Hello? I'm Bob Dylan.

"..now I'm listening to classical music "

FROM THE ITALIAN NEWSPAPER: La Repubblica 6/24/1993


The phone rings and on the other side I hear the unmistakable nasal voice of Bob Dylan saying: "Hello I'm Bob Dylan".
This is that kind of situation you would never expect to live . I have on the telephone Bob Dylan , calling from Greece , coming for a short tour in Italy in a few days (tomorrow in Naple, Pisa on Saturday , Milan on Sunday).
He tells me in Greece it's very hot but everything is going well. It's really amazing, especially considering how few interviews he gave in so many years. In Italy he granted only one interview, in Verona 1983, when he answered evasively and sarcastically to every question. The reason for this decision, considering that Dylan is followed everywhere by someone asking for an interview, will for ever remain a mystery. Anyway it's happening, he speaks very kindly though as is his style his answers are short .

The interview:

Q: Mister Dylan, in your concerts it seems that the songs, even the older ones, are changing every time. Why are you changing them so often ?

A: Time lets me find new meanings to every song, even in the older ones, and it's important to be always looking for new meanings. Yes, the body of the song remains the same but it wears new clothes.

Dylan speaks slowly and he is even intelligible, much more than he is on stage where he makes unrecognizable even his most famous lyrics.

Q: Why did you choose to make a record like "Good as I have been to you" of traditional folk songs?

A: It happened by chance.I needed a short time to record these songs; these songs are really important to me, followed me during all these years so I treated them as if they were my songs, not like covers. It took a short time, you know these are folk songs and do not need too many ornaments.

Q: So speaking of acoustic records. Is it true your going to record an "Unplugged"?

A: Yes we spoke about it, but I'm not sure I will. Maybe when it will be the moment ...it could happen.

Q: Which of your albums is your favourite one?

A: The one I still have to do!

Q: Wich is your next dream to make true?

A: Well my next musical dream is to make a record of classical music. I'm already working with a symphony orchestra...maybe one day...

Q: Don't you feel sometimes like prisoner of a veil that someone else "stuck" on you?

A: I don't mind it. Following your own way, every day looks different from the others. Yes there was a time I didn't feel understood, and it's true, it was a problem. Now I don't think about it, you know people have changed, I'm not seen the way I once was. I feel much more free, not limited.

Q: What do you think when you see religion used as a instrument of war?

A: The problem is that there is too much politics inside religion, as there has always been. It's not possible any different. Politics is everywhere.

Q:By the way, are you aware of what is happening in Italy?

A: Yes I know, politics is overflowing.

Q: And do you think the music can do anything about it?

A: It depends on which music you are speaking about. Surely music can get over every barrier!

Q: For the first time you have been on a stage for a politician, I'm speaking about Clinton, why?

A: It happened when he had already been elected. I didn't help his electoral campaign. Was it the first time ? Maybe yes, maybe no, anyway the fact is noone before invited me there.

Dylan starts speaking about when he was a child, about the difficulty of living in a family where music was frowned upon. He tells us of the first time he heard Elvis Presley. Then we speak about his tour, and a great one he will probably do together with Santana next year, the call ends kindly and we still are wondering was he really Bob Dylan?

Translation by Cuccu Alberto (sorry for any mistake). Some adjustments by Karl Erik Andersen.