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Bob Dylan Gives Press Conference in San Francisco

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What do you think of people who analyze your songs?
I welcome them – with open arms.

The University of California mimeographed all the lyrics from the last album and had a symposium discussing them. Do you welcome that?
Oh, sure. I'm just kinda sad I'm not around to be a part of it.

Josh Dunson in his new book implies that you have sold out to commercial interests and the topical song movement. Do you have any comment sir?
Well, no comments, no arguments. No, I sincerely don't feel guilty.

Photos: Bob Dylan Captured at Home and on the Scene

If you were going to sell out to a commercial interest, which one would you choose?
Ladies garments.

Bob, have you worked with any rock 'n roll groups?
Uh, professionally?

Or just sitting in or on concert tours with them.
No, no, I don't usually play too much.

Do you listen to other people's recordings of your songs?
Sometimes. A few of them I've heard. I don't really come across it that much though.

Is it a strange experience?
No, It's like a, more or less like a, heavenly kind of thing.

What do you think of Joan Baez' interpretations of your earlier songs?
I haven't heard her latest album, or her one before that. I heard one. She does 'em all right, I think.

What about Donovan's "Colors" and his things? Do you think he's a good poet?
Ehh. He's a nice guy, though.

I'm shattered.
Well, you needn't be.

Are there any young folksingers you would recommend that we hear?
I'm glad you asked that. Oh, yeah, there's the Sir Douglas Quintet, I think are probably the best that are going to have a chance of reaching the commercial airways. They already have with a couple of songs.

What about Paul Butterfield?
They're good.

Mr. Dylan you call yourself a completely disconnected person.
No, I didn't call myself that. They sort of drove those words in my mouth. I saw that paper.

How would you describe yourself? Have you analyzed . . .
I certainly haven't. No.

Mr. Dylan, I know you dislike labels and probably rightfully so, but for those of us well over thirty, could you label yourself and perhaps tell us what your role is?
Well, I'd sort of label myself as "well under thirty." And my role is to just, y'know, to just stay here as long as I can.

Phil Ochs wrote in Broadside that you have twisted so many people's wigs that he feels it becomes increasingly dangerous for you to perform in public.
Well, that's the way it goes, you know. I don't, I can't apologize certainly.

Did you envision the time when you would give five concerts in one area like this within ten days?
No. This is all very new to me.

If you were draftable at present, do you know what your feelings might be?
No. I'd probably just do what had to be done.

What would that be?
Well, I don't know, I never really speak in terms of "what if" y'know, so I don't really know.

Are you going to participate in the Vietnam Day Committee demonstration in front of the Fairmont Hotel tonight.
No, I'll be busy tonight.

You planning any demonstrations?
Well, we thought – one. I don't know if it could be organized in time.

Would you describe it?
Uh – well it was a demonstration where I make up the cards you know, they have – uh – they have a group of protesters here – uh – perhaps carrying cards with pictures of the Jack of Diamonds on them and the Ace of Spades on them. Pictures of mules, maybe words and – oh maybe about 25 - 30,000 of these things printed up and just picket, carry signs and picket in front of the post office.

Iconic Rock Shots of Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash and More

What words?
Oh, words: "camera", "microphone" – "loose" – just words – names of some famous people.

Do you consider yourself a politician?
Do I consider myself a politician? Oh, I guess so. I have my own party though.

Does it have a name?
No. There's no presidents in the party – there's no presidents, or vice presidents, or secretaries or anything like that, so it makes it kinda hard to get in.

Is there any right wing or left, wing in that party?
No. It's more or less in the center – kind of on the Uppity scale.

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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