My Explosive Pal, Hunter S. Thompson

Newsweek, October 31, 2011 | Go to article overview

My Explosive Pal, Hunter S. Thompson


Johnny Depp on how he played with shotguns, built bombs--and found his mentor's voice.

My first encounter with Hunter S. Thompson was when I was invited to the Woody Creek Tavern in Colorado in December 1994. Someone said, "Why don't you come down, and you and Hunter will have a drink." So I went down to Woody Creek Tavern, and I'm sitting way in the back of the place against the wall, looking at the front door about 50 yards away. Suddenly I see the door spring open, and I see sparks! I realized there was a large-ish, three-foot cattle prod and a Taser gun, and the sea began to part--people were leaping and hurling themselves out of the path of the mayhem that was approaching--and I heard the voice first say, "Out of my way, you bastards!" He was using them as "just-in-case weapons," but it was a very economical way for him to clear the path. He made the Red Sea part, arrived at my table, and said, "How are you? My name is Hunter."

It was from that very second, when he sat down, that I recognized before me the very definition of a Southern gentleman. We connected on the level of both being from Kentucky, both having checkered pasts in our youth, and a great love of literature.

He invited me back to his house that night at about 2 or 2:30 in the morning, and I noticed this beautiful nickel-plated 12-gauge shotgun on his wall. I was raised around weapons all my life, being from Kentucky, so I said, "Wow, that's a really good-looking 12-gauge." And he said, "Would you like to fire it?" And I said, "Yeah, sure, I'll fire it." And he said, "Shit, man, we must build a bomb!" So we built this bomb out of propane tanks and nitroglycerin, took it out in his backyard, and he gave me first crack. I fired upon it from about 30 or 40 yards away, and I hit it square on, and the thing went into a monumental, amazing fireball about 80 feet in the air. I feel like that was my test, my rite of passage. From then on we were either inseparable or on the phone a lot.

You'd get a phone call at 3 a.m., and he used to call me "Colonel Depp," because he made me a Kentucky colonel, and he'd say, "Colonel, what do you know of black-hairy-tongue disease?" And I was like, "What? I don't know!" He'd say, "Well, I'm going to send you all the information about this, man. We must be aware of this thing." He was deeply concerned that the disease would infiltrate our ranks.

Or you'd get a call in the middle of the night saying, "When can you meet me in Cuba? I need you in Havana, man, I'm going to do a piece down there and we're going to go as Rolling Stone correspondents." When Hunter made a request like that, you made it happen. Hunter wanted to interview Castro, but we never got through to him, so the story turned into our adventures down there. He referred to me as "Ray, my bodyguard." It was wonderful--just me and Hunter prowling around Havana, going to these various restaurants or homes that you're not supposed to go and eat at, but you're invited. It was totally ludicrous and surreal.

If I have a favorite period with Hunter, it would most definitely be when I was living with him in his basement in the spring of '97 in this one room across from the "war room" that he called "Johnny's room." We were like a couple of roommates. I went onto Hunter's hours. We'd go to sleep about 9 or 10 in the morning and be up for breakfast at about 7 p. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

My Explosive Pal, Hunter S. Thompson
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.