It Takes All Kinds

a Few Stories and Profiles by Erik Hedegaard from Inside the Pages of Rolling Stone (with Additional Commentary and Falderal Provided by the Author)

the ballad of tim blake nelson

How the brainy ‘Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ star parlayed an offbeat childhood in Oklahoma into a Hollywood career as a go-to character actor and Coen brothers favorite

the anxious comedy of howie mandel

On the eve of his first stand-up special in 20 years, the comedian and TV personality reflects on his lifelong battles with mental illness and trying to get laughs in the age of PC culture

letters to the editor and more

a collection of letters to the editor about stories i’ve done, along with ramblings from various internet others.  some love, along with a good bit of hate.

On Meeting Charlie Manson

I was the last member of the mainstream media to see Manson in the flesh, at his last home, Corcoran State Prison, in CA.  The notorious criminal who upended the Sixties with the Tate-LaBianca killings died at age 83 on November 19th, 2017.

The Sound and the Fury of Meat Loaf

How a pudgy kid from Texas became one of rock’s most bombastic stars. And why, even facing health struggles, he’s still making noise

Poison Is the Last Hair Metal Band

  How Bret Michaels and Poison turned a string of Eighties hits into a never-ending party

Benedict Cumberbatch Opens Wide

Star of Showtime series about a drug-addicted, damaged Englishman talks being kidnapped, wild nights, crying at the movies and more

Woody Harrelson’s Lost Weekend

How an insane bender in London almost cost the ‘Solo’ star his marriage – and ended up inspiring his directorial debut

Bill Hader Gets Nervous

How Bill Hader – the triple-threat creator of ‘Barry’ – learned to stop worrying and love show business, his ‘SNL’ anxiety and his inner critic. Inside Farmshop, an overcrowded, overloud Santa Monica, California, artisanal-type-food joint, the 20-year-old Bill Hader is giving the 39-year-old Bill Hader a pretty good goddamn dressing down. “Fucking loser,” the younger […]

George Clooney Is Our Friend!

I love this guy.  What’s not to love?  On the downside, he could have a second career as a used-car salesman … but only as the best ever in the world.  Fun guy, nice guy, not afraid to talk about his johnson.  Like I said, what’s not to love?

The Hot-Head Healer

Wim Hof says he holds the key to a healthy life – but will anyone listen?

Keith Urban’s Hard Road

   Okay, I’ll admit it, I’ve got a thing for smells.  For whatever reason, smells light up my brain like nothing else.  And I’ve met exactly no one who smells as great as Keith Urban.  That being the case, I told my editor I wanted to start the second section with how Urban smells.  There […]

The World’s Most Dangerous Woman

   The magazine nearly ruined the lede to this story by worrying overmuch that I made it seem like I was in the bedroom with Rhonda Rousey while she slept.  Uh, no.  It’s called reporting.  It’s called creating a scene out of the reporting.  Would such a fuss have been made if the subject was […]

Charlie Manson Now

He still calls me (collect) every once in a while. Sometimes I’ll pick up, sometimes I won’t, I’ll just sit there looking at the name blinking on my caller ID and wait until it goes away.

Terrence Howard’s Dangerous Mind

He’s the leading man on network TV’s biggest new show, but trouble and turmoil have chased him his entire life. The ‘Empire’ star opens up

Trashy Talk w/ Daniel Craig

He usually doesn’t say a lot but the day we met, over a glass of wine, he got downright chatty. I wonder if he regrets it?

John Mayer Is Out of His Mind, Maybe

I love John Mayer. I think he’s probably one of the most genuine geniuses out there. Absolutely the real deal. The problem is, his mouth is always messing him up. He just can’t help it. He’s got to say what’s on his mind, he’s driven like that, and there’s no stopping him. I spent two days with him and all I had to do was sit there while he flapped his lips about “the Joshua Tree of vaginas” and the like. Every once in a while, I’d try to get a word in edgewise, but mostly it was to no avail: he’d just roll right over me with his verbiage and keep on going. At the end, I felt flattened, and it took me days and days to recover enough to write my story. It turned out okay and caused a big stink that was shortly overshadowed by more blab-blab by Mayer. Like I say, he can’t help himself.

The Original Son of Anarchy

 Sutter is one interesting cat.  Used to weigh 400 pounds, got rid of it all but for around 180 lbs of it.  Just imagine what kind of brain can accomplish something like that.  Probably the same kind that could think  up Sons of Anarchy.  Love the guy, super cool, but I hear he’s a little […]

The Psychedelic Warrior

   Joe Rogan, over-the-top UFC color man and a 21st-century Timothy Leary, is one of those guys about whom you can only say, sui generis and ultra fun.  He tried to get meto go inside a cyro-chamber with him but I kept thinking my messed-up legs would shatter in the cold.  And how much ultra […]

Katy Perry: Little Miss Sun Shine

This was an odd one and a real surprise.  The reporting was extremely difficult and I thought Perry was being difficult and I felt my interviews with her sucked and, in fact, that she sucked.  But oddly enough, in the writing of the piece, I found that I liked her and liked her a lot […]

The Dream Life of Rivers Cuomo


Todd Phillips’ Chaos Theory

The director of ‘The Hangover’ and ‘War Dogs’ hustled his way to Hollywood gold, but can he survive fatherhood and middle age?

Christopher Walken: the Devil Inside

A couple o’ decades ago, when this story first came out, Bob Dylan called the magazine (Details, a big deal back then) and told my boss it was the best profile he’d read in six years. Bob Dylan! Six years!

Riot Girl!

She was always funny and feisty but Melissa McCarthy spent years struggling in obscurity So how did she become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars? OFTEN, MELISSA MCCARTHY finds herself in an otherworldly fugue state. When this happens, she never knows what will happen. Anything could happen. It’s kind of wild. At one point a while […]

Vampire of the Hollywood Hills


Mike Love’s Cosmic Journey

Mike Love’s Cosmic Journey  The Beach Boys singer has been meditating for 49 years. Why is it so hard for him to find peace? MIKE LOVE BOUNDS UP THE STAIRS INSIDE HIS MASSIVE LAKE TAHOE home (10 bedrooms in all, 12 bathrooms, two elevators, not to be believed) and into a large walk-in closet stuffed […]

Why John Cena Can’t Lose

WHY JOHN CENA CAN’T LOSE The top wrestler in the WWE is crossing over into Hollywood and reality TV — but all he really wants is to make peace with his dad SOMEWHERE ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF TAMPA, Florida, John Cena isn’t driving as fast as he normally drives in his Bentley Continental Flying Spur […]

Donald Trump Lets His Hair Down

Some editors at the magazine read this piece, didn’t know what to make of it, didn’t want to publish it.  Thank God for Jann Wenner, who deemed it funny and ran it right away.  Lots of press about Donald’s hair-groom revelations followed and I believe the mag sold a few extra issues because of it.

Glenn Beck Is Gonna Get It

He’s just so avuncular in person, it’s hard to see the frothing nutbag he’s generally thought to be.  He claims he’s been totally misunderstood, but if that’s the case, then why is he always apologizing for his part remarks?  A more complicated guy than I would have thought at first fairly firm handshake.

Phil Collins’ Last Stand

I really liked Phil.  It seemed painful for him to be open about certain things but he worked through the pain and said what he said.  Readers really responded to the story, with an outpouring of Phil-love that I thought was great.

The Men (Boys?) of ‘This Is the End’

Man, did I get a lot of hate for this one — not from Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, or James Franco, of course, but from Jonah Hill and JH fans. I guess Jonah Hill thought I was rude, not to mention silly and ignorant (see Comments). I have no problem copping to all three. But, golly, does he take himself a little too seriously or what? Loosen up, dude!

Charlie Sheen!

Frankly, I kinda liked this story and I kinda liked Sheen. Actually, I liked him a lot. I have a couple of amusing tales to tell that didn’t make the piece and will reveal all when I get a spare freaking moment.

Woody’s (Mostly) Happy Ending

I went to New Orleans to see Woody Harrelson. I had coffee with Woody, I went back to a hotel room with Woody, I watched Woody get stoned, I watched the sun fade, and I watched the night arrive hard and bleak.  At one point, I thought Woody was going to get up and punch […]

Mark Wahlberg Handles His Business

This was my third story about Wahlberg and, just like the first two, he hated it.  This time around, it’s (mainly) because he said something about 9/11 that got picked up and blown all out of proportion.  He had to backtrack on it, say many mea culpas; then he went on to blame me for […]

Ed O’Neill is the real deal

This started off as a much longer, much better profile of O’Neill but got cut down to size for space reasons (or so they said).  It’s not nearly as good but it does give you a taste of a real Hollywood tough guy.

Bruce Dern Arriveth

Me and Mr. Dern do Hollywood.

Don Johnson & the Damage Done

You know what famous groupie Pamela Des Barres thought and felt upon first seeing DJ in the buff? Well, I’m not going to tell you. You’ll just have to read the piece.

All that Chaz

Chaz Bono, the life & times of going from a her to a him.  I think he hated the story, if only because I focused on the most salacious aspects of his world, specifically, his desire for a penis.  Me, I don’t think I landed on that because it was juicy, ha ha; it’s just […]

Will Ferrell’s Beautifully Empty Mind

I dunno.  Lots of people at the magazine liked this one, but I don’t.  I just don’t think I got very far with Ferrell.  My editor said I got as far as anyone could.  Maybe.  But I doubt it.  Oh, well.  Next!

George Clooney in Rolling Stone

Lest anyone get the wrong idea, everything that’s currently being taken from the story by the tabloid media — about Clooney’s virginity, first O, and all that — is not what the story itself is about. Those are only the most so-called newsworthy items and there’s more to it than that. Or maybe there’s not, and I’m fooling myself. I dunno. Go read the story in full (I will put it here in about 30 days) and judge it, and me, and Clooney, for yourself.

In the meantime, let’s listen to George talk about getting things in his head as a kid — like jumping off a cliff — and getting stuck on the thought, shall we?

Jeremy Piven

Nothing about this little piece is any good.  Nothing.  Oh, well.

Glee Gone Wild, the Article

Well, it did create stink for a few moments and then, like all things, the uproar passed. I heard through the grapevine that the piece really pissed off everyone at the show — everyone but for Chris Colfer. Which is as it should be. Meanwhile, a few weeks ago, while chatting with Russell Brand at the Chateau Marmont, I saw Glee creator Ryan Murphy slide into the table next to mine and until I left, we both ignored each other, studiously. Then again, maybe it was only me doing the ignoring. By that time, he’d probably long moved on and forgotten even my name ….

Reader reaction to my Glee piece …

has been uniformly and without exception negative. I’m unable to post the entire Glee piece here yet but I thought I might post a bit of the commentary, as in:
“Erik Hedegaard’s piece on the cast of Glee was some of the most self-
absorbed adolescent twaddle I’ve seen in a professional publication.
His puerile, confrontational questions, snide asides and bored
posturing suggest he is either too burned out to do his job, or
sabotaged the piece out of spite. In any event, your readers deserve
better.” J.E. — Sierra Madre, CA

Personally, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry or what. I’ve only regretted writing one or two pieces ever, the story about Kiefer Sutherland being one of them. Will I end up feeling the same way about Tales of Glee? Come back here in a few months and see …

update: Finally, a somewhat positive response:

Erik Hedegaard’s interviews with the Glee cast were a victory for everyone
who ever suffered the psychic vampirism of the high school thespian crowd.
It is funny, if sad, that any of them actually thought that the same weak
personae they cultivated in high school by which they sucked all energy
out of the universe around them would work in the setting of a Rolling
Stone interview. It is sadder that Jane Lynch is looking at 50 and has not
evolved. These are not smart people. — Jared, Sacramento, Ca.

Ricky Gervais

I went to see Gervais expecting to love the guy, because I’m a huge fan of his stuff; but the visit was somewhat less than a meeting of like minds.  The result is the story I wrote, which was exactly true to my experience of the guy.  Got lots of hate mail, however, from Ricky […]


What else can I say?

Gerard Butler, Saint & Sinner

After this one, Butler made fun of me on Jay Leno’s show — my rope-a-dope interview style. I don’t think he cared for the story. I kinda did. Oh — I heard from a very reliable source that during the filming of Chasing Mavericks, Butler rented an extra Four Seasons hotel room to store his surfboards in. Yeah, well, I guess he’s got the money …

Roseanne Barr sees pedophile cults

What more can I say? She’s got a bee in her bonnet.

Chelsea Handler: Dirty, Slutty, Funny

The title tells all, and I will say more, but not now …

Michael Cera: Nerdchild

I have nothing really to add about Cera.  He’s a nice guy.  There you go.  

This Is Your Brain on eBay

A tale of addiction, loss, and little gain. While researching and writing this one, I became a buyer, seller, and collector of LED pocket calculators from the 1970s. At one point, I had over 600 of them and was the third largest collector of the damn things in the world. What the hell was I think? Read this and you’ll find out.

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