In a new, wide-ranging interview with author Bill Flanagan, Bob Dylan gets candid on an impressively wide range of topics, from meeting Frank Sinatra, to his favorite recent Iggy Pop album, skipping a recording session with Elvis and why he keeps releasing standards collections. The chat, ostensibly timed to coincide with the March 31 release of Dylan’s triple-album of covers, Triplicate, is a rare peek behind the curtain of one of rock’s most consistently unpredictable legends.
One of the most fascinating bits comes early on when Flanagan asks Dylan about the time he and Bruce Springsteen were invited to a dinner party at Sinatra’s house and whether Bob thought Frank had ever heard his songs.
“Not really,” Dylan says. “I think he knew ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’’ and ‘Blowin’ In the Wind.’ I know he liked ‘Forever Young,’ he told me that. He was funny, we were standing out on his patio at night and he said to me, ‘You and me, pal, we got blue eyes, we’re from up there,’ and he pointed to the stars. ‘These other bums are from down here.’ I remember thinking that he might be right.”
Like all of us, Dylan says he’s been hit hard over the past couple of years by the deaths of such icons as Muhammad Ali, Merle Haggard, Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell. “We were like brothers,” he says of the fallen legends. “We lived on the same street and they all left empty spaces where they used to stand. It’s lonesome without them.”
But when asked why he rarely hangs out with his opening acts or co-headliners at shows — often to their dismay — Dylan was, well, Dylan. “Beats me — why would they want to hang out with me anyway?” he says. “I hang out with my band on the road.”
The clearer answer, though, comes a short time later, when Dylan is asked if who among the presidents, kings, popes, movie stars and Beatles in his audiences over the years have ever made him nervous. “All of them,” he says.
SOURCE: Gil Kaufman