Mavis Staples on Summer Tour With Bob Dylan: ‘It’s Really an Honor’
The name he used at the hotel was a crazy kind of name. I wish I had written it down to remember it. It was funny, comical. I just said, “I don’t know that person.” That was the last time I talked to him. I tried to wait for him at one of those festivals in Australia. We were over in Perth. I had gone on. It was so hot. I tried to wait for him. I spoke to his band. I spoke to his crew. Then I told them, “Please tell Bobby I tried to wait for him.” They told me they would let him know. But haven’t talked to him anymore since that.
Are you gonna do your standard show on this tour, or might you change it a bit for the Dylan audience?
I think I’m just gonna do my standard show, which is some of the old and some of the new. We sing some of the songs that my family sang. Then I sing a couple of Stax songs. Then I’ll probably sing a couple of songs from my latest LP. I don’t change it up. I just do what I do. I don’t really know what his audience wants anyway.
Do you look at it as a challenge since some people in the audience may not be all that familiar with your work?
I thought about that, but then I put that out of mind. I said, “If he asked me to come open for him, he trusts that his audience will accept me.” All I can do is give them what I have. I kind of think his audience and my audience is the same. We’ve come a long way down the same road. We started at the Newport Folk Festival. I’ve done a lot of folk festivals. The folk audience seems to like my work. I really did think about that, how Bob’s audience would accept me. I hope they go easy on me. I hope they are friendly with me. I’d hate to come offstage in tears.
Are you hoping Bob will want to sing some songs with you during the tour?
I don’t know, not necessarily. The only thing I think he might want to sing is “Gonna Change My Way of Thinking” or “Gotta Serve Somebody.” Hopefully he won’t hide from me. Hopefully I’ll get to see him. I think he just wants me to open his show and set up the stage for him and be grateful that he’s asked me to do that.