Duluth was "gloomy." The Twin Cities were "rock and roll towns." A "Mason Dixon line" separates northern and southern Minnesota.
That's just some of what Bob Dylan had to say about his home state in a wide-ranging new interview with music journalist Bill Flanagan posted on Dylan's website Thursday night, in advance of the release of his three-disc album of classic pop standards, Triplicate, due out next week.
Over the course of more than 8,000 words, Dylan not only waxes eloquent about music (his and others'), but discloses his unexpected love of veteran Welsh rockers Stereophonics, his lack of regret at not getting to film a love scene with Faye Dunaway, and his opinion of Don McLean's "American Pie."
Dylan's also unusually candid about his early life in Minnesota, which he captures in a series of vividly descriptions.
On Duluth during World War II:
Industrial town, ship yards, ore docks, grain elevators, mainline train yards, switching yards. It’s on the banks of Lake Superior, built on granite rock. Lot of fog horns, sailors, loggers, storms, blizzards. My mom says there were food shortages, food rationing, hardly any gas, electricity cutting off -- everything metal in your house you gave to the war effort. It was a dark place, even in the light of day -- curfews, gloomy, lonely, all that sort of stuff.
On the rock and roll scene when he came to Minneapolis:
The Twin Cities, they were rock and roll towns. I didn’t know that. I thought the only rock and roll towns were Memphis and Shreveport. ... The Twin Cities was surfing rockabilly -- all of it cranked up to ten with a lot of reverb; tremolo switches, everything Fender -- Esquires, Broadcasters, Jaguars, amps on folding chairs -- the chairs even looked Fender. Sandy Nelson drumming. “Surfing Bird” came out of there a little while later, it didn’t surprise me.
On the differences between northern and southern Minnesota:
Minnesota has its own Mason Dixon line. I come from the north and that’s different from southern Minnesota; if you’re there you could be in Iowa or Georgia. Up north the weather is more extreme – frostbite in the winter, mosquito-ridden in the summer, no air conditioning when I grew up, steam heat in the winter and you had to wear a lot of clothes when you went outdoors. Your blood gets thick.
I could post quotes like that here all day, but you should probably just go read the whole shebang at bobdylan.com.