Legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan defended himself Thursday against suggestions that he plagiarized some of his lyrics, calling accusers complaining “wussies.”
“Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff. It’s an old thing,” Dylan, 71, said in an interview to be published Friday in Rolling Stone magazine.
Dylan, whose 35th studio album “Tempest” went on sale Tuesday, said that borrowing, or quoting, from sources as diverse as Japanese author Junichi Saga and American Civil War poet Henry Timrod was normal for folk musicians.
“Yeah, in folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition. That certainly is true. It’s true for everybody, but me. There are different rules for me,” he said in a bitterly angry rebuttal.
Dylan, a Christian, said he was also hated for having switched from his early acoustic guitar days to the electric guitar and was slandered as a “Judas,” the Biblical figure who betrayed Jesus Christ.
“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 m(expletive) can rot in hell.”
Dylan insisted that he was “working within my art form. It’s that simple. I work within the rules and limitations of it… It’s called songwriting. It has to do with melody and rhythm, and then after that, anything goes. You make everything yours. We all do it.”
In 2011, Dylan, who also paints, faced uncomfortable questions over works supposedly painted during travels across Asia but which appeared to have been copied image for image from photographs taken by other people.