For years most fans believed that it was Bob Dylan who was against hitting the road as part of the Traveling Wilburys — but it turned out to be none other than their most devoted member, the late-George Harrison. In a new interview with Uncut, legendary drummer Jim Keltner — who played on most of the solo hits by Harrison, John Lennon, and Ringo Starr — revealed that Harrison's distaste for the road all but insured the Wilburys were destined to stay a studio-only act.
Keltner, who drummed on both the Wilburys albums recalled, “Those were fun times, but it just was fleeting. I was surprised when (Bob Dylan’s former manager Jeff Kramer) told me years later that it wasn’t Bob who didn’t want to go on tour; because everybody thought it would be Dylan who would say no. Bob loved the idea of going on tour. George was the one that quashed it. I really don’t know what his thinking would have been about not doing the Wilburys tour. But that’s what life is, wondering what might have been.”
Following the Beatles' 1970 breakup, Jim Keltner drummed on such iconic solo albums as All Things Must Pass, Imagine, The Concert For Bangla Desh, Some Time In New York City, Living In The Material World, Ringo, Mind Games, Dark Horse, Goodnight Vienna, Walls And Bridges, Rock N' Roll, Extra Texture — and more. He spoke about having a front-row seat in seeing how the former-“Fabs” dealt with one another: “Over the years with (George) and John, they could both be really brutal with Paul (McCartney). I learned very early on that I couldn’t join them. They both on different occasions said, 'We can say that, but you shouldn’t.' They were truly brothers who loved taking the piss out of each other, but they didn’t want anybody else doing it.”
George Harrison explained that the Traveling Wilburys sessions were among the most fun of his life: “When they actually were doing the vocals in there, at one point, I just said to Jeff, 'This is it — the Traveling Wilburys!' I mean, it was like, magic — it just happened. You could never have planned it. Y'know, if you has tried phoning everybody up, (and) say, 'Hey, we've got this idea, y'know, will ya do it?' You woulda got all these record companies and managers and it would've been impossible. But it was so spontaneous, we were doing it before we realized.”