Published 18 June 1989 Interview date: 25 May 1989?


From: buck@eleazar.dartmouth.edu (Rebecca A. Buck)
Newsgroups: rec.music.dylan

The following interview, published this month in the Rolling Thunder Supplement, really sounds so little like Dylan.

Heylin says that it was published in a Spanish paper on June 18, 1989. Inaki Aguirrezabal translated it, and comments that "It is a really strange interview judging by both the questions and the answers ... (though the translation) is absolutely faithful to the original contents." Dylan supposedly gave this interview in LA before he left for the European tour this year (around the 25th of May, perhaps). He was "inbetween 'a recording session' ... and 'getting his next film ready.'" The interview was syndicated through an agency called LID, but this is the only use we know of.

Here it is:

"IF I KEEP GOING FOR SO MANY YEARS, THERE MUST BE A REASON FOR IT"

Bob Dylan finished last night in San Sebastian his brief tour in Spain. He did not agree to be interviewed neither in Madrid nor in Barcelona. He does not trust photographers either. This Europeean tour which will finish on 26th in Greece, is not characterized by his devotion to the public. he does not only avoid the Press, but also his performances are limited to just the signed contract, without a single encore for his wholehearted and nostalgic followers. The following interview was recorded in Los Angeles, some hours before he caught the plane that would take him to Europe.

BD: I used to admire Woody Guthrie and Robert Johnson (the blues singers). It is impossible not to admire some people, it's something that illuminates you and makes you feel small.

Q: What is your next film about?

BD: It is the most exciting project I ever been at. The story is much more than a film in which Bob Dylan takes part. If you want to be sincere just with yourself, you'll go wrong. If you aren't sincere with your heart, you'll fail. But I can't tell you what it is about until we start filming. The film is going to be significant. If I could tell you what it is about I would, but I can't - the same as I can't explain my songs either. It is a feeling of reality that I assume and most people who listen to me will understand. The level of reality in which we find ourselves, me and my work - these are things that can't be explained.

Q: Bob Dylan is known for having a soft spot for women. Why?

BD: I think that most women are beautiful. Many of them seem to have been taken off a picture. They are vulnerable and also strong.

Q: Goddesses are not real. That is what you said in an interview some years ago.

BD: A beautiful woman is like a goddess. She is on a pedestal.

Q: During the filming of Renaldo and Clara you improvised a lot with your character and Joan Baez participated in the bedroom scenes.

BD: Joan knew me very well in and outside the bed, that's why we could make some scenes really interesting for the public.

Q: Do you think you are the number one?

BD: How many years have I kept going? A lot. There must be a reason for it.

Q: Elvis Presley?

BD: A relic of the past.

Q: Frank Sinatra?

BD: He is on the way to becoming a relic. If I was him I would be retired by now.

Q: Bob Dylan?

BD: I continue on my way upwards.

Q: Until then

BD: That depends on some things, like the audience, my enthusiasm and my strength. (smiling he answers) Why, I am just like any other, I only try to keep going.

Q: As regards his present attitude towards women, Bob's answer is not very precise:

BD: I am on a sort of crossroads in my life and I can do without that. I can feel the attraction but I can also keep myself apart. I admire beauty more than anything else but now I don't feel I must possess it. The ideal man or woman doesn't exist. When you look for something you are not really looking for a man or a woman. You are looking for someone who awakes something which is buried inside you and once that person does it you become familiar and you always want that and then you stay with that person. But two people who are in love are not in love just with each to her. There is a third element intermingled and that third element is an ideal. Both must love the same ideal and that is what they have to share. If that doesn't exist, then it's not love, it's necessity.

Q: Is it true that during your bad times, when everything seems to be a waste of time, you usually say, "I go out with the animals or spend more time with my children. I like teenagers, they are less obscure and purer."?

BD: The worst time in my life was when I tried to search (for) the past, for instance when I went back to new York for the second time. I didn't know what to do, everything had changed and I also tried to sing and write at the same time, and sometimes that drove me crazy. One thing is writing and singing is very different. One is opposed to the other, and I can't write with the energy with which I perform and I can't perform with the energy with which I write.

Q: Many times you have said that you had to fight. Against what?

BD: With the past. When I recall the past it is something almost masochistic. I had some beautiful moments I wish to keep. I've been in the darkness...now I wish to concentrate in the light only.