Bob Dylan Shares Fascinating New Interview, Triplicate Streams

At this late date, new Bob Dylan interviews are about as rare as Bigfoot sightings. But Dylan is getting ready to release his new album Triplicate. It’s his third album of standards — most of them made famous by Frank Sinatra — in three years. That means he’s made five CDs’ worth of Sinatra covers since 2015, and I guess that merited some kind of public statement. Dylan’s website has just shared a long, wide-ranging conversation between Dylan and writer Bill Flanagan. And as you’d expect with a Dylan interview, it is full of gems.

Here’s Dylan on why he felt like he needed to drop a third album of old standards: “I realized there was more to it than I thought, that both of those records together only were part of the picture, so we went ahead and did these.”

Here’s Dylan on what he imagines his fans will think of these albums: “These songs are meant for the man on the street, the common man, the everyday person. Maybe that is a Bob Dylan fan, maybe not, I don’t know.”

Here’s Bob Dylan on his memories of World War II: “I was born in Duluth – industrial town, ship yards, ore docks, grain elevators, mainline train yards, switching yards. It’s on the banks of Lake Superior, built on granite rock. Lot of fog horns, sailors, loggers, storms, blizzards.”

Here’s Dylan on what he sees when he watches old footage of himself performing: “I see Nat King Cole, Nature Boy – a very strange enchanted boy, a terribly sophisticated performer, got a cross section of music in him, already postmodern. That’s a different person than who I am now.”

Here’s Dylan on whether he picks vocal approaches like an actor playing a role: “An actor playing a role? Like who? Scatman Crothers? George C. Scott? Steve McQueen? It would probably be more like a method actor, whatever a method actor is. Remembrance of things past, I do that all the time.”

Here’s Dylan on the time he met Sinatra: “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.”

Here’s Dylan on early rock ‘n’ roll: “Rock and roll was a dangerous weapon, chrome plated, it exploded like the speed of light, it reflected the times, especially the presence of the atomic bomb which had preceded it by several years. Back then people feared the end of time. The big showdown between capitalism and communism was on the horizon. Rock and roll made you oblivious to the fear, busted down the barriers that race and religion, ideologies put up. We lived under a death cloud; the air was radioactive. There was no tomorrow, any day it could all be over, life was cheap… Jerry Lee Lewis came in like a streaking comet from some far away galaxy. Rock and roll was atomic powered, all zoom and doom. It didn’t seem like an extension of anything but it probably was.”

Here’s Dylan on why he never spends any time with his opening acts: “Beats me — why would they want to hang out with me anyway? I hang out with my band on the road.”

Here’s Dylan on what TV shows he watches when he’s on his bus: “I Love Lucy, all the time, non-stop.”

Meanwhile, NPR has posted a stream of 10 of the 30 songs from Triplicate, drawing from across all three discs. Check it out below:

Triplicate is out 3/31 on Columbia. Read the full interview here.

Tags: Bob Dylan