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The Philip K. Dick / Punk Rock Connection

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Philip K. Dick, Germs-manager Nicole Panter, author KW Jeter, and artist Gary Panter, at Philip K. Dick’s Santa Ana condo. From Nicole Panter’s Flickr account.

A rare look at the inside of Philip K. Dick’s condo! Here is the attendant interview, from Slash magazine, May 1980:

Philip K. Dick is 51 years old. Since 1955 he’s written 35 books that have been translated into eighteen languages. He has five ex-wives, two cats and lives 10 minutes from Disneyland. Of the books he has written, his personal favorites are, The Man in the High Castle, Dr. Bloodmoney, and Through a Scanner Darkly. His latest book, VALIS, will be released in February, with the sequel to be published sometime in the spring. Mr. Dick says he doesn’t take drugs anymore, but thinks about them all the time. Despite stories to the contrary, he’s a real charming guy.

The interview was conducted in Mr. Dick’s conapt by Gary and Nicole Panter. K.W. Jeter, one of Dick’s close friends and author of the yet unpublished but excellent DR. ADDER, attended and added his comments.

DICK: Um … fuck.
JETER: Beer?
SLASH: I don’t drink beer.
DICK: I don’t drink beer either. What’s so … so … I’m tired of all this circle of … of effete intellectual … this circle of intellectuals who drink beer. (laughter)
SLASH: Is this a conapt?
DICK: It definitely is a conapt.
SLASH: Is a conapt a combination of condominium and apartment?
DICK: Yes.
SLASH: So the people in your stories own their own apartments?
DICK: They own them and are doomed to live in them. And they are also doomed to participate in meetings with the other owners and have complaints made about their moral lives.
SLASH: Like in small towns … do you go to these meetings?
DICK: Yes, it’s mandatory.
SLASH: What do they say?
DICK: They say how come your car has got dust all over it? So I park in a dark corner of the garage so no one can see it. This one old lady built a little door for her cat to go in and out of and in a meeting someone complained that they saw cat shit out on the walkway and now she’s responsible for all the cat shit anyone sees around.
SLASH: Can they make you move out if the other tenants don’t like you?
DICK: No, they can’t get you out they can just sue you to death.
SLASH: Were you raised in a religious organization?
DICK: No.
SLASH: Are you anti organized religion?
DICK: Yes. Technically, I’m Episcopalian, but I don’t ever go. I’m interested in them because they’re a barrio church and they do lot of civil service work … technically I’m a religious anarchist.
SLASH: Is this Orange County?
DICK: Very Definitely … I bet that’s good beer. The Germs are breaking up, huh? The cat’s laughing at me … But Darby Crash is going to start his own band.
SLASH: Yeah, how’d you know?
DICK: I know … I know this stuff. Did I do that right? I sure like the Plugz. Now the beach bands like the Circle Jerks …
SLASH: Darby has a mohican now which brings up the kids you wrote about that modeled themselves after South American Indians or was it Africans. When did you begin to write about mutant youth cultures?
DICK: In my writing? TIME OUT OF JOINT in 1958.
SLASH: Were you a beatnik then … a bohemian?
DICK: I was all of those things. I knew the first beatnik. His name was Charles McLane … oh, the first hippy. I’m sorry. He was into drugs - that would be hippy.
SLASH: What made a beatnik, alcohol?
DICK: Some were into drugs. The difference was there was more of an emphasis on creative work with the beatniks. You had to write … much less emphasis on drugs.
SLASH: How far does a bohemian or lunatic fringe go back?
JETER: To the Bohemians in the twenties …
DICK: Wrong! Puccini’s LA BOHEME describes people who were poets and singers and who burned their pictures in the 19th Century. The furthest I can remember back is the thirties to the WPA artists paid by the government. They became the bohemian strata of the United States.
SLASH: What prompted you in 1958 to begin writing about this kind of youth culture? Kids with teeth filed to points?
DICK: Yeah, I don’t know. It wasn’t until ‘71 in a speech I delivered in Vancouver that I was consciously discussing the rise of the youth culture. I glorified punks “kids who would neither read, watch, remember, or be intimidated.” I spoke of the rise of a youth culture which would overthrow the government.
SLASH: Do you still think that’s the case?
DICK: I certainly do.
SLASH: Have you got a timetable?
DICK: What time is it now? (laughter) Any day now I expect to hear that swarms have entered the White House and broken all the furniture.
SLASH: What comes after that?
DICK: Oops!

More of the Philip K. Dick interview from Slash magazine after the jump

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment