Bob Dylan has been accused of lifting some of his lyrics from other sources and not properly attributing them. He doesn’t much care what you think about that, though.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Dylan lashes out at those critics, noting that quotation is “a rich and enriching tradition” in folk and jazz music.
“That certainly is true,” Dylan tells the magazine. “It’s true for everybody, but me. There are different rules for me.”
Critics have noted that lyrics on his 2001 record “Love and Theft” include phrases that echo lines in “Confessions of a Yakuza,” a 1995 biography of a Japanese gangster. He faced similar charges with his 2006 album “Modern Times,” which contains phrases similar to those of a Civil War-era poet named Henry Timrod.
“As far as Henry Timrod is concerned, have you even heard of him?” Dylan says. “Who’s been reading him lately? And who’s pushed him to the forefront? Who’s been making you read him? And ask his descendants what they think of the hoopla. And 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 pussies complain about that stuff. It’s an old thing — it’s part of the tradition.”
He continues, “These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history! If you think you’ve been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way equitable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified. All those evil motherf***ers can rot in hell.”
The new issue of Rolling Stone, with Dylan on the cover, hits newsstands Friday (Sept. 14).