March-1966

10

The Velvet Underground & Nico (Verve Records), c. 1967.

PLAYBOY INTERVIEW: BOB DYLAN a candid conversation with the visionary whose songs changed the times


DYLAN: People were still dealing with illusion and delusion at that time. The times really change and they don’t change. There were different characters back then and there were things that were undeveloped that are fully developed now. But back then, there was space, space-well, there wasn’t any pressure. There was all the time in the world to get it done. There wasn’t any pressure, because no body knew about it. You know, I mean. music people were like a bunch of cotton pickers. They see you on the side of the road picking cotton, but nobody stops to give a shit. I mean, it wasn’t that important. So Washington Square was a place where people you knew or met congregated every Sunday and it was like a world of music. You know the way New York is; I mean, there could be 20 different things happening in the same kitchen or in the same park; there could be 200 bands in one park in New York; there could be 15 jug bands, five bluegrass bands and an old crummy string band, 20 Irish confederate groups, a Southern mountain band, folk singers of all kinds and colors, singing John Henry work songs. There was bodies piled sky-high doing whatever they felt like doing. Bongo drums, conga drums, saxophone players. xylophone players, drummers of all nations and nationalities. Poets who would rant and rave from the statues. You know, those things don’t happen anymore. But then that was what was happening. It was all street. Cafes would be open all night. It was a European thing that never really took off. It has never really been a part of this country That is what New York was like when I got there. 

DYLAN: Mass communication killed it all. Oversimplification.

George Harrison (and Paul McCartney’s arm!), London, 25 March 1966, photographed by Robert Whitaker (Source: rockandrollphotogallery.com)

“This was during the so-called ‘Butcher session.’ I think George found that pretty amusing, having his head in a birdcage. They used to make a stand for this birdcage, and I was going to take the picture from it. I was thinking partly of their song, And Your Bird Can Sing, but more about the fact that they were caged idols, in a way, on permanent display.” - Robert Whitaker, The Beatles: Classic, Rare & Unseen