Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reporters Say The Darndest Things: Bob Dylan Interview


Musicians who hit it big during the British Invasion and beyond of the 1960s must have hated press conferences. Journalists during these gatherings - who were often much older than 30 and not familiar with the performer's music - asked the stupidest questions. With the Beatles they almost inevitably, at least during the early years, revolved around their hair. Failing to see the irony in the situation, a reporter actually asked Elvis what kind of questions he hated most to answer at a 1957 press conference.

At least the Beatles had each other and Elvis had the Colonel Tom Parker for support. Bob Dylan was on his own for his press conferences and boy, was the questioning clueless. I'm not a huge Dylan fan, but I've been catching snippets of the Martin Scorsese documentary No Direction Home on PBS, and found his interaction with the press to be most amusing. "Bob Dylan is a poet. He'll answer questions on everything from atomic science to uh...riddles and rhymes" the reporters were told at the start of the press conference in another clip I watched. Oh yeah? The very first question is about a t-shirt he's wearing on a cover of an album that he understandably doesn't remember. You can just see a WTF bubble above his head during these interactions. It seems the reporters just didn't know what to make of Dylan - they were expecting a folk messiah with some sort of mythical insight. What they got was a regular guy who happens to be very talented. One squeeky voiced guy actually starts pointing out to him that he seems to be very reluctant when talking about his songwriting. "Well what do you want me to do?" he asks. "Shout hallelujah and crash the cameras?"

I love his answer to the question about how many other singers are protest singers. "I think there's about 136. It's either 136 or 142." Cracked me up.

I actually think Dylan was kind of cute here. Most impressive hair.

6 comments:

Amanda By Night said...

The absolute greatest thing I ever heard Bob Dylan say was during the Grammys when he got a Lifetime Achievement Award and he walked up to the mic and said, "My father once said to me..."

Silence

He continues, "Well, he said so many things."

The audience broke out in laughter and it was a great, real moment. Loved it!

I can't say I'm a super big fan myself, but I defintely respect him as an artist.

Jen said...

If you are ever in earshot of Sirius Sunday evenings (or out driving with me), Bob Dylan has the most awesome Themed Music Hour on Sirius Spectrum. It is a hoot!

Bob is the DJ and each week has a theme such as cops and robbers and he plays all sorts of music around that theme with antedotes.

Pam@GoRetro said...

I like a lot of his songs and I'm definitely appreciating his humor.

Jen, the radio shows sounds fascinating.

Buy Guitars Online said...

I love that line from the grammy's as well. Bob Dylan says many things at times which make me laugh.

Marlene said...

136 or 142....LOL!

Will Errickson said...

He was so smart at such a young age--he knew better than to try to make any "profound" statements. He went the absurdist route and confused everybody. The people who would get it, got it. The people who didn't? Well...

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