For the past decade or so, there has been a certain amount of criticism of Bob Dylan for borrowing quotes and anecdotes, lifting lines from a book on the Yakuza, and re-contextualizing obscure poets. For the most part, Dylan hasn't commented on any of it—but in a new interview, he tells his critics exactly how he feels: "Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff. It's an old thing—it's part of the tradition," Dylan told Rolling Stone. "It goes way back. These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history!...All those evil motherfuckers can rot in hell."
Here's the full quote:
Oh, yeah, in folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition. That certainly is true. It's true for everybody, but me. There are different rules for me. And as far as Henry Timrod is concerned, have you even heard of him? Who's been reading him lately? And who's pushed him to the forefront? Who's been making you read him? And ask his descendants what they think of the hoopla. And if you think it's so easy to quote him and it can help your work, do it yourself and see how far you can get. Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff. It's an old thing - it's part of the tradition. It goes way back. These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history! If you think you've been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way equitable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified. All those evil motherfuckers can rot in hell.
The new issue of the magazine—with Dylan on the cover—comes out this Friday, but bits and pieces have already made their way online. And there are plenty of highlights, including Dylan discussing John Lennon, Bono and Bruce Springsteen; what he thought about I'm Not There and Masked And Anonymous; being picked up by New Jersey police in 2009; slavery ("If slavery had been given up in a more peaceful way, America would be far ahead today."); and about being "transfigured" around the time of his 1966 motorcycle accident.
Here are some highlights from it:
- On Springsteen and Bono: "I love Bruce like a brother. He's a powerful performer, unlike anybody. I care about him deeply. U2 is a force to be reckoned with. Bono's energy has far reaching effects, and in some ways, he's his own tempest."
- On I'm Not There:"All I know is they licensed about 30 of my songs for it...I thought it was all right. Do you think that the director was worried that people would understand it or not? I don't think he cared one bit. I just think he wanted to make a good movie. I thought it looked good, and those actors were incredible. "
- On Masked & Anonymous: "Whatever vision I had for that movie, that never could've carried to the screen. When you want to make a film and you're using outside money, there's just too many people you have to listen to...I'm glad some people like it. I know people who do. There's some good performances in there. John Goodman. Isn't he great? And Jessica Lange. Everybody was really good in it, everybody expect me. Ha-ha! I had no business being in it, to tell you the truth. What's her name, Cate Blanchett, should've played the character I played. Probably would have been hit movie. "
- On "Chronicles 2:" "I hope so, I'm always working on parts of it. The last one I did all by myself, I'm not really so sure I had a proper editor...I don't really want to say too much about that. But it's a lot of work. I don't mind writing it, but it's the rereading it and the time it takes to reread it, that for me is difficult. "
- About his new album, Tempest: "People have a simplistic way identifying something—like mortality. Oh, like 'These songs must be about mortality, isn't Dylan an old guy? He must be thinking about that.' You know what I say to that horseshit? I say these idiots don't know what they're talking about. Go find somebody else to pick on."