Notes from a 2001 Press Conference: Dylan, Rome and 11 Journalists
If you’ve not yet watched Bob Dylan 1990–2006, The Never Ending Narrative, it’s a must for all Dylan fans. Though not authorized by Dylan himself, his management or his record company, it’s a perty durn good overview of the Never Ending Tour and the series of events that put his career on the trajectory that led to this year’s Nobel Prize.
One of the surprise features is a candid interview in Rome in July 2001, less than two months before the release of Love and Theft. Throughout he’s quite natural and candid, humorous and at ease with the whole tango. What follows are some of my notes from the occasion, beginning with Bob seeming to give the nod, “Let’s start. It’s time to start.”
The first question is about how the look of the band has evolved with Bob and his band dressed something akin to cowboys and playboys in suits with hats and mustaches. Is this planned or did it just happen this way?
“Well, we’re kind of dressed like people where we’re from,” Bob explains, then begins searching for words. “It’s not a fashionable statement of any kind. I’m not aware that it is.”
A woman asks how he celebrated his sixtieth birthday.
“Just in the usual way. Blew out some candles.” To the follow up he adds, “Yes, just with family.”
“Are you younger than that now?” asks another man.
“Sure hope so,” Bob replies as others in the room laugh. “Yeah, that’s the song.” More laughter. “That’s correct. You got that right.” Laughs keep rolling.
To a question about winning awards and prizes. “Yeah, I know. I’m winning a lot of stuff. It’s funny, isn’t it.” This last is a statement, not really a question. And then he’s asked a follow up about how he’d feel winning the Nobel Prize.
“I dunno,” he replied. “Who would that put me in the company of?”
“I’m not sure I really belong in that category.”
Another journalist comments on his being a legend, and how does this affect him.