Jakob Dylan quotes and sayings
December 9, 1969
A guilty conscience means at least you have one.
My father said it himself in an interview many years ago: 'Husband and wife failed, but mother and father didn't.' I've got a life that really matters to me, and that's because of the way I was raised. My ethics are high because my parents did a great job.
When you're in the middle of writing a song, you can come up with this whole web of stuff only you know how to get through. That's very entertaining for me to do that.
I do look at songwriting as a lot of work. I don't over-intellectualize music as a special medium that only some people deserve to do. I think it's something you do if you put the work in.
I think there's always been hope in my songs, no matter how they've first appeared. I think there's always been a shred of hope in everything I've written 'cause I like that balance.
I relate more to the descendants of Galileo Galilei and the Wright brothers than I do to anyone else you might mention. If you could name someone working today who I could relate to, I'd be both surprised and thrilled.
It's been said that I formed The Wallflowers to hide my name but, really, I've always wanted to be in a band - right from the day my friends and I soundproofed a garage with bed-covers for our first rehearsal.
Writing songs is a trade like anything else.
There's only so many things to sing about, so what's going to make a song appeal to you more than someone else's is just a unique way of saying the same thing.
You couldn't really like a bad guitar in 1960 'cause everybody was pretty good.
I got to watch my heroes meet him and saw how they reacted, whether it was Joe Strummer or Tom Waits. It was peculiar. I'm so stoked to meet Tom Waits, and he's so nervous to meet my dad. It's a head spin.
You have to have a work ethic, and you have to be educated in what you're doing. You have to take it seriously. It doesn't mean that everything you do has to be serious. But you've got to have the tools.
You might have a favorite band and really dislike one of the records. That's fine.
The trouble, dollIs not moving mountains, butDigging the ground that you're on.
It doesn't always have a shape,Almost never does it have a name,It maybe has a pitchfork, maybe has a tail,But evil is alive and well.
I'm talking about the '60s really. People go interview these guys and ask them, "Do you still think music can change the world?" I mean, go talk to Graham Nash about that. What's he going to tell you? Ask David Crosby. These guys are still out there. They're playing their hits at Staples Center and those are really valuable songs. I'm talking about a couple of the guys who got knee-deep into really believing music had a great service beyond radio. I believe it did. And I think a lot of those songs are great.
I'm not somebody who carries around a notepad and writes songs all day long. I don't imagine everything I think of is worth being in a song. So I tend to collect notes, and I set time aside to go to work and write songs.
There is trouble in my mind There is dark, there's dark and there is light There is no order, and there is chaos, and there is crime There is no one home tonight, in the empire of my mind.
To us, there was Bob Dylan, and there was dad. As for what he meant to other people, that was never glorified in our house. There were no accolades there, no gold records.
Artists are not going to put somebody new in the president's chair. It's all worth the effort; it all needs to be done. But I don't look at songwriting as having the ability to necessarily do that today.
I've got a life that really matters to me, and that's because of the way I was raised. My ethics are high because my parents did a great job.
I'm allowing myself every opportunity, every tool that every other artist should allow themselves to use. If anybody expects me to not use certain language or certain words, like I have some kind of penalty restriction, it's completely unrealistic.
My songs have always had hope and perseverance in them - I never write songs that have no escape hatch, no positivity.
Folk music is not for a select group of people who feel that maybe he taught them about this music and that it belongs to them. It doesn't belong only to them. It belongs to everyone who's interested in the blueprints of good songwriting.
When I listen back to my music and everyone else that's out there, I'm aware that there's something I can do that the next guy doesn't do.
We've all had that experience where we hear a song that we've liked for many years, and we finally hear what the writer tells us what it's about, and you're often disappointed.
If all you were left believing was what you were seeing, it'd be nothing but desperate. To have hope, you're going to have to imagine that there's something behind the curtain.
I think that these are different times, and different things are available to artists, and certain things have become pass. You've already seen the outcome of a lot of things that seemed to have a lot of potential. We've already heard that, and I can't tell you if it made a difference or not. But we already know that artists can do that, and they shouldn't feel threatened by doing it. They're probably not going to change the world. They're going to change a few people's perspectives and maybe make somebody's day at times, if they can.
I'm a very upbeat, positive, optimistic type of person.
I don't feel like I chose to do music as much as I made a decision to not stop doing music.
I liked getting the Grammy more than not getting it.
There are certainly a lot of people - and I won't name names - who are getting by simply on expression. And I guess that's valuable in some sense. But songs are not better just because they're emotionally honest. To write a song well, you have to put some work into it and grind it out.
I see myself as a traditionalist... I like traditional things. I like things of substance and value that have been proven. Conceptually, as the songs started to come together, I followed that lead, which is the language I work in.
If people want to talk about Bob Dylan, I can talk about that. But my dad belongs to me and four other people exclusively. I'm very protective of that. And telling people whether he was affectionate is telling people a lot. It has so little to do with me. I come up against a wall.
The songs I write should only be gauged by what other writers or peers are doing today. If the barometer for all songwriters was to match his body of work, then anyone you might mention alive or dead is a failure. But I've learned to not be too hung up on what's fair or not fair.
I'm realistic. Getting to everybody is not the goal here. The people you can affect in any way - that's who you want to get to.
I'm in an area where I want to make music that I'm thrilled with, but, you know, I do have to worry about putting food on the table. I'm in that position where I cannot always be gauging what things might become. I have to look ahead, because I'm cautious.
There's only one thing that's certainAnd that's everybody, everybody's hurting.
I don't like to sing things that just sound like they're going straight down the tubes, and they're circling the drain, and there's no hope. It doesn't feel good in any way to sing.
I don't want to sing songs and write songs that need to have images behind them that are of a specific time. The times we live in today - I mean, there's a lot to work with. But I think that if I was my age in 1975 or 1985, I would have felt the same way because that's what I gravitate toward.
Bob Dylan led me to this kind of music - and it's his and ours. And it's nobody else's.
Those things interest me a lot in songwriting - the human nature of how people think, and the muck that we wind up in.
Every song you write you think is the last one you're going to manage. You put everything you've got into the song, and you've twisted it and pulled at it and dug in and found a way to complete it. To get another one is the trick.
Music is something I really have a need to do - I don't seem to be able to stop.
But there's got to be an opening somewhere here in front of me. Through this maze of ugliness and greed.
I'm waiting for my kids to grow up and get into the Offspring and look at me like I'm a total candy-ass.
Songs are not better just because they're emotionally honest. To write a song well, you have to put some work into it and grind it out.
Of course, I came up around music and fame, but this is still my first time experiencing it all. I'm still going through it like anybody else goes through it. But I'm still doing something I've never done before.
Julie Anne Peters
Roy Jones Jr.
Robert W. Service
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