Bob Dylan reveals an unsuspected love for Stereophonics

In a long interview discussing his new album, the singer unveils his admiration for the Welsh rockers

Bob Dylan has revealed that he is a fan of Stereophonics, and also that he cannot imagine his own writing being influenced by his series of albums of American standards, because “these melodies are so structured in musical theory, they’re so tricky with time signatures and shifting melodies, that it’s beyond me”.

In a long interview on his website, conducted by Bill Flanagan, Dylan discussed the making of Triplicate, his new triple album of classics from the American songbook, along with growing up in Minnesota, his first exposure to rock’n’roll and his tour bus TV viewing habits (“I Love Lucy, all the time, non-stop”).

Here are some highlights:

On why Triplicate is three discs of 32 minutes

“It’s the number of completion. It’s a lucky number, and it’s symbolic of light. As far as the 32 minutes, that’s about the limit to the number of minutes on a long playing record where the sound is most powerful, 15 minutes to a side. My records were always overloaded on both sides. Too many minutes to be recorded or mastered properly. My songs were too long and didn’t fit the audio format of an LP. The sound was thin and you would have to turn your record player up to nine or 10 to hear it well. So these CDs to me represent the LPs that I should have been making.”

On the appeal of songs from the pre-rock age

“These songs are some of the most heartbreaking stuff ever put on record and I wanted to do them justice. Now that I have lived them and lived through them, I understand them better. They take you out of that mainstream grind, where you’re trapped between differences which might seem different but are essentially the same. Modern music and songs are so institutionalised that you don’t realise it. These songs are cold and clear-sighted, there is a direct realism in them, faith in ordinary life, just like in early rock’n’roll.”

On whether the American songbook would influence his own writing

“I doubt it. These melodies are so structured in musical theory, they’re so tricky with time signatures and shifting melodies, that it’s beyond me. It’s hard to be influenced by any of it if you’re not familiar with that world. I could be influenced by a part of a melody or a phrase, but that would be about it. I don’t think I’d be influenced by anything lyrically.”

On whether Triplicate is nostalgic

“Nostalgic? No, I wouldn’t say that. It’s not taking a trip down memory lane or longing and yearning for the good old days or fond memories of what’s no more. A song like Sentimental Journey is not a way back when song, it doesn’t emulate the past, it’s attainable and down to earth, it’s in the here and now.”

On his favourite recent music

“Iggy Pop’s Après, that’s a good record. Imelda May, I like her. Valerie June, the Stereophonics. I like Willie Nelson and Norah Jones’ album with Wynton Marsalis, the Ray Charles tribute record. I liked Amy Winehouse’s last record.”

I was brought up on @bobdylan - to get a nod from the Master, makes me wanna write a new song! Kelly

— stereophonics (@stereophonics) March 23, 2017


Guardian music

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Dylan loves Stereophonics: music critics reveal their uncool favourites | Caroline Sullivan, Alexis Petridis, Tom Usher, Tshepo Mokoena and Michael Hann
As Dylan confesses that the Welsh rockers are one of his favourites acts of modern times, our panel come clean with their guilty pleasures

Caroline Sullivan, Alexis Petridis, Tom Usher, Tshepo Mokoena and Michael Hann

24, Mar, 2017 @12:57 PM

Article image
Stereophonics on how they made Dakota
‘Noel Gallagher sent me a text that said: “Eh, you’ve had your first number one.” Then he added: “BUT YOU USED A SYNTHESIZER!”’

Interviews by Henry Yates

30, Nov, 2020 @3:04 PM

Article image
Former Stereophonics drummer Stuart Cable found dead
Police say there are no suspicious circumstances in death of drummer on weekend of former band's homecoming gig

Steven Morris and Rosie Swash

07, Jun, 2010 @9:36 AM

Stereophonics – review
They stuck mostly to the Britpop-era favourites, but a clutch of darker new songs hinted at a new Stereophonics phase, writes Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

17, Dec, 2012 @11:55 AM

Article image
Bob Dylan review – serene show goes straight to the heart
With a constant sense of dramatic ebb and flow, Dylan’s sound is as distinct as ever with audacious and inventive reimaginings of his recent songs

Richard Williams

20, Oct, 2022 @9:52 AM

Article image
Bob Dylan removes mention of Nobel prize from website
After taking nearly a week to acknowledge award of Nobel prize in literature, sentence noting it disappears from his website

Guardian music

21, Oct, 2016 @8:33 AM

Article image
Bob Dylan and Neil Young to headline British Summer Time festival
The songwriting legends are both slated to play on 12 July 2019 in Hyde Park, London

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

27, Nov, 2018 @11:20 AM

Article image
Lost Bob Dylan lyrics from Blonde on Blonde era go to auction
Manuscript page features unrecorded lyrics about Jesus, the devil and the loss of innocence and notes for Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

05, May, 2020 @12:48 PM

Article image
Bob Dylan essay collection celebrating art of songwriting to be published
Publisher Simon & Schuster says The Philosophy of Modern Song ‘resembles an epic poem’

Laura Snapes

09, Mar, 2022 @11:55 AM

Article image
Stereophonics: Oochya! review – a decent effort to mark the band’s quarter century
Kelly Jones’ band revive their trusty formula, making songs that at their best hit the sweet spot between emotional and anthemic

Dave Simpson

04, Mar, 2022 @9:00 AM