Bob Dylan doesn’t do a lot of interviews. But his management company commissioned one by music writer Bill Flanagan, and it’s up on Bob’s website. It’s pretty comprehensive, too. Flanagan asked a lot of the questions we’d ask and got good answers. Bob is promoting his three CD “Triplicate” album of standards coming out shortly. He starts his next tour with three nights the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York.
Here are some of my favorite Q&A’s from the session:
When you’re on your bus, what shows do you watch on TV?
I Love Lucy, all the time, non-stop.
What do you think of Joan Baez?
She was something else, almost too much to take. Her voice was like that of a siren from off some Greek island. Just the sound of it could put you into a spell. She was an enchantress. You’d have to get yourself strapped to the mast like Odysseus and plug up your ears so you wouldn’t hear her. She’d make you forget who you were.
A lot of other songwriters have mentioned you in their songs – John Lennon in “Yer Blues,” Ricky Nelson in “Garden Party,” David Bowie in “Song for Bob Dylan.” It’s quite a list. Do you have a favorite?
In Don McLean’s “American Pie,” you’re supposed to be the jester.
Yeah, Don McLean, “American Pie,” what a song that is. A jester? Sure, the jester writes songs like “Masters of War,” “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” “It’s Alright, Ma” – some jester. I have to think he’s talking about somebody else. Ask him.
You met John Wayne in 1966 – how did you two hit it off?
Pretty good actually – the Duke, I met him on a battleship in Hawaii where he was filming a movie, he and Burgess Meredith. One of my former girlfriends was in the movie too, and she told me to come over there; she introduced me to him and he asked me to play some folk songs. I played him “Buffalo Skinners,” “Raggle Taggle Gypsy,” and I think “I’m a Rambler, I’m a Gambler.” He told me if I wanted to I could stick around and be in the movie. He was friendly to me.
You’ve known so many legendary musicians, actors, writers – was there anyone you look back on and say, “Man, I wish I had appreciated how great he was when he was still around?”
I can’t say who’s great or who isn’t. If somebody does achieve greatness it’s only for a minute and anyone is capable of that. Greatness is beyond your control – I think you get it by chance, but it’s only for a short time.