July 23: Bob Dylan “The Rome 2001 Interview” (audio)

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A classic interview.

Dylan entered the room fifteen minutes late, dressed in black and white and looking like a gentleman from the Old West. Those assembled were seated on sofas; Dylan sat opposite them, bolt upright on the very edge of his seat, behind a wall of microphones and tape recorders. The questions covered a wide range of topics and were not merely confined to Love and Theft. What is astonishing about this recording is the relaxed atmosphere, the ease with which Bob chats almost intimately with those gathered, and most notably, the sense that he is actually enjoying the conference, an attitude far removed from the mans notorious dislike of press interviews. The material he discusses is fascinating and offers at least a glimpse of where Bob Dylan was at at this juncture in his career something that no previously recorded interview with the man has even hinted at.

Hotel de la Ville
Rome, Italy
23 July 2001

Press conference with reporters from Austria, Britain, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Holland, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

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Basically I sing a song. I strum around on the guitar. In recorded technology, that’s called making demos. It’s no accident that other singers have had better hits with my songs than I have. That’s no accident, because they’ve sensed there’s a structure to them, and there is. I’ve never been allowed to develop that, working with slipshod producers or fakes or a bunch of nonentities. “And so be it! I was still willing to allow that to happen and I could go onstage and rectify it. So what I’m saying is that songs need structure, stratagems, codes and stability. And then you hang lyrics on them. I’m speaking here as someone who sings a song that’s written. And when we transfer all that to the stage, that’s where all that comes into play. They don’t come into play on a record ‘cos my cohorts at the time never really sought to develop any of that stuff and I can’t do it at the time of recording ‘cos the song at the time is new to me.

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5 thoughts on “July 23: Bob Dylan “The Rome 2001 Interview” (audio)”

  1. In referring to last comment by a Robert I don’t quite think that It’s simply a different “honest ” interview by Bob , but rather he tried to explain the music mechanisms he runs into with the way producers record his voice and somehow the stratagem of what he wants in the lyrics & melody are lost .
    And for a singer / songwriter who is as complex as Bob to explain his art to the journalists , ends up as a foggy translation . So no it isn’t Bob’s honesty for the first time . It’s Bob blatantly showing why answering in words why, how , when, about His music is moot .

  2. Fascinating interview in that for just about the first time Bob tells it straight in a relaxed friendly manner and he doesn’t twist the truth as he would later do, for not the first time, in his ‘Biography’ book ‘Chronicles’

  3. The interview is in July 2001, but the album wasn’t released until 9/11. These reporters really got an early peak! Did the general public get to hear many of the songs two months before the album’s release? I know that’s pretty easy to do now, but in 2001?

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