Bob Dylan Speaks: Songwriting, Hitler, and The Rolling Stones

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Things just get better and better around here as we count down the days left until Bob Dylan Day (April 28, when his latest album, Together Through Life, hits stores). For instance,  Dylan has been sporadically releasing excerpts from a lengthy, often bizarre interview conducted with music journo and VH1 exec Bill Flanagan. They’ve been pretty good so far, but the one that came out yesterday is, hands down, the best one yet.

See if this perks your eyebrows up:

BF: Even though many of the tracks on the album are about love, the album is full of pain – sometimes in the same song. In Beyond Here Lies Nothing, the song is underscored by a feeling of foreboding. You’re moving down “boulevards of broken cars.” You’re going to love “as long as love will last.” Is pain a necessary part of loving?

BD: Oh yeah, in my songs it is. Pain, sex, murder, family – it goes way back. Kindness. Honour. Charity. You have to tie all that in. You’re supposed to know that stuff.

BF: Getting back to This Dream of You , the character sings, “How long can I stay in this nowhere café?” Where is that café?

BD: It sounds like it’s south of the border or close to the border.

BF: You’re not saying?

BD: Well, no, it’s not like I’m not saying. But if you have those kind of thoughts and feelings you know where the guy is. He’s right where you are. If you don’t have those thoughts and feelings then he doesn’t exist.

BF: The character in the song reminds me a lot of the guy who is in the song Across The Borderline.

BD: I know what you’re saying, but it’s not a character like in a book or a movie. He’s not a bus driver. He doesn’t drive a forklift. He’s not a serial killer. It’s me who’s singing that, plain and simple. We shouldn’t confuse singers and performers with actors. Actors will say, “My character this, and my character that.” Like beating a dead horse. Who cares about the character? Just get up and act. You don’t have to explain it to me.

BF: Well can’t a singer act out a song?

BD: Yeah sure, a lot of them do. But the more you act the further you get away from the truth. And a lot of those singers lose who they are after a while. You sing, “I’m a lineman for the county,” enough times and you start to scamper up poles.

Some very revealing words from an artist who has sought to distance himself from his songs in his past. In the interview, Dylan also manages to insult the Rolling Stones and gives his thoughts about Hitler’s rise to power.

You can read the whole thing here.

This, however, might be our new favorite Dylan quote:

“But if you have those kind of thoughts and feelings you know where the guy is. He’s right where you are. If you don’t have those thoughts and feelings then he doesn’t exist.”


One Comment

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

The Intern’s Blog: Jailhouse Rock! Phil Spector Convicted of Murder

Melancholy and the Infinite Blog: Billy Corgan Reassures the World the Pumpkins are Here to Stay