Forty-nine years ago, on Friday, December 3, 1965, this Bob Dylan press conference was recorded at KQED’s studios in San Francisco.
The press conference happened at a key point in Dylan’s career. He was now a rock star. “Like A Rolling Stone” was a hit and had been on the radio the past summer into fall. Highway 61 Revisited had been released three months earlier, in August.
Dylan was in the Bay Area to perform for two nights — Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 — at the Berkeley Community Theater.
The man who brings Dylan out is Ralph J. Gleason, who at the time was the jazz and pop critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, and a fan of Dylan. Gleason wrote this cover story for Ramparts magazine. It ran in the March 1966 issue.
There’s some great details about the press conference here, plus photos.
Bob Dylan press conference, part 1:
[I just published my rock ‘n’ roll novel, True Love Scars.” Rolling Stone has a great review of my book in a recent issue. Read it here. There’s info about True Love Scars here.]
On Friday December 27, 2913, two days after Christmas, the two just-freed members of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina held their first press conference since their release at the studios of the Russian opposition TV station, TV Rain. The spoke before 100s of journalists.
Here are some of their comments:
“The message of our action in the cathedral is still valid. Our attitude to Putin hasn’t changed at all. By Putin we mean the bureaucratic machine he has built. We’d like to do what we said in our last action – we’d like him to go away.”
“Vladimir Putin is a very closed, opaque chekist [Russian slang for a secret policeman]. He is very much afraid. He builds walls around him that block out reality. Many of the things he said about Pussy Riot were so far from the truth, but it was clear he really believed them. I think he believes that Western countries are a threat, that it’s a big bad world out there where houses walk on chicken legs and there is a global masonic conspiracy. I don’t want to live in this terrifying fairytale.”
They spoke about their new human rights organization, Zone of Law [ a play on “the zone,” shorthand for “prison camp” in Russian]. The new organization will offer legal aid to prisoners who complain of violence, threats, abuse and overwork, according to Rolling Stone.
“We already started to do this [human rights work] in the camp. There we had nothing; the only thing we had was our will. After my hunger strike and letter, the 16-hour slave-working day has become a thing of the past, and they’ve begun to release people on parole. Fear has appeared among the guards at the colony. It’s unbelievably important now to continue this work.”
“We really are provocateurs. But there’s no need to say that word like it’s a swear word. Art is always provocation.”
Tolokonnikova said her thinking has evolved while in prison, and it was now “absolutely obvious” that if she could redo the past, she would not participate in the band’s 2011 “punk prayer” against Putin.
“I was smaller, I was younger and I had other understandings about my goals. I don’t think that you have to chain yourself to some moments in the past. I would like to be judged by those things that I’m going to do now.”
And there will be no Pussy Riot concerts to capitalize on their notoriety.
Alyokhina: “I think we can popularize our ideas without concerts.”