Rolling Stone today has an excerpt of an interview with Bob Dylan (by Jonathan Lethem) on its website. Certainly makes interesting reading and of-course you’ll want to read it all. Here’s a couple of extracts, anyway. On writing the songs that are on Modern Times:
“I’d make this record no matter what was going on in the world,” Dylan tells me. “I wrote these songs in not a meditative state at all, but more like in a trancelike, hypnotic state. This is how I feel? Why do I feel like that? And who’s the me that feels this way? I couldn’t tell you that, either. But I know that those songs are just in my genes and I couldn’t stop them comin’ out.”
And the longer version of the quote that inspired stories in a thousand newspapers yesterday and today:
“The records I used to listen to and still love, you can’t make a record that sounds that way,” he explains.
“Brian Wilson, he made all his records with four tracks, but you couldn’t make his records if you had a hundred tracks today. We all like records that are played on record players, but let’s face it, those days are gon-n-n-e. You do the best you can, you fight that technology in all kinds of ways, but I don’t know anybody who’s made a record that sounds decent in the past twenty years, really. You listen to these modern records, they’re atrocious, they have sound all over them. There’s no definition of nothing, no vocal, no nothing, just like — static. Even these songs probably sounded ten times better in the studio when we recorded ’em. CDs are small. There’s no stature to it. I remember when that Napster guy came up across, it was like, ‘Everybody’s gettin’ music for free.’ I was like, ‘Well, why not? It ain’t worth nothing anyway.'”
He also has very high praise for his current touring band, with whom he also recorded the album:
“On this record I didn’t have anybody to teach. I got guys now in my band, they can whip up anything, they surprise even me.”