- Part Two -
This is the concluding part of the interview, which commenced in the last issue.
Yes, the end of ‘Masked and Anonymous’ where he’s handcuffed in the van.
Yes and I thought to myself, you know, when I had the idea of that last shot of Bob’s face in the movie, you know that image just popped into my head and I loved that image. And then when I saw ‘Don’t Look Back’ I thought “God, that’s a beautiful companion piece now”, and again, blurring that line between fiction and reality, and despite the mythological fable-like quality of the movie, there’s also a documentary-like quality to it as well. And I love that idea of blurring that line.
Everything he does is pioneering, moving to the next stage, to something different and it’s very the case with this movie you’ve made with him, it’s very pioneering.
Good, good, thank you.
Also with Jeff Bridges there is a connection to the Dylan of 65-66, these characters all representing different things at once.
Yes, yes, and those connections work on some levels and they’re more apparent on some levels than others and its there for you to favour and explore and examine and analyse.
What gave you the whole idea for the Carnivalesque feel?
It just started out with conversations about some images that we liked and slowly it began to emerge out of that.
Yes and it adds to the depth of the film the need for the viewer to be digging and always find something else, something new.
Yeah, well for some people that’s a great experience and there are people that just love to do that, and I love to do it. And I tried to make a movie that I wanted to see, ultimately, and so that’s why that exists like that.
How did it feel to be moving form the territory of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ to ‘Masked and Anonymous’?
Well it was great, it’s just an expansion of who I am. ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ taps into a lot of wonderful things and Larry David is brilliant in a very parallel way actually to Bob. I often compare them, because they’re both sort of visionaries, they can do what they do, they can’t alter their vision based on the market place. This is what they have to offer, if you like it, great, if you don’t like it, this what they have, there’s no choice in the matter.
Learning how to collaborate with Larry was good preparation for working with Bob in a lot of ways. In fact I’m about to give Larry, for Christmas, the 15 CD set.
The Remaster Series?
Yes, the Remaster Series. I’m gonna give him that, because he was not that conscious of Bob and he came to see the movie and he liked it and he liked the soundtrack, so I’m giving that as a gift.
The soundtrack itself is very clever, it has this multicultural aspect. The mixing of cultures is very apparent, That L.A., South American feel. Why did you go for that whole feel?
Well what I went for was a combination of things. First of all, I collected images photographs; journalistic photographs from third world countries for a couple of years. And I just saw similarities in them and at the same time I really spent a lot of time in downtown L.A. which is this juxtaposition of various culture, the sort of crossroads of numerous cultures, African, Spanish, Mexican, Central America, South America, Eastern European, American, poor, rich and then I would look at the these pictures of third world countries and they looked a lot like downtown Los Angeles and I started to sort of get this idea of the cacophony of this country, that if you look at one direction in Los Angeles you see Beverly hills and the beach, but if you look in the other direction it’s a third world country. This kind of weirdly cacophonous, multi-ethnic, third world country and so I loved that idea of exploring that a little bit more deeply, and then I started thinking about the cover songs in different languages and then Jeff Rosen was generous enough to just open the vaults to me and give me access to all those covers. There’s thousands and thousands of these foreign covers and I just started listening to them and some just drew you in so powerfully like the Japanese version of My Back Pages, yeah and “this is such a natural here”. It also makes a statement in the movie that people don’t realise the impact Bob Dylan has had on their lives, he’s so pervasive its almost overwhelming.
Do you have a favourite cover?
Well I think the Japanese version of ‘My Back Pages’… I was looking for a song to open the movie with and that song somehow combined the energy and the force and the power and the confusion and lucidity, it just said everything all at once to me. It really was a very inspiring moment and I recognised that could be the first song. So I love that, I really like almost all the music, there’s so much that we couldn’t put in the movie and so much we couldn’t put on the soundtrack. And again it’s amazing when you think about it that Bob has such a gigantic Japanese following, yet the difficulty of translating him into Japanese is monumental apparently, and yet there is this incredible powerful cult around him in Japan.
Well when he goes to Japan it’s always a huge thing.
It’s a huge thing yes.
My favourite is the song that is used when Fate goes to visit his mother’s grave and I think its Sertab’s ‘One More Cup of Coffee’.
Yes ‘One More Cup of Coffee’, fantastic also.
It has this real transcending feel, it rises, it has an almost synthetic, yet orchestrated feel to it.
Yes it’s very dramatic that’s one of my favourites as well. It has a dram to it a kinda Middle Eastern exoticism to it; a mystery. Again it captures the best of Bob’s music, it reinterprets it.
Even the original has that Arabic feel:
Yes, yes, it does
Was the closing song going to be ‘City of Gold’?
No. You know, again I only had a certain amount of input into the soundtrack and they felt they wanted to put some bonus tracks on that were not from the movie and I argued to put more stuff from the movie on the soundtrack. ‘City of Gold’s’ a great song, which I loved, but I felt there were also songs from the movie we couldn’t put on as well. They were pieces of songs that we used that we didn’t get to put on the soundtrack. And maybe at some point again there will be a more, quote, ‘definitive’ version of the soundtrack.
Apart from complimenting the movie, the soundtrack is also works brilliantly as separate entity, but when you listen it enhances the vision you have of the film.
It’s definitely a great album, I love the album and again you almost want more and there is a lot more out there obviously.
The soundtrack also works as a nice covers compilation.
Yes, yes, well I mean just the American stuff alone, the Jerry Garcia stuff and The Grateful Dead stuff and I mean I didn’t even bother trying to use the Jimi Hendrix version of ‘All Along The Watchtower’ or Neil Young’s ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, Neil Young does an amazing version of ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’.
Neil Yong did ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’? I've never heard that.
Ahh it’s on one of his live albums. It is absolutely breathtaking. And there’s a great version that I almost used of Bruce Springsteen doing ‘Chimes of Freedom’. That is an amazing cover and so some of the American covers that are not quite as prevalent are amazing and intense.
What were the songs you shot for the film that didn’t make the cut?
Yeah, well as I said when we filmed the music we kept the camera rolling. He was supposed to do six songs and he wound up doing 22. I think there are four of his performances on the soundtrack. So that leaves like 18 songs that I have, fully filmed. There’s probably a handful of those that are traditional songs that he reinterprets with the band.
Yeah well ‘Dixie’ was done initially as a warm-up song for whatever the next song was and it was just so stirring, it was like, “let’s film this!”
‘Dixie’ is absolutely awesome. It says so much about the film and the way it’s sung is awesome.
Yes and the theme of that song and the history of that song says so much and resonates throughout the film as well. That was again one of those happy, quote, accidents, these synchronistic moment, where it’s like wow you’re justifying the movie with this song.
Well that’s the great thing, the spontaneity, that’s where I think great art lies, on the knife edge and it’s when you take that jump the art comes through.
I agree with you totally...
What other plans for the DVD as such do you have, such as extra scenes and so forth?
Well that’s about all I know about it really. I mean again my input on things like the soundtrack and DVD are: They come to me, they ask me my opinion, I give my input, my very impassioned input and then other people make final decisions about it and I had to let go of it to some degree on that level. And I’m sure it will be very high quality. You’ll see a really high quality transfer of the high def, which is good.
What was it shot in again?
It’s called 24p. 24 frames progressive scan. Its high definition and it’s gonna look great in that format actually, so I’m happy about that. And in terms of stuff I know they’re gonna put on, there’s a lot of material that didn’t make it into the final movie, some whole scenes that were cut and in a version of the movie that eventually didn’t make it into the final version and those will be sort of added as bonus’ as well as at least one song that we shot.
Did he record ‘Standing in the Doorway’?
Yes he did and I think that will… I think that’s going to make it onto the DVD actually. Beautiful version of it…
Well it took him a few years to perform it live, so when it happened it was a big thing.
Yeah it’s a great version of it actually and also you’ll see the uncut ‘Cold Irons Bound’ which is also a stirring version of that song.
Yeah, he has a great band too.
Yeah those guys are amazing. And again even that era, kinda is over in a sense. The band has gone through some personnel changes and so it captures that period with that band which was tremendous band for him, they were just really tight, really together, really knowledgeable, and you see them as you do in the movie, musically communicating with each other through the movie.
There’s an understanding among them, as there is with the actors in the movie, an understanding of what needs to be achieved.
Right, well you have to get lucky sometimes. We had very game, risk taking people involved in the movie who were ready to commit, ready to take a leap and it produced an amazing thing you know.
Was, ‘Tryin’ To Get To Heaven’, recorded for the film? Because it was suggested in the screenplay.
‘Tryin’ To Get To Heaven’… I’m trying to remember frankly… ‘Wicked Messenger’… It may have been. I can’t remember right now... I think we did ‘Tryin’ To Get To Heaven’; yes I’m pretty sure we did it. Hold on one sec (leaves to find out)…
I think there’s a section where….
Where Luke and John are talking about it.
Yes where I believe they’re talking about life and death and applying it to ‘Drifter’s Escape’, but I think in the screenplay it applies to ‘Tryin’ To Get To Heaven’.
Yes, that’s right, I’m pretty sure. Well again it’s one the things, it’s part of the ambiguity and as Penelope says, “The songs are imprecise and open to interpretation”. And that was one of those moments yes.
The fact that in the screenplay it says ‘Tryin’ To Get To Heaven’ and you use ‘Drifter’s Escape’ is interesting, but still acceptable, because it still applies to the song.
Well, and Bob loves the idea of playing with that. I might say, “Well you know the song’s going to be fragmented” and he’d say, “Good, let’s do that then”, he’s also for fragmenting, deconstructing whatever’s constructive. “Let’s see what happens if we break it apart, lets see what happens if we turn it upside down, lets see”.
And why not?
And why not? Exactly
The film has a kind of Jazz element, its experimentative. Bob himself has that. People say he isn’t a good singer or a good musician, but if you take away what people say, he is very much a Jazz musician. He works with improvisation, with phrasing. Even his melodies… He sings his songs differently each time, does counter melodies in opposition to the original tune.
Absolutely, he phrases things differently each time, he changes his voice. He has so much more control over his music than people recognise. Even now, he’s doing this voice now, that’s a kind of wizened old mans voice. Like a Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf voice. But it is a voice.
The thing about this voice is that, the words and the music if even 30 years old, they resonate completely differently, they take on wisdom and an experience, they become convincing. The voice adds the depth that the songs only hint at.
Exactly, it changes the meaning of the song and that’s one of the things he’s always looking to do is reinvent the songs for himself, he never listens… I was with Jesse, his son one day and I was talking about how on ‘Love and Theft’ he doesn’t really play harp and that I had been listening to ‘Pledging My Time’ on ‘Blonde on Blonde’ and he does this avant-garde, Miles Davis sort of harp solo, and how brilliant that was. And Jesse says, “From the day he walked out of that recording studio for ‘Blonde on Blonde’, he has never listened to that record again”. And that’s the way he is you know, he needs to keep it fresh, keep it looking forward, don’t look back. He needs to be constantly reinventing it; he can’t get sucked into the nostalgia of it. This is the curse of Bob Dylan in a sense, in that he can’t really enjoy his music like we do, he has to be continuingly be reinventing it and that’s an interesting dilemma for him.
Dylan can do something amazing on guitar, harmonica, or be it his vocal style and then a year later, or a month later, or a week later he does something else completely different which ruins what happened previously and people will say, “Dylan cant play guitar, he cant sing”, but sometimes he can play guitar beautifully and he can sing beautifully, it depends on how you catch the moment and what he’s doing.
And I think he’s – as I was saying before – the whole thing about being misunderstood: He’s played the good guitar, he’s sung the songs nicely already, he’s done that. If you look at ‘Dont Look Back’, you see him just standing on stage, him and a guitar, he’s amazing, he can play that guitar, he can play that harmonica, he can sing the songs, hit the notes, he’s done that now, he’s looking to explore what would happen if he risks going almost off, if he risks almost getting to the edge of the expectable version of the song. What will happen, he’s curious about that process and he’s willing to risk it. And of course the audience, who loves him, is willing to go there with him you know. And cynical people who aren’t willing to go there are gonna look at it cynically and he’s learned to live with that.
Well, what you said about Miles Davis totally applies, and Joni Mitchell has said that Dylan and herself as well as Miles, are pioneers, the willingness to experiment, to change the boundaries of what it is your working within, or outside of even.
Well this is why in my opinion – look I respect deeply Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones – but they have essentially become nostalgia acts and Bob is not a nostalgia act, he is still a vital artist, recreating and creating new work all the time, night by night, and that’s one of the reasons now, over the last few years especially with this band he had, he became a great concert draw, again because I think he was inspired by groups like The Grateful Dead to come out every night and reinvent the show. So you never knew from night to night what you were gonna get.
Well this band was very important. Charlie Sexton in particular seems to work on a deeply emotional level. So he would feel the song, feel the emotion and then transcribe it, whereas Larry has all the riffs, all the clichés and all the genres and he pumps them through. He has the scientific side and then you have Charlie Sexton weaving within that. And then on the other side you have Dylan who’s on a completely different level again, totally trying to subvert it, each time.
Well watch Charlie, watch Bob during the movie and you see... Charlie really was… played a really crucial role in channelling Bob for the rest of the band and kind of waiting on Bob to see where Bob was going and then he would then almost musically explain to the band and then the band was kinda able to follow along. Charlie was a really important conduit in the band as well; because he is such an intuitive musician, that he was able to join with Bob and then he was able to also communicate that musically to the band. Tony has that also, Tony also in his way is doing the same thing.
A lot of musicians such as McCartney have to a certain extent sold out, or stay with the same mould and that’s the great thing with Bob, he doesn’t.
Well I mean look, The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney, certainly have amazing songs and it is great to hear Paul McCartney can still sing the songs like he did in 1964, it’s amazing and my hats off to him and The Rolling Stones too. I saw them recently, here in L.A. and they sounded great but they are basically recreating the records at this point and they’re not really stretching, I’d rather Paul McCartney do ten less songs and stretch… I had the same experience with John Fogarty, I went see John Fogarty about two years ago and I love John Fogarty and I'd never seen him live. He came out, he did every Creedance Clearwater song exactly as it was on the record and he did them perfectly, but when it was over you never felt you needed to see him again.
Paul Simon is very similar in that aspect.
Yes exactly, you don’t feel you’re… You feel like your getting a pre-packaged event. That if you went back next year you’d get the same thing, instead of next year maybe he’ll do a whole different set of songs, a whole different way, which is what Bob offers you. And I think that its hard for these massive acts to sort of do what Bob does, which is, really experiment and really extend his range, it’s a scary thing, a very risky thing.
Now Bob’s out of the constant media scrutiny he’s able to experiment without worrying.
Yes and have this fervent following that is willing to be there with him and be part of that with him.
Paul Simon as a live performer is very polished and in a way his style of live performance to a certain extent represents modern culture. The whole idea of consumerist culture. And the movie highlights the ridiculousness of modern culture.
Well even the idea of the protest songs that they want him to sing, we made that list, it’s the irony that these protest songs are owned by large corporations, you know, how much impact can they have? The counter culture has been co-oped. So here are these great songs, these great protest songs but they’re owned by the media conglomerates who use them to make money and there’s kind of a bitter irony to that. I think that we’re exploring there.
The film is so funny. The scene in the bar when Luke is speaking to Fred Ward and there’s a line in there.
“If you want the world to be round its round, if you want the world to be flat its flat”… “Who’s presiding over this slaughter house, me or you?”
Yes there’s that and when the guy replies with “I know some things too!”
Yeah, yeah, and then Luke says, “The more you know, the more you’ll suffer”. Which is like a mantra really, “The more you know the more you’ll suffer”, that almost explains Bob’s psyche to a large degree, he knows so much, you know, that it’s a burden to be him on a lot of levels.
That whole period from ‘Time Out Of Mind’ to the film interestingly deals with the whole essence of time; in fact time with Dylan is something that I believe hasn’t been studied enough. One of the lines Dylan says is “We try to kill time, but in the end time ends up killing us”.
Yeah well and that’s Bob, you see him exploring that theme in ‘Time Out Of Mind’ and ‘Love and Theft’ and this movie. And you see that in contrast to ‘Dont Look Back’ or ‘Highway 61’, where mortality is kind of an abstract concept. Here there’s a reality to it, a gravity – no pun intended – to it. And that’s a big difference; you’re seeing his thoughts through that prism.
The experimentation with time is something prevalent especially in ‘Time Out Of Mind’ and in particular for me in my favourite Dylan song, ‘Standing in the Doorway’ – it stops time.
Yes, that’s really true. And we talk about time and dreamtime and things like that in the movie too and we’re playing with that idea as well in the movie.
“In my dreams I’m walking through intense heat”.
Yes, and then he said, “I don’t pay any attention to my dreams”. I mean Christian Slater has a line and its been cut down now. There’s a longer version of that scene where Christian Slater says to Chris Penn, “Have you noticed when you dream a dream seems to last many hours, but only lasts a few seconds?” and Chris Penn says, “No not really”. So we’re discussing it and we’re also having fun with it at the same time, we’re playing with those ideas and exploring those ideas.
How do you feel about the scholarly response to the film?
Well I think that whether it be Andrew Motion, or Sean Wilentz or Greil Marcus, I think anybody that’s willing to step back and think about this movie and then enter into it, and dive in and explore it and wander around in it the way Bob sort of does, is gonna be rewarded with a lot of very interesting cross-references and allusions and ideas and themes that you don’t normally see in a movie and so in a lot of ways, you know, like Art Form chose it as one of their ten best films. It seems it requires people who are not working as movie critics to have the patience and time to explore the movie.
Yes the critics appear, unwilling to accept it in the long-term.
It was long-term project not meant to have a short lifespan. Like all Bob’s work it will be there, available for people to look at down the line.
Do you have a favourite Dylan song, although that’s probably a difficult question?
Yeah it really is. I was listening to ‘Hard Rain’ as I was coming in today, and I was thinking about ‘Desolation Row’, and I was also, I always loved and wanted to put in the movie, ‘The Groom’s Still Waiting At The Altar’, which is one of my favourites and another favourite of mine is from ‘The Bootleg Series’, and its called ‘Angelina’. It depends on my mood to a large degree. But those are some of the song I tend to go back to.
The songs that seem to strike you are the epics and they fit into the mould of ‘Masked and Anonymous’ in many ways.
Yes and that’s why I didn’t use more of those kinda songs in the movie. It seems superfluous almost to use ‘Desolation Row’ in this movie. There are a lot of great obscure songs. He has beautiful simple songs – the ‘Blood On The Tracks’ period – about relationships are so resonate, ‘Brownsville Girl’… I love ‘Joey’. There’s just a whole range. I love… This is a song I wanted him to do and for a long time he was going to do for the movie, was, ‘Senor’, but we wound up using the Jerry Garcia version, which has a beautiful guitar solo. So I could probably be naming favourite songs forever.
Interesting you mention ‘Brownsville Girl’, there’s supposedly a script for that somewhere.
Well there is one. I believe that Jay Cocks has written a script. I don’t know what the status of the film is, but I know that a script does exist and has been floating around and I hope that it gets made.
Are you hoping to experiment further with Bob?
Oh even as we were finishing this movie we started working on a sequel so we have been talking about that for quite some time. Whether we will get a chance to sit down and get to work on it any time soon, I’m not sure. But we talked about that not long before we finished this one… we started talking about the next one. I mean he had a great experience making the movie and I think he’d like to do it again.
Well he’s obviously found the right person to do it with.
Well we had a very good collaboration, it was very fruitful I mean the fact that we managed to get this all the way through the system and out there on the movie screen was the miracle really. That’s what I tell people.
The promotion for the film perfectly suits it also, not too much and not too little and also going on tour with the film and talking about it is also a great help.
Yes exactly. Yeah it helps contextualise it for people too, which I've been happy to do.
Of course most Dylan fans were bound to like this film but overall I think the response has been warm and receptive.
I think so, I've been very… It’s been very moving actually to be at these screenings and have people thank me for making the movie and that’s a tremendous personal experience to have and I’m grateful to Bob for giving me that chance.
At Sundance you seemed hesitant and expecting a backlash.
Yeah, but you know, it was even reported that I said, “Aren’t there any questions?” and I was even doing that with humour, and but it’s reported at a certain angle and it sounds like a totally different experience that it actually was. I mean I actually tell people and I’m quite honest about this, that Sundance was a tremendous experience. At the first screening there was so much expectation and so much backlash and so much controversy. But there were two more screenings that were also just amazing, and the audience responded tremendously to those. But those are not really reported about and I was there with Luke and a bunch of people and we went to those screenings and I talked at those screenings. Those were a little more intimate and a little less pressure on them and I almost wish we’d started that way, instead of this big centrepiece premiere with all the stars.
Bob showed up on form as usual, complete with woolly hat and a blonde wig.
Yeah, yeah. [laughs] Always masked and anonymous with him, yes.
Dylan's humour is so underplayed. Once when Dylan performed with Joni Mitchell, the press the next day said "Dylan Smiles" as if to point out that he has no sense of humour, but even when he isn’t smiling, he actually is. The straight-faced Sundance performance is proof of this.
Right, exactly, exactly. No he was having fun. The making of the movie pleased him. He enjoyed the process, he enjoyed the challenge, he enjoyed the interaction with the other actors, again he found another thing he wanted to understand and he was a quick learner obviously and really observed the lessons quickly and wound up having these amazing experiences with these other great actors.
What was it like between scenes?
Well first of all because I shot on 24p, I also was not even cutting, I was just kinda jumping on the set and making some adjustments and going back in. Maybe my most brilliant directorial touch was saying to Bob right at the beginning, “Listen, we have 20 days to shoot this movie, if you go back to the trailer after each shot, each take, the crew is just not gonna care, but if I get you a comfortable chair and you sit on the set between takes and so as the crew walks by carrying the cables, carrying the ladders, they can go “Hi Bob” and you can nod at them, these people will die for you” and he said “ok”. And so he sat on the set throughout the entire movie and never went to his trailer. So everybody who worked on the show was able to have a personal relationship with Bob and so those people then were willing to do whatever had to be done to make this a great movie, every single person on the movie, and he was just available and accessible to them and that worked out great.
The director of ‘Hearts of Fire’, tried to get a similar approach, because people normally approach Bob in a very weird and strange way and you have to get away from that problem.
Yeah right, well Bob was in a different place for this movie then he was for ‘Hearts of Fire’. And I think he was more curious and more open and there was a lot of other great actors hovering around. I mean I would walk onto the set and there would be Bob and Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange just kinda hanging out and talking and I was like “Wow! I have to do something now”. So it was just a great environment to be in, such a heightened environment.
Did he have much advice for the actors?
He would have instinctive advice about movement, he would have certain things in mind in terms of movement or the way a certain lines should be spoken occasionally and he would suggest that very, very occasionally, but normally once around the set he was an actor and did not try to impose his ideas on anybody else.
Bob’s acting I think is very natural in one sense and perhaps this is because you said. “Just be”.
Yes exactly and that’s not easy to do but he was able to do that.
There is still a layer between him and the camera, but the acting is still really great.
There’s a certain level of honesty to it that is very powerful and not typical and I think that also threw a lot of people. It’s a strange and unsettling performance
really and to most people it comes as a shock, so I think that’s why some people had some resistance to it, because again it was kind of like, “Wow this is something I don’t really understand”, it strips away everything and adds new layers at the same time.
When he’s shaving at the mirror in the trailer and Jeff Bridges comes in I think that harks back to ‘Renaldo and Clara’ in one sense where Renaldo is looking in the mirror. Very similar.
Yes, yes, absolutely. And then Jeff is looking in that mirror also and they’re both looking back at each other and reflecting on each other, almost like alter egos. A lot of that is almost Bob debating with himself in a sense. The journalist winds up being an interesting shadow figure for Jack Fate and vice versa.
Yes, there’s an underlying dialogue between them…
Yes almost like one of them is a ghost in a sense.
Who is it that plays the version of ‘Angelina’ near the end?
That’s a man named Bruce and I wanted to use the actual recording and we couldn’t make the instrumental parts work. It didn’t seem to work with the words, it got intrusive, so we had him come in and basically do an instrumental version that we were able to use and he did it in a couple of other places in the movie as well. I was very committed with trying to use actual songs from wherever, but there were a couple of places where I just couldn’t make it work, we couldn’t make the music edit work, so he was able to come in and adapt for the specific space we were talking about.
There’s also a part in the movie with a riff that sounds like ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’ as well.
Yes, that also I think… I had started with a gospel version of ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’. I think it might have been Mavis Staples actually. But as the sequences got more polished, I needed that riff and I dunno if we took the riff from the Staples song or whether Bruce did another version of that there. But, there were a couple of places where we were playing with that a lot, to fill in space in certain places and where the actual songs themselves could not be adapted and we would have to go back and create a piece based on that. Also in the hotel room when the young Jack Fate meets up with Angela Basset for the first time, we used a kinda dubbed version of ‘Political World’ there that was kinda very interesting also, that was really fun to play with.
I thought that reminded me of something.
Very, very far under the surface you’ll hear Bob’s voice going “Political world, political world”, but it’s very mixed down.
Have you ever heard ‘Farewell Angelina’.
I've heard ‘Farewell Angelina’ too which is also amazing, that was the thing, there was obviously this falling into Ali Baba’s cave or something, there’s a treasure trove and you don’t know where to start sometimes, there’s so much great stuff to choose from. I mean even the song on the jukebox in the bar; I experimented with so many different songs before I finally decided on ‘He Was a Friend of Mine’.
It almost has a crackly LP feel to it…
Yes, well it is off an LP, it’s the old version of the song that he originally did. So again I would just like instinctively put different songs up against certain images and seeing if it felt right… That wound up working great.
Did Bob ever think about recording his rarer songs and using them?
Well I mean he… We recorded so many songs that he recorded a number of older songs and redid them in his way and a lot of that stuff just didn’t end up making it into the movie. So there is a quite a bit of Bob music, that is just now in the movie right now. In fact I was just thinking as I said that, there is a rehearsal take of ‘All Along The Watchtower’. Its like an ‘All Along The Watchtower’ jam without a vocal that I didn’t find till after I finished the movie. I’d forgotten that he had done it and I thought, “God, that alone is a fantastic kind of instrumental”, almost like an Allman Brothers version of ‘All Along The Watchtower’, that was just great.
I can imagine that being great, because what you tend to see when a spontaneous jam moment happen is – although he’s not a conventionally great guitar player – he’ll come up with an amazing riff and never go back to it again. He’ll do it once and then all of a sudden Larry or Charlie would pick up on that riff.
Exactly, exactly and they can elaborate on it and then suddenly it takes off. And then one of them will start a lead off of that and then it starts to soar.
I can imagine this ‘All Along The Watchtower’ is like that.
Yeah it’s really something. I have to remember to mention this Jeff Rosen, because that’s something that should come out at some point it’s really quite spectacular….
I think I’m gonna have to get going, I’m enjoying this so much, I could do this all afternoon.
Me too but I know you’re a busy guy…
I have to go back to ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’, but thank you very much
Well I never thought I’d be able to speak to you as long as this.
that’s my pleasure. I so deeply appreciate what you’re doing and deeply
appreciate your love for the movie and your devotion to it, I mean its
been a great experience talking to you, I can’t thank you enough for all
your hard work.
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