Bob Colacello

Very few people actually saw Andy’s films like Chelsea Girls where he filmed seven hours, ran it on two screens, where each scene was in a different room at the Chelsea Hotel with these people he called ‘Superstars” who were basically super-exhibitionists – the guy in one room high on LSD talking about masturbation, Brigid Berlin in another room playing a lesbian and shooting up people with amphetamines right through their jeans, it was all real and they were really doing it (though Brigid is now a proper lady), but you know Andy really did pre-date reality TV.

I think his portraits of Jackie, Liz, Marilyn, Mao, Elvis, Lenin – and objects like the soup cans, the dollar signs, the hammer and sickle, it’s all about icons. Its all about what people worship in an irreligious or secular world. In terms of Andy’s personality and Andy Warhol as a human being who I was very close to, I still feel kind of sorry for him on a personal level. I mean, he was the ultimate example of great success wrapped around inner turmoil and emotional pain.

Fortunately I had a great intern who did a lot of the research on Andy’s prices, which of course are phenomenal, but getting them straight – you know, he’s reached this $100million plateau that only a handful of other artists have reached, which puts him in the company of Cezanne, Klimt, Picasso, and such.

Anyway, when I finished the book, I handed it in, didn’t want to read it again, but when it finally was in print I felt like OK, I have to read this. And yeah, I thought God, this is petty, this is silly, too emotional, too raw…and maybe it was then, but now it all seems that it’s so much better because all the stuff that felt petty and silly now seems more relevant because Andy was so important.

I mean when the book first came out it was not a bestseller, but it got good reviews and at that point I was done writing about Andy, done talking about Andy….but now, I kind of love it. All these smart, attractive young people think I’m cool! So here I am a guy in his sixties with all of these interesting friends in their twenties. It’s very stimulating and keeps me very much in the present.

Well that’s what Andy wore to bed. You know, the oxford button-down Brooks Brothers shirt that he’s been wearing all day and his big long socks. He’d just take off his jeans and his boots and go to bed. Then he’d change into a fresh ensemble after he had breakfast the next morning.

I took photos from 1976 to when I left in 1993, primarily for Interview and a column I had called “Bob Colacello’s Out” which Andy had conceived of. I’ve never taken a picture since, not even with my phone! It just felt too Andy Warhol to keep going around town taking photographs. And I never really thought of doing anything with them after I left the magazine until this great Art Director Sam Shahid about for or five years ago asked where all of the old photos were.

One thing about Andy Warhol that was remarkable and also key to his widespread appeal is that he was so open! He would get on the phone and talk to the kid who called to say he was a fan – you know, Andy would walk from his house every morning down to the Factory carrying a bunch of Interviews – people would stop him and he would sign them, and what have you.

And out of the blue, I got a call from an editor friend at Knopf and she said that they were interested in putting out an update for their vintage paperback line. So I was more than thrilled and it was suggested that perhaps I could do a 1,000 word new introduction covering what’s happened with the whole Warhol thing since 1990 when the first edition hardcover came out and, uh, that was about August 1st and I sat down at my computer here in East Hampton and on on August 30th I’d written almost 10,000 words!