Bob Dylan discusses George Floyd, John Prine, Little Richard & more in rare interview
Bob Dylan's first new album of original songs in eight years, Rough and Rowdy Ways, comes out next week (June 19 via Columbia), and he gave a rare interview to The New York Times to discuss the album. He also spoke about George Floyd. "It sickened me no end to see George tortured to death like that," Dylan said. "It was beyond ugly. Let’s hope that justice comes swift for the Floyd family and for the nation."
He also spoke about the recent deaths of John Prine and Little Richard, and when asked if he listened to their music after they passed as a kind of tribute, Dylan replied:
Both of those guys were triumphant in their work. They don’t need anybody doing tributes. Everybody knows what they did and who they were. And they deserve all the respect and acclaim that they received. No doubt about it. But Little Richard I grew up with. And he was there before me. Lit a match under me. Tuned me into things I never would have known on my own. So I think of him differently. John came after me. So it’s not the same thing. I acknowledge them differently.
Dylan also discussed Robert Johnson ("Robert was one of the most inventive geniuses of all time... He was so far ahead of his time that we still haven’t caught up with him"), Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk, and much more. And he gave some rare insight into his much-talked-about, 17-minute song "Murder Most Foul":
There is a lot of apocalyptic sentiment in “Murder Most Foul.” Are you worried that in 2020 we’re past the point of no return? That technology and hyper-industrialization are going to work against human life on Earth?
Sure, there’s a lot of reasons to be apprehensive about that. There’s definitely a lot more anxiety and nervousness around now than there used to be. But that only applies to people of a certain age like me and you, Doug. We have a tendency to live in the past, but that’s only us. Youngsters don’t have that tendency. They have no past, so all they know is what they see and hear, and they’ll believe anything. In 20 or 30 years from now, they’ll be at the forefront. When you see somebody that is 10 years old, he’s going to be in control in 20 or 30 years, and he won’t have a clue about the world we knew. Young people who are in their teens now have no memory lane to remember. So it’s probably best to get into that mind-set as soon as we can, because that’s going to be the reality.
As far as technology goes, it makes everybody vulnerable. But young people don’t think like that. They could care less. Telecommunications and advanced technology is the world they were born into. Our world is already obsolete.
You can read the full interview at the NY Times.
In related news, D.A. Pennebaker's classic Dylan film Don't Look Back is one of the many music movies on HBO Max.
Dylan also just posted the tracklist for his new album, which you can see below.
1. I Contain Multitudes
2. False Prophet
3. My Own Version of You
4. I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You
5. Black Rider
6. Goodbye Jimmy Reed
7. Mother of Muses
8. Crossing the Rubicon
9. Key West
10. Murder Most Foul