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Bob Dylan Talks: A Raw and Extensive First Rolling Stone Interview

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Princes and princesses? [Laughs].
Well, not princesses, [laughs] but presidents [laughs] and people like that.

What is the nature of your acquaintance with John Lennon?
Oh, I always love to see John. Always. He's a wonderful fellow . . . and I always like to see him.

He said that the first time that you met, in New York, after one of the concerts or something like that, it was a very uptight situation.
It probably was, yes. Like, you know how it used to be for them. They couldn't go out of their room. They used to tell me you could hardly get in to see them. There used to be people surrounding them, not only in the streets, but in the corridors in the hotel. I should say it was uptight.

How often have you seen them subsequently?
Well, I haven't seen them too much recently.

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What do you think of the bed-ins for Peace? Him and Yoko.
Well, you know . . . everybody's doing what they can do. I don't mind what he does, really . . . I always like to see him.

Do you read the current critics? The music critics, so-called "rock & roll writers?"
Well I try to keep up. I try to keep up-to-date . . . I realize I don't do a very good job in keeping up to date, but I try to. I don't know half the groups that are playing around now. I don't know half of what I should.

Are there any that you've seen that you dig?
Well I haven't seen any.

I mean like Traffic, and . . .
See, I never saw Traffic . . . I never even saw Cream. I feel bad about those things, but what can I do?

See them? [Laughs.]
Well, I can't now. I'm going to see this new group, called Blind Faith. I'm going to make it my duty to go see them . . . 'cause they'll probably be gone [laughter] in another year or so. So I'd better get up there quick and see them.

Do you like Stevie Winwood singing?
Oh sure, sure . . . Stevie Winwood, he came to see us in Manchester. Last time we were in Manchester . . . that was 1966. Or was it Birmingham? His brother – he's got a brother named Muff – Muff took us all out to see a haunted house, outside of Manchester, or Birmingham, one of those two. Or was it Newcastle? Something like that. We went out to see a haunted house, where a man and his dog was to have burned up in the 13th century. Boy, that place was spooky. That's the last time I saw Stevie Winwood.

Have you been listening to his have you heard the Traffic records? The stuff that he's been doing lately?
I heard them doing "Gimme Some Lovin'"; I love that. I didn't get all the names . . . after that. I seem to recall hearing a Traffic record. I know I've heard the Traffic . . . the group, Traffic, on the radio. I've heard that.

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Have you heard the San Francisco bands?
Jefferson Airplane? Quicksilver Messenger Service. Yeah, I've heard them. The Grateful Dead.

Do you like them?
Yeah, sure do.

Is there anything happening on the current rock & roll scene that strikes you as good?
Yeah, I heard a record by Johnny Thunder. It's called "I'm Alive." Never heard it either, huh? Well, I can't believe it. Everyone I've talked to, I've asked them if they've heard that record.

Is it on the radio right now?
I don't know. I heard it on the radio a month ago, two months ago . . . three months ago. It was one of the most powerful records I've ever heard. It's called "I'm Alive." By Johnny Thunder. Well, it was that sentiment, truly expressed. That's the most I can say . . . if you heard the record, you'd know what I mean. But that's about all . . .

Do you like the stuff that Ray Stevens is doing?
Oh, I've always liked Ray Stevens. Sure.

Have you had occasion to go to Memphis, you know, when you're down there . . . or Muscle Shoals or Pensacola, any of the great musical centers of the South?
No, I've never been in any of the recording studios there.

Have you ever met Ray Stevens?
Uh, I've been in the same building with Ray Stevens, He was behind another door . . . but I've never met him; I've never shook his hand. No.

I don't want to get nosy or get into your personal life . . . but there was a series recently in the Village Voice, about your growing up, living and going to high school. Did you read that series?
Yeah I did. At least, I read some of it.

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Was it accurate?
Well, it was accurate as far as this fellow who was writing it . . . this fellow . . . I wouldn't have read it if I thought . . . he was using me to write his story. So I feel a little unusual in this case, 'cause I can see through this writer's aims. But as far as liking it or disliking it, I didn't do neither of those things. I mean it's just publicity from where I am. So if they want to spend six or seven issues writing about me [laughs] . . . as long as they get it right, you know, as long as they get it in there, I can't complain.

You must have some feelings about picking up a newspaper that has a hundred thousand circulation and seeing that some guy's gone and talked to your parents and your cousins, and uncles . . .
Well, the one thing I did . . . I don't like the way this writer talked about my father who has passed away. I didn't dig him talking about my father and using his name. Now that's the only thing about the article I didn't dig. But that boy has got some lessons to learn.

What did he say?
That don't matter what he said. He didn't have no right to speak about my father, who has passed away. If he wants to do a story on me, that's fine. I don't care what he wants to say about me. But to uhh . . . I got the feeling that he was taking advantage of some good people that I used to know and he was making fun of a lot of things. I got the feeling he was making fun of quite a few things . . . this fellow, Toby. You know what I mean, Jann? Soooo . . . we'll just let that stand as it is . . . for now.

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