Images don’t hang anybody [i.e. in the new audience] up. Like if there’s an astrologer with a criminal record in one of my songs it’s not going to make anybody wonder if the human race is doomed. Images are taken at face value and it kind of freed me up.
In what way?
Well for instance, if there are shadows and flowers and swampy ledges in a composition, that’s what they are in their essence. There’s no mystification. That’s one way I can explain it.
Like a locomotive, a pair of boots, a kiss or the rain?
Right. All those things are what they are. Or pieces of what they are. It’s the way you move them around that makes it work.
The image with the crooked astrologer is hilarious. The sad thing about it is that I can imagine that it is not just a hypothetical example exaggerated out of proportions. That at times, that’s what it’s been like to be Dylan. If it’s true that his project in the early nineties was to get that monkey off his shoulder, that’s quite understandable. I almost feel sorry for him, that poor Voice of a Generation.
The whole interview is a nice read. Highly recommended.