Dylan is rarely concerned about sounding polite, and he says things, but he sometimes makes them up. He also contradicts himself, answers questions with questions, rambles, gets hostile, goes laconic, and generally bewilders. What makes it truly frustrating is that, somewhere in the stream of inconsequence and obstreperousness, there are usually a few nuggets of gold. The nuggets make interviewers think that the other stuff must be a put-on, that Dylan could speak with the tongue of angels all the time if he wanted to, and this makes them press harder, hoping that the next question will break through the misdirection and resistance, and the man in front of them will turn into “Bob Dylan.” Since there is nothing Dylan likes less than being mistaken for “Bob Dylan” — “If I wasn’t Bob Dylan, I’d probably think that Bob Dylan has a lot of answers,” he once said — this is not a productive interview dynamic.(Yeah, 2 of 3 posts so far this morning are about Bob Dylan. I can't help what washes up with the tide any given morning.)
August 28, 2006
"The trouble with Elvis was that he had very little to say; he was mainly concerned about sounding polite."
So you wouldn't want to read a big book of Elvis interviews, quips Louis Menand, who's saying a big book of Dylan interviews isn't much better: