Bob Dylan has a message for critics who think he plagiarized the works of others in some of the songs: You're all a bunch of "wussies and pussies."
In an interview with Rolling Stone hitting newsstands on Friday, the legendary troubadour not only stood by his longtime habit of liberally quoting the words of literary giants and other writers in his lyrics, but also went on the offensive.
"Oh, 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," the 71-year-old Dylan noted in an excerpt released online.
Hitting back at folks who took issue with his lifting the words of Japanese author Junichi Saga and Civil War poet Henry Timrod in his 2001 and 2006 albums Love and Theft and Modern Times respectively without citing them as a sources, Dylan brushed off the complaints.
"Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff," said the singer-songwriter. "It's an old thing—it's part of the tradition. It goes way back. These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history!"
Added Dylan defensively: "If you think you've been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that…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 motherf--kers can rot in hell."
Bobby D then argued that sampling in music is nothing new, but the work that comes out of it is.
"I'm working within my art form. It's that simple. I work within the rules and limitations of it," lectured Dylan. "There are authoritarian figures that can explain that kind of art form better to you than I can. 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."
He's freewheelin' all right.
Dylan's 35th studio album, The Tempest, dropped on Tuesday and has so far won almost universal praise.