Australian Phone Interview (12-75)
Telephone Operator: I have a collect call for you from Mr. Diamond.
Interviewer: Yes, we’ll accept that call.
Operator: Accept the charge?
Interviewer: Yes, we do.
Neil: Fine, how are you?
Interviewer: There’s lots of press in Sydney, Neil. I think we’ll go around the room, I think, and get names of newspapers in context from each of the press, starting on my left here…
Reporters: (introduce themselves and give name of paper they represent)
Interviewer: Alright, Neil…that’s our lineup this afternoon here in Sydney. These papers represent Sydney metropolitan newspapers in context all around Australia are in the country where you’ll be touring.
First Reporter: ???? we had a few reports earlier this year that you’re coming out from different promoters here in Australia and each one appeared to fall through. We don’t really know whose fault it was ??? your end. Can you explain that for me?
Neil: Well, I really don’t think that was anyone’s fault. I thought that I would be able to do some touring last year and so we asked a number of the top promoters to come over and talk to them and to see whether it really was practical for us to go over. And I was in the middle of working on an album then and it was …and I couldn’t finish the album in time. So we felt we would hold the tour off until this year and kick off the world tour In Australia.
Reporter: ????? I would just like to ask you why you chose Australia to start the tour? Australia isn’t one of the larger ???? for performers.
Neil: Well, I chose Australia mostly because it seemed like the most exciting thing that I could do because I’ve never been to Australia. So it’s a chance for me to go to a place I’ve never been before and wanted to go to and the Australian audiences have never seen me and it just seemed like the right chemistry and the right kind of excitement and since I will be doing what will amount to a world tour in ’76, it just sounded like the most exciting king of kick-off that I could imagine to play Australia…to play it for the first time…and to be able to see Australia for the first time. Pure excitement and fun!
Play: “Cherry, Cherry”
Another Reporter: ????? Neil. Most of the places you’ve visited and all the things you’ve done, you’ve found inspiration to write songs from. What sort of inspiration do you think you could find in Australia?
Neil: Mostly inspirations come from the people that you meet. You know you meet someone and you get to know them a little bit and they tell you something about themselves or you learn something about them and … I mean the strongest inspirations come from people. I am expecting to do a lot of songwriting while I’m down there about my experiences there.
Reporter: ??? how big will the world tour be?
Neil: Well, it’s going to cover first Australia, then to the United States for a spring tour, then to Japan in June, back to the United States for a summer tour and on to Europe in the fall. So it’s a pretty extensive world tour.
Reporter: ???? locked up in the hotel rooms ???? because of the general public or the press. How much of the country do you think you will be able to see?
Neil: Well, I’m planning on disguising myself as Elton John so I won’t have that problem.
Play: “The Last Picasso”
Another reporter: ????
Reporter: Hi again. I wonder if you could tell me what ?????
Neil: I’d like to be able to present a number of the early songs. I want to do some of the middle material…songs that were written in the early ’70s. There’s a piece that’s being done now that revolves around the Jonathan Seagull score in music and it will be done as a stage piece in Australia for the first time and I’m very excited about it because I think that the piece of music lends itself more to the concert stage than yet possibly to the film. Also we will have a special stage and stage tent erected for the performances …for the outdoor performances…a really spectacular thing which is our version of the Sydney Opera House… on a much smaller scale. We’ll be traveling with that. We’re hoping to present something very beautiful and memorable for the Australian audience.
Reporter: ??????????? You said that you would be semi-retired for a couple of years. ????
Neil: Well, actually, I think it’s a stage that I’ve passed. I stopped performing on the stage about three years ago primarily to get a chance to get a sense of myself, really. Everything the seven, eight, or nine years prior to that I’d been touring and performing and recording and writing and I felt that it was very important for me just to stop for a little while and to get a sense of who and what I was as a person as opposed to what the great public image of the performer is. This has been a fantastic period for me because it’s given me a chance to do all the reading that I’ve wanted to do, to start on to projects that I never would have had time to get involved in had I been touring. So I’ve reached the end of this three and a half year period and I find that I’m very itchy to get back on the stage again…to show what I can do as a performer now.
Play: “I Am…I Said” (from “Hot August Night”)
Another Reporter: ???? I know a lot of the Sydney people missed out on ???
Neil: That was my goal on coming down to Australia…to try to have as many people see my show as possible and I think that possibly there are discussions going right now regarding (with the promoters and with my management) regarding whether or not we could do another show in Sydney for the Sydney audience, but basically I’d like to satisfy as many people as possible.
Reporter: ???? an outdoor concert in Sydney?
Neil: Well, I kind of like outdoor concerts and I’ve always had good experiences at outdoor concerts and especially…it’s the whole under the stars feeling. You know, I suppose if they’re able to work out more concert days for Sydney, an outdoor concert might be something they would consider.
Interviewer: ???? any extra questions but I’d just like to ask you before we do. The success of “Hot August Night” has been rather phenomenal here in Australia, like it has in America. Do you have any reason for that ?? success?
Neil: Well, no, I can’t say that I do. It’s tremendously exciting and I was really happy to hear about it, but I can’t figure it out. I think it’s probably the first time the Australian audience had a chance to hear me in performance which might have something to do with it, and also, I suppose the fact that the album comprises some of my strongest material may take it’s effect, also.
Interviewer: ??? about the new LP. I’ve just been told that you have members of Bob Dylan’s band on the record. Right?
Neil: Yes, that’s right.
Neil: Well, the album is being produced by Robbie Robertson, who is the leader of Dylan’s group and the album concerns itself basically with my earlier experiences in New York City as a songwriter…as a young songwriter and I guess, if anything, it’s a musical and it’s a musical about songwriters… about New York City…about the characters and the people that you meet and the experiences that not only I’ve had, but hundreds of other song writers…young songwriters have had.
Interviewer: The ?? here say that you have been living the life of a recluse in California for the last two or three years. ??????? living quietly in Los Angeles?
Neil: Well, I guess there’s a difference between being a recluse and living quietly. I like to live quietly. I really have to live quietly because basically, I’m a writer, and you’re just forced…when you’re involved in writing songs. I’m not the most social person in the world. I’m not going out to parties all night and I live a very simple life and I like my privacy because it’s actually necessary if I am to write.
Inteviewer: You still have normal human contact with other people then do you?
Neil: I do have normal human contacts, yes. As a matter of fact, I met one or two human beings yesterday. I knew they were human because I had seen photographs of human beings.
Play: “Solitary Man”
Interviewer: Neil Diamond ???? in the Sydney press.
Reporter: ???? from the Sydney Telegraph again ??????? you have?
Neil: The actual work involved regarding the band and the musical work…I would guess that we’ve been at it now for about three months. We’re into rehearsals now. I spent last Saturday with a fantastic lighting and stage designer who came out here from New York. I will be working daily with my group starting January 2, I hope. So I can’t have too much of a hangover on New Year’s Eve. And I will work through the month of January with then…with lights and sound and ???(dog heard barking) to bring the show and the presentation to a really high state.
Reporter: That’s great, Neil. I’ll ask the obvious question…what’s the dog’s name?
Neil: Hold on just one second, please.
(Sound of dog barking)
Neil: I’m sorry! My dogs just went crazy!
Reporter: I was just asking the obvious question, Neil…what are the dogs names?
Neil: Well, I’m not being approached by my Shepherd. Her name is Crystal and she’s about six months old and she was given to us by a friend in New York City. Actually, she was given to my son and she is part of the family and the other dog is named Cherry. Cherry is kind of like a little pugnacious Lhasa Apso dog, one of these Tibetan dogs and she’s a good girl because her favorite thing is to sleep right on my feet while I’m playing the piano and she keeps me nice and warm.
Reporter: ?????? Sun Herald. One of the lesser known facts about your early days is the fact that you entered New York University on a fencing scholarship. Do you still rattle a saber on occasion?
Neil: Well, actually I went back to New York University last month. There was an alumni fencing meet. I fenced most of the afternoon. I’ve been working out occasionally here in Los Angeles with some fencing masters, but fencing was in my blood when I was in school. That and songwriting were my two passions. Unfortunately, school was not one of my passions and my grades reflected that, but between fencing and songwriting I had all I needed.
Another Reporter: ??? again, Neil. You mentioned that privacy was very valuable to you. How hard do you find it when you’re faced with a huge crowd in your concert?
Neil: Well, you don’t really feel very much privacy in those situations, but I don’t think you want that much privacy. Performing in front of an audience is one of the great exhilarations of my life. I don’t think that there is a higher point in my life. The excitement and the intensity of the concert is really the highest excitement that I can have.
Interviewer: ???? This is the first time we’ve ever done this here in Sydney, I’m sure and I think it reflects the anticipation that Australia has for your concert tour. I’d like to thank you on behalf of the Sydney press who are here this afternoon, and I’m sure I speak for everyone when I wish you the best for the tour and for the new year.
Neil: Well, thanks very much. I’m …I must say that I’m very excited about this tour and I’m looking forward to it I suppose as much as anybody is.
Interviewer: ???? Thanks.
Neil: Well, I thank you. I’ll see you soon.
Interviewer: All right, Neil. Thanks very much! Good night.
Neil: Thank you. Bye, bye.
Play: “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show”