Gonzo Tapes: Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (Box Set)

“I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.” – Hunter S. Thompson

Lately I have been re-submerging myself in all things HST related and I’m here to report that doing so is a good thing. First, I watched Alex Gibney’s 2007 documentary Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. I then dipped into the companion CD box set, of sorts (also of the same name), The Gonzo Tapes: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. And to round it out, the other night while at a party, I spotted a copy of Thompson’s collected letters (that would be part 4) Better Than Sex, that I had somehow missed the first go ’round. Now I am making a list and checking it twice. Like the doc, the box set is an interesting look at the inner workings of Thompson’s method, or madness, and a lot of the time both. Granted, this five disc set is for the hardcore Thompson-phile (as the below description attests to), but will pay off in dividends for those who can’t seem to get enough. This is it. Unparalleled access (literally) straight out of the good Doctor’s mouth.

Production Notes: Recorded by Hunter S. Thompson between 1965 and 1975, these tapes capture his thoughts and descriptions both as they’re happening and in reflection, as he would often go back to rerecord commentary while writing. Filmmaker Alex Gibney, producer Eva Orner and Gonzo archivist Don Fleming were given permission by Thompson’s widow to explore the boxes of tapes stored in the basement of his Owl Farm home in Woody Creek, Colorado, left behind after Thompson’s suicide in 2005. Fleming transferred the audiocassettes and reel-to-reel tapes to digital files, and they made their way to the cutting room for the film Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Now for the first time these previously unreleased recordings are available in a 5-CD set.

Here are two clips from disc II which compiles excerpts from Hunter S. Thompson’s Vegas travels with his attorney, and friend, Oscar Zeta Ocasta — known to Fear And Loathing readers as Dr. Gonzo.

MP3: Hunter S. Thompson :: If All Else Fails We Must Get Ether
MP3: Hunter S. Thompson :: Abbe Lane at th Desert Inn. Louis Prima, Stardust
Amazon: The Gonzo Tapes: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

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The above is one of my favorite HST interviews (it is featured, in part, in Alex Gibney’s documentary Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson). Besides an interesting look into how Thompson began to view his own celebrity, it also tackles mythmaking, and how the myth(s) eventually overtook his ability to work.

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6 thoughts on “Gonzo Tapes: Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (Box Set)

  1. I’m glad this box came out. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been working on my Master’s Thesis evaluating New Journalism, Thompson, and how he has affected music criticism, particularly in the case of Lester Bangs. Just as I finish, this comes out. It’s either more insight into his genius or madness, but I can’t wait to pick it up.

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