Jonathan Taplin


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Jonathan Taplin, former road manager for The Band, has done it all. He set up the equipment for Dylan’s electric set at Newport in ‘65 (“the soundcheck lasted ten minutes”) and was production manager for Dylan and The Band at the Guthrie Tribute in ’68. He organised the groundbreaking Concert For Bangladesh and produced the concert and film of The Last Waltz. Oh, and he was responsible for Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets getting made.

Jon “was brought into the circle” by Albert Grossman (“after Bob left and Janis died, Albert got his heart broken”). He saw “all the junkie signs” when he met Keith Richards in the South of France and left Rock behind when he saw what drugs were doing to his friends and the music he loved. He passionately blames illegal Napster downloads for Levon Helm’s financial problems (“the record world dropped off a cliff”). With a cast list including Scorsese, Clapton, Robertson and Dylan (“Bob was a really good teacher”), Jonathan Taplin tells us definitively where it was at.

Jonathan Taplin is a writer, film producer and scholar. He began his entertainment career as tour manager for the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and organised Bob Dylan and The Band’s appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival. Between 1973 and 1996, Taplin produced many television documentaries and feature films including Under Fire and To Die For. His films were nominated for Oscars and Golden Globes and chosen for The Cannes Film Festival five times. His book “Move Fast And Break Things” (2017) is subtitled “How Facebook, Google and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy”. His latest book “The Magic Years” (2021) is about the rock ‘n’ roll side of his life. Jon is the Director Emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California.




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Recorded 7th June 2021

This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts

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