Later this year, Beatdom Books will publish a new work by Victor Bockris, called The Burroughs-Warhol Connection, a collection of stories, interviews, and photos featuring two of the 20th century’s most iconic artists. Over the course of 1980, Bockris bought the two men together several times as part of an interviewing concept he had developed whilst working for Warhol’s Interview magazine. The resulting tapes show us the small talk, the comic mishaps, and hint at the unique genius of these countercultural giants. Occasionally interrupted by Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and Lou Reed, they attempt to communicate but more often than not find themselves struggling to connect. It is a glimpse back at a world where rock and writing and art overlapped, a time and place filled with great minds and tremendous possibilities.

Bockris knew both men well and worked with them on various projects. He wrote With William Burroughs: A Report from the Bunker, a key Beat text.

Let’s start at the beginning. How did you become so close to these two great artists?

By collaborating with them on various projects.

When did you decide to connect them and what outcome did you hope for?

I first decided to connect them in 1980. But I was too busy writing other things. I never forgot the idea. I wanted the book to achieve the success Uptight: The Velvet Underground Story received.

Let’s talk about your book. It’s not wholly a collection of interviews. Not conventional ones, anyway. It’s a mix of photos and collage, of stories and journals and interviews and excerpts. What did you aim for when putting it together?

I wanted to compare Burroughs and Warhol in an unorthodox way on different levels in different forms. Like I did in Uptight. I hope all the book’s ingredients combine to give the reader a series of pictures, colors, and sounds that balance the resulting portrait. Each reader will react differently to the book. I also hoped to inspire readers to develop my comparison of Andy and Bill’s lives and careers with an emphasis on seeing how the counterculture of the 1970s was made by layers of artists recognizing each other.

There are moments in this book when it seems Burroughs and Warhol were on the cusp of becoming close friends, perhaps even collaborators, yet this never came to pass. Why do you think that was the case?

If the Jagger dinner had been the success we expected, Bill and Andy’s connection would have grown. Its embarrassing failure made Andy angry with me and he put Bill down in his diary the next morning. However, the bigger cracks that appeared when they clashed on guns and Bill snarled “What kind of thinking is this?” would have precluded any more closeness. The bottom line is they liked each other. Andy put Bill in his posthumous volume The Party Book and Bill wrote well of Andy on his premature death in 1987. Andy really means it when he says in the Chelsea Hotel dinner he is going to miss Bill if he moves to Kansas.

Finally, we’re celebrating the 110th anniversary of Burroughs’ birth this month. What do you think is his legacy today?

I think his legacy today can best be found in Burroughs’ books and in the phantom book about Burroughs Kerouac buried among nine volumes of his own work. Burroughs was a Nova Agent. He was a writer who brought to his calling the super cool image of Inspector Lee of the Nova Police. A second legacy comes from the many things William Burroughs did in his life which helped other people. He was a lovely man. And he was at times in the 1960s the greatest writer in the world, as Warhol was the greatest artist. Because they both represented their times more accurately than anyone else in their fields. (This is my opinion).

The Burroughs-Warhol Connection will go on sale later this year. Subscribe to our e-mail updates or follow us on Facebook to be notified when we have an exact release date.