Thompson and Terkel in Conversation

Regular readers will know how fond I am of Studs Terkel and Hunter S. Thompson. Both were journalists keen on interview and experience. They sought out great subjects and interesting stories, and spoke truth to power above all else. So this interview, which I just came across at the Studs Terkel archive on Soundcloud, lands squarely in my wheelhouse.


Studs Terkel is one of the best interviewers who ever lived. People like to say he’s the original Terry Gross or Marc Maron, or whatever. I don’t disagree. But what I really appreciate is his earnestness and genuine curiosity. He treats all his interview subjects with equal interest, celebrity or not. In fact, his interviews with non-celebrities are often more interesting. 

In this case though…

Hunter S. Thompson is coming off the high of the 1960s, “The crest of a high and beautiful wave,” a pounding delivered by the Hell's Angels, and the 72’ campaign trail, where he ended up chatting football with Dick Nixon and managed to shake up what was, and still is, an obnoxious ritual of the democratic system. 

Terkel is curious. Thompson is reflective. And the interview is as sharp as it gets. I wish these characters were around today.  

Listen to the whole thing here: