1998 - Live Broadcast - Michael Portnoy & Bob Dylan, SOY BOMB - 40th Annual Grammy Awards





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Published on Jul 28, 2010

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For Bob Dylan's performance of "Love Sick" at the 1998 Grammy Awards, Portnoy was hired by the Grammys to stand in the background with other dancers and bob his head to the music to "give Bob a good vibe." Instead, halfway through the performance, Portnoy ripped off his shirt, ran up next to Dylan, and started dancing and contorting spastically with the words "Soy Bomb" written boldly in black across his chest. Dylan glanced alarmedly at Portnoy, but carried on playing. Portnoy continued to dance for about 40 seconds, making odd grimaces, his eyes often closed as if in a trance, until security realized he wasn't part of the show and escorted him off-stage.

When questioned by reporters, Portnoy said "Soy... represents dense nutritional life. Bomb is, obviously, an explosive destructive force. So, soy bomb is what I think art should be: dense, transformational, explosive life" according to Entertainment Weekly and that "he meant Soy Bomb as a 'spontaneous explosion of the self' to re-invigorate the currently bland music scene that exists. He has also said that the phrase is a combination of Spanish and English, meaning "the bomb of 'I am'" The Grammy Awards chose not to press charges against Portnoy for the act, but did decline to pay Portnoy's $200 fee for the dancing gig.
The event was soon parodied on comedy television shows. It was the subject of skits on Saturday Night Live, where he was portrayed by Will Ferrell, and on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In 2004, the band Strawman featured the track "Soy Bomb" on their album American Idle in reference to the incident. One year later, the band Eels featured the track "Whatever Happened to Soy Bomb" on the double-disc album Blinking Lights and Other Revelations.

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