Mikal Gilmore interviewed Bob Dylan for the latest issue of Rolling Stone, and spent quite a bit of time trying to get Dylan to go political. The results are vintage Dylan. Since the issue is not yet online, we will have to use Reason’s report:
Then Gilmore gets more direct: what does Dylan think of Obama? Dylan first deflects with: “You should be asking his wife what she thinks of him.” It’s great Dylan–sly, human, trying to focus from the fuzzy big picture to what matters: man and woman, husband and wife. Then: “He loves music. He’s personable. He dresses good. What the **** do you want me to say?”
Gilmore wants you to say you love your president, Bob. Gilmore follows that up with: “Would you like to see him re-elected?” Bob: I’ve lived through a lot of presidents. You have too! Some are re-elected and some aren’t. Being re-elected isn’t the mark of a great president.”
Gilmore thinks he’s got him. Dylan, on the night of Obama’s inauguration, was performing and said from stage: “It looks like things are gonna change now.” Remember that, Bob? Stop being such a churl! Admit you love Obama!!
Dylan won’t have it. Sure, he said that, but: “Did I go down to the middle of town and give a speech?….I don’t know what I could have meant by that. You say things sometimes, you don’t know what the hell you mean….I’m not going to deny what I said, but I would have hoped that things would’ve changed. I certainly hope they have.”
Gilmore gives up with a final: “I get the impression…that you’re reluctant to say much about the president or how he’s been criticized.”
Do you think?
Gilmore is either just an idiot, or an idiot who did not do much research to prepare for this interview. As Dylan made it clear in this performance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, he is not going to be a tool for anyone’s agenda. And yes, there are boos in the background of this wonderful rendition of “Maggie’s Farm”:
While Dylan is (like all of us) far from perfect, he nails it in this song: I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.