardian – Dylan, the Fugs and rock'n'roll riots: the wild life of Larry 'Ratso' Sloman

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