Chamblee54

The Playboy Interview Bob Dylan

Posted in Library of Congress, Music, Quotes, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on July 30, 2021


The Notorious 1966 Playboy Interview -Bob Dylan turned up in the youtubeque the other day. The speaker bought a copy of the magazine online … “I’m one of the few people who can say I bought it for the article and be honest.” A quick google search turned up PLAYBOY INTERVIEW: BOB DYLAN February 1966. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

The winter of 1966 was a different time. Mr. Dylan released Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited in 1965, with Blonde on Blonde to follow in 1966. He shot a screen test for Andy Warhol, and met Edie Sedgwick. Winter of 1966 saw America one year into the escalation of the War in Vietnam. The times they were a changin’.

The interview is not a linear Q&A. The entertainer takes a question from Nat Hentoff, and then says whatever feels right to say. This video, Bob Dylan San Francisco Press Conference 1965, is more of the same. Maybe the best way to approach this is with a few quotes.

PLAYBOY: In recent years, according to some critics, jazz has lost much of its appeal to the younger generation. Do you agree? DYLAN: I don’t think jazz has ever appealed to the younger generation. Anyway, I don’t really know who this younger generation is. I don’t think they could get into a jazz club anyway. But jazz is hard to follow; I mean you actually have to like jazz to follow it: and my motto is, never follow anything. I don’t know what the motto of the younger generation is, but I would think they’d have to follow their parents. I mean, what would some parent say to his kid if the kid came home with a glass eye, a Charlie Mingus record and a pocketful of feathers? He’d say, “Who are you following?” And the poor kid would have to stand there with water in his shoes, a bow tie on his ear and soot pouring out of his belly button and say, “Jazz, Father, I’ve been following jazz.” And his father would probably say, “Get a broom and clean up all that soot before you go to sleep.” Then the kid’s mother would tell her friends, “Oh yes, our little Donald, he’s part of the younger generation, you know.” … As far as folk and folk-rock are concerned, it doesn’t matter what kind of nasty names people invent for the music. It could be called arsenic music, or perhaps Phaedra music. I don’t think that such a word as folk-rock has anything to do with it. And folk music is a word I can’t use. Folk music is a bunch of fat people. I have to think of all this as traditional music. Traditional music is based on hexagrams. It comes about from legends, Bibles, plagues, and it revolves around vegetables and death. There’s nobody that’s going to kill traditional music. All these songs about roses growing out of people’s brains and lovers who are really geese and swans that turn into angels – they’re not going to die. It’s all those paranoid people who think that someone’s going to come and take away their toilet paper – they’re going to die. …

PLAYBOY: Mistake or not, what made you decide to go the rock-‘n’-roll route? DYLAN: Carelessness. I lost my one true love. I started drinking. The first thing I know, I’m in a card game. Then I’m in a crap game. I wake up in a pool hall. Then this big Mexican lady drags me off the table, takes me to Philadelphia. She leaves me alone in her house, and it burns down. I wind up in Phoenix. I get a job as a Chinaman. I start working in a dime store, and move in with a 13-year-old girl. Then this big Mexican lady from Philadelphia comes in and burns the house down. I go down to Dallas. I get a job as a “before” in a Charles Atlas “before and after” ad. I move in with a delivery boy who can cook fantastic chili and hot dogs. Then this 13-year-old girl from Phoenix comes and burns the house down. The delivery boy – he ain’t so mild: He gives her the knife, and the next thing I know I’m in Omaha. It’s so cold there, by this time I’m robbing my own bicycles and frying my own fish. I stumble onto some luck and get a job as a carburetor out at the hot-rod races every Thursday night. I move in with a high school teacher who also does a little plumbing on the side, who ain’t much to look at, but who’s built a special kind of refrigerator that can turn newspaper into lettuce. Everything’s going good until that delivery boy shows up … he burned the house down, and I hit the road. The first guy that picked me up asked me if I wanted to be a star. What could I say? PLAYBOY: And that’s how you became a rock-‘n’-roll singer? DYLAN: No, that’s how I got tuberculosis. …

PLAYBOY: How do you feel about those who have risked imprisonment by burning their draft cards to signify their opposition to U. S. involvement in Vietnam, and by refusing – as your friend Joan Baez has done – to pay their income taxes as a protest against the Covernment’s expenditures on war and weaponry? Do you think they’re wasting their time? DYLAN: Burning draft cards isn’t going to end any war. It’s not even going to save any lives. If someone can &el more honest with himself by burning his draft card, then that’s great; but if he’s just going to feel more important because he does it, then that’s a drag. I really don’t know too much about Joan Baez and her income-tax problems. The only thing I can tell you about Joan Baez is that she’s not Belle Starr. …

PLAYBOY: Writing about “beard-wearing draft-card burners and pacifist income-tax evaders,” one columnist called such protesters “no less outside society than the junkie, the homosexual or the mass murderer.” What’s your reaction? DYLAN: I don’t believe in those terms. They’re too hysterical. They don’t describe anything. Most people think that homosexual, gay, queer, queen, faggot are all the same words. Everybody thinks that a junkie is a dope freak. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t consider myself outside of anything. I just consider myself not around. …

PLAYBOY: Paranoia is said to be one of the mental states sometimes induced by such hallucinogenic drugs as peyote and LSD. Considering the risks involved, do you think that experimentation with such drugs should be part of the growing up experience for a young person? DYLAN: I wouldn’t advise anybody to use drugs – certainly not the hard drugs; drugs are medicine. But opium and hash and pot – now, those things aren’t drugs; they just bend your mind a little. I think everybody’s mind should be bent once in a while. Not by LSD, though. LSD is medicine – a different kind of medicine. It makes you aware of the universe, so to speak; you realize how foolish objects are. But LSD is not for groovy people; it’s for mad, hateful people who want revenge. It’s for people who usually have heart attacks. They ought to use it at the Geneva Convention. …

PLAYBOY: Did you ever have the standard boyhood dream of growing up to be President? DYLAN: No. When I was a boy, Harry Truman was President; who’d want to be Harry Truman?

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