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Author: Subject: Warren Zevon article :)

World Class Peach





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  posted on 6/25/2003 at 07:12 AM
This is on today's MSNBC website:



Warren Zevon?s Bright Twilight

New album ?The Wind? to cap career with a little help from his friends ?
Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Emmylou Harris, others

By Eric Olsen
SPECIAL TO MSNBC.COM

June 19 ? Warren Zevon, among rock?s most distinctive, enduring and disturbing singer-songwriters, has spent his life wrestling with the angels of creativity and compassion and with the demons of self-abuse and cynicism. Now, at 56, Zevon is dying of cancer. He has responded to his impending doom ? his term ? with courage, humor, humility and a stunning new album, The Wind. It is at once a summation of Zevon?s career and a life-affirming celebration of the joys of music-making.

The Wind, Warren Zevon?s new and likely final album, will stand with his finest work.

TO BE RELEASED in August, The Wind bursts with creativity ? his
own and that of his dearest friends and contemporaries: Bruce Springsteen,
Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Tom Petty, Emmylou Harris, Ry Cooder, David
Lindley, and his long-time collaborator Jorge Calderon.

When I received an e-mail a few days ago asking if I was interested
in hearing a pre-release copy of the new, fateful, final Warren Zevon
album, I almost broke my keyboard replying YES. Zevon has been a favorite
of mine since he arrived on the scene with his brilliant self-titled album
in 1976. His sonorous baritone has lovingly expressed an affinity for the
macabre in such jaunty anthems as Werewolves of London, Excitable Boy,
I?ll Sleep When I?m Dead, and Life?ll Kill Ya.

Though best known for his dark humor, I equally cherish Zevon?s
songs of tender sincerity and emotional insight including Hasten Down the
Wind, Carmelita, Accidentally Like a Martyr and Never Too Late for
Love.

But when The Wind arrived, it was with some trepidation that I
pushed play: Would the music collapse under the emotional load of a
grand farewell? To the contrary, The Wind will proudly stand with
Zevon?s finest work.

WESTERN OUTLAW THEME
Dirty Life and Times opens the disc with the timeless feel of a
Civil War march modernized by tasty churning electric guitar work from
Cooder. It continues a mythic Western outlaw theme begun back in ?76 with
Frank and Jesse James on the Warren Zevon album. (The theme extends
much farther back in his family: Zevon?s father was a professional
gambler, frequently on the run in California and Arizona. Warren?s
formative years were like something out of House of the Rising Sun. The
younger Zevon?s music career began, in fact, when he headed to New York at
16 in a Corvette his father had won in a card game.)

Warren Zevon in earlier days. The singer-songwriter, who met Igor
Stravinsky as a youth, played several instruments.

Disorder in the House and The Rest of the Night are ripping
rockers raging cheerfully against the dying of the light and love songs to
the unhinged party-life that Zevon largely gave up in the early ?80s after
a long struggle with alcohol abuse. Tom Petty harmonizes to great effect
on Night, and Springsteen unleashes his most jaw-droppingly savage lead
guitar on House.

But there is also great delicacy on the album. Zevon pays tribute
to hero Bob Dylan and addresses the hereafter directly on his cover of
Dylan?s hopeful Western elegy, Knockin? On Heaven?s Door. Though the
emotional intensity of the harmonized chorus is almost too much to bear,
Zevon can?t resist a humorous poke at his own condition, shouting open
up, open up, open up as the final extended chorus gradually fades to
black.

She?s Too Good For Me and El Amor de mi Vida are lovely,
aching ballads that display Zevon?s feel for the Spanish Southwest, which
extends back to Carmelita on Warren Zevon, and Veracruz on his most
successful album, ?78?s Excitable Boy.

The Wind ends with Zevon?s naked, heartbreaking admission of
need, vulnerability and comfort: Keep Me in Your Heart. As Warren?s
final, spare repetition of keep me in your heart for a while concluded
and the CD player clicked to a stop with finality, I scrambled to push
play as quickly as possible to begin the music again and cut off a tear.

GOING OUT IN STYLE
?You?re a great, under-appreciated songwriter and singer,? I announced
more loudly than intended. He gave me a sober look. ?Thanks,? he said.

Warren is going out in style. For me, besides being a fan, it?s
also personal.

Last July, my wife Dawn and I were in Los Angeles on our way to
Hawaii for a family gathering. While we were in town, our friend, film
producer and editor Brian Linse threw a tremendous party on a beautifully
cool, clear night in the Hollywood Hills. Midway through the evening, a
deeply tanned, notably muscular, bespectacled and familiar looking man
appeared in the kitchen.

Dawn and I blinked at each other, did double takes, then bore down
like zombies on the man in the kitchen: Warren Zevon.

We were great fans and said so. He was warily appreciative. I
heaped semi-drunken praise and disjointed questions upon him:

You?re a great, under-appreciated songwriter and singer, I
announced more loudly than intended.

He gave me a sober look. Thanks, he said.

I love your first two Asylum albums and your most recent two on
Artemis best, I said. Does it seem strange to come back so strongly so
late in your career? Who else has done that ? Roy Orbison?

Roy Orbison? he said. Um. I didn?t go away, I just didn?t get
the same reaction to my work for about 20 years.

I winced and tried again. I like you performing your own tunes
best, but Linda Ronstadt had great success with several of your songs ?
?Poor Poor Pitiful Me,? ?Carmelita,? ?Hasten Down the Wind,? ?Mohammed?s
Radio? ? have you made more money as a songwriter or as an artist?

OK, this was a remarkably presumptuous question to ask someone
you?d just met. But he softened.

Thanks, he said. Probably songwriting.

If you're lucky, people like something you do early and something you do
just before you drop dead, Warren Zevon said in a 1993 interview with
Entertainment Weekly.

Suddenly, there was a vast sadness in his eyes and weariness to his
posture that startled, even frightened me. I mumbled something about I?ll
Sleep When I?m Dead being my theme song and modus operandi for about 10
years in my 20s and early-30s, then excused myself to pursue less
emotionally charged conversation with people no more famous than I.

Later, I literally bumped into Zevon and remarked that I envied his
impressive physique. He said he?d been working out more than Vin Diesel
for over a year.

A month later, according to press reports, his doctor told him he
had untreatable cancer in his lungs and liver. In September Zevon told the
Los Angeles Times he had assumed his shortness of breath and the
tightness in his chest were side effects of his workout routine.

In a statement to the press, he said of his condition: I?m okay
with it, but it?ll be a drag if I don?t make it till the next James Bond
movie comes out. He has lived to see not only the theatrical release of
James Bond?s Die Another Day, but also its video release June 3 ? small
victories but something to hang on to.

When the bad news broke 10 months ago, Zevon resolved to devote his
remaining time to music, friends and his family, especially his two grown
children, Jordan and Ariel. That he has done. Just last week he became a
grandfather for the first time when Ariel gave birth to twin sons,
Augustus Warren Zevon-Powell and Maximus Patrick Zevon-Powell. Zevon was
overjoyed to be at the hospital for the births, said a spokesperson. (He
is no longer up to speaking to the press.)

Last October, after the news of his cancer was out, Zevon appeared
on television as the only guest of David Letterman (a huge fan) in a
special episode of the show. Zevon was witty, charming, even profound.
Besides his musical performances, the highlight of the show was this
exchange:

Letterman: Do you now know something I don?t know?
Zevon: I know how much you are supposed to enjoy every sandwich.

--------Time to make a big ol peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Cheers

Carlos "I was an Excitable Boy" Rivera

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/25/2003 at 07:21 AM
Thanks Carlos. That was a nice way to start my day.

Ron "send lawyers, guns, and money" Laxton

 

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  posted on 6/25/2003 at 08:14 AM
Thanks so much for the update! I'm a HUGE-GIGANTIC-BIG OL' Zevon fan. The signature at the bottom of my posts (which has been down there for a couple of years now) is a line from Warren's "Bed of Coals" (from "Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School"). My own personal anthem, especially when I was in my late teens-early twenties, was Warren's "Wild Age" (from the same album). I don't know why, but I was able to relate to Warren's stuff from the very first time that I heard it. "Excitable Boy" via the hit single "Werewolves of London" (backing band included Mick Fleetwood and John McVie)brought Warren some immediate popularity. Indeed, there's not a bad tune on that album. His ovverall popularity waned a little after that. Warren spent a lot of time on the road, traveling in a van with a couple of acoustic guitars and his road manager and playing in the unlikeliest of bars, clubs, and almost any other imaginable venue.
Warren Zevon is first and foremost an excellent songwriter. He's always been able to come up with wonderful melodies to match his lyrics which are unmatchable by anyone! His sense of humor is just so ... so wry and sardonic. It's not always the laugh out loud kind of funny stuff, but the kind of stuff that you might feel the need to explain to people who don't get it, but at the same time figure "why enlighten these poor, challenged simps?".
Knowing of Warren's conditon is just so painful to a fan. Having someone like Duane or Berry or Alan ripped from your heart is like being suddenly struck by an object. It hurts, but the sudden shock makes it seem sort of unreal and deadens the pain. I don't mean this in the morbid sense (not that Warren would mind!), but to have to sit back and wait for the invevitable bad news just makes the whole situation more painful.
God bless Warren Zevon.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/25/2003 at 08:19 AM
Thanks for posting that Carlos...very sad indeed...enjoy that sandwich...

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 6/25/2003 at 08:37 AM
Rusty

So right about Wild Age, when was the last time that classic was played on radio, if ever?

Cheers

Carlos

 

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  posted on 6/25/2003 at 08:58 AM
I've been listening to quite a bit of Warren lately and waiting for the new release...It seems a bit ironic but thats Zevon!!
 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 6/25/2003 at 09:42 AM
Thanks for that, Carlos

Warren is an incredibly brave man - I read an interview somewhere where the interviewer asked him if anything bothered him with time being short. Warren's response? that he gets ticked off at people who bring too many items in the "10 or less" line at the supermarket. Humor can be truly healing. Thanks again, Carlos

 

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  posted on 6/25/2003 at 03:21 PM
i love wild age with warren screaming at the end. bad luck was a great album and his live album is a top 5 of mine.
it's sad that the only way he garnered an article in rolling stone was because of his condition.


i'll sleep when i'm dead, indeed

 
 


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