Bob Dylan responded to accusations that he ripped off Junichi Saga's Confessions of a Yakuza and Henry Timrod's Civil War poetry for his two chart-busting albums, 2001's "Love and Theft" and 2006's "Modern Times", respectively. He admitted he took inspiration from the Japanese author and the poet, and saw nothing wrong with it.
"Oh, yeah, in folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition. That certainly is true. It's true for everybody, but me," he said in an interview for Rolling Stone's latest issue. "There are different rules for me. And as far as Henry Timrod is concerned, have you even heard of him? Who's been reading him lately? ... And ask his descendants what they think of the hoopla."
"And if you think it's so easy to quote him and it can help your work, do it yourself and see how far you can get. Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff," he continued. "These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me." He referred to the critics who blasted him years ago for conversing acoustic folk to electric rock.
"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 motherf***ers can rot in hell."
In addition to talking about music, Dylan shared his thoughts about the stigma of slavery in the United States. He said the fact that "people (are) at each other's throats just because they are of a different color" was what "will hold any nation back." He claimed some people in the country "didn't want to give up slavery."
Voicing his doubt that the country could get rid of it, he said, "If slavery had been given up in a more peaceful way, America would be far ahead today." When asked whether President Barack Obama could lead people to a better future, he stated, "I don't have any opinion on that. You have to change your heart if you want to change."
Rolling Stone's new issue will hit newsstand starting Friday, September 14. Dylan released a new studio album "Tempest" a few days prior.