Bob Dylan Chats With AARP for First Interview In Three Years
It's been nearly three years since Bob Dylan has given a proper interview, but today (Jan. 22), he breaks his silence with none other than 'AARP the Magazine,' the official publication for the organization formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons.
While chatting with Robert Love, editor-in-chief of 'The Magazine,' Dylan opens up about his new album, 'Shadows In the Night,' what it means to be mentioned in the same sentence as Frank Sinatra, music he listened to growing up and more.
While most of the music world understands that 'Shadows In the Night' is essentially an album of Dylan covering songs that were made famous by Sinatra, Love seemed surprise to learn about this -- which led to an early question, "Was [Sinatra] on your mind?"
"Frank's got to be on your mind," Dylan explains. "He is the mountain. That's the mountain you have to climb, even if you only get part of the way there." But as far as being compared to Sinatra, Dylan wastes no breath: "You must be joking. To be mentioned in the same breath as him must be some sort of high compliment ... nobody touches him. Not me or anyone else."
He also doesn't take himself or this album too seriously. When asked if he thinks it's risky to do an album like 'Shadows In the Night,' Dylan wonders if it's risky in the same way that "walking across a field laced with land mines" or "working in a poison gas factory" is risky. He admits, "There's nothing risky about making records."
As for music he listened to while growing up, fans won't be too be surprised to hear about his early influences:
Early on, before rock ’n’ roll, I listened to big band music: Harry James, Russ Columbo, Glenn Miller. But up north, at night, you could find these radio stations that played pre-rock ’n’ roll things — country blues. You could hear Jimmy Reed. Then there was a station out of Chicago, played all hillbilly stuff. We also heard the Grand Ole Opry. I heard Hank Williams way early, when he was still alive ...
... Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis. They played this type of music that was black and white. Extremely incendiary. Your clothes could catch fire.
Dylan even opens up about the industry he's been in for more than 50 years. "The business end of the record -- it's none of my business," he quips. "I sure hope it sells, and I would like people to listen to it. But the way people listen to music has changed, and I hope they get a chance to hear all the songs in one way or another. But! I did record those songs, believe it or not, in that same order that you hear them ... there's no mixing. That's just the way it sounded. No dials, nothing enhanced, nothing -- that's it."
Throughout the rest of the interview, Dylan discusses what he's "seeing from the stage," how he protected his family by going into seclusion, touching and holding happiness (seriously), and how most of AARP's readers will like his new record. "If it was up to me, I'd give you the records for nothing and you give them to every [reader of your] magazine," Dylan says.
You can check out the extensive interview here -- and if you ever run into the opportunity of chatting with Dylan, keep these final thoughts in mind:
The last time I did an interview, the guy wanted to know about everything except the music. People have been doing that to me since the ’60s — they ask questions like they would ask a medical doctor or a psychiatrist or a professor or a politician. Why? Why are you asking me these things?
Dylan's 'Shadows In the Night' hits the streets on Feb. 3 via Columbia. Pre-order the digital, CD and vinyl versions of the LP at this location.
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