The Only Love Project’s Bill Murphy (BM) conducted this interview with Doug Ten Rose (DTR) via Skype on April 24, 2013. Many thanks to Mr. Rose for his time, wisdom, and delightful sense of humor.
BM: Briefly tell us your background. What would you like others to know about you?
DTR: I was born a poor black child. Oh no, wait. That’s Steve Martin. That’s not me. [laughs] It’s not about me, you know, it’s about the project, and there’s a much bigger picture. But I guess within the context of this, we’re going to have to go into it a little bit. It’s pretty much all described in the Fearless Puppy book [Fearless Puppy On American Road]. Or at least the first 40 or 50 years are. I was born in Brooklyn, New York, grew up in the Coney Island area, and started selling drugs at an early age. Decided when I was in my mid-teens that this was not going to go very far. [laughs]. There was all kinds of stuff to deal with. Besides the obvious, which is that the drugs can kill you, you’ve got the ripoffs, and especially in a big city like New York, you’ve got the mafia wanting to deal on the same corner, so there’s only a short time you can be there, and you have to dodge them. Then of course there are the legal complications and the police. And then of course you’re acting like a jackass because you’re whacked out all the time.
So anyways, the thing to do it seemed was to get outta there pretty quick, and so I did. Started hitchhiking and it worked out so well that I just kept going. Now of course, part of what’s responsible for that was that era in history. Because in the mid to late ‘60s, every Volkswagon van was a guaranteed ride, people would stop and pick you up, it was a rollin’ party. Since things have changed so much over the past 40 years, I don’t think anybody could do that kind of lifestyle now. It would be intensely more difficult to do. People just aren’t as trusting, they’re not as friendly in a lot of ways, and so it probably wouldn’t work as well now. But at the time we lived more for the love and happiness, and the book Fearless Puppy is about that time.
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