Interviewer: Very nice to See you in Stockholm, Bob Dylan. I wonder now if you could explain a bit more about yourself and your kind of songs. What do you think of the kind of ‘protest song’ tag?
Bob Dylan: No, no. I’m not going to sit here and talk about myself as a protest singer or anything like that.I am a…Oh, God. No, I’m not going to sit here and do this. I’ve been up all night; I’ve taken some pills; I’ve eaten bad food. (0:33-0:36 inaudible) I’ve been on 400 miles an hour car rides. I’m just not going to sit here and talk about myself as a protest singer.
Interviewer: So, but, the first thing you did that got really famous and singles and things like that for example in England they released ‘The Times Are Changin’.That was supposed to be a protest song, no?
Bob Dylan: Oh my God. When was that?
Interviewer: A year ago.
Bob Dylan: Oh, well. I mean come on; it’s a year ago. I’m not trying to be a bad fellow or anything but I’d just be a liar or a fool to go on with all this business. I mean, I just can’t help it if you are a year behind, you know? Maybe you’re behind, you know
Interviewer: That’s the style you had then and then suddenly you change to subterranean homesick blues with the electric guitars and things. Is there any special reason. I mean the way you would tell about it yourself?
Bob Dylan: No.
Bob Dylan: No.
Interviewer: What would you call yourself – a poet or a singer or do you think that you write poems and then you put music to it?
Bob Dylan: It’s so silly. I mean, you wouldn’t ask these questions of a carpenter, would you? Or a plumber?
Interviewer: It would not be interesting the same way, would it?
Bob Dylan: I guess it would be. I mean, it’s interesting to me. It should be just as interesting to you.
Interviewer: Well, not as being a disc jockey anyhow.
Bob Dylan: What do you think Mozart would say to you if you came up to him and asked him questions that you would ask him? What kinds of question would you ask him? I’d tell Mr Mozart…
Interviewer: Well, first of all, I wouldn’t do it.
Bob Dylan: Well, how come you do it to me?
Interviewer: Oh because I’m interested in your records and I think the Swedish audience is as well.
Bob Dylan: Well, I’m interested in the Swedish audiences too and Swedish people and all that kind of stuff. I’m sure they don’t want to know all these dumb things.
Interviewer: Well I’ve read a lot of dumb things in the papers and I suppose I thought I could straighten them out yourself.
Bob Dylan: I can’t straighten them out. I don’t think they are to be straightened out. I know them and I believe that they know. They know! They should know – the Swedish people. I mean, they don’t have to be told; they don’t have to be explained to. You should know that. The Sweedish people just don’t have to be explained to. You can’t tell the Swedish people something which they….which is self-explanatory. The Swedish people are smarter than that.
Interviewer: You think so?
Bob Dylan: Oh, of course.
Interviewer: Do you know many Swedes?
Bob Dylan: I know plenty.
Bob Dylan: I happen to be Swede myself.
Interviewer: Oh yeah, certainly.
Bob Dylan: I happen to come from not too far away from here, my friend.
Interviewer: Should we try to listen to a song instead?
Bob Dylan: We could try.
Interviewer: Which one would you suggest then?
Bob Dylan: You pick one out. Anyone you say. You realize that I’m not trying to be a bad fellow. I’m just trying to make it along, to have nice…to get everything to be straight. You realize that?
Interviewer: Yeah and that’s why I asked you and you had a chance to do it yourself.
Bob Dylan: No, I don’t want a chance to do it myself.
Bob Dylan: I don’t want to do anything by myself. For what?
Interviewer: Or against what?
Bob: Well, you know what it’s against and what it’s for; not even going to tell you that. It’s for all, what you know my songs are all mathematical songs. Now you know what that means so I’m not going to have to go into that. So this specific one here happens to be a protest song and the borders on the mathematical idea of things and this is specifically what happens to be the way women have to deal with the minority of cripples and Orientals in the world in which they live, you realize, you know you understand. You know it’s a Mexican kind of thing. Very ‘protesty’, very’ protesty’ and one of the ‘protestiest’ of all things I’ve ever protested against in my protest years.
Interviewer: Do you really believe it?
Bob: Do I believe it?
Bob: I don’t have to believe it, I know it. I wrote it. I mean I’m telling you I wrote it I should know.
Interviewer: Yeah and why that title? It’s never mentioned in the song.
Bob: Well, we never mentioned things that we love. I mean, where I come from that’s blasphemy. You know that word ‘blast puffa me’. It has to do with God.
Interviewer: Shall we a have to listen to the song which is selling quite well in the States? And how do you feel about that?
Bob: It’s horrible.
Interviewer: It is?
Bob: Because it is a protest song and protest songs shouldn’t really…. people should listen to protest songs.
Interviewer: Well, see it in the way that a lot of people buy the record and listen to it, the radio stations and so on. So a lot of people could get the message in that case.
Bob: Yeah, they do get the message. I’m glad they’re getting the message. That was a good record too huh?
Interviewer: So how do you feel about earning a lot of money then if you’re not really concerned about it all?
Bob: That will bring me a lot of money.
Interviewer: From the start you didn’t have much but now you have a lot. What do you do with it?
Interviewer: Not concerned?
Bob: No, I don’t really. Somebody else handles it for me, you know. I just do the same old things.
Interviewer: When you write a song do you write the melody or the words first?
Bob: I write it all you know. I read it all the melody and words.
Interviewer: At the same time?
Bob: Yeah, the melody is sort of unimportant to really and it comes naturally, you know.
Interviewer: The very start other artists used your songs and recorded them and got hits and things like that. How did you feel about that?
Bob: Well, I didn’t feel anything really. I felt happy, you know.
Interviewer: Do you like to suddenly get famous – first songwriter and also as a singer?
Bob: Yeah it’s sort of all over though you know, I don’t have any interest anymore. I did have interest when I was 13, 14, 15 to be a famous star and all that kind of stuff but I’ve been playing on the stage and falling 10 shows a month since I’ve been 10 years old. That’s 15 years I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing. I mean, I know what I’m doing better than anybody else does.
Interviewer: And nowadays, what is it you want to do?
Interviewer: Nothing? Do you enjoy traveling, performing?
Bob: Yeah, I like performing. I don’t care to travel though.
Interviewer: And what of about recordings?
Bob: I like to record.
Interviewer: You’ve got a group now? Which I suppose you didn’t have at the very start.
Bob: Yes, I had a group at the very start. You see, you must realize I come from the United States you know and I don’t know if you know what the United States is like. It’s not like England at all. Already people at my age now, you know, I’m 25, 26 in the States it’s like they’ve all… everybody has grown up playing rock ‘n roll music.
Interviewer: Did you do that?
Bob: Yes, you know. I mean because it’s the only kind of music you heard. I mean everybody has done it you know. Because all you heard was rock ‘n roll and country and western and rhythm and blues music. Now at a certain time, it’s just the whole field got taken over into some milk, you know, and to Frankie Avalon and Fabian and this kind of thing. That’s not bad or anything but he was just; there was nobody really that you could look at and to really want anything that they had and want to be like them. So everybody got out of this and I remember when everybody got out of it. But nobody really lost that whole thing and then folk music came and it was some kind of a substitute for a while. But it was only a substitute you know I want you to understand. Yeah, that’s all it was. Now, it’s different again because of the English thing. English thing, and what the English thing did these they just prove that you can make money at playing the same old kind of music that you used to play.
Interviewer: Yeah on your own.
Bob: And that’s the truth, you know that’s not a lie, it’s not the come on or nothing. But the English people can’t play rock ‘n roll music.
Interviewer: What do you feel about the Beatles now?
Bob: Oh the Beatles are great but they aren’t rock ‘n roll. Huh?
Interviewer: You make them quite a few times as well, in the States and in England.
Bob: Yeah, I know the Beatles.
Interviewer: You don’t think they play rock ‘n roll anyhow?
Bob: No they’re not rock ‘n roll. Rock ‘n roll is just four beats. Rock ‘n roll is an extension of 12 by blues. And rock ‘n roll is a white 17-year-old kid music and its kid music, that’s all it is. That’s what rock ‘n roll is. Rock ‘n roll is a fake kind of attempt at sex you know.
Interviewer: But what do you call your style, the music you sing?
Bob: I don’t know. I’ve never heard anybody that plays and sings like me, so I don’t know.
Interviewer: And there’s no name for it that you would try to put on it yourself?
Bob: Mathematical music.
Interviewer: Yeah, if you would like to choose the last and final song of this interview
Bob: Oh you choose it.
Interviewer: There’s no one particular that you would like more than another one?
Bob: No. Well, I’d rather have you play ‘Tombstone Blues’ than ‘Pretty Peggy O’ but other than that I’ll let you make your own choice.
Interviewer: Okay. Thanks a lot.