Listen to the dramatic reading by Lee Frank:
Listen, I’m aware that I am currently playing the tambourine. I know that—as far as instruments go—it lacks the martial snappiness of the snare drum or the commanding punch of the bass. I know too that the tambourine is sometimes an object of derision, seen as juvenile even. But, and I want to be really clear on this point, I did not spend four years at Juilliard studying percussion to be called “Mr. Tambourine Man.”
Just use my name. I’m Mark. Mark Davidson. They said it when I came up here. If you feel absolutely compelled to call me Mister anything, you can call me Mister Davidson. Which again, for the record, you don’t need to do. Mark is fine. My family calls me Mark. My friends call me Mark. My professors at Juilliard—where I studied and practiced a litany of percussion instruments including, but certainly not limited to, the tambourine—called me Mark.
You are a celebrated recording artist and this is a weekday open mic. Which, now that I’m thinking about it, why are you even here, Bob? What did you say? I should get back to my act? Yeah? And then the second I start, it’s going to be more, “Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,” right? Well guess what, Bob! I am playing a goddamn song. Hence me standing here on this stage with this goddamn tambourine. This sort of heckling is beneath you. And look, I can take criticism. Tell me, musically, what I’m missing. I would love that. To learn from one of the best. But that’s not what’s happening here. No, instead you’re just fixated on this sophomoric and condescending “joke” of calling me, a Juilliard-trained percussionist, “Mr. Tambourine Man.” It’s ridiculous.
I came here tonight because I thought it might be fun to experiment on the old, playful tambourine. Sue me. I didn’t expect that Bob Dylan would be in the audience, just salivating at the chance to cut down anyone who tried to think outside the box for once in their—
Your points that you’re “not sleepy” and that “there is no place you’re going” are, frankly, immaterial. If you keep calling me “Mr. Tambourine Man,” I will not keep playing no matter how not sleepy you are. I will pack my tambourine into its nylon carrying case—yes, Bob, it’s got a carrying case because otherwise it would get damaged. Like that’s so hard to understand.
Oh, your weariness amazes you? Does it? That’s rich. You know what amazes me? Your rudeness.
How would you like it if we all called you “Mr. Harmonica Man”? It sounds like you think I’m a little boy playing a tambourine for the first time, which—to be clear—I am not. I am a lifelong student of percussion who has played a wide range of instruments across a wide range of styles, most recently at Juilliard, the top musical school in the United States.
I’m sorry, what?
Pardon me, Bob?
You’ll come following me in the jingle jangle morning, will you? You’re going to stalk me? Is that a threat? Please try me, Bob. Go ahead and follow me outside. I’m just about ready to settle this right jingle jangle now.
You have no one to meet? You’re about to meet me behind this café slash performing arts space as soon as I get off the stage and I’m going to beat your iconoclastic ass like a kettledrum.
Just let me zip up my tambourine.