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The Gonzo Tapes

Posted: Nov 10, 2008

The Life And Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

For the last three days I've been listening to this amazing 5 CD boxset called The Gonzo Tapes. These are the original worktapes of Hunter S. Thompson. These audio cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes were transferred to digital last year. These recordings include Thompson recording interviews, his surroundings, conversations and riveting monologues from 1964-1975.

Disc one of this collection focuses on Thompson's worktapes during the time he researched and wrote his book The Hells Angels. Disc two and three contain the actual recordings Thompson made on his infamous run to Las Vegas with attorney Oscar Acosta, and not-surprisingly some of these recordings were transcribed straight into his book, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.

Disc four finds Thompson just after he wrote his 1972 book Fear And Loathing: On The Campaign Trail 72. 1973 proved a difficult year for Thompson. This CD is dedicated to Thompson focusing on projects that never came to fruition such as "Guts Ball". Thompson preserved his analysis of Sigmund Freud's Cocaine Papers. Thompson began exploring the drug and documenting his findings on tape. Thompson tested Freud's findings as well as social conceptions and misconceptions about the drug.

This collection includes Thompson's one failed story which was the Ali-Foreman fight in Africa. These recordings indicate the atmosphere in that country during this event "too weird" for Thompson to complete. He ultimately sold his tickets to the fight, and never finished the story. Disc 5 finds Thompson in Saigon during the fading days of the Vietnam War. Thompson recording everything from local radio to machine guns in the street to struggles with a front desk clerk at his hotel. Very revealing information on these tapes.

Later this evening I'll post a longer article I wrote on this vital new collection. Thompson once wrote, a fine spirit for this new boxset, "I have never believed much in luck. People who count on luck don't last long in the business of defusing bombs and disarming landmines, and that is what my business seems to be. Muhammad Ali was not lucky. He was fast, very fast..."

James Calemine

related tags

Mystery and Manners,

Wireless from AT&T


michaelbuffalo says...

Oh man, I know what to ask Santa for this year. Sounds like something I MUST own. Thanks JC. Hope all is well!

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