Do you draw a snake? I’ve got lots of crocodiles on my desk today, all the way from Indonesia… I’d like to draw a crocodile that looks like I can use its tail as a weapon; that’s the crocodile I see in the movie. And the other way is… Well, how do you draw a snake?
GROSS: This is FRESH AIR, and if you’re just joining us, my guest is the writer David Denby, who is best known for his novel “Rumpus,” about a young man whose brother is killed by a crocodile. I’ll be right back with another interview with you. This one with the artist Bob Dylan. If you’re just joining us, my guest is Bob Dylan.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GROSS: I want to ask you about another song – you wrote something called “The New York Doll.” It was kind of a big hit in the ’60s and ’70s. And your song is about the old days. This is actually about the new millennium. Can you explain what it is you were trying to get across? Why did you write it?
DUNNBY: Well, I was looking, you know, at the culture of the ’50s and ’60s. And I was getting a little bored. I had to do something where I said, now, I’m getting tired of it all, what’s the point of it all? So I said what’s the difference between then and now? And then I was – it was a song, but really just a kind of a musing on the differences between then and now, between the New York Doll, the New York of the ’50s, and the New York of the ’70s as – in our time – in the culture of music being written and recorded and consumed, and the New York that we live in, the New York of what I call my musical memory that is being written, recorded and consumed.
GROSS: So it was a reflection on why – I mean, it was kind of an attempt to understand why the New York of 50s music appealed to people when we weren’t so interested in the New York that people like Elvis Presley or the Rolling Stones or even the Beach Boys. Why was that appeal?
DUNNBY: Yeah, exactly. Or why was it that, you know, the
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