King of cult John Waters has long been an idol of the the creative hive of maladjusted artsy types here at Third Man Records. Best known for his 1970s and 80s fan-adored films such as the absolutely unforgettable Pink Flamingos and (somehow now totally mainstream) Hairspray, Third Man is proud to present Waters reading excerpts from his subversive and brilliant commencement speech. This speech was originally read at RISD’s spring 2015 undergraduate commencement in its entirety, released earlier this year by Algonquin Books, and now read by Waters himself. The recordings are produced by Grammy-winner Ian Brennan (Tinariwen, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Zomba Prison Project).
The speech begins with Waters explaining his qualifications to provide the graduating students the last word of their college education. "I should say right off that I am really qualified to be your commencement speaker. I was suspended from high school, then kicked out of college in the first marijuana scandal ever on the university campus. I've been arrested several times. I've been known to dress in ludicrous fashions. I've also built a career out of negative reviews. And I've been recently called the prince of puke by the press and another title I'm really proud of - the people's pervert."