Great Bob Dylan Quotes 1975 – 1979





bob dylan 78

We continue our series of posts with Bob Dylan quotes.

Earlier post:

These quotes are collected from song lyrics & interviews. It’s not only “great” quotes we’ve collected, but also important quotes & funny quotes.Quotes collected from song lyrics are tried to be kept brief….  it would often be tempting to quote whole songs. Also we’ll try to limit ourselves to max 3 quotes from the same song.Some songs are sorted under the year they were released (on record), other’s are sorted under the year they were obviously written/recorded. Please comment/send us input, but we don’t like quotes without a source…

Bob Dylan did many interviews during these years, particular in 1977 & 78. He released 3 Great studio albums: Desire (1976), Street Legal (1978) & Slow Train Coming (1979).

1975

From songs

Isis, oh, Isis you mystical child
What drives me to you is what drives me insane
I still can remember the way that you smiled
On the fifth day of May in the drizzling rain
~Isis

I can still hear the sounds of those Methodist bells
I’d taken the cure and had just gotten through
Stayin’ up for days in the Chelsea Hotel
Writin’ ‘Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’ for you
~Sara

Oh, sister am I not a brother to you?
And one deserving of affection
And is our purpose not the same on this earth
To love and follow his direction
~Oh, Sister

Your breath is sweet
Your eyes are like two jewels in the sky
Your back is straight, your hair is smooth
On the pillow where you lie
~One More Cup Of Coffee

From Interviews

Mary Travers Interview (April 1975)

BD: The only philosophy in my music, I have to admit, is accidental, you know.
MT: You really think so?
BD: Yeah. None of it is pre-conceived, I can tell you that much.
.. My stuff is… has to do more with feeling than thinking…. When I get to thinking I usually, er, you know, I’m usually in some kind of trouble

Jim Jerome Interview, Manhattan, New York – 10 October 1975

“We each have our own vision and a voice inside that talks only to us. We have to be able to hear it.”

“I didn’t consciously pursue the Bob Dylan myth,.. It was given to me by God. Inspiration is what we’re looking for. You just have to be receptive to it.”

“.. Don’t forget when I started singin’, marijuana was known only in certain circles – actors, musicians, dancers, poets, architects, people who were aware of what it could do for you. You never went down to make a phone call at a phone booth and had some cop hand you a joint. But now it’s almost legal. The consciousness of the whole country has changed in a very short time.”

“I write fast,.. The inspiration doesn’t last. Writing a song, it can drive you crazy. My head is so crammed full of things I tend to lose a lot of what I think are my best songs, and I don’t carry around a tape recorder.”

Bob Dylan And Allen Ginsberg – 30 October 1975

Alan Ginsberg: Do you believe in God?
Bob Dylan: God? You mean God? Yes, I do. I mean I know because where I am I get the contact with – it’s a certain vibration – in the midst of – you know, I’ve been up the mountain, and – yes, I’ve been up the mountain and I had a choice. Should I come down? So I came down. God said, “Okay, you’ve been up on the mountain, now you go down. You’re on your own, free. Check in later, but now you’re on your own. Other business to do, so check back in sometime. Later.

bob dylan 1976

1976

<No new songs recorded>

Interviews

Neil Hickey Interview, Malibu, California – 11 September 1976

“I just try to be poetically and musically straight. I think of myself as more than a musician, more than a poet. The real self is something other than that. Writing and performing is what I do in this life and in this country. But I could be happy being a blacksmith. I would still write and sing. I can’t imagine not doing that. You do what you’re geared for.”

“Yes. Rimbaud has been a big influence on me. When I’m on the road and want to read something that makes sense to me, I go to a bookstore and read his words. Melville is somebody I can identify with because of how he looked at life. I also like Joseph Conrad a lot, and I’ve loved what I’ve read of James Joyce. Allen Ginsberg is always a great inspiration.”

“America should put up statues to the Beatles. They helped give this country’s pride back to it. They used all the music we’d been listening to, everything from Little Richard to the Everly Brothers. A lot of barriers broke down, but we didn’t see it at the time because it happened too fast.”

bob dylan 1977

1977

<No new songs recorded>

Allen Ginsberg Interview, Malibu, California – September-November 1977

..If I see a movie that really moves me around I’m totally astounded, I’m wiped out. If film was around when da Vinci was operating, he’d have made film… I consider myself like da Vinci. Film is an art medium nowadays, but art didn’t become Art till the 9th century; it existed 3,000 years before it was “Art”. Before the 19th century people painted what they were paid to paint They weren’t painting anything individual. Look at Bosch – there’s no struggle. There’s no struggle in any of Dali’s paintings. Life is a struggle. If you want to do business and create work, then you struggle; if your struggle shows, then you make it. It’s all about hard work, ploughsharing. Even van Gogh used what was there – he never painted what he would have liked to paint. He painted what was there to paint. We try to make something better out of what is real. If we want to be successful as an artist, we make it better, and give meaning to something meaningless.

What is Renaldo & Clara?
Dylan: Reality and Actuality transcending itself to the final degree of being more than the Actuality. Renaldo is the Actuality, and what the film is is transcending Renaldo to a higher Actuality and Clarity. Renaldo is everybody. Don’t you identify with Renaldo? Renaldo is you, struggling within yourself, with the knowledge that you’re locked within the chains of your own being. Actuality is what is.

What about Clara?
Dylan: Clara is the symbol of Freedom in this movie. She’s what attracts Renaldo at the present. Renaldo lives in a tomb, his only way out is to dream. Renaldo first appears in a mask, then he’s told in the cafe, “That’s the way it is.” Lenny Bruce said, “There isn’t anything that should be, or what’s supposed to be, there’s only what is.” All there is, is what is – we’re not used to that in modern times. If you want to summarise the film, this is the way it is: “There are heroes in the seaweed”.

Ron Rosenbaum (Playboy) Interview, Burbank, California – November 1977

[about upper Minnesota] Well, in the winter, everything was still, nothing moved. Eight months of that. You can put it together. You can have some amazing hallucinogenic experiences doing nothing but looking out your window. There is also the summer, when it gets hot and sticky and the air is very metallic. There is a lot of Indian spirit. The earth there is unusual, filled with ore. So there is something happening that is hard to define. There is a magnetic attraction there. Maybe thousands and thousands of years ago, some planet bumped into the land there. There is a great spiritual quality throughout the Midwest. Very subtle, very strong, and that is where I grew up. New York was a dream.

The closest I ever got to the sound I hear in my mind was on individual bands in the Blonde on Blonde album. It’s that thin, that wild mercury sound. It’s metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up. That’s my particular sound. I haven’t been able to succeed in getting it all the time. Mostly, I’ve been driving at a combination of guitar, harmonica and organ, but now I find myself going into territory that has more percussion in it and [pause] rhythms of the soul. .. It was in the album before that, too. [Highway 61 Revisited] ..Yeah. Also in Bringing It All Back Home. That’s the sound I’ve always heard. Later on, the songs got more defined, but it didn’t necessarily bring more power to them. The sound was whatever happened to be available at the time. I have to get back to the sound, to the sound that will bring it all through me.

I like San Francisco. I find it full of tragedy and comedy. But if I want to go to a city in this country, I will still go to New York.

The Devil is everything false, the Devil will go as deep as you let the Devil go. You can leave yourself open to that. If you understand what that whole scene is about, you can easily step aside. But if you want the confrontation to begin with, well, there’s plenty of it. But then again, if you believe you have a purpose and a mission, and not much time to carry it out, you don’t bother about those things.

No. Rock ‘n’ roll forms its own society. It’s a world of its own. The same way the sports world is.

[Jimmy] Carter has his heart in the right place. He has a sense of who he is. That’s what I felt, anyway, when I met him.

I feel a heartfelt God. I don’t particularly think that God wants me thinking about Him all the time. I think that would be a tremendous burden on Him, you know. He’s got enough people asking Him for favors. He’s got enough people asking Him to pull strings. I’ll pull my own strings, you know.

Jonathan Cott Interview, Los Angeles, California – December 1977

You can’t be a slave to your emotions. If you’re a slave to your emotions you’re dependent on your emotions, and you’re only dealing with your conscious mind. But the film [Renaldo And Clara] is about the fact that you have to be faithful to your subconscious, unconscious superconscious – as well as to your conscious. Integrity is a facet of honesty. It has to do with knowing yourself.

..Rock & roll ended with Phil Spector. The Beatles weren’t rock & roll either. Nor the Rolling Stones. Rock & roll ended with Little Anthony and the Imperials. Pure rock & roll.. Rock & roll ended in 1959.

[about Hurricane Carter being quilty] I don’t personally think he is. I put that sequence in the film [Renaldo and Clara] because he’s a man who’s not unlike anyone else in the film. He’s a righteous man, a very philosophic man – he’s not your typical bank robber or mercy slayer. He deserves better than what he got.

Will power. With strength of will you can do anything. With will power you can determine your destiny.

There’s no proof of reincarnation and there’s no proof of karma but there’s a feeling of karma. We don’t even have any proof that the universe exists. We don’t have any proof that we are even sitting here. We can’t prove that we’re really alive. How can we prove we’re alive by other people saying we’re alive?

Art is the perpetual motion of illusion. The highest purpose of art is to inspire. What else can you do? What else can you do for anyone but inspire them?

I’m sure of my dream self. I live in my dreams, I don’t really live in the actual world.

Bob Dylan Warfield Nov 1978-5
photo taken by Chris Bradford

1978

Songs

Senor, senor, let’s disconnect these cables
Overturn these tables
This place don’t make sense to me no more
Can you tell me what we’re waiting for, senor?
~Senor

Sixteen years, sixteen banners united over the fields
Where the good shepherd grieves
Desperate men, desperate women divided
Spreading their wings ‘neath the falling leaves
~Changing Of The Guards

There’s a new day at dawn and I’ve finally arrived
If I’m there in the morning, baby, you’ll know I’ve survived
I can’t believe it, I can’t believe I’m alive
But without you it just doesn’t seem right
Oh, where are you tonight?
~Where Are You Tonight (Journey Through Dark Heat)

Well, the last thing I remember before I stripped and kneeled
Was that train load of fools bogged down in a magnetic field
A gypsy with a broken flag and a flashing ring
Said,”Son, this ain’t a dream no more, it’s the real thing”
~Senor

I’m getting weary looking in my baby’s eyes
When she’s near me she’s so hard to recognize
But I finally realize there’s no room for regret
True love, true love, true love tends to forget
~True Love Tends To Forget

Interviews

Joel Kotkin (New Times) Interview, Santa Monica, California – January 1978

Jon’s piece [Jonathan Cott’s interview – Dec 77] was fine. He seemed to understand the movie.

No, I don’t know nothing about making movies. I don’t think of myself as a film maker. If da Vinci were alive, or Van Gogh, or if Rembrandt were alive, they’d be making films.

I don’t know what the seventies are all about. The sixties were a shattering decade. The same thing happened in the 1860’s. It seems to happen in the middle of the century. Everything happens in those middle years. The 1960’s were not any different than that. Now we’re in the seventies, and it’s a period of reconstruction. Nothing is happening.

I don’t create art out of effort. I have a hard enough time just dealing with my life on a day-to day basis. I can’t think of all these cultural or cultural art or political… these things don’t mean anything to me. It’s like that song Ramona: “Everything passes, everything changes, just do what you think you should do. Some day maybe, who knows, baby, I’ll come crying to you.” That’s the way it is.

Philip Fleishman Interview – Early February 1978

What do you feel you’re working toward in your life now?
Dylan: We die and are reborn in our own lives many times and yet it is always heading out toward the end which is perhaps the beginning. What do we know about life and death? Nothing! Most people are working toward being one with God, trying to find him. They want to be one with the supreme power, they want to go Home, you know. From the minute they’re born they want to know what they’re doing here. I don’t think there’s anybody who doesn’t feel that way. So we do what we can do while we’re here and do the best we can… and that’s all we can do. Renaldo And Clara is a movie. Once it’s done, it’s done. It’s like my songs; I can’t dwell on any one for too long. Once they’re done, they’re done. This movie, it’s done. There will be other movies.

 

Randy Anderson interview for The Minnesota Daily, Santa Monica, California – February 1978

[about “Renaldo and Clare” not being appreciated by the “public”]..Sure. Joseph Conrad wasn’t appreciated either in his time. Look at Van Gogh, I mean he couldn’t even sell a painting to eat.
[Does that bother you?] ..Well, yeah, in a work like this it does. Because you know, you can’t expect people to go out there and accept it the way they would the Mona Lisa. People lookin’ at the Mona Lisa—they might just say, “Well, it’s a picture of a woman with a smile.” You know, that’s all they might see. And in this movie too, they might go to it and say, “Well, it’s a movie about Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.” And that’s all they might see. I understand that that’s where people are comin’ from. But still I’ve got a belief that you have to do whatever it is that you’re doing. You can’t compromise with the fact that you must do what you must do

Craig McGregor Interview, Brisbane, Australia – 12 March 1978

It’s not that I like it or dislike it [being on the road]; it’s what I’m destined to do. Muddy Waters is still doing it, and he’s 65. In the States there’s a lotta old guys that are doing it, and I kinda feel that when I’m that old, as long as I can do it, I guess I will do it, because it’s all I did ever do or want to do.

My personal life suffers because of that. I think ultimately man is better off if he can stay in one place and see the world revolve around him rather than have to be out there revolving. I try to stay put as much as I can, but I can’t all the time, and I guess my personal life has suffered because of that. The privacy thing I don’t think about too much anymore. I never went after fame or fortune, but I didn’t turn it down. That was one of them things I had to learn how to adjust to.

Husbandry, I wasn’t a very good husband. I don’t know whether I was or wasn’t, I don’t know what a good husband is. I was good in some ways, as a husband, and not so good in other ways… But, I feel my true family relationship is up ahead of me somewhere.

[about handling failure – “there’s no success like failure” :-)] Well, fortunately I handle it just by working. I just forget it and go back to work, rehearse, make records, or play, and then when I turn around whatever it was was bothering me ain’t there anymore. Sometimes that’s true, sometimes it’s not true, sometimes it’s still there…

. I haven’t made one album yet that I figured I really… I haven’t made an album since Blonde On Blonde that I felt I was all there for. I have written songs that were worthy of it; I haven’t been able to perform them properly, but the ideas were there. I haven’t been able to get them down right. I could relate to the idea in an abstract way but I wasn’t able to get it down right, the way I felt I needed and wanted to bring it home.

I like that song [Tangled Up In Blue]. Yeah, that poet from the 13th century… Plutarch. Is that his name

Helen Thomas Interview, Brisbane, Australia – 12 March 1978

..People have told me that they’ve heard a song of mine and it’s changed their lives. Now I can only believe that or disbelieve it – but I know what it is to feel that because I’ve felt that way myself about some other peoples work. .. Well, I’m still awed by Woody Guthrie

Karen Hughes Interview, Sydney, Australia – 1 April 1978

Karen Hughes: Many people who come to your concerts here regard it as a kind of pilgrimage. Most would like to meet you. What do you feel you have to offer your fans on this kind of individual level?
Dylan: In India they have men that live in the Himalayas and people make long journeys to sit at their feet. And what happens when they sit at their feet? Nothing. Nothing happens; they’re usually given a big dose of silence… Sometimes it’s better to be quiet than to make a lot of noise; because when you’re quiet you’re usually more in tune with the birds and the bees and the phantoms of life.

[about the songs from the upcoming “Street Legal” album] They’re hard to define. Some ballads, some narrative ballads, and some which aren’t. I don’t really write about anything, I don’t know where these songs come from. Sometimes I’m thinking in some other age that I lived through. I must have had the experiences of all these songs because sometimes I don’t know what I’m writing about until years later it becomes clearer to me.

KH: Do you find that, as a composer, you’re more like a medium, tuning into something greater happening?
Dylan:I think every composer does that. No one in his right mind would think that it was coming from him, that he has invented it. It’s just coming through him.

[about Ray Davis] I think he’s a genius. Nobody ever asks me about him. I’ve always been a fan of Ray Davies ever since way hack when. I’ve always liked him and his brother and that group.

Most things come from taking chances (and you’re always taking a lot?) Yeah.

Robert Hilburn interview for Los Angeles Times – 22 May 1978

Movies fascinate me, but they’ll never take the place of performing. If you are a musician, you need that feedback. Elvis did 30 movies or whatever, but they never were enough for him. He eventually had to go back on stage. Once you pick up the guitar, you can’t put it down. “It’s like I have to laugh at Robbie [the Band’s Robbie Robertson] in ‘The Last Waltz’ when he talks about giving up the road. It ain’t gonna happen. Once you’re on it, you’re on it…

I know the importance of a good script. We thought we had a script with ‘Renaldo & Clara’ but it may have been too abstract. “I’m trying to get some people together, but I don’t know how far we’re gonna get. I realize I can’t do the whole thing. I can only do one thing at a time. A movie is too big. I’ll never try to combine a tour and a movie again.

[about Street Legal] On this album, I took a few steps backward, but I also took a bunch of steps forward because I had a lot of time to concentrate on it. I also had the band sounding like I want it to sound. It’s got that organ sound from ‘Blonde on Blonde’ again. That’s something that has been missing.

My music comes from two places: white hillbilly music—Roscoe Holcomb, stuff like that—and black blues—people like Son House, Charley Patton, Robert Johnson. These are the two elements I’ve always related to best, even now. Then, all of a sudden in the ‘60s, I heard Woody Guthrie, which just blew my mind— what he did with a lyric. So, I stopped everything and learned his songs. That’s what kept me going. I wanted to see how far I could take those elements, how well I could blend them together. Sometimes my music has gone a little to one side, then it drifts back to the other, but I’m always headed in the same direction. That’s what I hear on this album, too.

Philippe Adler Interview, Royal Garden Hotel, London, England – 16 June 1978

[Is it for the money? (touring)] No. Of course I need the money and I know how to spend it, but basically it’s because I wanted to do the only thing I’ve ever known how to do; sing and play. I’m a musician that’s all.

[about punk music] To be honest, I don’t know much about this movement. I’ve heard some records and I’ve seen some groups. I think that above all they’re releasing a lot of energy and that’s important. But, to be frank, I mostly listen to good music. Rhythm & Blues, Hillbilly, Blues.

[failure preferable to success?] Yes, because failure engenders success, whereas success is the end of the line. I’ve never had the feeling of having succeeded and I’m very happy about that. If I had had that feeling, I would no longer be around. Already long gone.

Ray Coleman Interview, London, England – 20 June 1978

What I like about the band is that I can get everything I want from them – the blues, soul, country, cajun, American mountain music – everything. This is NOT just a rock band. Soul has always been in me, and I’ve been listening to Red Prysock, the greatest horn player I’ve ever heard.”

Robert Shelton interview, Knightsbridge Restaurant, London, UK – 20 June 1978

George Harrison told me last night that I’d be singing ‘It’s Alright, Ma’ when I’m 90! Nobody else gives my songs life. It’s up to me to do it… But those songs have a life of their own, too. Jimi Hendrix sang them… Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison and Elvis Presley have sung them

[about the death of Elvis Presley] It was so sad. I had a breakdown! I broke down… one of the very few times. I went over my whole life. I went over my whole childhood. I didn’t talk to anyone for a week after Elvis died. If it wasn’t for Elvis and Hank Williams, I couldn’t be doing what I do today.

The Rolling Stones? Who else has come through? Mick Jagger and Keith Richard have come through the same fire that I’ve come through

Matt Damsker Interview, Senator Hotel, Augusta, Maine – 15 September 1978

Right, that’s the way I learned how to record, and that’s the way other people were doing it Now, you don’t do it that way, because the machinery is… they got… you know, it’s like, er… you go in a recording studio now and what I do is obsolete. So, I don’t, half the time, use a decent studio. I mean, we made the last record, we made Street Legal in a rehearsal hall, you know, only because we couldn’t use the studio we booked in town, you know. So, yeah, I could use a good producer, you know, I could make some well-produced records, ‘cause my songs are good enough, I mean, you don’t need but a fairly decent song, you know, to have a well-produced record.

They always say that the Devil is always, you know, involved in dancing. You know, one side says that, but I personally don’t believe it at all. Some of the great religions of the world don’t believe it either.

[about the motorcycle crash – July 29, 1966] Well, that crash was, I think, in 1967 or ‘66 and at that time I deserved to crash, ‘cause I certainly couldn’t have gone on… it was just, you know… the Great Spirit telling me, you know, you need a rest. But that had nothing to do with me, that crash. After that, what I survived after that was man-made.

[about songwriting] Now, in the old days, they used to do it automatically, but it’s like I had amnesia, all of a sudden in 1966. I couldn’t remember how to do it. I tried to force-learn it, and I couldn’t learn what I had been able to do naturally like Highway 61 Revisited. I mean, you can’t sit down and write that consciously, I mean, because it has to do with the break-up of time .. I had to unlearn how to do that consciously because I learned in ‘75 that I was going to have to do it from now on… consciously; and those are the kinds of songs I wanted to write. The ones that do have the break-up of time, where there is no time, trying to make the focus as strong as a magnifying glass under the sun, you know. To do it consciously is a trick, you know and I did it on that… er… I did it on Blood On The Tracks for the first time, and I didn’t know… I knew how to do it because it was a technique I learned, I actually had a teacher for it.. It was an old man in New York who is…

Well, Blood On The Tracks did consciously what I used to do unconsciously. I didn’t perform it well, I didn’t have the power to perform it well, but I did write the songs; they can be changed but the idea was right

[about the lyrics on Blood On The Tracks] Well, here’s the thing. There might be some little part of me which is confessing something which I’ve experienced and I know, but it is not definitely the total me confessing anything. I mean, when Mick Jagger sings Beast Of Burden, you know what I mean, there’s something in there that’s in him confessing, but you just do that

Well, you need love. You have to have people who love you, you have to have people you can identify with, who are companions, and there’s have to be love in your corner. Y’know, if you don’t have that, well then nothing you do is gonna be satisfying to you.

Jonathan Cott Interview, Portland, New Haven – 17 September 1978

[about touring only for the money] They always say that. There are more important things in the world than money. It means that to the people who write these articles, the most important thing in the world is money. They could be saying I’m doing the tour to meet girls or to see the world. Actually, it’s all I know how to do. Ask Muhammad Ali why he fights one more fight. Go ask Marlon Brando why he makes one more movie. Ask Mick Jagger why he goes on the road. See what kind of answers you come up with. Is it so surprising I’m on the road? What else would I be doing in this life – meditating on the mountain? Whatever someone finds fulfilling, whatever his or her purpose is -that’s all it is.

I’ve heard it said that Dylan was never as truthful as when he wrote Blood On The Tracks, but that wasn’t necessarily truth it was just perceptive. Or when people say Sara was written for “his wife Sara” – it doesn’t necessarily have to be about her just because my wife’s name happened to be Sara. Anyway, was it the real Sara or the Sara in the dream? I still don’t know.

These are things I’m really interested in, and it’s taken me a while to get back to it. Right through the time of Blonde on Blonde I was doing it unconsciously. Then one day I was half-stepping, and the lights went out. And since that point, I more or less had amnesia. Now, you can take that statement as literally or metaphysically as you need to, but that’s what happened to me. It took me a long time to get to do consciously what I used to be able to do unconsciously.

They do. Changing Of The Guards is a thousand years old. Woody Guthrie said he just picked songs out of the air. That means that they were already there and that he was tuned into them. Changing Of The Guards might be a song that might have been there for thousands of years, sailing around in the mist, and one day I just tuned into it. Just like Tupelo Honey was floating around and Van Morrison came by.

That’s my mission in life… “He not busy being born is busy dying.”

[about the need for more sophisticated record production] I probably do. The truth of it is that I can hear the same sounds that other people like to hear, too. But I don’t like to spend the time trying to get those sounds in the studio. .. Some musicians like to spend a lot of time in the studio. But a lot of people try to make something out of nothing. If you don’t have a good song, you can go into the studio and make it appear to be good, but that stuff don’t last… If you have a good song, it doesn’t matter how well or badly it’s produced. Okay, my records aren’t produced that well, I admit it.

It took us a week to make Street Legal – we mixed it the following week and put it out the week after. If we hadn’t done it that fast we wouldn’t have made an album at all, because we were ready to go back on the road.

But don’t forget that when I played Maggie’s Farm electric at Newport, that was something I would have done years before. They thought I didn’t know what I was doing and that I’d slipped over the edge, but the truth is… Kooper and Michael Bloomfield remember that scene very well. And what the newspapers say happened didn’t actually happen that way. There wasn’t a whole lot of resistance in the crowd.

I remember hanging out with Brian Jones in 1964. Brian could play the blues. He was an excellent guitar player – he seemed afraid to sing for some reason – but he could play note for note what Robert Johnson or Son House played.

I didn’t create Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan has always been here… always was. When I was a child, there was Bob Dylan. And before I was born, there was Bob Dylan. [Why did you have to play that role] I’m not sure. Maybe I was best equipped to do it.

Marc Rowland Interview, Rochester – 23 September 1978

[about his concerts being criticized (mainly in the US) as “Dylan going Vegas/sounding polished”] See, if… you can’t win. I mean, you go and do something like Rolling Thunder, which we did in small halls, smaller halls – we did play some big halls – but we also played many many smaller halls… er, er… and what did they say, they say it’s too ragged, you know, they say it’s just a bunch of Gypsies up there, you know, traveling on the road playing with… making no attempt to do a show. That’s what they say. So, what happens? You put on… you get out of your street clothes and you put on something else and they say it’s slick. You know… so, I mean, it’s… if they’re out to say something, they’re going to say something and there’s very little you can say against it unless you want to defend yourself against the wind, you know. [the .. idiot wind, off course]

It’s polished because we’ve worked hard and we’ve worked since last January. So, I mean, it’s gotta be, by this time, you know, it’s gotta be, there’s no way it could be there’s not gonna be, you know, another kind of a band. If it isn’t polished now it ain’t ever gonna be polished. It’s not polished because it’s slick it’s polished because really everybody knows what they’re doing.

Blowin’ In The Wind has always been a spiritual. I took it off a song, I don’t know whether you ever heard a song called No More Auction Block?

Well, the only responsibility I have is to keep on keeping on [ain’t that still the fuckin’ truth!]

Robert Hilburn interview for Los Angeles Times – 3 November 1978

The writers complain the show’s disco or Las Vegas. I don’t know how they came up with those theories. We never heard them when we played Australia or Japan or Europe. It’s like someone made it up in. one town and the writer in the next town read it. I don’t know what the reviewers mean half the time. I don’t even care.

Unidentified Female Interviewer, Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee – 2 December 1978

..the Bob Dylan/Band tour where there were no words spoken during that tour, except maybe a couple of thank you’s and whatever, you know? That was an unusual tour. There wasn’t much we could do on that tour, except play it. It was a highly acclaimed tour; artistically, I’m not sure what it was all about. I think it had a lot of notoriety because of what had happened before that – in terms of myself and The Band – before they were The Band. But as far as playing anything new, we didn’t do any of that. We had a lot of sound problems on that tour also. The energy level was up so high that it was hard to relate to the people in the crowd.

Well, I always was drawn into myself because I’m always thinking about something which you can’t see. I might have a song in my head, or I might have something I’m concerned with. [like most introverts :-)]

Lynne Allen Interview, Atlanta, Georgia – 12 December 1978

But yeah, I had a couple of years there, where I went out to be by myself quite a bit of the time, and that’s where I experienced those kind of songs, on the Blood On The Tracks album… I’ll do anything to write a song…I used to anyway

So every time you make an album, you want it to be new, good and different, but personally, when you look back on them for me all my albums are, are just measuring points for wherever I was at a certain period of time. I went into the studio, recorded the songs as good as I could, and left. Basically, realistically, I’m a live performer and want to play onstage for the people and not make records that may sound really good [a song and dance man]

I was always more tied up with the Beat Movement, I don’t know what the hippie movement was all about, that was a media thing, I think

Well yeah, it’s like all the artists have had their periods right, and that they’ve changed. Most people in history that have done anything at all have always been put down. So it don’t bother me a bit. I don’t care what people say. Whether I’m an artist, or a musician, or a poet, or a songwriter or just anything…”

bob dylan 1979

1979

Songs

Man’s ego is inflated, his laws are outdated, they don’t apply no more
You can’t rely no more to be standin’ around waitin’
In the home of the brave
Jefferson turnin’ over in his grave
Fools glorifying themselves, trying to manipulate Satan
And there’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend
~Slow Train

Precious angel, you believe me when I say
What God has given to us no man can take away
We are covered in blood, girl, you know our forefathers were slaves
Let us hope they’ve found mercy in their bone-filled graves
~Precious Angel

They ask me how I feel
And if my love is real
And how I know I’ll make it through
And they, they look at me and frown
They’d like to drive me from this town
They don’t want me around
’Cause I believe in you
~I Believe In You

Interviews

Bruce Heiman Interview, Hollywood, CA – 7 December 1979

Well, Christ is no religion. We’re not talking about religion… Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life.

Right. I follow God, so if my followers are following me, indirectly they’re gonna be following God too because I don’t sing any song which hasn’t been given to me by the Lord to sing.

Well, this ideology isn’t my ideology either. My ideology now would be coming out of the scripture. You see, I didn’t invent these things. These things have just been shown to me and I’ll stand on that faith, that they are true. I believe they’re true. I know they’re true.

 

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-Egil

4 thoughts on “Great Bob Dylan Quotes 1975 – 1979”

  1. Journey Through Dark Heat: “If you dont think there’s a price for this sweet paradise, then just remind me to show you the scars”

    and the last verse too … its a great song – so evocative of where he was at the time ….

  2. “…Yeah, that poet from the 13th century… Plutarch. Is that his name…”

    That’s got to me Petrarch, given the closeness to “Plutarch,” and that he lived in the first half of the fourteenth century–close enough–and was Italian.

    Plutarch was Greek, and lived in the first century.

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