Yesterday, on his satellite radio program, Howard Stern interviewed singer Lenny Kravitz. Stern began asking the musician about the many celebrity friends with whom Kravitz has worked, including Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and Michael Jackson. As Stern was listing these artists, Kravitz brought up Bob Dylan’s name. Stern and Kravitz discussed Dylan for about seven minutes.
Below is a transcription of the Dylan portion of the interview. It has been slightly edited for clarity.
Howard Stern: When did you work with Dylan?
Lenny Kravitz: I opened for him, on the first album (I made, 1990). (“New York Times” review here.)
He seems unapproachable to me. No?
You know what, I know a lot of people say that, and I know that as a fact, he’s always been cool to me, and we still stay in touch. He played in Paris a couple of years ago, he called me up, came to my house, and hung out, and …
Explain this to me, because I still have trouble with it. When you say Dylan came to your house and hung out, what do you sit there and talk about? Is it about music?
Um, well, it’s interesting. We sat in the house for a little while, then he decided he wanted to take a walk … and it was raining. But I was like, “If Bob Dylan wants to take a walk, it could be f****** snowing.” (Laughter) So we walked around Paris … and talked about politics, Obama, um, real estate, family, music …
Wow … So he’s verbal?
He’s extremely verbal.
He always strikes me like a guy like Robert DeNiro, who kinda clams up. I don’t know why I have this feeling about Dylan, he seems like a guy who …
He’s … I love Robert (DeNiro).
(A brief discussion about Stern meeting DeNiro.)
Does Dylan call you up in Paris and say, “Hey, I heard you were in town, I want to hang out with you,” and you say, “Yeah, just come on over”?
Do you serve him dinner?
No, we didn’t eat. We just hung out and took a walk.
How long does the actual hanging out last?
About three hours.
Three hours !?!?!
Yeah, because he had a show the next day, so …
Do you ever say, “Let’s jam?”
We’ve talked about it, we haven’t done it yet. I’ve invited him to the Bahamas to create a record. (Note: Kravitz mentioned this before in 2009.)
Who ends the conversation? I mean, so you’re walking around in the rain for three hours. Do ever think I’m gonna get a f****** cold?
I don’t like walking in the rain when it’s cold …
… and there’s no umbrellas? …
… and I gotta get my gigs too …
Are there umbrellas involved?
Not an umbrella in sight.
And you have nice clothes …
And then we sat on a park bench. (At this point, Stern’s sidekick, Robin Quivers, is in hysterics.)
In the rain?!
You can’t possibly not, Lenny, say this to yourself: This is f****** weird, I’m soaking wet in the rain for three hours.
I have to turn myself into the 12-year-old Lenny, and say, “Man, I’m walking and talking with Bob Dylan.”
Robin Quivers: Do you think at any level Dylan is thinking to himself, “What can I get him to do?”
Stern: Yeah, maybe it’s “Candid Camera!” Do you think he’s f****** with you at all?
Kravitz: Nah …
Is it that musicians and artists are just weird? Is that a fair assumption?
All of us are a little off …
But that’s really off …. ‘Cause you know what it’s like to be wet in your clothes, for three f****** hours.
He just likes to get out, and be in the world. Somewhere in the states, recently (in New Jersey, while on tour with Willie Nelson), he got stopped, had no I.D., the cops took him in, he said, “I’m Bob Dylan.” They were like, “Yeah, right” … and then they found out he was!
Is that the last interaction? Do you guys email each other? Do you phone each other?
No, I was in Atlanta doing the “Catching Fire” movie, and he played in Atlanta, and I went to the gig, and I saw him afterwards. He gave me his harmonica.
Are you kidding me? What do you do with that harmonica? Do you display it?
I put it away.
Where do you put it?
I have it in this thing where I carry my jewelry, and I just have it.
Like a box that you have jewelry in, you have the harmonica, and when you open it, it gives you that feeling, “Oh, my God, this is Bob Dylan’s harmonica.”
Yeah, it has a piece of masking tape on it, with the (musical) key that it’s in, and, yeah …
Oh, I would think that’s the greatest … (Stern then goes on about his favorite piece of memorabilia, a gift from David Bowie.)
Kravitz, by the way, covered “Rainy Day Woman # 12 & 35” for the 2012 charity compilation, “Chimes of Freedom: The Songs Of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years Of Amnesty International” and, with Eric Clapton on lead guitar, performed Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” Hendrix-style, at the White House on October 23, 1999. You can view the latter in the embedded clip.