In a rare interview, Bob Dylan has revealed that he’s a fan of Eminem and Wu-Tang Clan, praising the two rap acts alongside a host of other musicians.
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The Wall Street Journal interview was published yesterday (December 19), and features the singer-songwriter discussing a range of topics from the rise of technology and streaming to his favourite television shows. When questioned about how he discovers new music, Dylan said it arrives “mostly by accident”, before listing more than 20 musicians who he’s been listening to of late.
Among the cohort was Eminem and Wu-Tang Clan, both of whom Dylan said he is “a fan of”. The singer-songwriter praised both for their “feeling for words and language”, saying he enjoys “anybody whose vision parallels mine.” Also included in that praise were Royal Blood, Celeste, Leonard Cohen, Rag N’ Bone Man and Nick Cave.
Dylan previously mentioned Eminem in a 2001 interview with Time. Dylan revealed that he hadn’t listened to much of Eminem’s music, but said that the rapper was “doing something right.” He continued: “I almost feel like if anything is controversial, the guy’s gotta be doing something right.”
Aside from the aforementioned musicians, Dylan also mentioned a range of what he called more “obscure artists”, saying he’s been listening to the likes of bandleader Tiny Hill, saxophonist Teddy Edwards and guitarist Teddy Bunn, all of whom were most active during the 1940s to 1960s. Dylan also referenced musicians like Ella Fitzgerald, Brenda Lee and Janice Martin, the last of whom he described as “the female Elvis.”
Of the artists who he has seen live, Dylan recalled attending two Metallica performances, in addition to concerts by Oasis and Klaxons. The singer went on to reveal that he’s “made special efforts” to see Jack White and Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner. Later in the interview, Dylan said The Beatles drummer Ringo Starr is “not a bad singer, and he’s a great musician”, and referred to composers like Hans Zimmer as “a new kind of superstar”.
Accounting for this broad range of musicians, Dylan went on to discuss his favourite genres, saying he listens to “an abundance of them.” The singer cited country blues, western swing, hillbilly, and bluegrass among the genres he listens to. “Music historians would say when you mix it all up it’s called Rock and Roll”, he said. “I guess that would be my favorite genre.”
Dylan also discussed the impact of streaming and social media on today’s music landscape, saying the ease of access to music means “there’s a sameness to everything nowadays.” He continued: “Everything’s too easy. Just one stroke of the ring finger, middle finger, one little click, that’s all it takes, and we’re there… It’s all too easy, too democratic.”
Dylan’s interview served as promotion for his recent book, The Philosophy of Modern Song, which hit shelves last month. The book courted controversy after it was revealed that Dylan had used an autopen to inscribe his signature on select copies which had been advertised as hand-signed. Both the singer and the book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, apologised for the mistake, which Dylan described as an “error in judgment”.