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Author Topic: In Praise of Warren Zevon  (Read 933 times)
mtaber
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« on: July 11, 2020, 07:01:15 AM »

Gone since 2003, Warren Zevon is my second most beloved musical artist behind only Mr Brian Wilson.  So many great songs and albums, and the guy is largely unknown amongst the general public. Werewolves of London is his best-known song, but he had a boatload of fantastic tunes.  Where would I begin - Excitable Boy, Genius, Lawyers Guns and Money, Empty Handed Heart, etc.  long overdue for the Rock and Roll Hall.

Any Zevon fans hereabouts?
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wilsonart1
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2020, 07:48:00 AM »

Desperados under the eaves with Carl Wilson.
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mtaber
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2020, 08:26:12 AM »

Yeah, Desperados Under the Eaves is tremendous. Carl and Billy Hinsche believed they were doing a session for a Jackson Browne album and didnít know who this guy hanging around in the studio was.   That was Warren.
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2020, 09:37:53 AM »

Very cool. I was fortunate enough to see Warren in person in a pretty strange setting in Boston, I'm sure it was 1999 when he was in town for another gig, and it was *not* the gig he played at South Station in '95 that's on YouTube. I was working downtown, financial district at the time, and had somehow heard Warren would be doing a lunchtime gig in the area, maybe it was on 100.7 WZLX which played Warren's music...and it turned out to be an office skyscraper building on the same block as mine! So I took an "extended" lunch that day, or made up some excuse, and headed to the building. And sure enough, in the middle of the courtyard or foyer or whatever you call it, amid the plants and fountains or whatever, was a tiny spot in the center where Warren played. He ran through some hits, some other cuts, I think he promoted his later gig in town which is why he was there, but damn that was a fun gig. It was packed too, I think more people who worked on the 30 or so floors who had come down on their break and heard music so they stuck around even if they didn't know Warren. It was so off-the-cuff and so informal I loved it - and before cel-phone video cameras of any quality I could afford, of course I couldn't record any of it.

A few random thoughts on Warren:

The first boost or revival he got after his most successful 70's album with Waddy and the gang had to be when Tom Cruise did that routine in "The Color Of Money" to Werewolves, "his hair was perfect...". That film was great, very successful, and I think Werewolves got a second wind thanks to that movie. I remember seeing that in the theater and then asking a friend who had the soundtrack for a cassette dub, mainly for that one song. Then I traced back to Warren's other music as a result. At the same time I thought it was cool that the classic rock station in Philly at the time, WYSP, used to play "Lawyers Guns And Money" uncensored on the line "the sh*t has hit the fan...". Radio changed after that, to where everything is censored. But that's a great line in a truly great song and it was cool that some stations let it play unfiltered. I also think Waddy's guitar on Warren's tracks added so much to the songs, it was like Keith and Mick, Steven and Joe, or Joe and Mick when it comes to matching solid songs and lyrics with expert rocking guitar.

David Letterman. I got more into Warren because I watched and taped Letterman's show all the time mostly on NBC, and he was a very big supporter of Warren's if not perhaps his biggest, and it was always a kick to see him on that show. That last interview Warren did with Letterman is still one of the most powerful interviews I've seen on TV, and it gave us one of the best quotes of the last 100 years: "Enjoy every sandwich".

The Hindu Love Gods. I personally think "Raspberry Beret" as done by Warren and the guys is one of the most rocking covers of the past 40 years...yet when I play it for people the reactions are mixed, and often not positive. I seriously don't get it. Warren's voice and that *groove* transform that tune, and I think the Prince original (and Prince's catalog in general) is so well-known that it may be jarring to hear Warren and the guys from REM tear into it as a bar-band rocker. But I love it.

Warren's later gigs. It surprised me how many gigs Warren played in his later years at what would be politely called dive bars, or venues which usually hosted 4 local punk bands playing 40 minute sets a night rather than people who actually had a decades-long track record working in the business and charting FM hits. I won't say it was sad, but it was unusual to see some of the venues he played especially knowing what those venues were in this area. Maybe it was his own choice, or maybe his bookings in certain areas couldn't extend to the usual places, but to see him booked in a bar where the main draw was specials on Yuengling pitchers was odd.
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"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
mtaber
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« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2020, 04:52:39 PM »

GF - ya gotta read ďIíll Sleep When Iím Dead!
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