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Wednesday, October 30, 2002 / Show #1895
by Michael Z. McIntee
News From The Late Show Home Office


WARREN ZEVON: His life has changed radically over the past few weeks. He’s been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. His time left with us is short. Warren explains he hasn’t been to a doctor in 20 years, a phobia he explains “that didn’t pay off.” His dentist, Dr. Stan, convinced him he should when Warren complained about a continuous shortness of breath. Friends tried to tell him it was only stress. “Don’t you watch ‘The Sopranos’?” they asked. I guess Tony Soprano had shortness of breath due to stress, so why not Warren? How is Warren feeling now? He explains not as bad as the doctors say I should. How has the news changed him? Warren says it’s made him appreciate everything a little bit more whether it’s eating a sandwich or spending time with his kids.
Some of Warren’s album titles seem eerily prophetic. His most recent CD, named prior to the diagnosis, is entitled, My Ride’s Here. Other CD’s include I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead and Life Will Kill You. He says he would bring copies of his albums to his doctors and say to them about his cancer, "This is why I’m not so shocked."

Warren sang 3 songs.
1. From his CD, Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon“Mutineer”.
2. From his most recent CD, My Ride’s Here“Genius”.
3. And from his Genius CD – “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner”.

I was singing “Roland” the rest of the night.

During the commercial breaks, Paul and the band played:
1. “Johnny Strikes Up The Band”
2. “Lawyers, Guns, and Money”
3. “Veracruz”
4. “Searching For A Heart”
5. “Desperadoes Under the Eaves”

One of the few things I learned in college was the genius of Warren Zevon. My college chum Jay Hafner of Virginia turned me on to Warren Zevon’s “Excitable Boy.” My favorite part of the album is during “Werewolves of London.” Just after the line, “I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s, his hair was perfect,” Warren lets out a little yelp. It’s that tiny yelp that I always wait for in the song. It never fails to bring a smile to my face and take me back to those days of ‘higher’ learning.

Warren is on my short list of favorites. In no particular order, the list includes Springsteen, Cocker, Zevon, Aretha, Ray Charles, Van Morrison, John Fogerty.
If I were to consider some of today’s newer groups and performers, the list wouldn’t change a bit.

Warren Zevon: best lyrics in music.

And that was our show for Wednesday October 30, 2002.