When Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner flew to New York in the summer of 1969 to interview Bob Dylan, the songwriter had been out of the spotlight for three long years. In an extensive and groundbreaking interview, Dylan broke his silence on everything from drugs and the stories behind his greatest songs to why exactly he’d gone into seclusion at the height of his fame.
“Well, Jann, I’ll tell ya — I was on the road for almost five years,” Dylan said. “It wore me down. I was on drugs, a lot of things. A lot of things just to keep going, you know? And I don’t want to live that way anymore.”
He also discussed his legendary Basement Tapes sessions for the first time. ” They were just fun to do,” he said. “That’s all. They were a kick to do. Fact, I’d do it all again. You know… that’s really the way to do a recording – in a peaceful, relaxed setting – in somebody’s basement. With the windows open… and a dog lying on the floor.”
Read the entire interview here, and hear audio excerpts where Dylan discusses drugs, John Lennon, his long break between projects, touring and more.