Bob Dylan: Peerless Songwriter, Atrocious Interviewee

Rock legend and Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan, who turns 76 today, is a peerless songwriter - and an absolutely atrocious interviewee. Don't believe us? Check out this sampling of his testiest, most antagonistic interviews over the years.

1. Song and Dance Man

"Do you think of yourself primarily as a singer or as a poet?" a reporter asked during a 1966 press conference in San Francisco.

"I think of myself more as a song-and-dance man," Dylan said as the room erupted in laughter. He was similarly irreverent when asked about his favorite poets -- mentioning Arthur Rimbaud and Allen Ginsberg alongside juggler/comedian W.C. Fields and "that trapeze family in the circus."

But at least the reporters got to have fun with him during that chat. After Dylan dismissed accusations that he'd sold out to commercial interests, a reporter asked, "If you were going to sell out to a commercial interest, which one would you choose?"

"Ladies garments," Dylan said.

2. Why Should I Like You?

Dylan wasn't so jovial when he invited a reporter in his dressing room in the mid 60s. Rather than answer his questions, the interviewee turned into the interviewer by posing queries that ranged from the existential ("What is your attitude to life?") to the extremely personal: "Why should I want to know you?" Dylan said at one point. "Gimme a reason why I should want to know you?"

And when the flustered reporter began to crack under interrogation, Dylan asked, "Do you ever just be quiet - be silent, just watch and don't say one word?"


3. The Press Is Irrelevant

Dylan opened up about his hostile relationship with the press during a 2004 interview with Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes, which was Dylan's first televised interview in 20 years. And he hadn't warmed up to the press during that hiatus.

"The only person you have to think about lying twice to is either yourself or to God. The press isn't either of them. And I just figured they're irrelevant," Dylan told Bradley - a member of the press.


4. No Time for 'Time'

Dylan particularly disliked Time magazine - or at least he had it in for them when one of their poor reporters sat down with Dylan in 1965.

"I don't need Time magazine," he told the baffled reporter. "You'll probably call me a folk singer, but other people will know better. 'Cause the people who buy my records and listen to me don't necessarily read Time magazine....There's no ideas in Time magazine."

And things didn't go any better when Dylan stopped ranting for a second to let the reporter do his job. "Do you care about what you sing?" he asked.

"How can I answer that if you've got the nerve to ask me?" demanded Dylan. "You got a lot of nerve asking me a question like that."

5. Protesting His Own Protest Songs

Dylan was at his most cantankerous when he visited Stockholm in 1966 and sat down with Swedish reporter Klas Burling, who started the interview on the wrong foot by asking the singer-songwriter about his protest songs. Which was a fair question since he gained fame by writing and singing protest anthems like 'The Times They Are a-Changin''.

But Dylan reacted like Burling had asked him to name all 50 states and their capitals for him.

"Oh God," he groaned. "No, I'm not going to sit here and do that. I've been up all night, I've taken some pills, and I've eaten bad food, and I've read the wrong things, and I've been out for 100-mile-an-hour car rides. I'm not gonna sit here and talk about myself as a protest singer or anything like that."


I've been covering cannabis for nearly five years, and by now I'm all too accustomed to the impersonal cannabis conference at a stuffy, generic hotel or expo hall, brimming with white guys in suits, and generally lacking in the spirit of well, cannabis. (The woes of legalization, I suppose.) So it was a breath of fresh air when I walked into what felt like a giant atrium in downtown LA for a new kind of cannabis conference. Located in what's called the Valentine Grass Room in an industrial area past the hustle and bustle of the DTLA skyscrapers, Microscopes & Machines (M&M) boasted a diverse array of speakers, from doctors and lawyers to chemists and cultivators on the frontlines of the cannabis industry.

Can we see some ID please?

You must be 19 years of age or older to enter.