Bob Dylan: San Francisco Press Conference (1965)

dylan 1965

December 1965 | Video

Question: Do you think of yourself primarily as a singer or a poet?
Dylan: Oh, I think of myself more as a song and dance man, y’know.

That is all we really need to know. Then and now. JP


 

From Rolling Stone:

When Bob Dylan‘s five concerts in the San Francisco Bay Area were scheduled in December 1965, the idea was proposed that he hold a press conference in the studios of KQED, the educational television station.

Dylan accepted and flew out a day early to make it.

He arrived early for the press conference accompanied by Robbie Robertson and several other members of his band, drank tea in the KQED office and insisted that he was ready to talk about “anything you want to talk about.” His only request was that he be able to leave at 3 p.m. so that he could rehearse in the Berkeley Community Theater where he was to sing that night.

[Excerpt]

What do you think of people who analyze your songs?
I welcome them – with open arms.

The University of California mimeographed all the lyrics from the last album and had a symposium discussing them. Do you welcome that?
Oh, sure. I’m just kinda sad I’m not around to be a part of it.

Josh Dunson in his new book implies that you have sold out to commercial interests and the topical song movement. Do you have any comment sir?
Well, no comments, no arguments. No, I sincerely don’t feel guilty.

If you were going to sell out to a commercial interest, which one would you choose?
Ladies garments.

Bob, have you worked with any rock ‘n roll groups?
Uh, professionally?

Or just sitting in or on concert tours with them.
No, no, I don’t usually play too much.

Do you listen to other people’s recordings of your songs?
Sometimes. A few of them I’ve heard. I don’t really come across it that much though.

Is it a strange experience?
No, It’s like a, more or less like a, heavenly kind of thing.

What do you think of Joan Baez‘ interpretations of your earlier songs?
I haven’t heard her latest album, or her one before that. I heard one. She does ’em all right, I think.

What about Donovan‘s “Colors” and his things? Do you think he’s a good poet?
Ehh. He’s a nice guy, though.

I’m shattered.
Well, you needn’t be.

Are there any young folksingers you would recommend that we hear?
I’m glad you asked that. Oh, yeah, there’s the Sir Douglas Quintet, I think are probably the best that are going to have a chance of reaching the commercial airways. They already have with a couple of songs.

What about Paul Butterfield?
They’re good.

Mr. Dylan you call yourself a completely disconnected person.
No, I didn’t call myself that. They sort of drove those words in my mouth. I saw that paper.

How would you describe yourself? Have you analyzed . . . 
I certainly haven’t. No.

Mr. Dylan, I know you dislike labels and probably rightfully so, but for those of us well over thirty, could you label yourself and perhaps tell us what your role is?
Well, I’d sort of label myself as “well under thirty.” And my role is to just, y’know, to just stay here as long as I can.

Phil Ochs wrote in Broadside that you have twisted so many people’s wigs that he feels it becomes increasingly dangerous for you to perform in public.
Well, that’s the way it goes, you know. I don’t, I can’t apologize certainly.

Did you envision the time when you would give five concerts in one area like this within ten days?
No. This is all very new to me.

If you were draftable at present, do you know what your feelings might be?
No. I’d probably just do what had to be done.

What would that be?
Well, I don’t know, I never really speak in terms of “what if” y’know, so I don’t really know.

Are you going to participate in the Vietnam Day Committee demonstration in front of the Fairmont Hotel tonight.
No, I’ll be busy tonight.

You planning any demonstrations?
Well, we thought – one. I don’t know if it could be organized in time.

Would you describe it?
Uh – well it was a demonstration where I make up the cards you know, they have – uh – they have a group of protesters here – uh – perhaps carrying cards with pictures of the Jack of Diamonds on them and the Ace of Spades on them. Pictures of mules, maybe words and – oh maybe about 25 – 30,000 of these things printed up and just picket, carry signs and picket in front of the post office.

What words?
Oh, words: “camera”, “microphone” – “loose” – just words – names of some famous people.

Do you consider yourself a politician?
Do I consider myself a politician? Oh, I guess so. I have my own party though.

Does it have a name?
No. There’s no presidents in the party – there’s no presidents, or vice presidents, or secretaries or anything like that, so it makes it kinda hard to get in.

Is there any right wing or left, wing in that party?
No. It’s more or less in the center – kind of on the Uppity scale.

Do you think your party could end the war with China?
Uh – I don’t know. I don’t know if they would have any people over there that would be in the same kind of party. Y’know? It might be kind of hard to infiltrate. I don’t think my party would ever be approved by the White House or anything like that.

Is there anyone else in your party?
No. Most of us don’t even know each other, y’know. It’s hard to tell who’s in it and who’s not in it.

Would you recognize them if you see them?
Oh, you can recognize the people when you see them.

Transcript

Video


Join the Hawkins Bay Revolution. Before it is banned. Or tossed in the bonfire.

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