Monday, April 29, 2013

Hunter S. Thompson Interview Playboy Nov. 1974

 I read Fear and Loathing in high school, it had a huge impact on me.  Thompson is still one of my favorite writers and when I found this issue with his interview I immediately felt it was my duty to share it.  The advertisements alone are comedy gold.  The complete interview can be downloaded for free here.

a little back story, this interview was pieced together over seven months.  Two weeks before going to print Nixon resigns the presidency (Aug. 9 1974).   The whole last half of the interview gets scraped and rewritten.
Some things to note: favorite drugs: mushrooms and Mescaline and LSD.  Least Favorite: cocaine—not because of the high, because of poor high risk/low benefit compensation.  Talks about first LSD experience with Ken Kesey and a group of Hell’s Angels.  He was convinced it was going to get horribly ugly.  Drinks in moderation, never to get wasted.  Not much of a fan of marijuana because it doesn’t mix well with alcohol.

On LSD: “About twice a year you should blow your tubes out with a tremendous hit of really good acid.  Take 72 hours and go completely amuck, break it all down.”


Ya, color-blind, style blind, and most likely flammable.

Thompson says he's not a believer of the more spiritual, existential effects of drugs, that's not what he’s after.  “I like to just gobble the stuff [drugs] right out in the street, see what happens, take my chances, just stomp down on my own accelerator, it’s like getting on a racing bike and all of a sudden you’re doing 120 miles per hour into a curve that has sand all over it, and you think ‘Holy Jesus, here we go’ and you lay it over until the pegs hit the street and metal starts to spark.  If you’re good enough you can pull it out, but sometimes you end up in the emergency room with some bastard in a white suit sewing your scalp back on.”

Thompson explicitly states he never sells, traffics, or gets involved with the market end of drugs in any way.

Even in light of his own drug use and professional successes, he doesn’t advocate drugs for everybody, believes there are many people with psychic baggage that shouldn’t do drugs, the same people who become mean drunks.

17 days of research on a story cost him $1400 worth of cocaine.  By today's prices that puts him around a gram and half a day.  He was probably consuming upwards closer to two grams a day for three straight weeks.  My nose bleeds just thinking about it.

  When asked “What is Gonzo Journalism?” answers “It’s something that grew out of a story on the Kentucky Derby for Scanlan’s Magazine.  I was convinced I was finished.  I’d blown my mind, couldn’t work.  So I finally started jerking pages out of my notebook and numbering them and sending them to the printer.  I was sure it was the last article I was ever going to do for anybody.  Then when it came out there were massive numbers of letters, phone calls, congratulations, people calling it a ‘breakthrough in journalism.’  And I thought ‘Holy shit, if I can write like this and get away with it, why should I try and write like the New York Times.’  It was like falling down an elevator shaft and landing in pool full of mermaids…I like to get right in the middle of whatever I’m  writing about---as personally involved as possible.”

No comments:

Post a Comment