I had the idea of just asking you the questions from "A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall"; Where have you been? What did you see? What did you hear? Whom did you meet? What'll you do now?
[Laughing] I'd be here the rest of my life talking to you . . . Just look outside the window at the picket fences and the pine trees. New England falls are so beautiful, aren't they? Look at those two kids playing by the train tracks. They remind me of myself. Both of them.
Did you ever lie down on the tracks?
Not personally. I once knew someone who did.
I lost track of him . . . You should describe in your interview this village we're passing through. Jonathan. It's real special. Go ahead, describe it.
There's little pond at the edge of the road . . .
. . . and here's the Stroudwater Baptist Church. We just turned the corner and are heading on down . . . I'll tell you in a minute. What do you call this kind of architecture? . . . Look at the ducks over there . . .
. . . and that little waterfall.
This is Garrison Street, we've just passed Garrison Street – probably never will again.
You're never coming back?
Oh, I bet we come back.
Clothes on the line behind that house.
Yeah, clothes on the line. Someone's frying chicken – didn't Kristofferson say something like that? You don't see this in New York City . . . well, maybe at McDonald's. [The bus pulls into the airport.] This may be our last chance to talk, Jonathan. I hope we've got it down right this time.
* * *
Let's find something to talk about.
Maybe I should ask a question that Jann Wenner, the editor of Rolling Stone, wanted to ask you.
Ask me one of his.
Okay, why are you doing this tour?
Well, why did I do the last one? I'm doing this one for the same reason I did the last one.
And what reason was that?
It was for the same reason that I did the one before that. I'm doing this tour for one reason or another, but I can't remember what the reason is anymore.
Articles about the tour always mention that you're doing it for the money.
They always say that. There are more important things in the world than money. It means that to the people who write these articles, the most important thing in the world is money. They could be saying I'm doing the tour to meet girls or to see the world. Actually, it's all I know how to do. Ask Muhammad Ali why he fights one more fight. Go ask Marlon Brando why he makes one more movie. Ask Mick Jagger why he goes on the road. See what kind of answers you come up with. Is it so surprising I'm on the road? What else would I be doing in this life – meditating on the mountain? Whatever someone finds fulfilling, whatever his or her purpose is – that's all it is.
You recently said that you do new versions of your older songs because you believe in them – as if to believe in something is to make it real.
They are real, and that's why I keep doing them. As I said before, the reason for the new versions is that I've changed. You meet new people in your life, you're involved on different levels with people. Love is a force, so when a force comes in your life – and there's love surrounding you – you can do anything.
Is that what's happening to you now?
Something similar to that, yeah.
When you introduce the singers onstage as your childhood sweethearts, your present girlfriend, your former girlfriend – is that literal?
Oh, of course.
May I list the themes I found on Street Legal?
Survival, homelessness, trust, betrayal, sacrifice, exile, tyranny and victimization.
All right, those themes go through all of my songs because I feel those things. And those feelings touch me, so naturally they're going to appear in the songs.
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