Rarely, in the decades preceding the third Millennium did Bob Dylan shown much enthusiasm for press interviews and conferences, and often would disguise his displeasure of such events by using sarcasm, cynicism or, on occasion, downright hostility. But while on tour in Europe during June and July 2001, Bob gave a press conference to a small and select gathering of European journalists during which he appeared to change his attitude to such events and begin to relax and enjoy proceedings. The conference presented here, almost in its entirety (mumblings, pauses and other vague distractions have been edited out for obvious reasons), took place on July 23, 2001, and was given to promote the upcoming release of his album Love and Theft. The interview took place on a glorious sunny afternoon in the Hotel de la Ville in Rome, situated on Via Sistina at the top of the Spanish Steps. There were thirteen journalists present representing the press from twelve countries. Dylan entered the room fifteen minutes late, dressed in black and white and looking like a gentleman from the Old West. Those assembled were seated on sofas; Dylan sat opposite them, bolt upright on the very edge of his seat, behind a wall of microphones and tape recorders. The questions covered a wide range of topics and were not merely confined to Love and Theft. What is astonishing about this recording is the relaxed atmosphere, the ease with which Bob chats almost intimately with those gathered, and most notably, the sense that he is actually enjoying the conference, an attitude far removed from the mans notorious dislike of press interviews. The material he discusses is fascinating and offers at least a glimpse of where Bob Dylan was at at this juncture in his career something that no previously recorded interview with the man has even hinted at.
Bob Dylan Rome Press Conference 2001