Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I care?
OK, now why do you care?
How many instruments did Mr Zevon play?
How long had Mr Zevon been in the music business?
What's his obsession with clowns and guns?
Now give me the real dirt: Vital statistics
Tell me something of his music: What's the history
of Werewolves of London?
Tell me about a few more songs you just happen to know
Now how do I get ahold of bootlegs? How many are
Why aren't you getting really personal, even when I
can read anything else just about anywhere else?
Sorry to have rankled your feathers
So, what new material had he been testing on audiences?
What is Mesothelioma, and
how did Warren get it?
You, as the Warren Zevon
fan or appreciator, can answer this for yourself. If you're new to
Zevon, either you're doing research (for which I suggest hanging out
Articles section or consulting the booklet for I'll Sleep
When I'm Dead) or you're damn curious.
Now that's a harder
question. Because I'm a sucker for a blond. Because somewhere in
my earliest memories my father instructed me to appreciate class
acts and Warren Zevon is most definitely a class act.
Because I made a lot of friends through his music and the
best I could do to show appreciation is give a fair picture of
someone I like, who maketh my spirit to shine. Because he's cute.
Because we're both short, part Russian and were gifted/talented as
children. Because I like my music served with humor, wit and
intelligence. Because because because because, because of the
wonderful things he does.
Primarily piano and
guitar. He has been known to play a twelve string Gibson and during
his last tour he played a Kurzweil PC-88 keyboard. He's written
songs based on drums and fiddle. Recently he's
been seen touting a piccolo. On "Life'll Kill Ya" he plays
theremin, pennywhistle and percussion as well as guitar and
- How long has Mr Zevon
been in the music business?
I've actually heard a
few different accounts. None date before the mid 60's. Now, the
music business as a term is pretty broad, so I'll just give the
account I think is middle ground. He played in
Berkeley coffeehouses around 1965. Somewhere in the neighborhood of
1966 he met Violet Santangelo, with whom he paired up and formed
half of lyme and cybelle.
Jorge and Warren met ca. 1972
(according to the Keep Me in your Heart documentary). Jorge is
Warren's longtime collaborator, songwriting partner and backup. He
was also a member of El Rayo X with David Lindley and was nominated
for two Grammys in 2004. He has performed on albums by the Eagles,
among many others.
- What's Warren's
obsession with clowns and guns?
I doubt it's an
obsession. Just a point of interest and a good contrast. You could
say the same thing for death, old age, politics, the Renaissance,
Latin phrases or monkeys.
- Now give me the real
dirt: Vital statistics
Now if I had those
statistics, they'd have been up by now.
But yes, the hair really is a shade of blond and has a slight wave
to it, so please, relax and stop judging. I heard of one person who
thought Mr Zevon had sold out because he had done some chemical
altering of it one day. He's 5'10" (well, he said he was...) and
worked out daily, two hours a day until he was diagnosed with
cancer. I can't tell what the prescription is (now THAT'S just
silly) on his eyeglasses. Loved fishing, reading,
Russian tea and learning - I never met anyone who loved to learn as
much as he did. Smoked Silk Cuts. Hated talking on the phone.
Drank Diet Mountain Dew, as noted by the numerous bottles onstage.
Generally ate breakfast every morning. For my micro-biography,
either click here or the heading on top.
- Tell me something of his
music: What's the history of Werewolves
This is the most asked
question I get. I've seen the story twice, but basically it goes
like this: Waddy Wachtel, LeRoy Marinell and Mr Zevon were playing
around at LeRoy's home and Phil Everly requested a song. A dance
song. Mr Marinell and Mr Zevon came up with a few lines and Mr
Wachtel walked in, asked "What are you guys doing?" One of them
responded, "We're doing the Werewolves of London." Mr Wachtel shot
back, "You mean, Ah-WHOO! Those werewolves of London?" The song
wrote itself, with Mr Wachtel contributing the first verse.
- Tell me
about a few more songs you just happen to know about
OK. There are two
unreleased songs from Sentimental Hygiene on bootleg, "Up on the
Cross" and "I'm a Shadow of Him". Neither are pointedly religious.
The original version of Detox Mansion, according to Mr Zevon,
sounded like "I Walk the Line". He's not mistaken. The first song
written for Sentimental Hygiene was probably "Trouble Waiting to
Happen", over the phone with J D Souther. If you know a few good
Zevonatic friends, you might hear some of the songs he's covered
live: "First We Take Manhattan" by Leonard Cohen, "Ring Them Bells"
by Bob Dylan, "Cadillac Ranch" by Bruce Springsteen (to the best of
my knowledge, this is only available on videotape and the bootleg
"The Electric Werewolf Strikes Again"), "Dancing with Myself" by
Billy Idol and most recently "Back in the High Life Again" by Steve
Winwood and "From a Distance" by Bette Midler. There's more, one
for almost every major and minor tour since 1980. He pushed
himself to write "Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School", and originally
didn't think much of "Wild Age". "Never Too Late For Love" was the
last song written for The Envoy. "Lawyers Guns and Money" has
opened the most concerts since 1987, the ones that "Splendid
Isolation" usually didn't.
- Now how do I get ahold
of bootlegs? How many are there?
How to get them: The
easiest and friendliest way is to log onto the WarrenZevon.com
bulletin board (in the News Section). There's an entire section
dedicated to Trade or Weed Field Recordings.
How many are out there: Uh, lots. I couldn't tell you.
- Why aren't you getting
really personal, even when I can read
anything else just about anywhere else?
1: He's entitled to a
private life, even though he's dead.
2: His family's entitled
3: None of my business
4: None of your business
5: I never said this was authoritative.
Sorry to have rankled your feathers
Thank you. Now don't do
- So, what
new material had he been testing on audiences?
Almost all of "Life'll
Kill Ya" was test-driven on audiences during 1999, with the
exceptions of "I'll Slow You Down" and the title track. The album
versions differ in instrumentation from the live cuts. If you
downloaded the MP3s from the
Official Warren Zevon page back in November 1999, they too are
different from the album versions, but only slightly. "The Hockey
Song" was previewed during the Winter 2000 tour, and a good bootleg
is available for download from whatever MP3 service you prefer. The
lyrics are only marginally different from the final release. The
studio version was released on the album "My Ride's Here".
New material from 1996:
These are temporarily unavailable online.
Mesothelioma is a rare, difficult to treat form of lung cancer.
It's related to asbestos absorption, either through working with it
or living in homes which used it as part of their insulation.
Although Warren was a longtime smoker, it is not believed that
Warren contracted it from smoking. An interview revealed that
Warren's father had a carpet store in Chicago and Warren would play
in the attic, where there was plenty of asbestos.