“Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff. It’s an old thing,” says legendary folk musician Bob Dylan in an with interview with Rolling Stone to be published this week.
The 71-year-old musician wasn’t holding back in the explosive interview where he fought back fresh claims of plagiarism, an issue that has dogged the music icon in recent years.
According to the AP, the new allegations concern Dylan’s 35th studio album, Tempest, which went on sale on Tuesday and has been accused of liberally stealing words from other authors for use as lyrics.
But the ever defiant Dylan rejects such accusations as mis-informed, claiming that quoting or borrowing from sources as diverse as Japanese author Junichi Saga and American Civil War poet Henry Timrod was just part of being a folk musician.
“Yeah, in folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition. That certainly is true. It’s true for everybody, but me. There are different rules for me,” he said in his bitterly angry rebuttal.
The controversy is just the latest in a long string of plagiarism incidences that have been slowly eroding the credibility of one of the world’s greatest living artists.
This time last year he was accused of dishonesty and plagiarism after her opened his Asia Series art exhibition, touted as a collection of paintings and other art were “a visual journal” of Dylan’s travels “in Japan, China, Vietnam and Korea,” with “firsthand depictions of people, street scenes, architecture and landscape.”
Visitors to the exhibition noticed remarkable similarities between Dylan’s work and photographic images taken by famous photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dmitri Kessel and Léon Busy.
Michael Gray, owner of the Bob Dylan Encyclopaedia, said in a blog post after touring the exhibition that “the most striking thing is that Dylan has not merely used a photograph to inspire a painting: he has taken the photographer’s shot composition and copied it exactly.”
“He hasn’t painted the group from any kind of different angle, or changed what he puts along the top edge, or either side edge, or the bottom edge of the picture. He’s replicated everything as closely as possible.”
He continued, “that may be a (very self-enriching) game he’s playing with his followers, but it’s not a very imaginative approach to painting. It may not be plagiarism but it’s surely copying rather a lot.”
But it’s not the only issue that is a thorn in Dylans side – the man who brought us classics such as ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ and ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’ is also bitted over being labelled ‘Judas’ when he switched from his early acoustic guitar days to the electric guitar.
“Yeah, and for what?” Dylan shouts during the interview. “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.”
Dylan insisted that he was “working within my art form. It’s that simple. I work within the rules and limitations of it … It’s called songwriting. It has to do with melody and rhythm, and then after that, anything goes. You make everything yours. We all do it.”
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