Interview by Howard Smith
The interview was recorded on a reel-to-reel tape recorder in November 1969. Howard Smith was writing for the Village Voice. We uncovered this interview as part of the Smith Tapes project, which has preserved and remastered his remarkable collection of music interviews.
The Animated Transcript
Howard Smith was an Oscar winning film director, broadcaster and journalist. Learn more here.
Are you hungry?
Why do you ask that?
Well, maybe we could order out for some sandwiches or something. Chicken delight or something. You’re not hungry? How about you: are you hungry? Oh, it’s lunchtime. Did you have breakfast this morning?
You did. What’d you have?
Oh, little things like chocolate cake and tea here.
Is that all you had?
That’s all I want.
You should eat more, Howard.
You put on a lot of weight. Are you eating a lot?
Well, um… You know that’s something that really bothers me. What’s wrong with being fat? That’s what I want to know. Why is there such…
I didn’t say there’s anything wrong with it.
Why is it so onerous to be fat? Um… I don’t see anything wrong with fat. You know? I mean, I remember when I used to weigh 185 pounds. I’m the same height. I was the same height that I am now and I weighed 185 pounds and I was going to college. And I had this food ticket at the cafeteria. And the cafeteria food is mainly all based on starch. You know it’s cheap food, right?
And so I don’t know what it was, but in order… I don’t know, I just felt like I was… If you missed your meal you just, you know… I just figured: “Well I was getting screwed, right?” If I missed a meal I blew it. So I’d get up at 6:30 every morning just to make breakfast, right? Eggs and grits and sausages and toast and milk. Then I’d go do a few classes. And I’d make it in there for lunch.
Mashed potatoes. Every now and then they’d put a little piece of meat in something, you know? Then I’d go to a few more classes. And then I’d go to dinner and it was more mashed potatoes.
And so about three months later I was 185 pounds. And you know what? I felt so great. I felt like a tank, you know. I felt like a large mammal. A big beast. When I’d move through the corridors or across the lawn, I just feel like I could knock anybody out of my way, you know. I was solid, man. It’s terrible to be thin and wispy, because, you know, you could get knocked over by a strong wind or something. Fat is beautiful.
How much do you weigh now?
I don’t know to tell you the truth. I’d guess somewhere in the neighborhood of about 150.
You want to compare biceps? (Laughs) You want a dead arm wrestling match, Howard? Are you ready? Are you in shape?
All right. Yeah.
Jim Morrison: We’ll wait until the interview’s over.
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