To the surprise of fans and critics alike, Bob Dylan released his holiday-inspired album Christmas in the Heart last month, an unexpected first in the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's discography. Now Dylan is talking about the inspiration behind the album and responding to skeptics in a new interview posted on Street Newspaper (via Twenty Four Bit).
The first question many asked when Dylan announced Christmas in the Heart was "Isn't he Jewish?" Dylan tells SNS' Bill Flannigan that he didn't feel left out of the holiday's celebrations despite his Jewish roots growing up, and that his childhood is full of memories of "plenty of snow, jingle bells, Christmas carolers going from house to house, sleighs in the streets, town bells ringing, nativity plays." Dylan also said that he was approached in the past to do a Christmas album, but due to a glut of albums on the market he held off until now. Dylan must really be in the Christmas spirit, considering his"Must Be Santa" video marks the first time he's appeared in his own non-soundtrack music video in over a decade.
One of the highlights in the interview comes when Flannigan asks Dylan if he's heard the festive hip-hop album Christmas on Death Row, and if he listens to rap in general. "I don't listen to rap radio stations and I don't play rap songs on the jukebox, and I don't go to rap shows — So no I guess I don't listen to rap music all that much," Dylan admitted, though he did voice his respect for all the rappers out there, "I love rhyming for rhyming sake. I think that's an incredible art form."
What we also learn about Dylan: He's a last-minute gift shopper, his grandchildren don't listen to his music and his ideal Christmas dinner is "Mashed potatoes and gravy, roast turkey and collard greens, turnip greens, biscuit dressing, corn bread and cranberry sauce." Speaking of Xmas dinner, all proceeds from Christmas in the Heart benefit Feeding America, a charity that "gets food straight to the people. No military organization, no bureaucracy, no governments to deal with," Dylan says.
• Premiere: Bob Dylan's "Must Be Santa" Video From "Christmas" LP
• Bob Dylan's "Christmas in the Heart": Fricke's First Listen
• Bob Dylan's Holiday LP "Christmas in the Heart" Due October 13th