Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs

Album: What Makes a Man Start Fires? (1983)

Songfacts®:

  • Minutemen bassist and lyricist, Mike Watt, wrote this song after growing concerned that his music was beginning to resemble political propaganda. Watt finally concluded that, if Bob Dylan could get away with writing political songs, then so could he. Watt told Flipside: "That song came out because I was starting to worry are my songs starting to sound too sloganeering? And then I thought, 'Hey Bob Dylan, his stuff was almost as vital as propaganda.'"
  • In the same interview with Flipside - an influential Punk fanzine in the 1980s - Watt revealed that he was a big fan of Dylan: "Bob Dylan was probably the only person who I listened to the words in the 70s. My dad was a sailor and he was always away and Dylan seemed like a surrogate dad to me in a way."
  • In 1984, Dylan was name checked in another Minutemen song, "History Lesson, Pt. 2." Watt told us the story behind that song, here.
  • What Makes a Man Start Fires?, Minutemen's second album, was recorded in one evening in July 1982. The album - and this song in particular - is marked by Watt's profound bass work. Nowadays, Watt is widely regarded as one of the most influential bassists in Punk Rock.

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