Donovan: The Rolling Stone Interview (Part 2)
Donovan is currently on a tour of the United States which ends this month. Between engagements in various cities he has been staying at a rented house on Malibu Beach in Southern California.
Our Los Angeles Correspondent, John Carpenter, met Donovan at a party held in the Malibu house in late October. A few days later Donovan and Carpenter sat down and taped the only lengthy interview that Donovan intends to give during his American tour.
This is the second part of that interview. (Part One was printed in the first issue.) During a break in the taping, Donovan’s manager, Ashley Kosack, joined the discussion and his remarks here are indicated by “M.” Donovan’s answers are marked “A.”
Could you tell us a little bit about the cities you hit so far?
M. Well we played most of the cities on the West Coast and the reaction has been truly fantastic.
What happened in San Francisco? I keep hearing about girls throwing flowers.
M. Donovan was standing there and suddenly kids emerged, very calmly, and threw trinkets at Don’s feet. The hassle came with the police themselves. They got a little bit excited, so I had to calm them down.
How did you do that?
M. I just told them to leave the kids alone because Don had got it fully under control. The whole thing. Which he had.
You were telling me the other day about Seattle. You beckoned the kids forward and they just walked up, no noise or anything.
M. In fact, a lot of the kids took their shoes and sandals off so that it would be very quiet. They all walked across the floor and sat down. Very peaceful, you know.
Do you find that pretty common at your concerts?
M. Yes, everywhere we’ve gone, right through Europe, Don has been spreading peace to everybody. This is our second phase. We saw this coming two years ago. After this we go to the third phase when we’re going to put the whole thing over, and take over.
You and Ken Kesey.
M. Take over the world. Right. We don’t want to take over, we just want to bring some beauty.
A. Take over their hearts anyway.
M. We’ve got the second phase now, in which we’re going to bring out the double album — a children’s album and a teenage album. It’s all been mapped out beautifully. It’s a beautiful album, the double one, and a new single. Next year we start on a major film which Don has written.
What about the TV show you’re filming partly from concerts?
M. While we’re here we are filming a special which we will present in America sometime next year.
A. It will just be — what we were talking about — it will just be a reaction. You’ll see, oh, I don’t know, probably thousands of kids, or half a million or nearly a million we’ll be playing to. You’ll see the response of that amount of youth to me, and that’s what we want to show on the TV show along with all the other little things I got up to, things that happen. But it will be nice in comparison to Dylan’s film; to show how beautiful it could be.
I got a very speedy thing about that film.
M. Well the whole thing is very speedy. He’s a beautiful cat, but it’s just, you know, he’s involved with a lot of people. He gives off tensions instead of peace. Don and I went to see him a few times.
A. The only thing I remember about his film is when I was in it, you know, that part. But it will be beautiful to show this thing — this reaction of America’s youth to someone who’s just hinting at what life could be.
When the Airplane was at the Hollywood Bowl, there was all this yelling and jumping up and down on stage. ‘Grace sing this, and, Grace sing that.’ They did that to you right in the beginning. You shushed into the microphone. It knocked me off my chair when it worked.
A. Well if you don’t do that, then they keep doing it. If you say “hush,” then you’re asking for something: they have to choose whether they want to be noisy or want to be quiet, and the choice is usually quiet.
M. But I think it’s more than that, it’s the words he chooses to say to them which is so beautiful; it’s the thing he gives off stage to them, by his eyes and the whole being. There’s a certain magic that he’s got which is inborn and bred.
A. And all these little things like hint at a way of life. This major film I write will be the best fairy tale they’ve ever seen, a tale of singing like a musical tale, a very long epic thing, epic, epic epic everything, fantastic. And small tiny tiny’s and me, and we show this beautiful land, and when it’s finished this production, it’ll be fantastic. Really amazing.
Are you going to film it in Scotland?
A. We’ll be filming it in lots of places, primarily England, where there’s an ancient feeling to the land anyway, where there’s many, many castles built on hills, majestic, ancient things. This’ll be a beautiful tale, by the time I’ve finished it.
Do you come from a family of seamen?
A. Probably, probably. I wanted to look back but it takes a while to look back.