Friday, October 19, 2007

poor poor pitiful zevon

I finished the book I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, The Dirty Life & Times of Warren Zevon by Crystal Zevon. Warren has been, since the late seventies, one of my favorite all time songwriters. The guy really was a genius.

Before his death, Warren had asked his ex-wife Cystal to write his biography...warts and all. She was apparently just the person to do it. Though I haven't lived a lifestyle of this strangely talented individual, I wouldn't want an anal exam bio of me written like this one.

You'll find Warren here between the pages of this book. His dry wit, his sick sense of humor...but you'll also find his addictions and darkest side, a bona fide hedonist. Some stuff, I'd rather wished left in the closet, but that's what we'd all be tempted to do with the dead, those we cared about. As a Christian, so much of this book was terribly sad. Most of his life was a self inflicted tragedy, a big time narcissist, a man who swapped one addiction for another through out his life, hurting all those around him.

The parts I did enjoy were finding out about the L.A. music scene back in the 70's and 80's...the camaraderie, the music. The dialogue of family and old acquaintances and Warren's journal tell the stories behind the songs.

Favorite part: Mitch Albom and Warren collaborate on the hockey song HIT SOMEBODY. There's paragraph or two that stands out, where Warren is answering a question about he and Mitch are working on "Does that really rhyme?" Warren said, "I can make anything rhyme. Are you kidding? Jut get it close and I'll make it rhyme." All the things you associate with songwriting that you think have to be so exact, he says, Come on. It's rock and roll. He can rhyme 'thanks' with 'mom' I'll make it work. Don't worry?

Favorite account / contributor: I just enjoyed reading the account of Peter Asher, the guy that befriended and managed Warren between the year as of 1991-1996. He's the guy that got Warren off his butt and back into the recording studio with a college band called R.E.M. Peter did his best to help Zevon into rehab and was with him through the lean times.

The sadist part: When Roy Marinell and Warren ended their friendship over the royalties of Werewolves of London. They had been long time friends and collaborators. That's right, Werewolves wasn't solely written by Zevon. There were a lot of friendships that Warren cast aside for silly reasons or for no sane reason at all.

I enjoyed the read but there was a great deal I didn't care to find out about one of my favorite songwriters. C'est la vie.
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