The S+V Interview: Chris Robinson Page 5

People often feel like they have to put you into some kind of genre box.
It's a bummer, and it's real limiting. I like when I go into record stores and there's very little in terms of genre-specific stuff. Take the Incredible String Band. How do you classify them? I think their first two records are great pop records. I put them up there with the Beatles in terms of originality and uniqueness. If you think "Tomorrow Never Knows" is a unique thing, maybe you should listen to [1968's] Wee Tam and the Big Huge.

photo: Sorrell Schneider

We were talking about Dylan earlier, so I brought a more recent record of his, [2001's] Love and Theft.
I like this record. This is a good record. [Reads the back of the sleeve out loud:] "Produced by Jack Frost." That's Dylan for you. [Jack Frost is a Dylan nom de plume.] And this one still has the old band on it - Larry [Campbell] and Charlie [Sexton], good friends of ours. Dylan, he's one of those people on Columbia who still has "it," know what I mean? I'm still one of these people who believes in us vs. them. I've always had a keen awareness of the life of an artist as opposed to the life of a used-car salesman.

It's not a job, it's your life, right?
Like it or not. As I was saying earlier, I would be doing all the same things in exile [laughs], or anonymously. No matter how much time I've put in, I still like buying records and going into dusty old bookstores. And whenever I'm home, we have music on all of the time. The morning could be made of just Ali Akbar Khan records, and then it goes on and on until you crash. That's a good day right there.