Dylan USA Today Interview
Date: Tue, 9 May 1995 19:04:37 -0400
From: Rufous Chintendrils (zym@CNJ.DIGEX.NET>
Subject: Re: Dylan USA Today Interview
This is dedicated to Andrew Muir, for his numerous contributions to
the field of Dylanology.
From: USA Today, May 5-7, 1995, page 12D
"Dylan on Dylan, 'Unplugged' and the Birth of a Song" by Edna
On the eve of his MTV Unplugged album, the usually reclusive Bob Dylan
agreed to an exclusive chat about his current activities. After a
string of West Coast dates this month, he and his band resume touring
in Europe in June, then return for a full US tour this fall. He spent
three weeks in January writing new songs but probably won't record
them before 1996. What else? Read on.
Q. How did you plan this 'Unplugged' project?
A. I wasn't quite sure how to do it and what material to use. I
would have liked to do old folk songs with acoustic instruments, but
there was a lot of input from other sources as to what would be right
for the MTV audience. The record company said, "You can't do that,
it's too obscure." At one time, I would have argued, but there's no
point. OK, so what's not obscure? They said "Knockin' on Heaven's
Q. And "Like a Rolling Stone," your signature.
A. I was hearing a lot about how Eric Clapton did "Layla"
acoustically for "Unplugged." That influenced me to do the same for
"Like a Rolling Stone," but it would never get played that way
Q. Would you consider an "Unplugged" sequel"?
A. I'd consider doing "Unplugged" again in a relaxed setting where I
didn't feel like I was on the spot. I felt like I had to deliver, and
I delivered something that was preconceived for me. That wasn't a
problem, but it wasn't necessarily what I wanted to do.
Q. Do you prefer playing acoustic over electric?
A. They're pretty much equal to me. I try not to deface the song
with electricity or non-electricity. I'd rather get something out of
the song verbally and phonetically than depend on tonality of
Q. Was performing before TV cameras difficult?
A. It's hard to rise above some lukewarm attitude toward TV. I've
never catered to that medium. It doesn't really pay off for me.
Q. Was the studio audience a typical Dylan crowd?
A. I'd never seen them before. (Laughs) As I recall, they were in
the polite category.
Q. Did you approve of the finished show?
A. I can't say. I didn't see it.
Q. You've been touring a lot in recent years. Obviously you enjoy
A. There's a certain part of you that becomes addicted to a live
audience. I wouldn't keep doing it if I was tired of it. I do about
125 shows a year. It may sound like a lot to people who don't work
that much, but it isn't. BB King is working 350 nights a year.
Q. Was playing at Woodstock a special moment?
A. Nah, it was just another show, really. We just blew in and blew
out of there. You do wonder if you're coming across, because you feel
so small on a stage like that.
Q. Do any of your songs feel dated or stale to you?
A. I rarely listen to my old records. Songs to me are alive.
They're not based on any con game or racket or humbug. They're real
songs and they're right now. They're not songs people can listen to
and say, "Oh gee, I remember where I was when I first heart that" or