Is It Rolling, Bob? Talking Dylan

Is It Rolling, Bob? Talking Dylan

By Lucas Hare, Kerry Shale

Actors Kerry Shale and Lucas Hare talk to interesting people about Bob Dylan. Proud part of Pantheon - the podcast network for music lovers.


Edward Docx

Edward Docx (novelist/screenwriter/journalist) is a hyper-articulate defence witness for some of Bob’s least understood albums: Street-Legal, Infidels, Empire Burlesque and Together Through Life. “There is no uninteresting Dylan album. He opens his veins and says "This is what it’s like for me now."” How passionate is Ed Docx about Bob Dylan? After recording the podcast, we continued our digital discussion for another hour. Here’s Ed on Street-Legal: “It’s his Bosworth. After the battle, there’s blood and corpses and death and everything’s gone wrong. But somehow, he picks himself up and starts to sing! I don’t think he ever dared go there again. It was so bleak.” His reaction to accidentally discovering I And I at age 14: “I thought: what great human being has written this down? I couldn’t believe the depth and strength and beauty and layered wonder.” Join us for our longest - and possibly most articulate – episode thus far. Edward Docx is half Russian on his mother’s side. He was born in the North East and grew up in the North West, went to school in Manchester and then on to Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he read English Literature. He started writing fiction when he was in his teens and completed three unpublished novels before The Calligrapher was published in 2003. His other novels are Self Help (longlisted for the Booker Prize/winner Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize), The Devil’s Garden and Let Go My Hand. He is associate editor of Prospect Magazine. His journalism appears in most leading European and American newspapers and magazines. In addition, Ed works extensively in television and radio and teaches on the Guardian’s Master Class series on fiction writing. The Prophet (November 16, 2011) Bob Almighty (April 21, 2016) Website Twitter Trailer Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 5th October 2020 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
27/12/2059m 41s

Pamela Thurschwell

Academic and author Pamela Thurschwell gives us her conflicted feminist take on Dylan, including his queer lyrical metaphors and what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a Dylan mansplaining session. Her namechecks range from Amy Rigby, Emma Swift and Joan Baez to Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Hall and Jane Eyre. Pam describes Dylan as “the dangerous guy who sees the world as it is”, but also “fragile”, “mean” and just plain “ornery”. “Why do I always go for the Dylan boys?”, she tells us, then gives in-depth excavations of It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue and Positively 4th Street (“it was great to hear someone so pissed off”). For a surprising discussion that encompasses male passive-aggression, gender relation complications and the mega-talent that is Joni Mitchell, don’t miss this groundbreaking episode. Pamela Thurschwell is Head of English Literature at the University of Sussex. Before working at Sussex, she worked at University College, London, and she studied at Cambridge and Cornell Universities. Pam has written books and articles on a wide variety of writers and artists including Dylan, George Eliot, Henry James, Sigmund Freud, Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Morrissey, Pete Townshend, Daniel Clowes, Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Carson McCullers, Willa Cather and Toni Morrison. American Tunes for Coronaviral Times: Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and John Prine (May 1, 2020) Website Twitter Trailer Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 7th September 2020 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
29/11/2048m 6s

Daragh Carville

Screenwriter Daragh Carville (ITV’s The Bay) praises Dylan’s “extraordinary ear for spoken language” while reminding us that he “draws on cinema, is fascinated by storytelling but his own films don’t work at all”. All the great story-songs are explored, including Highlands (“I phoned people up, I was so excited!”), Dignity (“it never resolves but at the same time it’s perfectly satisfying”), The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, Brownsville Girl, Hurricane, Isis, Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream, The Ballad Of Hollis Brown, Clothes Line Saga, 4th Time Around and plenty more. Daragh particularly praises the 21st Century Dylan: “in the last twenty years, his persona is Humphrey Bogart crossed with a riverboat gambler” and enjoys his “obstinate personality. It’s like a marriage. You love the flaws, too”. Films are discussed (Shane, The Gunfighter), Dylan’s early contemporaries like Phil Ochs are considered, even video games are touched upon (Red Dead Redemption!). Join us there - when you feel good enough to go. Daragh Carville is a playwright and screenwriter from Armagh in Northern Ireland. He is a recipient of the Stewart Parker Award and the Meyer Whitworth Prize for playwriting. His first feature film, Middletown, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and his second, Cherrybomb, at the Berlin Film Festival. Plays include Language Roulette, Observatory, Family Plot, This Other City, The Life and Times of Mitchell and Kenyon and History. Daragh’s television work includes ITV’s The Bay (Series 2, 2021), Being Human, 6 Degrees and The Smoke. Radio plays: Regenerations - about a Doctor Who convention - and Dracula, starring Michael Fassbender. He teaches Scriptwriting at Birkbeck, University of London. The Bay Website Twitter Trailer Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 10th August 2020 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
01/11/2047m 49s

Loudon Wainwright III

Sitting on the porch of his Long Island lockdown hideaway, serenaded by a local bird, Loudon Wainwright III reminds us that he was proclaimed “the first of the new Bob Dylans”. It helped me get a record deal but then it got to be a pain in the ass”. He still has a “reservoir of respect, admiration and awe” for the man and his work. “I dream about Dylan a lot. He is on, in and under my mind: the Muhammad Ali of songwriters.” Loudon has seen Dylan in concert and been visited by him backstage after his own concerts. “I was headlining at Max’s Kansas City. He came with Doug Sahm. They were both wearing cowboy hats. Bob said, “I really like that ‘Dead Skunk’ song”. He has worked with everyone from producer Bob Johnston and Nashville cats Kenny Buttrey, Ron Cornelius and Hargus “Pig” Robbins to David Mansfield, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and good buddy Christopher Guest (“he does a great Bob Dylan impression”). Despite his admiration, he stopped listening for many years after John Wesley Harding. “I was too threatened by his greatness”. Meet the man who happily called himself - along with Bruce Springsteen, John Prine and Steve Forbert - one of Bob Dylan’s “dumbass kid brothers”. After two previous nominations, singer/songwriter/actor Loudon Wainwright III won a Grammy for 2009’s High, Wide And Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project. His songs have been covered by Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, Earl Scruggs, Mose Allison, Big Star, Norma Waterson and his son Rufus Wainwright. Loudon’s many albums include Attempted Mustache, Fame and Wealth, I’m Alright, Therapy, History, Grown Man, Little Ship, Last Man On Earth, So Damn Happy, Recovery, Strange Weirdos, Older Than My Old Man Now, Haven’t Got The Blues (Yet) and Years In The The Making. His latest album, backed by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, is I’d Rather Lead A Band. Loudon’s film acting credits include Knocked Up (for which he also wrote the soundtrack), The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Scorsese’s The Aviator. TV acting credits include a recurring role in M*A*S*H, as well as his Netflix Special Surviving Twin. Website Twitter Trailer Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 8th July 2020 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
04/10/2039m 41s

Dan Bern

Singer/songwriter/podcaster/painter Dan Bern admits: “It was not lost on me, being an isolated Jewish kid in Iowa, that Bob had come from just up the road in Minnesota.” When he first heard Dylan at age 15 (“everything he was saying had a bit of a sneer to it. It was a portal for me”), he traded in his cello for a guitar and started writing songs. They eventually included the outrageous Talkin’ Woody, Bob, Bruce and Dan Blues (“When I met Springsteen, he said, “I hear ya wrote a SONG about me!”). Bern sat through Renaldo & Clara twice in a row in a Camden Town cinema when it was first released: “it seemed so fun and free and loose”. On Bob’s Born-Again days: “Jews wrestle with God. They talk to him as if he’s just another dude”. Does he keep up? “Bob’s songs are always with me. Like Bible verses, floating in and out of my head. It’s a nourishing songbag.” Share our long-distance visit with the man Dylan once called “a scurrilous little wretch” (after he wrote a fake interview with Bob’s mother). All this and more, as they say. Dan Bern has released 25 albums and played thousands of shows across North America and Europe. Bern’s songs have appeared in numerous TV shows and films including Walk Hard - The Dewey Cox Story, and Get Him To The Greek. He also writes and performs songs for the Amazon Prime kids’ programme The Stinky and Dirty Show. A visual artist, Bern has had gallery showings in Florida, New York City and San Francisco. He is the author of several books, and acts in the radio drama podcast 10,000 Crappy Songs: in which he plays an ex-songwriter turned private eye. In addition, he runs the 24/7 internet radio station, Radio Free Bernsteinn. Dan Bern’s latest album is Regent Street. Website Twitter Trailer Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 29th June 2020 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
06/09/2042m 35s

Rufus Jones

Actor Rufus Jones (writer and co-star of Channel 4’s Home) has hardly answered the BobPhone before he confesses that, despite his Cambridge English degree, “Dylan still scares the hell out of me”. But he’s relieved that “Bob’s entering a 'jolly grandpa' phase. He seems less concerned with preserving the myth”. Rufus references Beyoncé, the Eagles (“the story of the Eagles is better than the sound of the Eagles”), T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Hieronymus Bosch and Christopher Ricks before moving on, via Desolation Row, to the enigma that is Murder Most Foul (“it reads like bad poetry but sings like good poetry”). In an episode recorded before the release of Rough And Rowdy Ways, theories are promulgated, lines dissected and numerology explored. Murder Most Foul is “a confounding song. He takes a piece of real life and spins it into something abstract and horrific.” Join us for a dark but enlightening day in Dallas. Rufus Jones began his career as part of the sketch comedy group Dutch Elm Conservatoire. In the West End, he appeared in the hit comedy Dead Funny. His acclaimed TV series Home was nominated for a BAFTA. Other television work includes three series as David Wilkes in W1A, Four Lives, Flack, Loaded, Stag, Fresh Meat, Trying Again, The Casual Vacancy, Bob Servant, Hunderby and Holy Flying Circus (as Terry Jones). His films include Stan And Ollie, The Foreigner, Paddington and Silent Night (due for a Christmas 2020 release). Twitter Trailer Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 15th June 2020 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
09/08/2044m 1s

Rob Stoner

Rolling Thunder Revue bass player and bandleader Rob Stoner on Jacques Levy, Emmylou Harris, Sam Shepard and how he “made out with Joan Baez on a motel room balcony” for Renaldo & Clara. Rob also sets the record straight on the Scorsese Netflix film: “I got a beef with that Van Dorp character!” and alerts us to his uncredited harmony vocal on Abandoned Love. What was it like playing live with Bob? “Sink or swim. If you’re good enough, you ought to be able to swim”. Did Bob actually never speak to Mick Ronson on the Rolling Thunder tour? “It was written into the contract”. The Fort Collins concert, where Hard Rain was recorded? “Bob was in a foul mood, man.” Other insights include how Elvis miffed Bob, rehearsal details for the 1978 Alimony Tour and John Lennon’s “Dylan imitation” on Ticket To Ride. Roll up, roll up - for an historic episode. While still in school, Rob Stoner was signed to a songwriting contract by Leiber and Stoller. As a session musician, he played and sang on classic recordings including American Pie. His albums with Dylan include Desire, Hard Rain, Bob Dylan At Budokan and Live 1975. Following his stint with Bob, Rob released a critically-acclaimed album of original songs on MCA Records. He also became the first non-Southerner to release an album on Sun Records. His songs have been recorded by Link Wray, Johnny Winter and Robert Gordon. He has played with Chuck Berry, Ringo Starr, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Ray Vaughan and countless others. Rob lives in Rockland County, New York, where he remains active on the music scene. Website Facebook Twitter Trailer Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 3rd June 2020 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
12/07/2053m 37s

Danny Horn

Actor/musician Danny Horn, 31, played The Kinks’ frontman Ray Davies in the West End; but it was listening to Dylan at age 14 that changed his life. Do Dylan and Davies have anything in common? Danny tells us that - in 1967/68 - “they both made love letters to versions of their own countries that never existed. And they share a mercurial way of thinking”. Despite hanging out with Ray D, Danny knows his Bobby D. The conversation ranges from analysis of songs like Abandoned Love (“he’s both wounded puppy and venomous snake”) to the film I’m Not There (yes to Charlotte Gainsbourg, no to Christian Bale). All topped off with a hilarious near-death experience at The Royal Albert Hall. Join us for a funny, socially-distanced but intimate take on “the clown inside” of Bob Dylan. Danny Horn is an actor and musician, born in London in 1989. He trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and has worked frequently on stage and screen since graduating in 2010. He won acclaim for his performance in the hit West End musical Sunny Afternoon, which charted the early years of The Kinks. Other stage acting work includes The Dead Dogs and The Revenger’s Tragedy. Film and television work includes Emmerdale, Vera, Hetty Feather, Scar Tissue, M.I. High, Legend of the Bogeyman and Doctor Who. With his group the Shared Myths, Danny has just released his first album: Quitting Smoking. IMDb Website Album Bandcamp Boy Awake Trailer Twitter Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 4th May 2020 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
14/06/2045m 43s

Nathalie Armin

Actress Nathalie Armin (speaking at a digital distance) has been a Dylan fan since the age of six, when an unknown voice “showed her the colours in her mind” as she lay in the back seat of her father’s car. She graduated to playing Bob games on stage at the Royal Shakespeare Company (“we’d whisper Dylan song titles to each other. I always won”) and watching him perform at the Royal Albert Hall (“he was 72. I don’t know any 20 year-olds who have that much swagger”). The Bootleg Series Volumes 1 -3 is given a serious going over (“what must it be like to be Bob Dylan’s drawer? Blind Willie McTell – it was almost too private to put on an album”), as is the instant classic Murder Most Foul (only just released at the time of this recording). If you crave freewheelin’ discussions of Moonshiner, Talkin’ Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues, House Carpenter, Catfish, Need A Woman and Foot of Pride, please zoom on down and join us. Nathalie Armin is an Anglo-Iranian actress. She has appeared in many acclaimed stage shows including THE MOTHERFUCKER WITH THE HAT at the National Theatre, LIMEHOUSE at the Donmar Warehouse and Robert Icke’s award-winning production of THE DOCTOR at the Almeida Theatre. Her film and television work includes FINAL SCORE, DENIAL, GROW YOUR OWN, Philip K. Dick’s ELECTRIC DREAMS, the award-wining THE LOST HONOUR OF CHRISTOPHER JEFFERIES, UNFORGOTTEN, MARCELLA and MAIGRET’S DEAD MAN. Nathalie can currently be seen as Yasmine in Channel 4’s hit comedy HOME. IMDb Trailer Twitter Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 30th March 2020 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
17/05/2035m 3s

James Shapiro

Bestselling Shakespeare authority James Shapiro joined us on the Bob Phone from New York, just before the world locked down and the Shakespeare-laden Murder Most Foul unexpectedly dropped. “In a time like this,” he told us, “I find great comfort in the complete works of William Shakespeare and Bob Dylan”. He goes on to link them more closely: “we think of Shakespeare as a word guy - but he collaborated with the greatest musicians of his day. He understood that music is magic” and he happily agrees that “both of them were professional, creative thieves”. Join us for an important episode that celebrates, as James puts it, “the extraordinary simplicity and range” of our two favourite artists. James Shapiro is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He’s the author of numerous books including 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize for the best non-fiction book published in Britain; and The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606, awarded the James Tait Black Prize. His latest book, Shakespeare In A Divided America, was a Radio 4 Book of the Week, read by podcast co-presenter Kerry Shale. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Guardian, the London Review of Books, the New York Review of Books, the TLS, the Sunday Times, the Irish Times, the New Statesman and the Financial Times. Website: Trailer Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 19th March 2020 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
19/04/2047m 6s

Nish Kumar

Comedian Nish Kumar says: “Bob Dylan is the most enduring and important creative relationship of my life. If you can’t think of one Dylan song you like, then a part of your humanity may be missing”. When Bob and his band played the Hendrix arrangement of All Along The Watchtower at his first (and only) Dylan concert, it was “one of the greatest moments of my life”. In other words, he’s our sort of chap. Cheerfully agreeing that “there’s no bore like a Dylan bore”, Nish gives us his takes on Tangled Up In Blue (“I don’t think he’s ever finished it”), The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream and I Shall Be Released. We get the inside story on using Bob as a role model when being booed (“bloody-minded obstinance in the face of people being dicks is very inspiring”) and for personal grooming inspiration (“my hair grows the way it grows because of the Blonde On Blonde album cover”). Nish Kumar grew up in Croydon, South London. He has a degree in History and English from Durham University. His sold-out solo shows have won awards at the Edinburgh Fringe and toured nationally and internationally to huge acclaim. Nish’s TV appearances include a Netflix Special, The John Bishop Show, Have I Got News For You, Alan Davies As Yet Untitled, QI, Mock The Week, and Live At The Apollo. He has been the presenter of the topical comedy show Newsjack on Radio 4 Extra, hosts television’s very popular The Mash Report on BBC Two and chairs The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4. Website Trailer Twitter Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 24th February 2020 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
22/03/2047m 54s

David Greig

Scottish playwright David Greig was first “cracked open” to Dylan when he heard Desire in a remote part of South Africa “under the influence of the most extraordinarily strong dope”. “That’s it”, he thought, “I’M GOING IN!” He has yet to come out. David wrote his version of Euripides’ The Bacchae by playing the Hard Rain album over and over while drinking red wine and channelling “Dylan as Dionysius, Dylan as shaman”. Quotes that leap out of this most Scottish of episodes: “Bob Dylan couldn’t exist except for Edinburgh”, “I secretly love the glorious oddness of his bad rhymes” and his favourite bit of advice from Bob: “an artist should always be in the state of becoming” (from Scorsese’s No Direction Home). Other names lightly dropped include Kris Kristofferson, Robert Burns and David’s recent collaborator Mark Knopfler. Join us for a special episode that’s as warming as a wee dram. David Greig is Artistic Director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. His many plays and adaptations, staged in Scotland, London and around the world, include: Europe, Tintin In Tibet, Caligula, The American Pilot, The Bacchae, Midsummer, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Lanark, The Lorax, Touching The Void and this summer’s Old Vic production of Local Hero. Trailer Twitter Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 6th February 2020 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
23/02/2045m 52s

Neil Gaiman

Writer Neil Gaiman fell in love with A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall via Bryan Ferry’s cover version. It ended up influencing the imagery of his novel American Gods (as well as the Amazon TV series). The song also provided a few gloomy pronouncements (“we’re in an apocalyptic state of mind: the doomsday clock is ticking”) in our otherwise jolly discussion. Colourful Bob theories are espoused: “if I were going to go cold turkey, I would have taken three months off to live with the local pharmacist” and sad information about that chaise longue is dispensed: “it has become somewhat damaged by cats over the years”. The location of the iconic piece of furniture is also discussed: “a weird and lovely faux-Dutch farmhouse… haunted by the ghost of the still-living Bob Dylan”. Tune in for Neil’s insights about Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, Joan Baez, Andy Warhol, Lord Buckley, Penn & Teller and Gilbert and Sullivan. Neil Gaiman is a British writer. His first book was a paperback biography of Duran Duran. Since then, his works have included the cult DC Comics series The Sandman, which won him nine Will Eisner Awards (including the award for best writer four times). His six-part TV series for the BBC, Neverwhere, was broadcast in 1996. Stardust, an illustrated prose novel in four parts, began to appear in 1997. American Gods was published in 2001 and won all the awards going. He co-wrote Good Omens with Terry Pratchett (now a hit TV series). Coraline, his first novel for children, was another international bestseller. And the hits kept coming: Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane (adapted into a hit play at the National Theatre). Neil has appeared as himself on The Simpsons. Trailer Website Twitter Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 13th December 2019 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
24/01/2046m 30s

Barney Hoskyns

Rock journalist Barney Hoskyns comes on board for a special episode that focuses on The Band, with Dylan as their “weird” sideman. Tears Of Rage is compared to Philip Roth’s novel American Pastoral. Barney suspects it might just be “an anti-hippie song”. His “deeply emotional” attachment to the town of Woodstock is explored in depth: “overwhelmed by the mythology of the place”, he raised his kids there and explored its musical history in his book Small Town Talk (title taken from the song by Bobby Charles). After writing the acclaimed Band book Across The Great Divide, he reports on the feedback he received from Robbie Robertson: “Oh Barney, Barney, Barney, Barney…” while he praises the remarkable Woodstock-based novella Music From Big Pink by John Niven. He remembers an awful interview with Prince: “he sat like a sadistic cat, waiting to maul me” and connects the Minnesotan “Imp of the Perverse” with Bob. Is Barney ultimately a Dylan man? While admiring the early work, he’s also put off by its “sadism and cruelty”. “Barney Hoskyns is the finest British rock writer of his generation” - Charlie Gillett. He graduated from Oxford with a First Class degree in English and began writing about music for Melody Maker and New Musical Express, British Vogue and The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, and The Observer. He has also contributed to Harper's Bazaar, Interview magazine, Spin magazine and Rolling Stone. He was Associate Editor and then U.S. Editor of Mojo. Barney has written over fifteen books: investigating Bowie, Prince, Led Zeppelin and The Doors; plus Say It One Time For The Brokenhearted: Country Soul In The American South, Across The Great Divide: The Band And America and Joni: The Anthology. Trailer Website Rock's Back Pages Twitter Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 2nd December 2019 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
26/12/1941m 56s

Jonathan Lethem

On the BobPhone from the USA: it’s award-winning writer Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn, with a supremely quotable episode. On his “Big Kahuna” interview of Bob for Rolling Stone: “he was direct and generous; we had a good time”. An advocate for Dylan’s latter-day stuff, he believes that “humour is underrated as a feature of the operation”. Among Jonathan’s many provocative thoughts: “The power of (Dylan’s) negativity is a form of creative dynamism” and “how many people could have turned down the coronations he’s been offered”? He praises the “fiasco methodology” of Under The Red Sky, has mixed feelings about Together Through Life (“if you underrate a thing it can kick your ass”) and condemns the Sinatra years as “a fatally tasteful hiding place”. Did Dylan stay in Mississippi a day too long? Join us and find out. Jonathan Lethem is an American novelist, essayist and short story writer. His first novel Gun, with Occasional Music, which mixed elements of science fiction and detective fiction, was published in 1994. In 1999, Lethem published Motherless Brooklyn, a National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novel that achieved mainstream success: the movie adaptation by Edward Norton has just been released. In 2003, he published The Fortress of Solitude, which became a New York Times bestseller. His most recent novel is The Feral Detective. A Brooklyn native, Jonathan lives and teaches in California. His 2006 Rolling Stone piece on James Brown Website Trailer Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 19th November 2019
15/12/1948m 7s


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Andy Kershaw

Broadcaster, journalist and “swivel-eyed Dylanologist” Andy Kershaw, “a radio station within a radio station” during his time on Radio 1, gives us his unvarnished thoughts. From arguments with his dad about Bob’s greatness to his first sighting of “the human American bald eagle” at Earl’s Court in 1978, to his unravelling of the identity of the “Judas!” heckler, to Bob’s actual response (“he doesn’t say “play fucking loud!”), this is a delightful and surprising episode. Andy’s encounters include a meeting with Keith Richards (“he nicked my cigarette lighter!”), tracking down long-lost soul singer James Carr in Memphis; and his impromptu November 1985 visit to Dave Stewart’s Crouch End recording studio: “I gave Bob a jar of hedgerow jam. It was like handing a mobile phone to a chimpanzee”. What hasn’t Andy Kershaw done? He was Billy Bragg’s roadie, a presenter of Whistle Test and Live Aid, and a subversive yet respected DJ. His shows on BBC Radio 1 and 3 provided an outlet for his love of world music, soul, reggae and blues. He married this with many forays into journalism, reporting on the Rwandan genocide and travelling to 97 countries including Iran, Iraq and North Korea. When he moved from London to the Isle of Man in 2006, he continued to host his radio show there and organised concerts featuring Robert Plant, The Who, The Kinks and Lou Reed. Andy currently reports for BBC 1’s The One Show. His autobiography, No Off Switch, is “an amazing read” according to Stephen Fry. Stephen is correct. Website Trailer Twitter: @THEAndyKershaw Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 7th November 2019 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
01/12/1951m 11s

Piney Gir

As an early Thanksgiving treat, Luke and Kerry welcome American singer Piney Gir. Piney (real name Angela), hails from “a very strict part of the Bible Belt”, where she grew up listening to cassettes of wholesome Christian music and a few of the “less psychedelic” Beach Boys tracks. One day, Dylan’s Slow Train Coming caused chaos in her parents’ car: her dad, a born-again Vietnam vet, loved it but her mom hated it (“or maybe she might have hated my dad”). Piney’s parents’ church was hardcore: “speaking in tongues, fainting, dancing - and album burning in the church car park”. She finally broke away from Christian Rock and entered the world of secular music via Depeche Mode and The Cure. Eventually, Edie Brickell’s cover of A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall and Scorsese’s No Direction Home brought her to the Church of Bob: “I’m interested in his relationship with faith”. Join us for a surprising journey in and out of the heartlands of America. Piney Gir was born in Kansas but has been based in the UK since 1998. She has been described both as a musical chameleon and as “the Indie Dolly Parton". As well as being a fixture on the London music scene, she has toured to venues like Glastonbury and South By Southwest. Her songs have appeared in TV programmes including Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Made In Chelsea, Waterloo Road and Being Human. Piney’s latest album is You Are Here. Website Trailer Twitter: @PineyGir Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 8th October 2019 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
17/11/1937m 20s

Ian McMillan

Is Bob Dylan a poet? We ask Ian McMillan, one of the UK’s best. Ian compares Bob to Dylan Thomas, both of them “great poets who can rub vowels against consonants and make a kind of smoke come out of them… a kind of music.” “Meaning doesn’t matter”, he says. “The basis of poetry is being able to mint a phrase like “Lay, lady, lay”. I was so excited when Dylan won the Nobel Prize. Dylan’s stuff will last forever”. Yorkshire-born Ian recalls arguing with his Andy Stewart-loving Scottish father about the merits of Lay Lady Lay, over the washing up. How he was so moved hearing Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands that he wrote a poem about it. Other topics include in-depth dissections of One More Cup Of Coffee and Subterranean Homesick Blues, Paul Simon and John Cheever’s short fiction, Dylan’s Tarantula and Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street. Join us for a free-flowing episode with plenty of literary smoke. Ian McMillan is a poet, journalist and broadcaster. He presents poetry programme The Verb on BBC Radio 3 and is a regular on BBC Breakfast, Pick of the Week, You & Yours, Last Word and The Arts Show. He’s been a castaway on Desert Island Discs (where he famously chose John Cage’s 4'33"). His television work also includes The Review Show and Have I Got News For You. He has written many volumes of poetry, in addition to his verse autobiography Talking Myself Home. Ian was resident poet for the English National Opera, was Yorkshire TV’s Investigative Poet and Humberside Police’s Beat Poet. Trailer Twitter: @IMcMillan Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 6th September 2019 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
03/11/1944m 23s

Andrew Male

Music journalist Andrew Male begins by examining “the humour that turns sour… the madness” of Bob’s 1965 “speedy, hipster world”, the “fascinating cruelty” of Dont Look Back and Eat The Document (“he couldn’t stand that close to the flame anymore”). He goes on: “if you’re interested in Dylan, you have to see it as a grand narrative, even the points that you flinch from.” This episode bounces between Elvis’s version of “I Shall Be Released”, Dylan doing his “Movie Elvis” voice on “Spanish Is The Loving Tongue” and New Morning, “Dylan’s first religious album, but the religion is Buddhism: the lyrics are like koans”. Was that Dylan on harmonica in George Harrison’s version of “If Not For You”? Was “Father Of Night” Dylan’s examination of his Jewish faith? Andrew offers more questions than answers on this one, which is how it should be. Join us. Andrew Male, former deputy editor of Mojo magazine and film lecturer at Warwick University, has been writing about music, books, film, radio & TV for the past twenty-five years. He can currently be found in the pages of Mojo, Sight & Sound, the Guardian, the Sunday Times and the Radio Times. Andrew lives in South London. Trailer Twitter: @Andr6wMale Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 15th April 2019 This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
19/10/1947m 0s

Geoff Dyer

When writer Geoff Dyer approaches us as a fan of the podcast, we jump at the chance. He leaps right in with a detailed analysis of Idiot Wind, praises previous guest Michael Gray, quotes Simon Armitage and Clinton Heylin, applauds Desire and Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Revue and hails Dylan’s voice: “you always believe what he’s saying, even though he’s always an unreliable witness. It’s his incredible narrative power”. A few of the many topics: the 1978 Blackbushe gig (“explosively exciting”), his early years as Dylan freak (“I look back fondly on the exchange of cassette tapes in a pub – the early Christian era of Dylan bootlegs, this circle of initiates”) and the cleaned-up release of I’m Not There (“the value of it was somewhat diminished, I felt”). Geek out with Geoff in this passionate episode. Geoff Dyer is the author of Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi and three previous novels, as well as nine non-fiction books. Dyer has won the Somerset Maugham Prize, the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction and was named GQ’s Writer of the Year. He has won a National Book Critics Circle Award and the Windham Campbell Prize for non-fiction. His books have been translated into twenty-four languages. He currently lives in Los Angeles where he is Writer in Residence at the University of Southern California. Geoff’s most recent book is Broadsword Calling Danny Boy, about the film Where Eagles Dare. Website Trailer Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 19th July 2019
06/10/1944m 38s

Robyn Hitchcock

Singer Robyn Hitchcock finds “the comfort of doom” in Dylan’s “personal mineshaft of bleakness” as well as in Bob’s latterday performance style (“he’s like a mute lamppost”). Robyn first saw our man at the Isle of Wight Festival at the age of 16 (“with his white suit and his new voice, it was like watching your beloved get off the train but – it’s not them. I was riveted. I just stared.”) A conversation with Nashville cats Charlie McCoy and Wayne Moss is recounted, BD and Jim Morrison are skilfully imitated, Blonde On Blonde is rhapsodised (“You can see that music. It’s visual, like fireworks, like LSD. It’s in my DNA”). Strip your senses for this magic swirling ship of an episode. Robyn Hitchcock is a London-born, Nashville-based singer, songwriter, surrealist poet, cult artist and musician's musician. Since founding the art-rock band The Soft Boys in 1976, he has recorded more than 20 albums and starred in ‘Storefront Hitchcock’ a concert film by Jonathan Demme. Blending folk, psychedelia and British nihilism, Robyn describes his songs as ‘paintings you can listen to’. Robyn Sings (2002) is his live Bob Dylan covers album. His most recent album is Robyn Hitchcock (2017). UK tour dates (Oct 2019) Website: Trailer Twitter: @RobynHitchcock Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 22nd July 2019
22/09/1946m 28s

Michael Feast

Actor Michael Feast has a deep personal history with Dylan. He won a role in the landmark 1968 London production of Hair by singing Outlaw Blues and Highway 61 Revisited. His drama school years were dramatised by Camden Town flatmate Bruce Robinson in the cult film Withnail & I. “It looked pretty much like it did in the movie. Biba bags hanging over lights and all that sort of caper”. His Brighton Mod scooter and soul thing was shattered the first time he saw the cover and heard the contents of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. “Whatever else I was into, like Elvis, Dylan always had a place within and yet beyond that. It always fitted in and yet it never did.” Desolation Row is dissected and applauded: “The words and images hit me straight away. I see it as a dusty street in Mexico”. The Beatles, The Band, The Rolling Stones, Gram Parsons, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson are all name-checked by our self-confessed “musicologist geek” in this classic episode. Michael Feast is a stage and screen actor: a veteran of the Royal Exchange, The Old Vic, the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. He worked several times with Sir John Gielgud, whom he later portrayed in the West End. Feast’s many television appearances include State of Play, Silent Witness, Vera and Game of Thrones. His film credits include roles in Franco Zeffirelli’s Brother Sun, Sister Moon as well as The Draughtsman’s Contract and Velvet Goldmine. Trailer Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @istrollingpod Recorded 11th February 2019
08/09/1938m 45s

Christopher Green

Writer/performer Christopher Green illuminates the links between Dylan and female singers such as Indigo Girls, Marlene Dietrich, Marianne Faithfull, Kacey Musgraves and Emmylou Harris. A shape-shifting performer himself, Christopher temporarily gave up on Dylan when he heard Tracey Thorn berate him in her song Me and Bobby D, thinking: “he’s the voice of the Patriarchy and he can’t even sing”. In this episode, we grapple with some controversial questions: should we overlook an artist’s biography when considering their work? Does Bob sing with deep emotion? (His most recent recording He’s Funny That Way gets a look-in.) And we receive our most unusual piece of advice: “when you’re at an orgy with a friend, don’t look at their face”. Join us as we discover Christopher’s “secret relationship” with Bob Dylan. Christopher Green is a writer and performer whose work includes comedy, cabaret, theatre and live art. He is best known for his work as a character comedian, in a range of personas, playing at venues such as The Royal Albert Hall and Sydney Opera House. Performing as one of his characters, Tina C, Green has presented his own BBC TV and radio shows. Green co-wrote Duckie's Olivier Award-winning "C'est Barbican!" which was performed at London’s Barbican Centre. Trailer Christopher as Tina C Christopher as Ida Barr Website: Twitter: @kit_green Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @istrollingpod Recorded 20th February 2019
25/08/1938m 44s

Sarfraz Manzoor

Blinded By The Light screenwriter Sarfraz Manzoor joins us for an unexpected “Bob Meets Bruce” episode. A passionate Dylan man, Sarfraz first saw Bob in 1990, camping out with other hardcore fans for tickets at Hammersmith Odeon (he tips his hat to the legendary ‘Lambchop’). Topics include Oh Mercy (“ feels like a contemporary album. That swampy, darker take on things feels right for now”) and Bob’s age when he recorded it (“he seemed a Methuselah-like prophet, but was the same age I am now!”). In our three-way conversation, Dylan shares centre stage with Springsteen: Sarfraz is a big fan of their “appalling” live duet of Highway 61 Revisited. Don’t miss this surprising episode with the summer’s filmic man of the moment. Born in Pakistan, Sarfraz Manzoor is a British journalist, documentary maker and broadcaster. He is a regular contributor to The Guardian, presenter of documentaries on television and radio and a cultural commentator who appears on programmes such as Radio 4’s Saturday Review. His memoir, Greetings From Bury Park, was published in 2007. He co-wrote the just-released film Blinded By The Light, based on his book. Trailer Twitter: @sarfrazmanzoor Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @istrollingpod Recorded 4th February 2019
11/08/1938m 20s

Sheila Atim

Sheila Atim - actress, singer, writer - won an Olivier Award for her performance as Marianne in Girl From The North Country, which transferred to the West End from London’s Old Vic. Sheila takes us behind the scenes of the most successful theatre adaptation of Dylan’s work. Did Bob come to see it? “I had a fantasy of him in a trench coat and hat, leaving a little post-it note at the stage door, saying “well done”. But that didn’t happen. A mug with his name on it was printed for him. I don’t know who has it now!” Sheila Atim’s acting credits include Othello (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Tempest and Julius Caesar (Donmar Warehouse) and Les Blancs (National Theatre) as well as work for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court. This year, she begins filming the much-anticipated prequel to Game of Thrones (HBO). ANGUIS, Sheila’s first stage play, opens 31 July 2019 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Trailer Twitter: @sheila_atim Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 16th January 2019
28/07/1941m 33s

Stephen Unwin

Theatre director Stephen Unwin joins Luke and Kerry for one of their widest-ranging discussions; from Unwin’s favourite album The Times They Are A-Changin’ to The Bootleg Series Vol 8: Tell Tale Signs and Tempest. Topics include Bob and Brecht, Dylan and The Dead (“like orange juice and milk”), his disbelief in Tom Waits and his amazement at Bob’s awards ceremony persona (“such a tiny, eccentric, weird little guy!”).  Tracks explored include Early Roman Kings (“can I be bothered with this?”) and North Country Blues (“deep American poetry”). Along the way, the mysterious location of the Red River Shore is cleared up and Roll On John is pronounced “a fantastic song”. Stephen Unwin is a director, writer and teacher. In the 1980s he was Associate Director at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. He founded English Touring Theatre in 1993, was resident director at the National Theatre Studio and in 2008 opened the Rose Theatre, Kingston, where he was Artistic Director. As well as directing more than fifty plays and operas, he has written eight books on theatre and drama, along with four original plays. He has translated twelve foreign language plays, written numerous articles in books and newspapers and has taught at drama schools and universities in Britain and the USA. Trailer Website: Twitter: @RoseUnwin Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 11th January 2019
14/07/1941m 38s

More Michael Gray

In our second Michael Gray episode, the noted Dylan authority exults in Bob’s legendary 1984 David Letterman appearance: “he breaks through the oleaginous smear that is American television and creates an authentic moment”. He goes on to describe “the fairly heavy occasion” backstage at Earl’s Court in 1978 with his young son, who bums a biro off Bianca Jagger to seek Bob’s forbidden (left-handed) autograph. Countless tracks and albums are measured up, praised or dismissed, including the recent Sinatra years: “horrible finger snapping”. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear unvarnished opinions and future plans from the man who changed the face of Dylan criticism. Michael Gray is a world authority on the work of Bob Dylan. His Song & Dance Man: The Art of Bob Dylan, published in 1972, was the first full-length critical study of Dylan’s work. Its massive third edition, Song & Dance Man III (2000), is an essential part of any Dylan fan’s bookshelf. Michael's vast Bob Dylan Encyclopedia (2006) won the International Association of Music Libraries’ C.B. Oldman Prize. Another major work, Hand Me My Travelin’ Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell, was published in 2007. His articles have been published in Rolling Stone, The Times, Literary Review, Independent, Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, Weekend Telegraph, Independent on Sunday, Sunday Telegraph, Melody Maker, Uncut and many more. Trailer Website: Twitter: @1michaelgray1 Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 12th June 2019
07/07/1944m 28s

Michael Gray

We devote our next two episodes to Michael Gray, one of this podcast’s literary heroes. Seems we owe it all to Linda, the university girlfriend who introduced him to Bob’s work. “Coming from a rock ‘n’ roll background, I had no interest in folk-clubbery; it just seemed weird”. Soon he was marvelling at the poetry and, at Liverpool in 1966, Dylan’s “extraordinary ability to recite at length, stoned out of his head, yet word perfect.” Michael talks us through the various editions of his classic Song & Dance Man, from the slim first edition to the gigantic third version, which Uncut called “dazzlingly brilliant... an intellectual tour de force... an essential companion”. In between, we hear about his relationship with “the bony figure who came through the middle of the curtain” and changed his life. Michael Gray is a world authority on the work of Bob Dylan. His Song & Dance Man: The Art of Bob Dylan, published in 1972, was the first full-length critical study of Dylan’s work. Its massive third edition, Song & Dance Man III (2000), is an essential part of any Dylan fan’s bookshelf. Michael's vast Bob Dylan Encyclopedia (2006) won the International Association of Music Libraries’ C.B. Oldman Prize. Another major work, Hand Me My Travelin’ Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell, was published in 2007. His articles have been published in Rolling Stone, The Times, Literary Review, Independent, Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, Weekend Telegraph, Independent on Sunday, Sunday Telegraph, Melody Maker, Uncut and many more. Trailer Website: Twitter: @1michaelgray1 Spotify playlist Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Recorded 12th June 2019
30/06/1949m 47s

Dorian Lynskey

At age 14, journalist Dorian Lynskey had a “huge resentment” towards Bob Dylan and the “horrible old has-beens” in the Traveling Wilburys: “SCREW YOU! GET OUT OF THE WAY!” Young Dorian continued to be unmoved by Dylan’s 1997 heart condition: “Oh, I guess he’s dying now: Time Out Of Mind is the mortality album”. He has since revised his opinion. “I like his weird, apocalyptic psycho-geography of America.” He admires the man’s indifference: “Piss off. I’m going to disappoint you again”. In-depth discussions include: Masters Of War, the upcoming Neil Young Hyde Park concert, Greil Marcus, Chronicles Volume One and the best Dylan cover versions (check out Phil Flowers And The Flower Shop’s version of Like A Rolling Stone). Dorian’s books include The Ministry Of Truth: A Biography of George Orwell’s 1984, 33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs and The Guardian Book of Playlists. He writes on music for The Guardian, was music critic for The Big Issue and has freelanced for Q, GQ, Mojo, Word, Spin, Empire and The Observer. Trailer Ministry of Truth webpage Twitter: @Dorianlynskey Podcast: Remainiacs Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Spotify playlist Recorded 28th May 2019
16/06/1944m 36s

Jonjo O'Neill

Actor Jonjo O’Neill tells the true story of how Bob Dylan changed his life. Coming to Blowin' In The Wind through a dodgy guitar teacher in Catholic Belfast, moving on to full-blown Dylan conversion through Scorsese documentary No Direction Home, realising that Bob is “a messianic boy who ends up, like Jesus, saying: "Why, Father?"” He continues: “I placed myself as the character of 'Bob'. I felt totally intoxicated by playing him. I felt the drama of what he was doing. I wanted to be Bob Dylan. I was jealous that no one else got to do it!” Join us for one of our most unexpected episodes. Jonjo O’Neill, born in 1978, is an Associate Artist with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he played Richard III and Mercutio. He also has strong connections with the Royal Court Theatre. On film and television, Jonjo is best known for Defiance, Doctor Who, The Assets, The Fall, Constantine, Patrick Melrose and the final, stagecoach section of the Coen Brothers film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Trailer Website: Twitter: @ONeillJonjo Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Spotify playlist Recorded 25th February 2019
02/06/1939m 35s

Dan Rebellato

Professor and playwright Dan Rebellato sets out his stall by praising Dylan’s simplicity, his humour and his relationship to the spiritual world. “I was raised on Bob Dylan. The album John Wesley Harding gave me nightmares but I love it for its religion – it’s exactly as Christian as I like my Bob.” If you don’t know John Wesley Harding, this episode is your way in. If you do know it, Dan will take you deeper. “Suddenly, he becomes a storytelling songwriter. He’s no longer mocking the conventions of storytelling. There’s something epic and foreboding about these stories, something deeply fearful and puzzling about this record.” Dan Rebellato is Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has written over twenty plays for BBC radio and another sixteen for the stage, performed at the Edinburgh Assembly Rooms, Theatre 503, the Arcola and the National Theatre. His radio work has been nominated twice for Sony Awards. Dan writes regularly for The Guardian Theatre Blog. Trailer Twitter: @danrebellato Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Spotify playlist Recorded 28th January 2019
19/05/1935m 15s

Larry "Ratso" Sloman

From New York, it’s the legendary Larry “Ratso” Sloman, author of On The Road With Bob Dylan, the up-close-and-personal story of the 1975 Rolling Thunder tour. Ratso shoots the breeze with Luke and Kerry about Bob, Joan, Sara, Joni, Roger, Renaldo, Clara and the rest of the gang. The Scorsese Rolling Thunder Revue doc is previewed and his new album discussed. From his beginnings as a suburban teenage accountant to hanging out with the foulmouthed Fugs, blagging his way into Rolling Stone magazine, accosting Dylan outside a beauty parlour and being invited on tour, to recording a duet opposite Nick Cave (with flute by Warren Ellis) - it’s been a long, strange trip. Our conversation with Ratso includes Stubborn Heart album producer Vincent Cacchione. Ratso Sloman was known as Larry until Joan Baez changed his name. He has written books on Houdini, David Blaine, Mike Tyson, Howard Stern and Anthony Kiedis. He has directed a Dylan video, edited National Lampoon and written a history of marijuana in America. More importantly, Ratso has a Master’s Degree in Deviance and Criminology. Trailer Podcast: Ratso & Friends Twitter: @ratsosloman Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Spotify playlist Recorded 10th April 2019
05/05/1952m 20s


Featuring guests: Billy Bragg David Baddiel Kenneth Cranham David Morrissey Barb Jungr Larry 'Ratso' Sloman David Hepworth Sheila Atim Paul Morley
26/04/193m 35s

Billy Bragg

In a specially extended edition, beloved Barking bigmouth Billy Bragg tells Kerry and Luke how he first encountered the works of Dylan in the early 1970’s, “through the portal” of Simon & Garfunkel and Rod Stewart. “Greatest Hits, Volume 2 really messed with my head and my songwriting”. We learn that when Chrissie Hynde asks him to come backstage to meet Bob post-concert, Billy flees into the night, terrified of disgracing himself in front of his hero. Wiggle Wiggle, Woody Guthrie and Wilco also loom large in our landmark sixteenth podcast. Billy Bragg writes and sings bitingly intelligent, warmly humane songs about politics and love. His albums include Shine A Light, Tooth & Nail, Bridges Not Walls and Mermaid Avenue – The Complete Sessions. His books include Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World. His recent documentary is Rock Island Line: The Song That Made Britain Rock. In 2019, he’ll be touring both the UK and USA. Trailer Twitter @billybragg Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Spotify playlist Recorded 20th March 2019
21/04/1958m 54s

Jude Rogers

Jude Rogers, Guardian music critic and interviewer, shares her thoughts with Kerry while Luke is in rehearsals. She tells of growing up with The Smiths and REM, “terrified” of the “intimidating” man who “influenced all of pop music” until she discovers the “non-intimidating” Bob on Nashville Skyline and Self Portrait. Jude eventually realises that “Bob Dylan was all these different people” and begins to see the light. An interview she conducts with Mavis Staples seals the deal, complimented by a Dylan playlist from a trusted friend. Jude Rogers was reviews editor for The Word magazine. In addition to The Guardian, she writes for The Observer, The New Statesman, The Times and Financial Times as well as Red, Elle and Marie Claire. Jude broadcasts on BBC Radio and is a senior lecturer in journalism at London Metropolitan University. Trailer Twitter @juderogers Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Spotify playlist Recorded 7th November 2018
07/04/1940m 22s

Jeff Slate

Direct from New York City, our first transatlantic podcast features singer, songwriter and journalist Jeff Slate, who went from life in a small town in suburban Connecticut to gigging with his own band to being invited into the Dylan office “for coffee” to writing the liner notes for More Blood, More Tracks. Jeff spills the beans on future Bootleg Series releases and the music business in general: “physical product, sadly, is dead”. On hearing a preview of Shadows In The Night, he says “I was sitting there with my mouth open … at the passion, power and energy. Bob was singing his ass off!” Jeff also wrote the liner notes for the reissue of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and is the co-author of The Authorized Roy Orbison. He has appeared on radio and TV around the world as performer and music expert. He has an unrivalled knowledge of all things Dylan, Beatles and Monty Python.  Twitter @jeffslate Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Spotify playlist Recorded 15th February 2019
24/03/1934m 54s

Robin Guise

Film producer Robin Guise is our knowledgeable guide through Dylan’s major cinematic works. In our longest episode yet, we look back at Dont Look Back, Eat The Document, Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid, Renaldo & Clara, Hearts Of Fire and Masked And Anonymous. On the way, Robin discusses Let It Be, the Radiohead documentary Meeting People Is Easy and the upcoming Rolling Thunder project.  Acting is discussed: Tom Waits and Kris Kristofferson can; Bob Dylan can’t. Or can he? Fasten your seatbelts for a bumpy, amusing and contentious episode. At our podcasting home, LipSync Post, Robin has spent 30 years overseeing marketing materials for major studio and independent films. He is the author of the entertaining online blog The Hitchcock Project. Robin has produced and directed many documentary films, including a recent short feature about rock photographer Jill Furmanovsky. Trailer Twitter @ColBlimp9 Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Spotify playlist Recorded 4th January 2019
10/03/1952m 50s

Kathryn Williams

Kathryn Williams, singer-songwriter, laughs like the flowers as she talks about Dylan as inspiration and Cat Stevens as her secret crush. Outsiders and identity are themes; she listened to Janis Joplin every morning to get through school. Kath confesses to some ”wild” teenage years: listening for hours to tapes of Dylan in a Liverpool pub car park. Lay Lady Lay was “a wakening into the adult world”, her “massive daily song: saucy and sexy”. Her songwriting is illuminated: “how to make truth ring”. Kathryn Williams has released 14 studio albums. She has written and arranged for a multitude of artists and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize for her second album, Little Black Numbers. She has collaborated with artists including John Martyn, Chris Difford, Thea Gilmore, Ed Harcourt and The Magic Numbers. Trailer Website: Box set: Twitter: @kathwilliamsuk Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating.   Twitter @isitrollingpod Spotify playlist Recorded 22nd October 2018
24/02/1936m 59s

David Baddiel

David Baddiel, a Bowie man to his core, pronounces Dylan “incredibly subversive and instinctively funny” while comparing him to Larry David. Bob’s voice is “like a buzzing fly”; Mr Tambourine Man is “a pure piece of surrealistic poetry that signals the start of the 60’s - in 1964”. There’s more: “Dylan takes leaps of the imagination that he doesn’t know he’s taking” and “Bob is John The Baptist to Leonard Cohen’s Jesus”. Don’t miss this outstanding episode.  David - comedian, novelist and screenwriter - is well known for his partnerships with Rob Newman (the first stand-ups to play Wembley Arena) and Frank Skinner - Fantasy Football League and the Unplanned TV and stage shows. His solo shows FAME: Not The Musical and My Family: Not The Sitcom both transferred to the West End. Trailer Podcast: Stalking Time For The Moonboys Twitter @Baddiel Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating.  Twitter @isitrollingpod Spotify playlist Recorded 1st February 2019
10/02/1946m 3s

Peter Fincham

Peter Fincham, television producer, tells a hilarious story concerning Dylan’s manager and a Bob tribute band. He moves on to Every Grain Of Sand and the Bootleg Series (“Angelina is impenetrable” but it’s “a magnificent vocal performance. He sings it as if his life depends on it”). At boarding school, Peter rejected his peers’ predilection for Deep Purple and found a taste for “songs with acoustic guitars”. Dylan’s trip into the Sinatra songbook is considered, plus missing tracks from Shot of Love and Infidels, before we move on to Blonde On Blonde and other major works. Peter Fincham was Managing Director of Talkback Productions, Controller of BBC1 and Director of Television for ITV. He developed programmes including The Day Today, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, I’m Alan Partridge, Da Ali G Show, Green Wing, The One Show, Downton Abbey, Broadchurch and The Only Way Is Essex. (Apology to Bella Weiland, our engineer for this episode: I mispronounced her surname and didn't have a chance to correct it. It's pronounced WAYland, not WEEland...) - LH Trailer Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Spotify playlist Recorded 12th October 2018
27/01/1937m 23s

Tom Sutcliffe

Tom Sutcliffe, journalist and broadcaster, gave his fourteen year-old son a birthday iPod with a quote from Forever Young engraved on it. He swears: “I don’t randomly quote Bob Dylan” and describes Bob’s Bringing It All Back Home as “a cold shower/warm shower of an album”. Concentrating on BIABH, Tom calls Maggie’s Farm “an ordeal” and certain famous lyrics “trite” and “twee”; and admits to an irrational hatred of the tambourine, but praises Gates of Eden as “a great tune”. Tom Sutcliffe studied at Cambridge and joined the BBC soon afterwards. He has presented Radio 4’s weekly Saturday Review arts programme since 1999. He was the first arts editor of The Independent newspaper and has been chairman of Round Britain Quiz since 2007. Saturday Review web page Trailer Twitter @tds153 Listeners: please subscribe and/or leave a review and a rating. Twitter @isitrollingpod Spotify playlist Recorded 3rd October 2018
13/01/1935m 42s

Jon Canter

Jon Canter, comedy writer, reminds us of Bob’s physical resemblance to The Marx Brothers and of his “predictably perverse” humour (“I don’t think I’d heard sarcasm in popular song before Dylan”). He goes on to equate Bob’s Jewishness with his constant restlessness, whilst quoting a Randy Newman song about Bruce Springsteen.  Jon somehow manages to relate the work of Dylan to Brexit, via a discussion of Bob’s attitude to “experts”. He praises the genius of Dylan’s early bootlegs and marvels at the man’s extraordinary emotional range (“He’s a Shakespearean songwriter”). Jon Canter is the author of three comic novels - Seeds of Greatness, A Short Gentleman and Worth. He has written stand-up comedy for Lenny Henry, the BBC2 series Posh Nosh for Arabella Weir, comment pieces for The Guardian, along with many radio and stage plays. The fourth series of his comedy ‘Believe It’ (with Richard Wilson) was broadcast recently on BBC Radio 4. Trailer  Twitter: @joncanter3 Spotify playlist Recorded 20th September 2018
30/12/1835m 37s

Sid Griffin

Sid Griffin, musician and writer, compares Dylan to Miles Davis but concludes “he’s a surprisingly normal person in an incredibly abnormal situation.” Other subjects: Bob’s open attendance at Minnesota sporting events, Dylan’s penchant for taking buses into rural Ireland and the secret of his 1960s skinny black jeans. We also discuss originality. Sid’s view: “If you take two lines from a Henry Timrod poem in the American Civil war and then have a line of your own and then you have two lines from some Japanese poet of the 19th Century and a line of your own and then a line of dialogue that Humphrey Bogart said to Claude Rains…that is an original song.”  Kentucky native Sid Griffin is a successful solo artist as well as co-founder of the legendary bands The Long Ryders and The Coal Porters. His first book was a biography of Gram Parsons. Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, The Band and The Basement Tapes is a must-read for any Dylan fan. Sid has contributed many articles to Mojo, Q and NME. He is often seen on BBC TV. Trailer Website Podcast The Sid Griffin Podcast ( Twitter: @SidCPsGriffin Spotify playlist Recorded 1st October 2018
16/12/1838m 45s

Sylvie Simmons

Sylvie Simmons, author of the definitive Leonard Cohen biography “I’m Your Man”, confesses to discovering both Bob and Leonard on the same tacky compilation album. Further revelations include her reaction to witnessing Born-Again Bob (“it was just a really boring show”) and Leonard’s unhappy reaction to the news of Bob’s conversion (“he was yelling and screaming”). Other topics include Dylan and Cohen’s Jewishness, their use of smoke and mirrors and, from the mouth of their mutual producer Bob Johnston (“Is it rolling, Bob?”), the true story of how the two musical giants first met. Originally from London, but a Californian resident for decades, Sylvie has written articles and reviews for nearly every major music magazine. Her first book was a biography of Mötley Crüe. She has published a collection of short stories, Too Weird for Ziggy, as well as biographies of Neil Young and Serge Gainsbourg. Her first album as a singer-songwriter, Sylvie, was released in 2014. Trailer Twitter: @sylviesimmons Spotify playlist Recorded 24th October 2018
02/12/1838m 28s

Kenneth Cranham

Olivier Award-winning actor Kenneth Cranham wraps his RADA-trained vocal cords around Visions of Johanna and never stops. "You’ve got to go and see this guy Bob Dylan at the Royal Festival Hall,” he remembers being told in 1964. “He smokes joints all the time." So he bought four tickets - for a pound. Get ready for countless stories including Sam Shepard’s unique directing technique, a fond remembrance of Roger Lloyd Pack and blowing the minds of the Salvation Army with Dylan on his side.  West End and Broadway veteran Kenneth Cranham was in Joe Orton’s Loot and Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party. He played the title role in ITV’s Shine On, Harvey Moon and has appeared in countless films, stretching from Oliver! through Hellbound: Hellraiser II to Layer Cake, Valkyrie and Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool. Trailer Spotify playlist Recorded 12th September 2018
18/11/1835m 16s

Paul Morley

In Episode 4, acclaimed writer Paul Morley - not widely known as a Bob Dylan man - proves his love. “Punk demolished a lot of people weren’t going to demolish Bob. I always think of Before The Flood as like a proto-punk album.” Paul Morley is an English music journalist, well known for his work with the New Musical Express. He was a co-founder of the record label ZTT Records and was a member of the synthpop group Art of Noise. He has been a band manager, promoter, television presenter and staff member at The Royal Academy of Music. Paul’s many books include the Sunday Times bestseller The Age Of Bowie, Joy Division, The North (And Almost Everything In It), Words And Music and Nothing. Trailer Spotify playlist Recorded 10th September 2018
04/11/1835m 29s

Barb Jungr

In Episode 3, singer and writer Barb Jungr compares Dylan and Leonard Cohen (having extensively recorded both), and talks about the constant relevance of Dylan’s lyrics: his “understanding of humanity…that really relentless gaze”. An award-winning song-stylist incorporating jazz, blues and European cabaret, Barb’s approach often includes radical re-readings of known writers (Bowie, Springsteen, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell) as well as original material. She has also written for children’s and musical theatre. Barb’s Dylan-related albums include Every Grain Of Sand (2002), Just Like A Woman (2008), Man In The Long Black Coat (2011) and Hard Rain (2014). Trailer Twitter: @barbjungr Spotify playlist Recorded 19th September 2018
21/10/1838m 49s

David Morrissey

In Episode 2, actor David Morrissey and his son Gene discuss Dylan’s take on heartbreak and darkness, as well as the art of listening to albums all the way through; especially Blood On The Tracks. David Morrissey started acting at the Everyman Youth Theatre in Liverpool, where he was born and raised. Following graduation from RADA, he worked with Cheek By Jowl, the Manchester Royal Exchange and the Royal National Theatre. The British Film Institute described David as "one of the most versatile English actors of his generation". His many television and film credits include the Brian Jones biopic Stoned; as well as Britannia, The Driver, State of Play, Gordon Brown in The Deal (RTS Award, Best Actor) and The Governor in The Walking Dead (two time Saturn Award nominee). Trailer Twitter: @davemorrissey64 Spotify playlist Recorded 5th September 2018
07/10/1842m 43s

David Hepworth

In our first episode: noted journalist, broadcaster and author David Hepworth talks about Dylan's jokes, the Nobel Prize and the time he interviewed him. David joined Smash Hits in 1979 and became the editor. He helped start magazines like Just Seventeen, Q, Empire, Mojo, More, Heat and The Word. He presented Whistle Test for the BBC; and Live Aid, in front of the largest TV audience in history. He interviewed Bob Dylan a year later, in July 1986. His books "1971: Never A Dull Moment" and "Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars" are both Sunday Times best-sellers. His new book is called "Nothing Is Real" and he podcasts at Trailer Twitter: @davidhepworth Spotify playlist Recorded 3rd September 2018
24/09/1844m 9s
Heart UK