In an interview with Glenn O’Brien from the August, 1977 issue of High Times, Andy Warhol (1928-1987) discusses everything from Campbell’s Soup, the Factory, the Velvet Underground, junk food, and drugs—to why he sleeps with dogs, psychiatry, Marshall McLuhan’s daughter, rich people, poor people, and happiness. On the occasion of Warhol’s birthday August 6, we’re republishing it below.
High Times: What was your first work of art?
Warhol: I used to cut out paper dolls.
High Times: How old were you?
High Times: Did you get good grades in art in school?
Warhol: Yeah, I did. The teachers liked me. In grade school they make you copy pictures from books. I think the first one was Robert Louis Stevenson.
High Times: His was your first portrait?
High Times: Were you in an art club?
Warhol: No. But if you showed any talent or anything in grade school, they used to give us these things: ‘‘If you can draw this,” where you’d copy the picture and send it away…
High Times: Famous Artist’s School?
Warhol: Uh, yeah.
High Times: Did you send them away?
Warhol: No, the teachers used to.
High Times: Did they say you had natural talent?
Warhol: Something like that. Unnatural talent.
High Times: Were you arty in high school?
Warhol: I was always sick, so I was always going to summer school and trying to catch up. I had one art class.
High Times: What did you do for fun when you were a teenager?
Warhol: I didn’t do anything for fun. Oh, I think maybe once I went down to see a Frank Sinatra personal appearance with Tommy Dorsey. You had to take a streetcar to get there.
High Times: Did you work after school?
Warhol: Yeah. I sold fruit.
High Times: At a fruit stand?
Warhol: No, on a fruit truck.
High Times: So, how did you decide to become an artist and move to New York?
Warhol: I went to Carnegie Tech. Phillip Pearlstein was going to New York during a semester break, so I took a shopping bag and we took a bus. We took our portfolios and showed them around New York to see if we could get jobs. The lady from Glamour, Tina Fredericks, said that when I got out of school she’d give me a job. So I got out and came back. That was my first job.
High Times: A free-lance job?
Warhol: Yes. She gave me a shoe to do.
High Times: What was your ambition in those days? To be an illustrator or to be a fine artist?
Warhol: I didn’t have any ambition.
High Times: What was your first work that really pleased you as an artist?
Warhol: I don’t remember. I did get some prizes in school. It wasn’t my best work. One time after summer vacation I did some fruit truck pictures. I won five dollars.
High Times: Who was the first artist to influence you?
Warhol: It must have been Walt Disney. I cut out Walt Disney Dolls. It was actually Snow White that influenced me.
High Times: Did you go to the movies a lot?
Warhol: Yeah, on Saturday morning. If I took the neighbor’s baby I got to go to the movies free.
High Times: When you went to art school at Carnegie Tech, what artists influenced you?
Warhol: Carol Blanchard, she used to do ladies falling out of bed. She did Lord and Taylor ads, and she was in the Carnegie International Show.
High Times: Were you up on your art history?
Warhol: Oh, yeah. We had a wonderful teacher named Balcolm Green. He gave slide lectures.
High Times: Who were your favorite movie stars in those days?
Warhol: Ray McDonald and his sidekick. What’s her name?
High Times: Who is Ray McDonald?
Warhol: A dancer. And he had a wonderful girl partner. And Abbott and Costello, the Andrews Sisters, Lucille Ball, Edward G. Robinson, Paulette Goddard, Alexis Smith, Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern, Zachary Scott, Vida Ann Borg and Roy Rogers. Every one of them.
High Times: Is there anyone you wanted to be like when you grew up?
Warhol: Uh, who was Charlie McCarthy’s father? Edgar Bergen.
High Times: Were you interested in any politics?
Warhol: I listened to the speeches on the radio—Truman’s.
High Times: Were you impressed by him?
High Times: What were your favorite radio shows?
Warhol: Let’s Pretend and Jack Armstrong, All American Boy; all the good ones. Little Orphan Annie.
High Times: Did you like comic strips?
Warhol: Yeah.“The Katzenjammer Kidz.”
High Times: Did you ever do cartoons?
Warhol: No. I could never think of a good person to draw.
High Times: Do you think there are any great undiscovered artists?
Warhol: Uh, yeah, there are. But it’s more important to make money now.
High Times: What advice would you give to a young person who wanted to become an artist today?
Warhol: I’d just tell them not to be one. They should get into photography or television or something like that.
High Times: Do you think the art world is dead?
Warhol: Oh, yeah. Being a wallpainter or a housepainter is better. You make more money as a housepainter. Ten dollars an hour.
High Times: Who do you think is the world’s greatest living artist?
Warhol: I still think Walt Disney is.
High Times: He’s dead.
Warhol: I know, but they still have him in plastic don’t they?
High Times: He’s frozen.
Warhol: But I really like them all. Rauschenberg and Twombly and Paul Klee. Dead ones too? And I like American primitive painters. I just like everyone, every group. Grant Wood. Ray Johnson.
High Times: Who is the richest artist in the world?
Warhol: I’ll bet there are a lot of artists that nobody hears about who just make more money than anybody. The people that do all the sculptures and paintings for big building construction. We never hear about them, but they make more money than anybody.
High Times: What about Dali?
Warhol: I don’t think getting your name around means that you make a lot of money.
High Times: Do you think you or Dali is more famous?
Warhol: There’s Calder too. Miro is still alive.
High Times: Have you made a million on art?
Warhol: It depends on the expenses.
High Times: Has your work gone up in price a lot compared to what you made on it originally?
Warhol: No, I try to keep it down. I turn out so much. But I stopped for a while.
High Times: To raise the prices?
Warhol: No, I just can’t think of anything to do. I get so tired of painting. I’ve been trying to give it up all the time, if we could just make a living out of movies or the newspaper business or something. It’s so boring, painting the same picture over and over.
High Times: Where do you get your ideas for paintings these days?
Warhol: I do mostly portraits. So it’s just people’s faces, not really any ideas.
High Times: But lately you’ve done flowers and skulls.
Warhol: We’ve been in Italy so much, and everybody’s always asking me if I’m a communist because I’ve done Mao. So now I’m doing hammers and sickles for communism, and skulls for fascism.
High Times: Did Mao ever see your portrait of him?
Warhol: I don’t know. One of the big ones was shown in Washington at the Corcoran Gallery, and the director there told us that a delegation of Chinese was taking a tour of the place. They found out there was a big Mao hanging there, so they went in through the back of the museum so they wouldn’t see Mao. I guess they were worried about liking it or not liking it. It’s all so different for them. We invited the Chinese ambassador to the Factory, but he never came.
High Times: Who do you think is the best business artist in the world?
Warhol: Cristo. He just finished this $2-million project, for a foundation. But I’m sure the government’s going to find something wrong with the foundation. It seems so easy. That’s more like a business. It’s like producing something, a big $2-million project. Someone will come along and do a movie like that, a $4-million art movie nobody has to really like.
High Times: But Cristo makes money.
Warhol: No, he works on a foundation thing. You don’t get paid, you just take out expenses and things.
High Times: Do you think that’s what’s going to happen to art? It’s going to be all foundations and subsidies?
Warhol: Yeah, that sounds like a nice new way. It’s the easiest thing. There are a lot of people working on it, and it’s up for only two weeks.
High Times: Do you think Picasso was a business artist?
Warhol: Yeah, I guess so. He knew what he was doing.
High Times: But who do you think invented the idea?
Warhol: I think Americans after the war. It was the galleries. Somewhere along the line, someone did it with Picasso, where it started to be more of a product.
High Times: Do you think Picasso was conscious of his prices and his marketing?
Warhol: Oh, yeah.
High Times: Do you think artists of the future will form companies or go public and sell stock?
Warhol: No, but I’m opening a restaurant called the Andymat. We’re going to sell turkeys. But I can’t use that word anymore.
High Times: Why?
Warhol: Well, I like them. But whenever I call something that, people think I’m putting it down.
High Times: Do you think that there are any art movements now?
High Times: Do you think there will ever by any more art movements?
Warhol: Oh, yeah. I always thought they were going to come from California. But I just came back from Macon, Georgia, and I was surprised. They have so many performers down there. It’s such a wonderful town. You can see why they have so many famous performers.
High Times: Do you think social realism is business art?
Warhol: What kind is that?
High Times: You know, Diego Rivera, post-office murals, WPA art.
Warhol: Yeah, they should really do more with it. It’s amazing that they don’t do enough with it. You never see anybody painting up offices. You know who has a wonderful dining room? Bill Copley got all those kids who graffiti the subway, and he hired four of them to do his dining room. It’s really wonderful.
High Times: Do you think those kids should get grants to decorate subways?
Warhol: Yeah. But when you go to Tehran the graffiti is so beautiful. It’s not so beautiful here. Their writing is much more beautiful than ours. All the writing is great, even the signs.
High Times: You once said that your work was decorative. Do you still think that?
Warhol: Oh, yeah. But Emile de Antonio thinks it’s Marxist. It’s really funny.
High Times: Did you ever read xMarx?
Warhol: Marx who? The only Marx I knew was the toy company.
High Times: Do you ever think about politics?
High Times: Did you ever vote?
Warhol: I went to vote once, but I got too scared. I couldn’t decide who to vote for.
High Times: Are you a Republican or a Democrat?
High Times: You only do things for the Democrats. You did a Nixon print for the McGovern campaign. You did the Carter cover on the New York Times magazine.
Warhol: I did Rockefeller’s portrait.
High Times: You gave prints to Bella Abzug?
Warhol: I just do anything anybody asks me to do.
High Times: What’s your favorite painting of all your work?
Warhol: I guess the soup can.
High Times: What’s your favorite color?
High Times: What do you think of danger-oriented conceptual artists like Vito Acconci and Chris Burden?
Warhol: I think Chris Burden is terrific. I really do. I went to the gallery, and he was up in the ceiling, so I didn’t meet him, but I saw him.
High Times: Where did you get the idea of using photo silkscreens?
Warhol: I started when I was printing money. I had to draw it, and it came out looking too much like a drawing, so I thought wouldn’t it be a great idea to have it printed. Somebody said you could just put it on silkscreens. So when I went down to the silkscreener I just found out that you could reproduce photographs. The man that made the screens was a really nice guy named Mr. Golden. I think the first photograph I did was a ballplayer. It was a way of showing action or something.
High Times: So once you found that process, where did you get your ideas for images?
Warhol: Oh, just reading the magazines and picking up the ideas from there.
High Times: Did you really do the Campbell’s soup cans because you had it for lunch every day?
Warhol: Oh yeah, I had Campbell’s soup every day for lunch for about 20 years. And a sandwich.
High Times: How did you get the idea to make Brillo boxes?
Warhol: I did all the cans in a row on a canvas, and then I got a box made to do them on a box, and then it looked funny because it didn’t look real. I have one of the boxes here. I did the cans on the box, but it came out looking funny. I had the boxes already made up. They were brown and looked just like boxes, so I thought it would be so great to just do an ordinary box.
High Times: Did you ever hear from Campbell’s or Brillo or any of the manufacturers whose products you painted?
Warhol: Brillo liked it, but Campbell’s Soup, they were really upset and they were going to do something about it, and then it went by so quickly and I guess there really wasn’t anything they could do. But actually when I lived in Pittsburgh, the Heinz factory was there, and I used to go visit the Heinz factory a lot. They used to give pickle pins. I should have done Heinz soup. I did the Heinz Ketchup box instead.
High Times: What was your first big break?
Warhol: My first big break was when John Giorno pushed me down the stairs. No, actually my first big break was meeting Emile de Antonio who now lives across the street. He laughed a lot and that encouraged me.
High Times: In your book you say “Some people have deep-rooted and long-standing art fantasies and really stick with them.” Do you think that goes for you?
Warhol: I really don’t have any fantasies at all. But art fantasies, that sounds really terrific. Do you spell that with a ph?
High Times: You used an f. How did the Factory get the name Factory?
Warhol: Billy Name named it. It was in an office building. I guess it was really a factory. There was a lot of machinery there and a heavy floor. They must have made shoes there or something.
High Times: Who were the first people that worked for you?
Warhol: Gerard Malanga was the first one. He was writing poetry in between helping me do things. Actually it was Billy Name that brought people to the studio. He began putting silver all over, and he needed some people to help him.
High Times: Was he working for you?
Warhol: No, he wasn’t actually working for me. He wanted a place to stay, and he stayed there. That was the start of it.
High Times: Hw did you start making films?
Warhol: We had gotten a video machine, and I’d gotten a sound camera, and we were just making movies through the Cinematheque. Actually, I bought the first camera because Win Chamberlain was taking Taylor Mead and me to California, and since Taylor Mead was such a great screen star, we thought it would be a great idea to do Taylor going across country. So I bought this 16mm camera, and we just shot Taylor in California. That was the first movie. It was called Tarzan and Jane Regained Sort Of.
Then they had sort of newsreels at the Cinematheque and every time you’d do a three-minute newsreel they’d show it at the Cinematheque. Everybody began showing their three-minute movies. We started with the person of the week or something. Then I sort of got an idea to do John Giorno sleeping, because he could fall asleep and never know that you were around. So I just turned on the camera and photographed that, and somebody really liked it. That was Sleep. They showed it to Jonas Mekas, director of the Cinematheque, and he really liked it, and from that we went into Robert Indiana eating and other things. The Empire State Building.
High Times: How did you introduce actors and plots?
Warhol: Through Gerard we met Ronny Tavel, and he wrote scripts. They were really good scripts, but nobody would follow them. But we’d get the gist of the thing. Then we did 30-minute reels.
High Times: Did you direct them?
Warhol: At that time anybody who turned on the camera was the director.
High Times: Who invented the word superstar?
Warhol: I think it was Jack Smith.
High Times: And who were the first superstars?
Warhol: They were all Jack Smith’s stars: every one of them was really a great person. The first ones we used were Taylor Mead, Edie Sedgwick, Brigid Berlin, Alan Midgette.
High Times: Did you meet them through Gerard?
Warhol: No, Lester Persky, who’s the big producer now. Lester had a good eye. He was doing the eight-hour commercial. Really, he used to do these one-hour ads for Charles Antell. He did Melmac and some others. I guess that was where I got the idea for doing things long.
High Times: How did you meet Lou Reed?
Warhol: He was playing at the Cafe Bizarre, and Barbara Rubin, a friend of Jonas Mekas, said she knew this group. Claes Oldenburg and Patti Oldenburg and Lucas Samaras and Jasper Johns and I were starting a rock and roll group with people like LaMonte Young, and the artist who digs holes in the desert now, Walter De Maria.
High Times: You started a rock band?
Warhol: Oh, yeah. We met ten times, and there were fights between Lucas and Patti over the music or something.
High Times: What did you do?
Warhol: I was singing badly. Then Barbara said something about this group and mixed media was getting to be the big thing at the Cinematheque, so we had films, and Gerard did some dancing and the Velvets played. And then Nico came around, and Paul started the Exploding Plastic Inevitable.
High Times: Was that a light show before the San Francisco light shows?
Warhol: Yeah, it was, sort of. Actually, the Cinematheque was really combining all the arts together. Then Olivier Cocquelin was going to start a discotheque for Edie Sedgwick and me called “Up.” And somehow he forgot about us, and Murray the K was doing something out on Long Island, and somehow they didn’t hire us. So Paul decided do open up a place a week before they opened up. We just rented the DOM and opened before the other places. We rented it by the week, and when it was doing so well, other people just took it away from us.
High Times: When did you get the idea that you might be able to make really commercial movies?
Warhol: We never did. We were making a movie a week, and Paul found this theater in the Forties. We made a movie, and it played for three or four weeks. When they got tired of it, we just made another one. We did about six, and they did really well. They paid for themselves. Then they played outside New York in art theaters.
High Times: Did you go on college tours yourself before you sent Alan Midgette to impersonate you?
Warhol: Oh, yeah, I went on a couple. I wasn’t getting any work done, and every time I did go, I didn’t do any of the things the kids had read I would do. So we thought we’d send somebody who was more what they really wanted. He was more entertaining and better looking, and he could keep up and go to 18 different parties afterward. The people were happy with him.
High Times: How did Paul Morrissey start directing your films?
Warhol: Well, it was always whoever worked the camera. Then I guess I was in the hospital, and he worked the camera—so that’s how it happened.
High Times: Did you ever get any Hollywood offers before you had a commercial hit?
Warhol: We went out to Hollywood a lot of times, and everything always fell through. Most of the studios took us out, and nothing ever happened. It still doesn’t happen.
High Times: Do you think Hollywood is afraid of you?
Warhol: No. it’s just that I was too wishy-washy. If you have a project and you know exactly what you want to do you can get them to do it. It’s all learning.
High Times: Would you like to make really expensive movies or do you want to keep it simple?
Warhol: No. I think it would be great to make a $2- or $3-million art movie where nobody would really have to go to it. I thought that would be a good project to work on…do something really artistic. I think video is the best market. When the cassette market comes out, if you just do movies that nobody else can do, that’ll be the new way.
High Times: Would you ever put out your old films on cassettes?
Warhol: No, I’d rather do new stuff. The old stuff is better to talk about than to see. It always sounds better than it really is. New things are always much better than old things.
High Times: How did you get the idea to start your magazine Interview?
Warhol: It was just to give Gerard something to do. He was supposed to work on it. Also, Brigid Berlin’s father ran the Hearst Corporation, and we thought Brigid could really run the magazine. But she didn’t get interested in it.
High Times: Did you ever think it would be successful?
Warhol: It still isn’t successful. It would just be great if it could pay for itself. I always thought it should be for new people, but I guess there aren’t enough new people to buy it. You go to these rock concerts, and they can fill up a place with 30,000 people. It’s funny. They aren’t the same people who look at magazines.
High Times: You’ve done art, movies, records, books, TV, a play, a magazine. Is there anything that you’d still like to do?
Warhol: Uh, have a baby? Oh, I had my first Coke in ten years.
High Times: Really?
Warhol: I mean Coca-Cola.
High Times: Why did you abstain for ten years?
Warhol: Well, it was always so sweet. But we went to this apartment, and they had every brand food there. It was just so great to try all the Twinkies. It was a junk-food party. It was so good. I used to drink Coke all the time. It was so good. It gives you a lot of energy. You drink Coke a lot?
High Times: I think I like Pepsi better now.
Warhol: You really do? Can you really taste the difference? I’m really going to do the test now. What does Coke taste like?
High Times: It’s more carbonated and has a sharper taste. Pepsi is sweeter, easier on your stomach.
Warhol: But if you do the test, you’ve got to take it out of bottles or cans. If you take one out of a big bottle and the other out of a can, or a big bottle and a small bottle, they taste really different. The little Coke bottle and the little Pepsi bottle, which is a bigger bottle, are still the best.
High Times: How did it happen that Valerie Solanas attacked you?
Warhol: I had just ridden up in the elevator with her and I turned around to make a telephone call and just heard noise, that’s all.
High Times: Did you think about dying?
Warhol: No, my life didn’t flash in front of me or anything. It was too painful. I put it together after a couple of weeks… what happened. I was so drugged up. I just never think about it.
High Times: How did you start taking a tape recorder around?
Warhol: I had a big Uher that could go on for four hours at a time, and that all started around ’64. Then I got the idea to do Ondine talking for 24 hours. That’s why I got a tape recorder.
High Times: Was that for your novel A, which was Ondine talking?
Warhol: Yeah. Ondine used to sit up 24 hours a day, and that gave me the idea to have somebody talking for 24 hours.
High Times: How did you write The Philosophy of Andy Warhol?
Warhol: I taped most of it talking to my secretary, Pat Hackett. I used to call her in the morning to tell her what I did the day before.
High Times: Have you taped every day since you got your tape recorder?
Warhol: Yeah, I try to. It gets so boring now. The only person I really tape is Brigid Berlin.
High Times: Do you keep all of your tapes?
Warhol: Yeah, I throw ’em in a box.
High Times: Brigid is one of the Bs in your book; how many Bs are there?
Warhol: Brigid is the only B I know.
High Times: There are other Bs in the book.
Warhol: Yeah, but Brigid is the queen.
High Times: You made your dramatic film debut in The Driver’s Seat with Elizabeth Taylor. What’s Elizabeth Taylor really like?
Warhol: We’ve seen a lot of her recently, and she’s just so terrific. I like her mother. Her mother’s really cute. I just got another movie role. I play an art teacher in Grease. Eve Arden is the principal, and John Lindsay is somebody, and John Travolta, the star of Grease, is in it.
High Times: How was it acting in a movie?
Warhol: Oh, I was just really rotten. I couldn’t remember anything. I got too nervous. I shouldn’t be nervous, and I can’t think of why I get so nervous. It’s just stupid. I can’t remember anything. I was on Merv Griffin a couple of times, and I was so nervous I couldn’t even get a word in.
High Times: Since you’ve been making bigger movies, you haven’t made as many. Do you miss doing it?
Warhol: Yeah, we used to shoot a scene every night. They were so much fun. But the hardest thing is putting away and packing up. The movie we just made, Bod, was a union movie, and it cost so much to do, we’re just hoping we get back enough money to do the real cheap movies again.
High Times: Who do you think are the best actors you’ve discovered?
Warhol: Well, my favorite person is Viva, I guess—Susan Hoffman.
High Times: Why do you think Viva hasn’t made it as a star?
Warhol: Well, she still might. I think she’s out in Hollywood. We might use her on a TV thing. Sylvia Miles just worked with us, and she’s great. And Joe Dallesandro is making a lot of movies now.
High Times: What was your favorite publicity stunt?
Warhol: This? I didn’t do any publicity stunts.
High Times: What about your Rent-A-Superstar service for parties?
Warhol: Yeah, I guess that was the best one, but nobody ever rented us. Wait a minute… maybe someone did rent somebody. I think someone rented Eric Emerson once.
High Times: What kind of toys do you have?
Warhol: I sort of just started getting these toys—what were they called before they were plastic?—Oh…celluloid. I just started getting a couple of those.
High Times: You collect a lot of things that weren’t too valuable when they were new. Do you think there’s a lot of junk being made today that will be valuable some day?
Warhol: Yeah. I think you should go to F.A.O. Schwarz and buy a new toy every day and just put it away.
High Times: Do you paint every day?
Warhol: Yeah, I paint every day. Now I’m painting with a mop.
High Times: Do you change your clothes?
Warhol: I have paint clothes. They’re the same kind of clothes I wear every day with paint on them. I have paint shoes and paint shirts and paint jackets and paint ties and paint smocks and, Ronnie gave me a great smock from Bendel’s. And carpenter aprons. And paint hankies.
High Times: Do you think the underground will ever come back?
Warhol: No. I don’t think there was an underground before. It’s a silly word.
High Times: What about psychedelic? Do you think that will ever come back?
Warhol: I think so, yeah. Really soon. I’ll bet it really does come back.
High Times: Did you ever take acid?
Warhol: No. Someone thought they slipped it to me once, but I wasn’t eating.
High Times: Did you ever smoke pot?
Warhol: No, but I like the smell of it.
High Times: Did you ever take any drugs?
Warhol: No, nothing that ever made me funny or anything. When I was in the hospital after I was shot they gave me drugs, but it was so great to get off those.
High Times: Did you ever get drunk?
High Times: What happens when you get drunk?
Warhol: Nothing. I tell everyone they can be on the cover of Interview. It’s fun getting there, but when you get there, it’s such an awful feeling. It’s not worth it.
High Times: Do you think drugs make people more or less creative?
Warhol: I don’t think they do anything.
High Times: Do you think pot should be legal?
Warhol: Yeah, I do.
High Times: Do you have any habits that you’d like to kick?
Warhol: Constipation? No. Waking up people? Gossiping? Refusing to buy luggage.
High Times: Do you like traveling?
Warhol: When I get there I really like it. Flying is really great too. People care for you on a plane. They never care for you like that on the subway. You can get a drink whenever you want. They haven’t gotten to the point where planes are really rotten yet.
High Times: What’s your favorite airline?
Warhol: Iran Air? No. Pan Am? Pan Am was our favorite, but it’s not around anymore.
High Times: It’s not around?
Warhol: You can’t take it to Paris anymore.
High Times: What’s your favorite place to travel?
Warhol: New York City.
High Times: What do you think things will be like in the year 2000?
Warhol: I think it’s just going to be the same. Just like it is now.
High Times: Have you been to Russia?
High Times: Would you like to go there?
High Times: Have you ever been to Czechoslovakia?
High Times: Would you like to go to Czechoslovakia?
Warhol: No. I don’t like to travel.
High Times: Do you think people will still be buying art in 2000?
Warhol: Oh, I don’t know. Everybody keeps saying nobody will be buying anything, but they keep buying, so I don’t know about that.
High Times: Do you think your work will go up in value when you’re gone?
Warhol: No. It’ll just stay at the same level.
High Times: Do you believe in life after death?
Warhol: I believe in death after death.
High Times: Now that you’ve made films with Hollywood stars like Carroll Baker, Sylvia Miles and Perry King, would you like to use big stars instead of superstars?
Warhol: I don’t think a big star makes a movie. I think interesting people make movies. Anybody could be a big movie star if they’re interesting. A big star won’t even make anybody go to a movie now.
High Times: Who are your favorite movie stars now?
Warhol: I like them all—I mean anybody who’s in a movie.
High Times: Will you do anybody’s portrait who has the money?
Warhol: Yeah, and I’ll do anybody’s portrait who doesn’t have the money.
High Times: Do you think that because of women’s liberation there will be more women artists?
Warhol: I always thought that most artists were women—you know, the ones that did the Navajo Indian rugs, American quilts, all that great hand painting on Forties clothes.
High Times: Who are your favorite women artists?
Warhol: Linda Benglis, Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson.
High Times: Who has the best gossip?
Warhol: Actually, I think the newspapers have the best gossip.
High Times: What’s your favorite newspaper?
Warhol: The Daily News.
High Times: Do you think that people should live in outer space?
Warhol: Oh yeah, I think that would be really great.
High Times: Would you like to take a trip to outer space?
Warhol: No, I really hate heights. I always like to live on the first floor.
High Times: Do you think the future will be futuristic?
Warhol: No. I always wished it would be but I don’t think so. I guess it could—if people didn’t have to do anything they could just sit around. I don’t understand it. Maybe people will just think that they’re alive or something and therefore they might not be alive and just think they are, so they won’t have to do anything.
High Times: Do you like to work?
Warhol: Nowadays I really like to work a lot. It makes time go by fast. Traveling makes time go by fast too. So maybe traveling in space will give people time. You know if you’re traveling for five years or something like that, you’re going somewhere. But five years are being used up, and you don’t have to do anything. You just sit on the plane. That might make time go really fast.
High Times: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Warhol: I like to work when I’m not working—do something that may not be considered work, but to me it’s work. Getting my exercise by going to the grocery store.
High Times: Do you play any games?
Warhol: I’m learning how to play bridge. It’s nice. You can play with four people instead of two.
High Times: Did you ever play any sports?
Warhol: No. I was never any good in any of them.
High Times: Do you know how to swim?
Warhol: Well, I think I could swim.
High Times: Do you know how to drive?
Warhol: I ran into a cab, so I stopped. On Park Avenue and Forty-seventh Street.
High Times: Do you have a license?
Warhol: I had a learner’s permit.
High Times: Was anybody hurt?
Warhol: The cab had a big dent in it.
High Times: What time do you get up in the morning?
Warhol: I get up early—7:30.
High Times: Do you have an alarm clock?
Warhol: No, I wake up naturally.
High Times: What do you do in the morning?
Warhol: Now Brigid Berlin calls me every morning because she’s on a diet. I’ve taped her for ten years, and she always told me what she ate. She used to lie. Now she tells me what she ate and what she lost. Today she did the best story. She called me up to tell me she was being bad and went off her diet, and she felt so bad she took a dehydration pill and within an hour she lost 10 pounds. She’d lost 50 pounds, so this made it 60. Then she took her laundry out, and she fainted in the laundromat. She got so scared. While she was on the floor she asked the laundromat lady to give her some water: she drank two glasses of water, was able to get up again, crawl out and go to a cafeteria and drink eight more glasses of water. Then she called back the laundromat and asked the laundromat lady to do her laundry. Then she took a lot of salt, and she was back up to where she was before she took the dehydration pill. She’s making a whole career out of losing weight. She’s been dieting for two months. She decided to get down to 149 from 275.
High Times: Do you eat breakfast in the morning?
Warhol: Just a cup of tea.
High Times: What time do you go to bed?
Warhol: I go to bed early now, around 12:00.
High Times: Do you sleep alone?
Warhol: No, I sleep with my two dogs, Archie and Amos.
High Times: Do they behave in bed?
Warhol: No, they fool around.
High Times: Do you sleep in the nude?
Warhol: I sleep with my underwear. And my corset.
High Times: Do you wear boxer shorts or jockey shorts?
Warhol: Jockey shorts. Small. 30.
High Times: How much time do you spend on the phone every day?
Warhol: Not as much as I used to. I like to tape on the phone. I like to tape Brigid. But I go to work earlier now, so I only tape her in the morning and at night.
High Times: Does she tape you?
Warhol: No, I think she stopped. Ever since she’s been on her diet, she has no ambition. Her only ambition is to lose weight, so she doesn’t do anything.
High Times: Do you still watch TV?
Warhol: Oh, yeah. Now my favorite show is the “Gong Show.” And they asked me to be on it. I really should go.
High Times: As a performer?
Warhol: No, as a judge. Performing on it would be funny too. But I decided that the performers are all professional people. They just dress up as an act, because they always know when they’re going to get the gong. And “Hollywood Squares” with Peter Marshall is one of my favorites too.
High Times: Have you ever been asked to go on “Hollywood Squares” or any of those celebrity guest shows?
Warhol: No, but I would really like to do them.
High Times: Do you still go to church?
Warhol: Yeah. I just sneak in at funny hours.
High Times: Do you go to Catholic church?
Warhol: Yeah, they’re the prettiest.
High Times: Do you believe in God?
Warhol: I guess I do. I like church. It’s empty when I go. I walk around. There are so many beautiful Catholic churches in New York. I used to go to some Episcopal churches too.
High Times: Do you ever think about God?
High Times: Do you believe in the Devil?
High Times: Do you believe in the end of the world?
Warhol: No. I believe in “As the World Turns.”
High Times: Do you think psychiatry helps at all ?
Warhol: Uh, yeah, if you don’t know anything about anything. Yeah, it can help you.
High Times: Did you ever go to see a psychiatrist?
Warhol: I went to one once, and he never called me back. Then I got over whatever I got over. Everybody I knew was going, and they make you feel as if you’ve got to go. So I went once, and they never called me back, and I felt so funny. But then I guess someone came along and took me out to a movie, or I got a new hat or something.
High Times: Do you take vitamins?
Warhol: Yeah, I take a multivitamin.
High Times: What do you like to eat?
Warhol: Just plain food. Plain American food.
High Times: Do you still eat a lot of candy?
Warhol: I’ve changed. Now I just make jelly. I pour the sugar into the fruit. I thought it would be better than candy, but it’s the same thing.
High Times: Do you think sugar’s bad for you?
Warhol: Everybody says it is. I’m sure it is.
High Times: Do you think there are more gay people now, or do people just talk about it more?
Warhol: There must be more. But I think they’re talking about it less now. It’s probably the same percentage.
High Times: Do you think gay people are more creative than straight people?
High Times: Do you believe in marriage?
Warhol: Only to have children. But it’s gone on for so long and people have thought it was right, it must still be right.
High Times: Would you ever like to get married and settle down?
High Times: Has anybody ever asked you?
High Times: Do you miss having any children?
High Times: Do you think you’re a father figure to anyone?
Warhol: Just to my dogs.
High Times: Have you ever been in love?
Warhol: Let’s come back to that one.
High Times: Did you ever hate anybody?
Warhol: Let’s come back to that one.
High Times: What do you think of violence on TV?
Warhol: I was out with Marshall McLuhan’s daughter Stephanie the other night, and she told me she’d just come from seeing Marathon Man, and she had to look away during some of the violence. She works on TV, and she saw the baby that was eaten by the dog, and it didn’t bother her. She had the crew set up and photograph it right. She said it was work, and she really didn’t have time to think about it, but in the movie it’s something else.
High Times: Do you think violence on TV and in the movies makes people violent?
Warhol: No. If you’re not violent it wouldn’t make any difference.
High Times: Did you ever try to grow a mustache?
Warhol: I beg your pardon. No, I never tried.
High Times: Do you wear a wig?
Warhol: It says so in my hook.
High Times: How many do you have?
Warhol: Uh, three. The last maid stole one.
High Times: What’s your natural color?
High Times: Do you believe in flying saucers?
Warhol: My mother used to like them.
High Times: Do you believe in magic?
Warhol: Black magic.
High Times: Do you think Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone?
High Times: Do you think Nixon got a raw deal?
Warhol: That’s for sure.
High Times: Do you think the pope is infallible?
Warhol: How dare you ask me that.
High Times: Do you own any stock?
Warhol: I’m stocking toys these days.
High Times: Do you know how to dance?
Warhol: I don’t know how to move.
High Times: What is your favorite scent?
Warhol: Halston, of course.
High Times: Do you believe in the American Dream?
Warhol: I don’t, but I think we can make some money out of it.
High Times: Are rich people different from poor people?
Warhol: Yes and no.
High Times: Are they happier?
Warhol: If they have a dog.
High Times: Can you take it with you?
High Times: Do you read a lot?
Warhol: Not too much. I mostly look at the pictures.
High Times: Do you think there are any good writers anymore?
Warhol: Oh, yeah. Jacqueline Susann. Frank Rich. Victor Hugo.
High Times: What are your favorite magazines?
Warhol: Blueboy, Pussy, Penthouse. Whatever I’m in.
High Times: Do you look in the mirror when you get up?
Warhol: Well, there’s always one there I guess. I brush my teeth.
High Times: Do you take a shower or bath?
Warhol: Well, a shower’s easier, but a bath is much better.
High Times: Do you have any secrets you’ll tell after everyone’s dead?
Warhol: If I die I’m not letting on.
High Times: Do you think the world can be saved?
High Times: Do you believe in Atlantis?
Warhol: It’s very sexy to believe in it.
High Times: If you had an hour TV show every week, what would you put on it?
Warhol: Kate Smith. “The Andy Warhol Hour Starring Kate Smith.”
High Times: What’s your favorite news show?
Warhol: Channel Five at ten o’clock. I like it because it’s fast. News is my favorite program, but the networks aren’t my favorite. I hate Barbara Walters.
High Times: Do you think TV is good for kids?
Warhol: I met two kids yesterday who used to go to bed at eight. And then in the morning the kids had bags under their eyes and were very listless and grumpy, and the mother didn’t understand. So months later the mother happened to go up to their room at one in the morning, and the kids were sitting glued to the TV. I think they learn everything. Everything on one plane. It’s great.
High Times: Do you think there should be any censorship?
Warhol: Of course.
High Times: Where should they draw the line?
Warhol: Things should be more sexual.
High Times: Do you believe in capital punishment?
Warhol: For art’s sake, of course.
High Times: Are you to the left of Dali?
Warhol: On the bias.
High Times: What do you look at first on a woman?
Warhol: Her bag.
High Times: What about a man?
Warhol: His bag. The way he wears his hat.
High Times: What’s your favorite sport?
Warhol: The one with the baskets.
High Times: Did you ever see a movie that got you hot?
Warhol: Behind the Green Door, Going on Sixteen, State Fair.
High Times: Who is the sexiest woman in the world?
Warhol: Bianca Jagger, Divine, Diana Vreeland.
High Times: Who do you think is the sexiest man in the world?
Warhol: Henry Kissinger, Jack Ford, Steve Ford, O. J. Simpson. Woody Allen for sure not, but some people masturbate to his image anyway.
High Times: What do you think about masturbation?
Warhol: It helps.
High Times: What’s your all-time favorite movie?
Warhol: Alice in Wonderland. Bill Osco’s Alice in Wonderland.
High Times: Do you think Jimmy Carter is going to get America moving again?
Warhol: Oh, I hope so. Yeah, he will.
High Times: What would you do to reorganize America if you were Jimmy Carter?
Warhol: I don’t think it’s so bad the way it is. I don’t think he has to do really much. It’s really a great country.