London: A previously unheard interview with Bob Dylan revealed that he had been addicted to heroin in the early 1960s and contemplated suicide after people started calling him a genius.
Excerpts from the tape, in which the 'Blowing in the Wind' singer gives an interview to his friend Robert Shelton on board a private plane in Lincoln, Nebraska bound for Denver after a concert late one night in March 1966, was published by the BBC news service.
Shelton describes the interview, in which Dylan admits he had been addicted to heroin in the early 1960s, as a "kaleidoscopic monologue". Dylan turned 70 on Tuesday.
"I kicked a heroin habit in New York City. I got very, very strung out for a while, I mean really, very strung out. And I kicked the habit. I had about a $ 25-a-day habit and I kicked it," BBC quoted Dylan as saying.
There have been rumours that Dylan was involved with heroin but this may be the only time the singer admitted to the habit.
Dylan also reveals he contemplated suicide after people started calling him a genius.
"Death to me is nothing... death to me means nothing as long as I can die fast. Many times I've known I could have been able to die fast, and I could have easily gone over and done it."
"I'll admit to having this suicidal thing... but I came through this time," he says.
"I'm not the kind of cat that's going to cut off an ear if I can't do something. I'm the kind of cat that would just commit suicide."
"I'd shoot myself in the brain if things got bad. I'd jump from a window... man, I would shoot myself. You know I can think about death, man, openly."
Dylan was also surprisingly dismissive of his work.
"I take it less seriously than anybody," he says. "I know that it's not going to help me into heaven one little bit, man. It's not going to get me out of the fiery furnace. It's certainly not going to extend my life any and it's not going to make me happy. You can't be happy by doing something groovy."
Shelton was a music critic and in 1961 he saw Dylan play and wrote a review that described him as "a bright new face in folk music". The next day Dylan was offered a record contract.