Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 10:22 a.m.
Bob Dylan's fake? Them's fightin' words, Joni Mitchell
The two folk artists are no strangers, having spent plenty of time on the road together, playing shows throughout the 70s as the Rolling Thunder Revue and again in 1998 when she co-headlined a tour with Van Morrison and Dylan. While it's unclear whether Mitchell has spoken to Dylan in those 12 years since they last played together, it's pretty evident that she's some unfinished business with him.
The piece in the LA Times was regarding John Kelly's "Paved Paradise," his series of tribute shows to Joni Mitchell where he channels the folk singer by dressing like her and playing her music -- much to the delight of Mitchell herself.
The interviewer asked Mitchell about the folk scene of the 1970s and the different personas that came about during that time, prompting him to say, "The folk scene you came out of had fun creating personas. You were born Roberta Joan Anderson, and someone named Bobby Zimmerman became Bob Dylan."
To this, Joni Mitchell replied:
Bob is not authentic at all. He's a plagiarist, and his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception. We are like night and day, he and I.
In one fell swoop --- in one quick jab -- Mitchell made it perfectly clear just how she regards Bob Dylan. Who knew she harbored such ill will towards the man? She was more than happy to share what she thought about Bob Dylan once his name came up, but was finished speaking of him after she said her peace -- even after the interviewer pressed Mitchell for any other comments.
Mitchell's comment comes at a time when authenticity in pop music is, quite frankly, getting out of hand. Just this past week, Ke$ha performed on SNL
and left viewers scratching their heads as to why something like her exists in today's music scene. Owl City's Adam Young indirectly admitted to sounding like The Postal Service
, rendering his music questionable if not bland and formulaic. Yet there are no two hotter artists right now than both Ke$ha and Owl City, proving that fans like what they want, regardless of that performer's authenticity or originality.
So was Bob Dylan a huge phony all this time? Were the times not a-changin'? Whatever the case may be -- whatever opinion you may have -- the man had a massive career, one that is still celebrated to this day. Joni Mitchell may be hitting on something by calling Bob Dylan and his trademark voice fake, but that is hardly the entire scenario when it comes to the man himself.
Has Bob Dylan been pulling the wool over our eyes all this time or does Joni Mitchell have some unfinished business with her former touring mate? Whatever the case may be, I think Q-Tip always said it best on Janet Jackson's "Got 'til It's Gone:"
"Joni Mitchell never lies."