Bob Dylan has a secret signal he uses when he doesn't want to be spoken to

Bob Dylan
(Image credit: Jo Hale/Redferns)

Just like the late Queen, who reportedly would twist her wedding ring to alert her associates that she'd like to be removed from certain company, Bob Dylan similarly has his own secret signal, which he uses to let his team know when he'd like to be left alone. 

The move was discovered by the folk legend's former touring guitarist, Billy Burnette, who accompanied Dylan on his 2003 tour through Australia and New Zealand.

Reflecting on his experience of performing alongside the famed musician in a recent conversation with Rolling Stone, Burnette says: "It was a big thrill. I remember at the first day of rehearsal, Dylan picks up his acoustic guitar. He goes, 'This is my thing.’ I go, 'You’re right about that.'"

During his travels with Dylan, the guitarist - who was a member of Fleetwood Mac for eight years from 1987 - discovered that there were times when the musician was not to be spoken to, and that he'd carry out a certain signal to let everyone know.

The move, although not as subtle as fiddling with a ring or moving around a royal handbag, would see Dylan simply chuck his hood over his head.

“When he wears the hood, you’re not supposed to talk to him,” Burnette says. “I didn’t know that until one day we were in line to get on a plane at the airport. I tapped him on the shoulder. The drummer said, 'No, no. He don’t talk to anyone when he’s got the hood on.' I was like, 'OK. I’m glad you told me.'”

Despite being one of the most famed stars on the planet, as Burnette explains, he has ways of making himself disappear. 

“He’s slippery,” the guitarist continues. “He can walk in an airport … they lost him one day. They couldn’t find him anywhere. I’m in this little gift shop and I turn around, and there he is. He goes, 'Hi, Billy.' I was like, 'How did you get in here?' He moves around. It’s a weird thing.”

Currently, Burnette is rekindling his connections with Fleetwood Mac, working on a new album which is set to feature Mick Fleetwood on drums.

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.