In the summer of 1984 Dylan undertook an ambitious tour with Carlos Santana. Joan Baez sang on the same bill at a number of concerts but they only sang on stage together at Hamburg and Munich. There were only two press conferences during the tour, at Verona and Hamburg.
This press conference took place in the Clubhouse of St. Pauli Stadium in Hamburg in the middle of Joan Baez’s performance.
Dylan and Carlos Santana are present from the beginning and Baez joins part way through almost as if by accident and, listening to Dylan’s contribution, she offers to do a “serious press conference”. There were persistent rumors that Bob Dylan and Joan Baez did not see eye-to-eye during this tour and the “between-the-lines” comments do nothing to refute this. Dylan looks tired and even sick and complains of lack of sleep and he is not very attentive to the questions.
PC: Mr. Dylan, you sing a lot of the old songs. Do you still have the old feelings when you sing them?
BD: Oh absolutely.
BD: More so now.
PC: What do you want to say when you sing the old songs, or is it just a compliment for the public?
BD: I wanna say this what’s in the songs, you know. A few of the songs I’ve changed the lyrics to, bringing them more up to date, you know.
PC: How do you feel being on stage again with Joan Baez?
BD: I haven’t been on the stage with Joan yet. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m sure it will be a wonderful experience.
PC: Are there other singers you would like to sing with?
BD: Mm, sure… Elvis Presley.
PC: Will you keep the band you have now on tour, or is it just for this tour?
BD: Well, what.. that’s hard to say, you know.
PC: Do you think you have been lucky to get that band?
BD: This band? Oh, I’m always lucky to get any band.
PC: It is said that your ‘77 concert in Nuremberg was one of your most beautiful. What do you feel… how do you feel coming back to Germany?
BD: Well, we just got here today, you know, so it’s still hard to tell. I just woke up a little while ago.
PC: Why did you decide to make a European tour?
BD: No particular reason… it’s just, you know, you know, doing this, you just play all over, all over the place.
PC: Do you think it’s possible the two of you, you will sing with Joan Baez?
BD: Well, it’s possible. I’m not sure if it’s likely, but it’s possible.
PC: Mr. Santana, I saw you in Verona playing with Bob Dylan and I… (inaudible)
CS: Yeah, the real food is when we play music, and especially with another musician like Bob. The audience, they should be commended, they stayed for more than four, five hours it seems, like, in the cold, and they didn’t want us to go, and I didn’t want to go. But hopefully next time, we won’t go, and if somebody needs to go, they can go, and the rest of the people who want to play should play; because we have, I feel like we have a deep reservoir, you know, of inspiration. And people who run out, they should go home,
and people who do have inspiration left to play, they should stay and play.
PC: I have a question. Will you keep this formation you have now?
CS: I beg your pardon… that was to Bob or for me?
PC: To you… will you stay with this formation?
CS: You mean with the band? Sure, I love to. I love these musicians. They’re all individuals,
great individuals in their own right, they inspire me all the time, so… ah, a great family,
PC: How did you get together with Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare for the last record? BD: Mm, it just happened.
PC: You wrote a song I And I…
BD: I And I…!
PC: You write rastafarian music too?
BD: Is that?… Could be.
PC: Is touring still such a big thrill for you as it was in the early days?
PC: Is touring still such a big thrill for you as it was in the early days?
BD: Oh yeah.
PC: Thrill or bore?
PC: A thrill or a bore?
BD: Oh it’s a thrill.
PC: You look a bit tired.
PC: Bob Dylan, could you try to explain the stupid reactions to Slow Train Coming and Sla…
uh, Saved? That… the stupid reaction we had, for example, here in the press?
BD: Ah, who’s that singing (Baez can be heard performing in the background)? Slow Train was a big album, yeah. I don’t know what was in the press here about it, but Slow Train did all right. I think Saved was a little light, you know. Some are big, some aren’t, you
PC: Mr Dylan, how do you feel about the American Freeze Movement and the German Peace Movement here and in the world?
BD: Well, I heard about that, yeah.
PC: So what do you feel about it, I mean what do you know about it?
BD: Ah… is there missiles here?… There’s miss… yeah, yeah (sighs deeply), ah well, I’d
probably… I probably wouldn’t want them in my backyard either, you know.
PC: Do you consider any political activities for yourself? I mean as you were a protest singer?
BD: No. I might have been a protest singer, but I’ve always… never been, you know, into politics, whatever.
PC: In rock n’ roll and reggae, there’s a lot of politics?
BD: Yeah, there might be, there might be some. Well, you can make anything politic… political, you know. You can turn a love song, you know, a love song can be political too.
PC: Do you wish your lyrics would have any effect?
BD: Was that to me?
BD: To have effect… oh sure!
PC: Could you specify that please?
BD: The effect?… Well, they affect me, so I don’t know, maybe they affect somebody else… (sighs).
PC: Did you sleep last night?
BD: No. You know how it is on these tours. So much going on, you know, it’s just so hard to get some sleep.
PC: I presume you two will play together with Joan Baez tonight. Has there been any time to… to practise before. Would it be just like friends playing the first time together?
CS: I’m sorry, can you repeat the question again? I thought you were asking him. This is… What did you say?
PC: Did you practice before? You are playing together; do you improvise?
CS: All the time as much as possible. We rehearse the band enough time to get acquainted with… I’m a believer that freedom comes from discipline, so first you gotta have discipline, consistency and regularity in your rehearsal, and once you become acquainted with each other, then you can do anything that you want to, because you have confidence… in what you’re there for, and in what the musicians can do. So yeah, I rehearsed enough to… when I come here I can maintain a standard as a professional,
PC: The question was, whether or not you rehearsed with Joan Baez before you played with
CS: No, I never… But it was fun, I was delighted.
PC: Is it fun to play with Bob Dylan too?
CS: Oh, it’s a deep honor to play with Bob Dylan. Mm, I mean, I’m looking forward to
making it even more fun. At least for my part, for him you know, and for the rest of the audience, you know. That’s all we can do, is really to serve and enhance and make people happy & touch ‘em, the way you people touch us, which are our convictions, and your beliefs.
PC: Mr Dylan, how many songs does it take you to wake up on stage?
BD: Oh, maybe six.
PC: How many do you play, five?
PC: Mr Dylan, do you have any aims?
BD: Who?… oh-oh…
PC: Mr Santana, why are you wearing a hat like that?
CS: For the same reason you’re wearing a dress like that, or a… pants like that. It’s… they’re
neat, nice colors, keep my head warm. PC: That’s all?.
CS: So far.
BD: OK? Is there any more questions?
PC: I didn’t get my answer.
PC: Do you listen to any contemporary rock music now? What kind of music do you listen
BD: Let’s see… listen… is that for Carlos or me?
PC: For you Mr Dylan.
BD: Oh. What music do I listen to?
BD: Oh, I listen to just about anything.
PC: There’s been happening a lot, say, for the last five years in rock music. What do you think about it. Do you follow the new…
BD: Yeah, well…
(Applause as Joan Baez arrives)
BD: This woman can really talk, so all…
PC: Why can’t you?
BD: I don’t know. I’ve never, uh, practiced it.
PC: What means pleasure to you?
PC: What means pleasure to you?
JB: (to Dylan) What do you want to do?
BD: What do I like to do? Oh… I like to dance and I like to sing.
JB: This an open press conference? Can anybody ask anybody what they want?
PC: Bob’s a bit sleepy.
JB: How long has it been going on?
PC: Twenty minutes.
PC: Did you like the Hamburg audience?
JB: They’re superb.
PC: And in comparison to the Italian audience, what’s the difference?
JB: To the which?
JB: They’re a little less hysterical, but they’re certainly as bright.
PC: Did you expect to see more young people in the audience?
JB: My German audiences are, like, are young. This is a young audience, I think, for me, you
have to remember, young for Bob too.
JB: Happy Birthday Bob!
PC: How do you come along together, the two of you?
PC: How do you get along with each other?
JB: I don’t know, I haven’t seen him in two years, and before that, I hadn’t seen him in five
years. We probably don’t get along too well if see each other more, (laughs). How do we
get along Bob?
BD: Oh, fabulous.
PC: A question to all three of you, whoever wants to answer. Do you think you will get the next generation of audience and public? You are looking into the audience, maybe looking into the audience, maybe it’s the 30’s or 40’s, no?
JB: It’s not. I would assume that it would be, and I would think it would be for Bob, and I would think it might be for Carlos. But you better look again. There’s some of course our age…
BD: There’s a lot of people our age.
JB: But in the audience there’re also a lot of very young people.
PC: But it’s difficult for them to find a babysitter when they’re going to go to a festival?
BD: That’s true, that’s right.
PC: Miss Baez, would you comment on the American Freeze movement? I asked Bob Dylan
that question before.
JB: I think the American Freeze Movement is the only movement big enough to call an actual
movement, and I think that the useful thing about it… see ya Bob… the useful thing about it is that it, umm, helps some people who are very frightened of talking about disarmament in any way that sounds like unilateral, and so it introduced middle class middle class America to talking about disarmament. People who are too terrified to think about it before. The thing about it that isn’t… that I’m not quite comfortable with is that it isn’t enough. Now it doesn’t really… if you can do it from your living room, it’s probably not gonna stop… World War III.
PC: What you just said is that more knowledge or awareness of nuclear threat is needed? JB: Yeah, and that’s useful. Definitely.
PC: But that’s something you can do from your living room?
JB: Yes, and then the problem is that it’s not just… We could dismantle everything magically in a period of six months, but if we didn’t change our basic assumptions that we all work on, which are that it’s okay to kill each other, then we could build them all up again in… a year, or however long it takes.
PC: Bob, which period in your career are you most satisfied with?
BD: Mm, this one right now.
PC: You make music for so long a time, is it not the moment for you to give it up? What’s the
end to your career?
BD: Huh? I hope it’s not… Oh, every day.
PC: Bob, are you Christian or Jewish?
BD: Well, that’s hard to say.
PC: Some more?
BD: It’s a long story.
PC: I’d like to know it.
BD: It’d take too long to tell you.
PC: Mr. Dylan, you wrote… rumor has it that you wrote some songs for The Clash and The Psychedelic Furs, is that true? Why did you choose those two new bands, er… to write a song for?
BD: Is that a question, was that a question?
PC: It is, yes.
BD: Do I like the Psychedelic Furs?
JB: Why did you write songs for them? Did you write songs for them?
PC: The Psychedelic Furs told in an interview that you sent them a song.
BD: Oh, I can’t remember.
JB: If anybody is interested in a serious press conference, I’d be happy to stay for ten minutes,
BD: Joan’s gonna stay and answer some more questions.
JB: That’s right. Whichever you like.
PC: Joan Baez, you know him for a really long time. Why is it so difficult to have some
JB: I’ve known Bob for a long time, and I’ve never tried to understand him… and I’ve never
shared a press conference with him (laughing).
PC: You’ll never do it again?
JB: No, I’ll never do it again (laughing).
PC: Is he like that in private life?
JB: I don’t know that either. Literally, I never see him.
PC: Carlos Santana, have you played together with Joan Baez – first time on stage now in
CS: We played before. She took the time to invite me to perform for some prisoners in
Soledad, and, um, we had a lot of fun. I enjoy being and playing and offering and
receiving from Joan Baez.
PC: Do you have the same sort of political engagements as Joan Baez?
PC: Same spiritual?
CS: Same spiritual, uh. We have different ways of doing it, but I’d rather change the world by
being an example, rather than by opening my mouth and just pointing out fingers and
stuff like that.
JB: I open my mouth a lot, he’s right!
PC: Joan Baez, what do you think about Jackson, the candidate?
JB: Jesse Jackson?
JB: Well, I started off when Jesse started to run, I didn’t like Jesse, just because I knew him
years ago and I didn’t trust him. But he started to say things, I liked almost every thing he said. He was refreshing, he wasn’t lying, he even admitted when he made a mess, you
know, which is very rare. So, I think he’s… was a refreshing element in the campaign.
PC: Will he play an important part in either getting his vote to Hart or to Mondale?
JB: He probably will. Quite honestly, for the last few weeks I have not even followed that…
PC: Do you think he’ll damage the Democrats chances?
JB: I don’t know, I don’t know, I’m very poor at predicting party politics.
PC: Do you endorse any candidates?
JB: No I never have.
PC: Did you ever get an invitation to The White House?
JB: Well, I’ve been to The White House a couple of times, but not under this administration.
(laughing). If there are no more questions, thank you. That was fine.
PC: For your common part of the show tonight, do you have any certain titles, or will you
JB: For which common part?
PC: Will you have a common part on the stage with Bob Dylan?
JB: I hope so, I have, this is the first I’ve seen… of Bob.
PC: Since two years really? And Fritz Rau told us it had been… he had no close call when he
tried to bring you together, is that right?
JB: Yeah, basically, Bob was touring with Carlos…
PC: You trust him, but…
JB: No, no, it’s true, Bob was touring with Carlos, and I had invited Bob myself to come to
Europe. He said no, he’s working with Carlos. Then it turned out we’re in the same place,
and, so we decided to try, the three of us.
PC: You have come to Hamburg, sometime, er, why do you think… uh, here come only sixty
thousand… er… sixteen thousand people, and in Munich will be forty thousand or so?
JB: I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that.
PC: How does this reunion feel to you?
JB: A little ridiculous for starts! (laughs). We’ll see what… we’ll see if we can develop a little
as the evening goes along. So I’d better go and see if I can… catch him and practice the
PC: This moment?
JB: This moment.
PC: Thank you, good luck.
JB: Thank you, (laughs), Thank you. CS: Thanks.