Chappell: Well, in the position you were in, you really had no control as to what was happening…and I’m sure that was hard.


Slater: The whole thing of it was, in all the legal [proceedings]…what transpired with me physically due to the medications they had me on---was never, ever brought up. That’s what really bothers me, because I’d asked for my medical records, and they were never produced. I never saw one record there at all. The records…medical records, were never mentioned one time in all the legal things brought up.


Chappell: And it sounds like the issue of the overdosing was the central theme in all of this for you?


Slater: Exactly. How could I whip some of this, without [the medical records]? Unless you look at something like that…I mean, I have the medical reports sitting in front of me right now. So, at the time, I was just sitting there (in jail)…and it was tough.


Chappell: No doubt you probably felt like you were fighting against the world at that point.


Slater: I surely was…I surely was.


David, I did what I did to get out of jail…I had to. And I hated myself after I did it.


Chappell: You mean as far as pleading out to the lesser charge?


Slater: Yeah. I wanted to go all the way (to trial) at one time. And then I got threatened with, ‘If you lose the case…’


I said, ‘Well, I’m not gonna lose.’ I said, ‘How can I lose, if you let me out now, and I’m taking a lesser charge?’ If you had so much on me, and didn’t think I was all screwed up…why are you lettin’ me out at all?’ You know what I mean? I don’t have to tell you any more. (laughs)


Chappell: It can be a pretty crazy system at times.


Slater: They said, ‘Take this or that.’ I didn’t have any choice. I got out (of jail) the way I got out…or I might not have got out at all.


I could have got out, maybe, by going to trial…


Chappell: But, Dick, who knows what would have happened then?


Did you plead ‘not guilty’ originally?


Slater: My first plea was ‘not guilty’ to attempted murder at the arraignment. It went from there to…I pled ‘insanity.’ The way the insanity law is here, I had to go in front of four or five State doctors, plus I had a certain amount of time to do a certain amount of things…


At the time of the incident, I was definitely on drugs. But the State seemed to think that I was on street drugs…but the medical records completely show that everything I was on was prescribed by a doctor, or given to me by a hospital.


[The records] said I had five back operations. I just had gotten done goin’ having another back operation about a month before that. What they did, was they were going to put a spinal stimulator in me, and they stuck me in the wrong place when they went to put it in…


Chappell: Ouch…


Slater: It poked a hole in my nerves that holds the spinal fluid in my back…and [the spinal fluid] leaked out. And when that leaks out, you got some serious problems…


Chappell: No doubt.


Slater: So, I was in Intensive Care for another week…trying to get that problem fixed.  Then I had to go to a neurologist…and they didn’t know whether it would cause any permanent damage---they didn’t know where the spinal fluid leaked to. I was in serious pain again, and finally I told them to take the machine out of me. The hospital wouldn’t, so I really went off on them. I threatened to call Channel 13 news, and everybody over there. I told them to take the machine out of me, and turn the machine off immediately before it killed me. I told them to take it out and they wouldn’t take it out, and then they wanted the same doctor that put it in to take it out…and I said no, he ain’t touchin’ me!


They finally got mad enough to kick me out of the hospital. Got kicked out of a hospital! Now, I’ve got kicked out of a few bars before…


Chappell: (laughs) How long did this thing with the spinal stimulator happen before the incident with your ex-girlfriend?


Slater: Not long. That’s partly why I was so screwed up…spinal fluid in my brain.


Chappell: And certainly a number of other physical ailments.


Slater: I even had a couple of doctors tell me that my heart was bad, because they blew my heart up with all the operations. And that my neck was so messed up. I listened to all that stuff, and it had me so scared….I was having the worst panic attacks in the world.


Chappell: But, in spite of everything, you sound good now. Tell folks what you are doing currently.


Slater: I’m gonna be back. I’m back in the gymnasium. I’m back workin’ out…six days a week.


Chappell: That’s great.


Slater: I’m riding my bike; I work out. I’m still having the same problems, I still have the nerve damage, but I can still walk. As long as I can walk, I’m alright.


So, I’m doing a lot better than I was before. I came out of not being able to walk at all for two years…four or five surgeries and I couldn’t walk at all. And I’ve fought back, and I’m still gonna keep on fighting back. I’m not gonna quit!


Chappell: And you’re working I know, because I called you once at work!


Slater: I’m working all I can, I’m scraping around trying to sell some boats at the boat lot. I’m also trying to do some stuff at a car lot, I have a friend helping me out there.


I take a lot of verbal abuse from some people, but that’s okay. Some people are hard on me, and some people are nice. I’m doin’ all I can do, you know?


Chappell: You’ve certainly had a tough last year or so, and hopefully those who read this will now have a better idea of what’s been going on with you.


Slater: I don’t want people to think I’ve just been having a good time and everything! (laughs)


Chappell: (laughing) No, I think we’ve dispelled that rumor pretty quickly!


Slater: My writer and I…we’re taking a big stab at it with this book, because I have a lot of interesting things to talk about.


Chappell: Oh man…I can only imagine!


Well, to wind up, let me get your thoughts on some of the people that you were closest to in wrestling, and those that influenced you the most.


Slater: Oh, you know, I was closest to guys like Murdock, and a guy named Killer Karl Kox…


Chappell: Oh yes, the masters of the brain-buster!


Slater: I was close to both Briscos for years. Terry Funk is a great friend. Greg Valentine is another.


All the guys that are in my era and that worked with me, that you know, that when I got in the ring with these people it was something to see. All them guys are all part of my life. And all them guys helped me through the years…for many years. And I can’t really single out just one or two people easily, because there are so many people that I owe a lot to.


Really…I owe everything to everybody.


Chappell: That’s a great way to say it, Dick!


Slater: All of them have been a great inspiration in my life.


Chappell: Any flashbacks on your dealing with wrestling fans over the years?


Slater: Oh, I’ve got fans that have been fans, and then I got people that hate me…and they’re my fans too.


Chappell: And a few that maybe had a few too many beers…


Slater: I have no problem with them having a few too many beers. I don’t really care…they’re my fans too!


Chappell: (laughs)


Slater: If I can help them get really mad at me, I’ll get them as mad as I can. If they want me to like ‘em, then I’ll do something for them to like me. But right now, if they hate my ass, that’s fine…they can hate me too!


Chappell: Well, if you were doing your job, you wanted fans to have strong opinions about you!


Slater: I wasn’t even doing it on purpose…I just did it!


Chappell: It came naturally!


What about as far as the Mid-Atlantic area in particular…any particular memories about the Crockett territory?


Slater: I tell you what David, I haven’t heard a lot from a lot of people there, because I’m so far away…


Chappell: I understand…your living in Florida.


Slater: I used to live in Charlotte, and we used to go to Myrtle Beach.


I always liked Richmond for some reason, I always liked going there---I had a good time there.


Chappell: And Richmond loved Dick Slater, believe me!


Slater: I also enjoyed the mountains…


Chappell: Not a lot of mountains in Florida!


Slater: I even used to go up in Harlan, Kentucky…


Chappell: Runnin’ off the side of the mountains there!


Slater: It’s all according to what you had to do. You either made yourself miserable if you had to go somewhere you really didn’t want to go, or you made yourself happy where you went.


I have no complaints about anywhere I went. The fans in North and South Carolina and Virginia were always highly respectful of me, and I’ve always been highly respectful of them.


Chappell: You had such a great career all over the world, and in the grand scheme of things you weren’t in the Mid-Atlantic area all that long…but you definitely left your mark here.


Slater: I enjoyed myself there. I did okay there…


Chappell: I’d say you did!


Slater: I have no complaints about anything there. I can’t complain about any of that stuff, and if I could do it all over again…I’d love to do it. I had a lot of great times, and a lot of great wrestling matches in that territory.


Chappell: We’re seeing some of the guys from your era put their old championship belts up for sale here lately. You’ve held about as many titles as anyone. Do you still have possession of any of your old title belts?


Slater: No, I tell you what, not anymore. After all these years, I don’t know who has all those anymore.


I had that NWA Title belt…


Chappell: The one you were taunting Ric with up here in 1984?


Slater: Yeah…I had that up until about five months ago. Someone broke in my house and stole it.


Chappell: Geez…


Slater: Had to be someone I knew…that was all they took.


Chappell: Unbelievable…somebody is out there right now claiming they’re the real World Champion!


Slater: (laughs) Oh well, that’s okay.