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From the YouTube Archives VI: Martha Quinn Interviews Bob Dylan in 1984

I think this is some pretty amazing footage of what turned out to be a pretty decent interview. I’m not sure if it’s due to the effect that Martha Quinn had on so many of us or because Dylan is completely wasted, but he seems to open up more in this interview than in just about anything else I’ve seen or read. Dylan is dressed in jeans and a black and white striped shirt, seated casually in a folding chair with one leg tucked under the other thigh. His hair is a mess, and because of all the eyeliner he looks like a cross between a zebra and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Martha, delectable as ever, is dressed in boxer shorts and a tank top that looks like it was knitted for a sumo wrestler.

They cover a fairly wide range of topics – everything from early days at the Cafe Wha? to Dylan’s disappointment with the Jokerman video and his appreciation for R.W. Fassbinder, the German filmmaker who died a year or two before the interview.

Anyway, if you don’t have a couple of hours to sit through the whole thing, here’s a few higlights from the first segment. What’s so funny is that Dylan seems to think Martha says something other than “radio” during their conversation about David Lee Roth, who, if I remember correctly, was rumored to be Quinn’s something-or-other at about the same time. Dylan can’t help but start cracking up and Martha can’t wave the smoke out of her face quickly enough. Great stuff.

BOB Does my face look too brown or sumthin’?

MARTHA Just looks too… you know, cause you forget how close… here… oh jeez… I just dropped it… … this is just a little sponge… this is gonna take a little off, alright? [Martha spends a condsiderable amount of time with her back to the camera and fusses over Dylan like a mother getting her child ready for Halloween] Is this liquid eyeliner that you’ve been using?

BOB No!

MARTHA Just… what is it?

BOB It’s a pencil!

MARTHA You don’t mind that do you? [continues fussing for some time] You know what I think I might wanna do?

BOB What?

MARTHA I might wanna just get some of your pancake, cuz this is not really… um… scratching… Steve, can you just check that, please?

~ Then they talk about some of the music videos currently popular at the time ~

MARTHA So what’s your favorite video on MTV?

BOB Um… the one of … the one’s I’ve seen … ah … my favorite, one, is, the … umm … let me see … I’ve got a few of ’em … I like that one of the Police … when they’re jumping around in the studio?

MARTHA Synchronicity!

BOB Is that it? Well, no, they’re in a studio, and … they’re all … they’re all wearing hats.

MARTHA Oh! Um … Um … Everything She Does is Magic …

BOB I like that … I like … well, of course I like Cyndi Lauper’s … uh …

~ Later, Martha asks Dylan about David Lee Roth ~

BOB … I know who his uncle is. I used to work for his uncle.

MARTHA I know! Isn’t that wild?

BOB Yeah. It is …

MARTHA It’s a small world.

BOB As a matter of fact his uncle gave me my very first …

MARTHA first job! I know!

BOB … the first night I was ever in a

MARTHA at the Cafe Wa!

BOB That’s right. That’s right.

BOB I have very fond memories of his uncle … Manny Roth.

MARTHA Yeah. Uncle Manny!

BOB Yep.

MARTHA [laughing] Well, Uncle Manny is the guy that gave David Lee Roth his first radio.

BOB His first what?!?

MARTHA His first radio!

BOB You mean … his radio.

MARTHA Yeah! And David’s like “So it’s my Uncle Manny who got me my …”

BOB His Uncle Manny is a terrific guy.

[Part 1][Part 2][Part 3][Part 4][Part 5]

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