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Bob Dylan Gives Press Conference in San Francisco, Part II

The second half of the interview Dylan gave in 1965 at KQED

Bob Dylan
Fiona Adams/Redferns
January 20, 1968

This is the second half of a press conference Bob Dylan gave when he was in San Francisco in the winter of 1965. It was one of his rare press conferences, one which was televised and is reprinted here in its entirety. The first part of the Bob Dylan conference can be gotten by sending $0.25 to "Dylan Interview, Rolling Stone, 746 Brannan Street, San Francisco, Calif. 94103."

Of all the people who record your compositions, who do you feel does the most justice to what you're trying to say?
I think Manfred Mann. They've done the songs – they've done about three or four. Each one of them has been right in context with what the song was all about.

What's your new album about?
Oh, it's about, uh – just about all kinds of different things – rats, balloons. They're about the only thing that come to my mind right now.

Previously Unseen Bob Dylan Lyrics From 1965

Mr. Dylan, how would you define folk music?
As a constitutional re-play of mass production.

Would you call your songs "folk songs?"
No.

Are protests songs "folk songs"?
I guess, if they're a constitutional re-play of mass production.

Do you prefer songs with a subtle or obvious message?
With a what???

A subtle or obvious message?
Uh – I don't really prefer those kinds of songs at all – "message" – you mean like – what songs with a message?

Well, like "Eve of Destruction" and things like that.
Do I prefer that to what?

I don't know, but your songs are supposed to have a subtle message.
Subtle message???

Well, they're supposed to.
Where'd you hear that?

In a movie magazine?
Oh, – Oh God! Well, we won't – we don't discuss those things here.

Are your songs ever about real people?
Sure they are, they're all about real people.

Particular ones?
Particular people? Sure, I'm sure you've seen all the people in my songs – at one time or another.

Who is Mr. Jones?
Mr. Jones, I'm not going to tell you his first name. I'd get sued.

What does he do for a living?
He's a pinboy. He also wears suspenders.

How do you explain your attraction?
Attraction to what?

Your attraction – your popularity – your mass popularity.
No, no. I really have no idea. That's the truth, I always tell the truth. That is the truth.

Photos: Bob Dylan Captured at Home and on the Scene

What are your own personal hopes for the future and what do you hope to change in the world?
Oh, my hopes, for the future: to be honest, you know, I don't have any hopes for the future and I just hope to have enough boots to be able to change them. That's all really, it doesn't boil down to anything more than that. If it did, I would certainly tell you.

What do you think of a question and answer session of this type (with you as the principal subject)?
Well, I think we all have different – uh – (I may have dropped an ash on myself somewhere – you'll see in a minute here) – I'm not going to say anything about it though – uh – What was the question?

What are you thinking about right now?
I'm thinking about this ash.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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