One Hell of An Eye
The Official Blog of Mike Salisbury
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Hunter Thompson was sitting in front of me.  We were in the small theater in North Beach.  A dark place.  I could only see two rows of seats running downhill twenty feet deep into the blackness.  It was one of Bob Marley’s first American shows.  I was the art director of Rolling Stone and a photographer for international publications like Vogue, Esquire, the Sunday Times of London, People.  Hunter was in San Francisco to get paid by Rolling Stone or just to shoot somebody since he never delivered his writing to the magazine in person.  He faxed all his stories in and it took days.

Turning to me in that dark little theater, cigarette unlit in a long cigarette holder, Hunter reached back with his pinkie raised and offered me a little white stamp held delicately between his thumb and forefinger like the wing of a butterfly.  On the stamp was a line print in blue of Mr. Natural.

“Take it, Mad Dog,” he said.

Thinking of Hunter these few years after his death, I remembered that gift from him but I had forgotten that everyone I know in San Francisco, besides my family there, calls me Mad Dog.  Hunter gave me that handle the night he gave me the tab of LSD.

Thompson made a habit of insulting and challenging anyone who could see or hear him.  But never me.  That little stamp was in my wallet for years.  I never dropped that acid.  I never actually dropped any.  A Mad Dog needs no help.  And the tab was my seal of Hunter’s approval.

Thinking back I try to recall what got me so much respect as to actually be labeled crazy-mad.  I don’t think of that word in the politically incorrect way.  It is a compliment.  Like the Beatnik use of crazy as in “crazy, man.”  Or to be really different when everyone was really trying to be different.  “You are sooooo fuckin’ crazy man.”  It was San Francisco.

I had come back to the city from LA.  Being from LA was not being from the Bay Area in the 70’s.  People in LA are driven.  Speedy.  I was quite capable of working all-nighters for five days and then going to party for five more.  So to the hippies of Haight Ashbury who worked all night with me but then slept it off, I guess I was a mad dog.

The Mad Dog Squad

The Mad Dog Squad

The first person who correctly identifies all the players in this photo gets a copy of my book,”I Sold Sex, Drugs & Rock n’ Roll”…take a shot

(UPDATE:  Thanks, everyone…a lot of great congrats came by e mail so they are not here in the comments section.  No winners on the photo contest, although Roman Coppola got 3.5 correct!)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

12.9.09 e-exchange:

Nelson: The blog looks great.  I wish you still had that tab of LSD.

Mike: Hey, if I had it, I would auction it with Christie’s.

Nelson: I guess money would be good, too.  But you could give it to Johnny Depp and film him on Hunter’s acid.  That would be one hell of a blog post!

Mike: I think the tab eventually melted into the old rubber in my faux cardboard wallet, both becoming a circular bas relief advertising my unused masculinity.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thanks Mike and Happy New Year!

I was reading your blog earlier today.  Love it.  Great story about Hunter.  Interesting to read your take on difference in between LA and SF!  You were working circles around your peers in SF.  Cool!   Mark A.

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65 Responses to “Hunter and Mad Dog”

  • Lillia Shipmen Says:

    Very intriguing stories about interesting people. You’ve had quite the career!

  • Keven Myren Says:

    You possess an excellent weblog. Many thanks for your efforts.

  • Demetrius Mcdunn Says:

    I anticipate reading what you happen to be planning on next, since your blog is a nice read. You are writing with passion.

    admin Reply:

    Thanks! More to come.

  • Brigida Dills Says:

    I love your posts!

  • Free PS3 Slim Says:

    Love the design of this blog!

  • Stephanie Meyer Says:

    A lot of of the comments individuals write are silly and unrelated, and every now and then I wonder if most people honestly read the article content and content before placing a comment. Or if perhaps they simply look at the title of the blog post and send the first thought that pops into their heads! Regardless, it is pleasant to read through smart commentary and writing once in a while rather than the exact same, traditional opinion and perspective which is typically discovered on the web! Keep writing, Mike!

    admin Reply:

    thanks for the thoughtful words stephanie.

  • Fern Novellino Says:

    It is a great post…I like it very much.

  • C. Voorhes Says:

    Keep up the good work!

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    admin Reply:

    wonderful comment. thanks.

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