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Slash on Steadman

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The cast-iron rock icon on Hunter S Thompson’s favourite illustrator

He may look like a voodoo spirit with a shirt allergy, but Slash is an art-lover with a voice that makes you feel like you’re stroking a cat. We asked him about his addition to new biopic For No Good Reason about the master of psychedelic grotesquerie, and official Hunter S Thompson chronologer, Ralph Steadman, following his recent portrait of the rocker.

It Started With An Album Cover

“He did an album cover for me [2010’s Slash], and I became his friend… Well, an acquaintance, I guess. He told me he was doing this thing [For No Good Reason], and asked if I would like to get involved. I recorded some guitar stuff – I wish I had elaborated on it.”

Let Him Draw You Like One Of His French Girls

“I identified with Ralph Steadman way back when I was a little kid – when he was working for Rolling Stone. A friend of mine had a guitar that Ralph Steadman had painted the Fear And Loathing cover on, and I thought – ‘THAT’S. AWESOME’. So this guitar-maker got me in touch. I just said, ‘Go online, there are some photos – just give it your best shot.’ He can capture the essence of something. We’ve never physically met.”

Check Out His Early Work

“My favourites are Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail, or Hell’s Angels. A lot of Hunter S Thompson’s books that were brought to life with Steadman’s art were an influence on me – like The Race [The Kentucky Derby Is Depraved And Decadent].”

Combine a Naive Illustrator and a Pathological Writer

“It’s funny – I’d imagine he’s one of a million people who could get into that situation and continue on. Most people would turn around and go, ‘Nope, that’s not for me!’ It’s one of those matches that had to have been on the cards: fate.”

Don’t Cater To The Man

“Now they cater to the industry. In most art-forms, everybody is actually going to The Man and saying – how can I create for you? It used to be the exact opposite. I don’t know how long this will last. I was raised in the Sixties, and it was all about making statements and expressing yourself, no matter how controversial it was.”

For No Good Reason is part of the Sky Atlantic Documentary Films season, available now through Sky On Demand

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