Columbia RecordsBob Dylan has been showered with plenty of critical acclaim during his half-century career, most recently for his newly-released 35th studio album, Tempest. However, he also has been the subject of derision over the years. In a new Rolling Stone interview with journalist Mikal Gilmore, the folk-rock great angrily addresses the criticism leveled at him about his use of other writers' quotes in his songs without identifying his sources.
When Gilmore notes that, "in folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition," the singer/songwriter responds, "That certainly is true. It's true for everybody, but me. There are different rules for me."
Regarding specific criticism of his use of Civil War poet Henry Timrod's writings as inspiration for songs on his 2006 album, Modern *****, Dylan declares, "Have you even heard of [Timrod]? Who's been reading him lately? And who's pushed him to the forefront?"
He adds, "If you think it's so easy to quote him and it can help your work, do it yourself and see how far you can get. Wussies and p***ies complain about that stuff."
Dylan compares these critics with the fans who scorned him in the 1960s when he began incorporating electric instruments into his music.
"These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me&****ip;the most hated name in human history!" he says. "And for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way [equivalent] to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified. All those evil motherf**kers can rot in ****."
Summing up his feelings about using other writers' work as inspiration for his compositions, Dylan insists that he's working "within the rules and limitations" of his art form. He adds that for him, songwriting "has to do with melody and rhythm, and then after that, anything goes. You make everything yours. We all do it."
You'll be able to read Rolling Stone's full interview with Dylan when the issue hits newsstands this Friday.
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