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Old 04-19-2004, 02:39 AM   #1
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Excellent Bob Dylan interview

If anyone cares this is a great interview with Bob Dylan.

Rock's enigmatic poet opens a long-private door

He learned from the Carter Family and Edgar Allan Poe, he confides. And he wrote "Blowin' in the Wind" in 10 minutes.

By Robert Hilburn, Times Staff Writer


First in a series of occasional stories exploring the songwriter's art. The next installment will run in Sunday Calendar.

Amsterdam "No, no, no," Bob Dylan says sharply when asked if aspiring songwriters should learn their craft by studying his albums, which is precisely what thousands have done for decades.

"It's only natural to pattern yourself after someone," he says, opening a door on a subject that has long been off-limits to reporters: his songwriting process. "If I wanted to be a painter, I might think about trying to be like Van Gogh, or if I was an actor, act like Laurence Olivier. If I was an architect, there's Frank Gehry.

"But you can't just copy somebody. If you like someone's work, the important thing is to be exposed to everything that person has been exposed to. Anyone who wants to be a songwriter should listen to as much folk music as they can, study the form and structure of stuff that has been around for 100 years. I go back to Stephen Foster."

For four decades, Dylan has been a grand American paradox: an artist who revolutionized popular songwriting with his nakedly personal yet challenging work but who keeps us at such distance from his private life and his creative technique that he didn't have to look far for the title of his recent movie: "Masked and Anonymous."

While fans and biographers might read his hundreds of songs as a chronicle of one man's love and loss, celebration and outrage, he doesn't revisit the stories behind the songs, per se, when he talks about his art this evening. What's more comfortable, and perhaps more interesting to him, is the way craft lets him turn life, ideas, observations and strings of poetic images into songs.

As he sits in the quiet of a grand hotel overlooking one of the city's picturesque canals, he paints a very different picture of his evolution as a songwriter than you might expect of an artist who seemed to arrive on the pop scene in the '60s with his vision and skills fully intact. Dylan's lyrics to "Blowin' In The Wind" were printed in Broadside, the folk music magazine, in May 1962, the month he turned 21.

The story he tells is one of trial and error, false starts and hard work a young man in a remote stretch of Minnesota finding such freedom in the music of folk songwriter Woody Guthrie that he felt he could spend his life just singing Guthrie songs until he discovered his true calling through a simple twist of fate.

Dylan has often said that he never set out to change pop songwriting or society, but it's clear he was filled with the high purpose of living up to the ideals he saw in Guthrie's work. Unlike rock stars before him, his chief goal wasn't just making the charts.

"I always admired true artists who were dedicated, so I learned from them," Dylan says, rocking slowly in the hotel room chair. "Popular culture usually comes to an end very quickly. It gets thrown into the grave. I wanted to do something that stood alongside Rembrandt's paintings."

Even after all these years, his eyes still light up at the mention of Guthrie, the "Dust Bowl" poet, whose best songs, such as "This Land Is Your Land," spoke so eloquently about the gulf Guthrie saw between America's ideals and its practices.

For the rest of the article: http://www.calendarlive.com/music/po...,3583678.story
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Old 04-19-2004, 10:41 AM   #2
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thanks for that it was really interestering, how many artists can say their material will stand the test of time?
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Old 04-20-2004, 02:01 AM   #3
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Glad you enjoyed it. It's great to see Bob actually talking about his songs and influences. We can learn sooo much from him.

He's one of the true geniuses of music who will stand the test of time for sure.
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