World-renowned music legend, professional surfer, artist and father — Donavon Frankenreiter — returns to the East Martello Fort in Key West on Sunday, March 13. In August of last year, the Keys Weekly hit Donavon with some standard questions, so we asked him if would be cool to loosen things up this go-around. And true to form, the laid back performer did not disappoint—opening up on everything from Bob Dylan to Ben Stiller.
Who would play you [Donavon Frankenreiter] in a movie?
I would have to say Ben Stiller because I’ve been surfing with him a couple times and he’s really fun and a great actor. But it would it have to be a comedy.
Finish this sentence. My kids have taught me…
… how to enjoy the moment.
The greatest compliment you’ve received?
Whenever people say they admire the way I’m a husband and a father. I think that’s the most important thing in my life.
Better for the soul … sex or exercise?
I think they’re kind of like, or could be the same thing if done correctly, so both [laughing]. I think they’re both really good for the soul.
There’s so many that it’s hard for me to narrow down, but I really love Bob Dylan. He’s that one guy that I love, love listening to.
I live on seven acres in Hawaii and love gardening. But it’s not like a guilty pleasure.
If you could tell the presidential candidates one thing it would be…
I would tell them it’s probably the most entertaining presidential race I’ve ever witnessed. I’m actually paying more attention to it for the first time in a long time. I feel … that it might be nice to have someone in there who isn’t bought out by either all the pharmaceutical companies or all the lobbyists. … Candidates [are] getting elected and then the only people they answer to are the people who donated money to them. It’s a crazy thing. I really just hope that whoever gets in there makes it right for everybody… beautiful for everybody in America. I’m intrigued with Trump because he says some wild and crazy shit and if anyone else said those things it would be political suicide, but he just gets more fans out of it. I think there are a lot of politicians and lobbyists who are scared he might get in there and change those things.
I remember where I was when I first heard….?
I was on a airplane that had a playlists of songs with new artists and pop artists and I remember hearing Norah Jones for the first time when she sang “Come Away With Me” and I was like ‘Oh my God, who is this girl singing?’ And there’s been a million of those moments when you’ve been somewhere and you hear something and it kind of stops you in your tracks. Another one is the first time I heard Stevie Ray Vaughn or Derek Trucks.
One of the coolest moments for you as a musician and artist?
I’ve got to play with a lot of crazy people but one that stands out is when I played my song “It Don’t Matter” with Graham Nash, David Crosby, and Jackson Browne and Mike Hamilton and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and that was amazing playing with them live. And I’ve jammed with Warren Haynes, Ben Harper, G-Love and Jack Johnson and all of those guys have been great.
I know Warren Haynes has been a big influence on you, when is the last time you saw him?
The last time I saw him play was at a beach festival with the Allman Brothers. It’s one of the greatest concerts I’ve seen and the night I got to meet Derek Trucks. I told [Warren] how special the show was and he was just like, ‘yeah, it was alright.’ But that just shows you the perspective and how good he really is because it was literally over the top. … I’ve never heard anybody play guitar better than Derek Trucks. I did a tour with him and Mule one time and Warren brought me into the Gibson factory and told me to pick out a guitar. I was overwhelmed … so I just asked Warren to pick it out. It was 59 Reissue and the greatest gift ever — something I will always cherish because he picked it out.
Favorite thing about Key West?
I haven’t spent much time there and I hope I get to. But the thing I really admired last time was the drive there and going over those bridges and getting to Key West. I know that sounds completely lame but that was really exciting for me. The last time I was there it was more of a hit-and run situation with the hurricane thing and we had to set up and then take off, so hopefully I get a chance to walk around and do some things this time.