Fiona Apple discusses playing piano on Bob Dylan’s ‘Murder Most Foul’: “I’m very underqualified for this job”

"I said 'FUCK' so loud that I could hear people on the other end of the phone laughing"

Fiona Apple has discussed how she ended up appearing on Bob Dylan‘s huge 2020 track ‘Murder Most Foul’.

Apple and her frequent collaborator Blake Mills appeared on the track, which was part of Dylan’s studio album ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’.

“So I’m sitting here with [best friend] Zelda [Hallman] in February, really relaxed, and we’re about to have dinner, and I look down at my phone and see Blake Mills texting me,” Apple told Pitchfork in a new interview.

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“I hadn’t heard from Blake in months. And he’s like, ‘So I’m working on something, I can’t tell anybody about it, but we want you to come in and do something’. And I was like, ‘Um, I can’t I’m busy’.”

Fiona Apple
Fiona Apple performing live. Credit: Getty Images.

“And he was like, ‘Can I call you?’ So he called me and he goes, ‘OK, it’s Bob Dylan. Bob is asking if you will come here and record’. And I went: ‘When?’ And he went: ‘Now’. And I said ‘FUCK’ so loud that I could hear people on the other end of the phone laughing.”

Apple added that she told Mills: “I’m not trying to put myself down here, Blake, but you and I both know that I’m very underqualified for this job. There’s no point.” And he’s like, ‘He just wants you to come in to be you’ So I went in the next day. I’m only on ‘Murder Most Foul’.”

Reflecting on the opportunity, Apple said: “I couldn’t believe it. I had met him many years ago, but I don’t really know why I’m on the record. I was there a total of like seven hours. I told Bob I was really insecure about it, and he was really encouraging and nice. He was just like, “You’re not here to be perfect, you’re here to be you.

“To have Bob Dylan say that before my record came out was a huge deal for me. And I mean, this was like the one person I could have met who’s alive right now where it actually would have meant something to me as a kid.”

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Fiona Apple released her new album ‘Fetch The Bolt Cutters’ earlier this year. Giving the album a four-star review, NME wrote: “On her first record in eight years, the New Yorker teams excoriating lyrics with deliberately unrefined sounds. It’s a visceral experience.”

Apple’s song ‘Heavy Balloon’ made NME‘s list of the 50 best songs of 2020.

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