There’s long been a tense history between Bob Dylan and his critics–many a video show him icily staring down journalists who have the nerve to ask him a critical question. Perhaps the most famous case involves an English fan shouting “Judas!” at Dylan in 1966 after he had gone electric.
The singer has largely refrained from taking his critics head-on, but in a new Rolling Stone interview, we get some testy words from the 71-year-old. The interviewer presses Dylan about “stealing” ideas from other sources:
Oh, 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…Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff. It’s an old thing – it’s part of the tradition. It goes way back. These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history! If you think you’ve been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? 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 motherfuckers can rot in hell.
Incidentally, Dylan’s new album Tempest is garnering somewhat favorable reviews. Wouldn’t want to meet him on a dark street these days…