Bob Dylan's new Rolling Stone interview might be his most outlandish one yet. When asked what he thinks of people who charge him with plagiarizing song lyrics, Dylan unloaded: "Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff."
Dylan has long admitted to borrowing inspiration from old Protestant hymns or written poetry. After the release of Dylan's 2006 album Modern Times, it was shown that singer used lines and phrases from Henry Timrod, a Civil War-era poet. Since Dylan didn't credit or mention Timrod in the liner notes, however, some accused the iconic singer of plagiarizing. Dylan faced similar charges last year over some paintings that he based, without credit, on previously published photographs.
Asked about those critics by Rolling Stone, Dylan dismissed them as radical.
"These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me," he said, recalling how fans reacted to his shift from acoustic guitar to an electric one. "As if [using an electric guitar] is in some kind of way equitable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified. All those evil motherf--kers can rot in hell."
Circling back to the plagiarism charges, Dylan noted that using other influences in his work is what he considers "songwriting." While that might sound incredibly irresponsible, he's not the first folk singer-songwriter to express those opinions.
"My father used to say, ‘Most folk music is the product of plagiarism,’" legendary singer Pete Seeger said in a 1992 interview. "That’s what I learned from Woody Guthrie. You borrow a tune here, then change it a little bit. You borrow some words there. Then add to them. You don’t claim to be original.”
For more on Dylan's Rolling Stone interview, click here.
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