Sunday, July 08, 2007

Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money ...

So, I finished the bio of Warren Zevon, written by his ex-wife Crystal.

Just before he turned forty, Zevon got clean and straight, and he stopped being a dope-fiend drunken asshole --

And became just a plain asshole ...

I love the guy's music. Right up there with Randy Newman. And he had a lot of people who loved him, but near as I can tell tell, he fucked nearly every one of them over on this trip. Especially his women, all of whom he cheated on with almost determined regularity, and most of whom stayed with him a lot longer than they should have. Sex became his drug of choice, until the end, when he went back to booze and legally-supplied drugs, for his cancer.

What he had was his brilliance as a writer and his musical craftsmanship, which was, by all accounts, outstanding. Everybody admired his way with words and his ability to pick up a guitar or sit down at a piano and make magic.

But: What an unhappy man he seemed. Insecure in the extreme, jealous, lacking any semblance of self-discipline, well on his way down the road to hell most of his life.

So sad.

People cut him a lot of slack because he was a musical genius; too much so. Maybe if somebody had been able to reach him, he might have turned out differently. But, according to the book, anybody who was not completely for him, he cut off, he would not hear any criticism of his work or his life, and that's just tragic, in the classic sense of that word.

At least he left the music behind.


Dan Moran said...

I wrote a tv pilot recently -- "All Possible Worlds" -- used "Keep Me In Your Heart" as the theme song, only thing Zevon wrote after finding he was dying. Then I did a five-season outline, the first four seasons taking their names from one of Zevon's works -- Season 1, Mohammed's Radio; Season 2, Desperados Under the Eaves; Season 3, Accidentally Like a Martyr; Season 4, Keep Me In Your Heart. Only the last piece, "Never Coming Home," doesn't come from a song by Zevon -- and that season ends with a really great song by him.

I didn't listen to anything but Zevon while I was writing that outline. His obsession with death and loss suited the material.

Steve Perry said...

Reminds me of that final dance scene in All that Jazz, where Ben Vereen's character is going on about Scheider's Joe Gideon. Says, "He allowed himself to be adored but not loved." Ends with the lines, "Like for this cat, the only reality is death, man. Here in his final appearance on the Great Stage of Life -- uh, you can applaud if you wanna -- "

I saw the VH-1 show about Zevon when it aired. I remember Dave Barry saying, "Well, now you can get that tattoo ..."

Such a loss, all the way around.