Ralph Steadman, 81, is best known as the genius social and political cartoonist who famously illustrated Hunter S. Thompson's depraved adventures in Las Vegas, on the campaign trail in 1972, and at the Kentucky Derby. Juxtapoz's Gabe Scott interviewed the "crucial comic" about the insanity of today, his friendship with Hunter, and "let(ting) the paper discover things for you." From Juxtapoz:
How do you think the difference in personality type and contrasting level of drug intake between you and Hunter affected your working dynamic?
People would meet him, offer him a pill, he would eat it, and then say, "What was that?" Eat it first then ask what it was—he didn't seem to worry. To him, it was part of his philosophy on life; taking it the way he wants to go, the batty craziness.
How was your attitude or approach different in that respect? Would you consider it sort of a yin and yang?
Yes, I think yin and yang, really. The only time I did drugs with him was for the America's Cup, where I took psilocybin—he was taking them all the time, and I was seasick, so I asked what he was taking, and he said, ''Well, Ralph, these are just pills, you see." So I said, ''Well, would it help me at sea?" So I took it and, of course, after about a half an hour, I began to completely lose my mind, and Hunter said, ''Here's two spray cans, Ralph, what are you going to write on the side of the boat?" So I said, ''How about fuck the pope?" And he says, ''Are you religious, Ralph?" which was such a wonderful reply, you know… And we luckily got caught, otherwise I doubt I would have left America. It was the most criminal idea I've ever had, to write something on the side of a million dollar yacht. Anyway, we just hit it off because we were so different. He just thought I was a weird Welshman—he said to me, "They said you were weird, but not that weird."