Thursday, September 13, 2012

"There Are Different Rules For Me"

Rolling has posted a teaser for its upcoming Mikal Gilmore interview of Bob Dylan. These two paragraphs alone are better than anything in "Chronicles Vol.1 "


I want to ask about the controversy over your quotations in your songs from the works of other writers, such as Japanese author Junichi Saga's Confessions of a Yakuza, and the Civil War poetry of Henry Timrod. In folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition, but some critics say that you didn't cite your sources clearly. What's your response to those kinds of charges?
Oh, yeah, in folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition. That certainly is true. It's true for everybody, but me. There are different rules for me. And as far as Henry Timrod is concerned, have you even heard of him? Who's been reading him lately? And who's pushed him to the forefront? Who's been making you read him? And ask his descendants what they think of the hoopla. And if you think it's so easy to quote him and it can help your work, do it yourself and see how far you can get. Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff. It's an old thing – it's part of the tradition. It goes way back. These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history! If you think you've been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way equitable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified. All those evil motherfuckers can rot in hell.

I'm working within my art form. It's that simple. I work within the rules and limitations of it. There are authoritarian figures that can explain that kind of art form better to you than I can. It's called songwriting. It has to do with melody and rhythm, and then after that, anything goes. You make everything yours. We all do it.

The mag hits the street tomorrow, 9/14.

"Tempest" continues to deliver for me. The songs I love I'm loving more and the few I don't like, I don't mind.

The discussions taking place both here and on Burning Love? have been wonderful, full of energy and fervor. I do hope you're checking them out occasionally.

Something else came to me after a few e-mail volleys with my friend Steve.

I wonder how many people who say they like Bob Dylan really don't but feel they should.

Just a thought.


soundsource said...

Bob kicking ass, love it and who says you shouldn't like Dylan

Sal Nunziato said...

I didn't.

Joelhb53 said...

I'm still working my way through Tempest. It's a lot to chew on.

buzzbabyjesus said...

He has good taste in hats.

lemonflag said...

Didn't Bob once say that he made Dylan Thomas famous?

Anonymous said...

"Didn't Bob once say that he made Dylan Thomas famous?"

I believe his actual words were that he did more for Dylan Thomas than Thomas ever did for him...or something to that effect.

Alan said...

Joelhb53 - Amen. I am not quite sure what to make of Tempest yet. At first I did not like it, but I'm liking it more each listen...

allen vella said...

Sal, haven't had a chance to participate in the Dylan-week, and I didn't want to miss out..but I find myself with a few minutes, and I listened to all of Tempest last night, and I gotta say I'm really digging it. When I read negative comments and letters here and other places, I just smile...I'm glad I love Bob, I always have (my first record of his was Times They are A changin) I think I was Christmas, I was 9,....and I never looked back. His voice has evolved, i like it. His writing has evolved, I like it. His bands are (usually) first rate cats..I love it all! And this record just hit me ...I look forward to absorbing it some more. It reminds me of the first time hearing Nashville Skyline, or Blood..not in the style, theme, music..but in the singular experience that hearing new Bob for the first time can be. There I said it, no apologies..I cherish the man and his music. Always did, and I suspect always will.

mr.peabody said...

Listening to it again right now. I still don't know if I like it as much as "Love and Theft", "Modern Times", or "Together Through Life", But it's Bob. I came to really appreciate Bob after age 40. I was more of an Elvis guy for vocals, and dismissed Dylan as just a songwriter. Wow, the folly of youth! I put "Blood on the Tracks" in the cd player and didn't take it out for six months.
And I agree with your assessment of the excerpt of the RS interview. I've been waiting for him to tell all these fuckers to kiss his ass, and he finally did. It's one thing to find some old work and fully compromise it; It's another thing entirely to take that work and expound upon it and make it your own.