Warren Zevon was always a favorite of mine growing up, from “Werewolves of London” to his later work with the weirdo supergroup Hindu Love Gods. Even as a young kid, I got the impression that this was not your ordinary rock star. Zevon managed to occupy that limbo between being world famous and getting airplay on mainstream rock radio on the one hand, and being far from a household name and generally kind of a weird dude on the other. Another similarly strange rock star that comes to mind is Joe Walsh, but he was in the Eagles. Warren Zevon just... was.
Which brings to mind the other issue: was. It’s only on occasions such as this when I stop and think about Warren Zevon that I remember he passed away in 2003, which is a damn shame. Here he is performing “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” in his final performance on David Letterman’s show, less than a year before he died.
And now let’s go back to a happier time, 1987 (another 1987 album!), when Mr. Zevon had released his first album in 5 years
“1st new release since 1982 (as in new songs). The songs are as biting as ever, also reflecting the time he spent recuperating from his drinking (2.1). REM are the rhythm section on most of these songs. 2.5 is a super-funky number arranged by George Clinton & featuring Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass. Besides 2.5, other standouts are 1.2, 1.3, 2.2, 2.4. A very underrated man, worthy of airplay. In other words, I like this.”
“Hurry up and play ‘Bad Karma,’ before it gets white dotted. (7/27)”
“Too late! (8/17)”
“‘Leave My Monkey Alone’ is great. Arranged by George Clinton.”
“NOT EVER H!”
“As long as I’ve been accused of veering away from alternative programming, I’d like to ask about how alternative this one is.”
“The man who brought you ‘Poor Pitiful Me,’ ‘Werewolves of London,’ etc. is now in our H rotation. I like Warren Zevon. However, I’m enormously skeptical of an artist whose sole claim to credibility (whatever that is!” is that he has REM playing on his -- heh-heh -- ‘comeback’ LP. Is this a joke or what? Don Henley is on this record!” [If I may editorialize for a moment -- and no offense intended to whomever wrote this - but this kind of bullshit attitude from supposed music-lovers drives me goddamn nuts. Credibility? Don Henley? Who the hell cares? Do you like the effing record or not?]
“Will you guys leave Warren alone!? He’s so...”
“This is really, really, really sorry -- only 1/2-way decent trax are ‘Even a Dog...’ (REM-penned [correction: REM + Zevon-penned]) and ‘Boom Boom Mancini.’”