Bob Dylan says one of Duff McKagan’s songs “has profound meaning for me“

The singer-songwriter also said he’s watched metal icons Metallica live “twice”.

Bob Dylan and Duff McKagan

Image: WENN Rights Ltd / Storms Media Group / Alamy

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Bob Dylan reveals some of his lesser known — and perhaps surprising — musical preferences in a rare new interview with The Wall Street Journal where he talks about life, music and everything in between.

Asked how he discovers new music these days, Dylan said that he does so “mostly by accident”, and cites Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan‘s Chip Away (from his second solo album Tenderness) as one of those tracks that left an impact on him.

“[That song] has profound meaning for me,” explained the musician, who just last month released a book titled The Philosophy of Modern Song.

“It’s a graphic song. Chip away, chip away, like Michelangelo, breaking up solid marble stone to discover the form of King David inside. He didn’t build him from the ground up, he chipped away the stone until he discovered the king.”

“It’s like my own songwriting, I overwrite something, then I chip away lines and phrases until I get to the real thing. Shooter Jennings produced that record. It’s a great song,” he reiterated.

Some of the other acts that have landed a spot in Dylan’s rather varied playlist include The Klaxons, Julian Casablancas, Jack White, Royal Blood, jazz guitarist Teddy Bunn, as well as metal legends Metallica, whom he has seen “twice”.

The singer-songwriter also opined on what makes a track ‘great’, saying “A great song has the sentiments of the people in mind. When you hear it, you get a gut reaction, and an emotional one at the same time.”

“[It] follows the logic of the heart and stays in your head long after you’ve heard it, like Taxman [by the Beatles], it can be played with a full orchestra score or by a strolling minstrel, and you don’t have to be a great singer to sing it. It’s bell, book, and candle. Otherworldly.”

“A great song mutates, makes quantum leaps, turns up again like the prodigal son,” he added.


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