Thompson's 'Derby' gets audio tribute

March 2, 2012 at 8:48 PM
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SANTA MONICA, Calif., March 2 (UPI) -- An all-star reading of "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved by Hunter S. Thompson" is set for release next month, said 429 Records.

The CD, which will be released through an exclusive license with Paris Records, will feature a cast of musicians and actors including Tim Robbins, Dr. John, Bill Frisell, Ralph Steadman, Annie Ross, John Joyce III and Will Forte. Together, the artists "will bring Thompson's classic Gonzo reportage on the 1970 Kentucky Derby to life through spoken word and musical composition," the record label said in a news release Friday.

Conceived by executive producer Michael Minzer, the project was produced by Hal Willner.

It is set for release April 3.

Thompson's article "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved" was originally published in Scanlan's Monthly in June 1970. It is regarded by many as "the quintessential example of Hunter S. Thompson's uniquely humorous and piercing insight," the record label said.

"I couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of this project -- who could say no to such an opportunity to toast the king of Gonzo journalism?" Robbins said in a statement. "It's been a great pleasure diving into the chaotic, genius prose of Hunter and I feel flattered to be working with such a stellar group of creative folks like Hal Wilner, Ralph Steadman, Bill Frisell and Michael Minzer who made it come alive so brilliantly."

Thompson, an iconic journalist known for his drug use and colorful style of inserting himself in the sports and political stories he covered, intentionally shot himself in the head in 2005. He was 67. He has been portrayed by Bill Murray and Johnny Depp in the films "Where the Buffalo Roam" and "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" respectively.

Robbins is best known for his work in the films "Mystic River," "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Bull Durham." He is also a musician.

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