Graceful exit for an excitable boy
Asics gel kayano 20 asics black shoes when news broke last fall that Warren Zevon had been diagnosed with inoperable lung asics gel kayano 20 cancer, the class clown of El Lay Rockdom suddenly seemed like a prophet of his own doom.
Zevon has always had a morbid fascination with death. The title track of his essential 1978 longplayer, asics gel kayano 20 Boy, features a crazed murderer who, upon release from the mental home, promptly digs up his victim remains and makes a cage with her bones. The same album the Headless Thompson Gunner tells the story of a ghost who avenges his CIAsponsored assassination with Peckinpahesque panache, using his trusty Thompson to blow his killer body from a bar in Mombasa to the streets of Johannesburg. (In concert, inveterate yuckster that he is, Zevon sometimes tweaked the line so that the werewolf was for James Taylor.
But from their titles on down, each of Zevon more recent albums has basically forecast the man demise. Consider Shit Fucked Up, a caustic little gem from 2000 prophetically titled Kill Ya. who explains, in deep and foreboding tones, that shit that used to work/ It won work now. And the title track of 2002 Ride Here is, to paraphrase drummer Anton Fig, the sunniest little song about death you ever likely to hear.
Wind, Zevon latest album and presumably his last, is also deathobsessed. The disc is darkly comic in places this is the guy, after all, who remarked after his diagnosis that he be bummed if he didn make it to the next James Bond flick.
But even the album lighter moments are shot through with palpable angst. The stinging rocker in the House finds Zevon alternately across the davenport of despair, lying on couch of pain, and, paycheck in hand, promising to the whole town gray. During the course of Me Raw, Zevon intones nonsense words over the track 12bar blues, managing somehow to make phrases like and dang doodle sound vaguely threatening. And just before he strikes up the band on the radioready as a Statue, Zevon announces, do another bad one then, I like it when the blood drains from Dave face.
is David Lindley, the remarkable guitarist who, in the 1970s, placed muchneeded wakeup calls to every room in the Hotel California, jolting records by everyone from Linda Ronstadt to Jackson Browne to life with his incisive playing. Lindley is on hand for Wind, too, as are scads of Zevon other friends and admirers. Bruce Springsteen holds forth on the disc, most of the Eagles come home to roost, and Tom Petty, Emmylou Harris, Ry Cooder and TBone Burnett also turn up. Even Billy Bob Thornton a relative juvenile delinquent among this crowd of nearing60somethings manages to crash Zevon party.
But despite an Aplus guest list that seems torn from the Rolodex of rock impresario Irving Azoff, the tone of Wind is mainly elegiac, almost redemptive. Disc opener Life Times echoes the gospel standard the Roll is Called Up Yonder, with Zevon setting the stage by allowing from the outset that, with this one, he down my dirty life and times. The disc also features a cover of Bob Dylan on Heaven Door, a choice that, at first blush, seems too obvious for an ironist of Zevon caliber. Still, when toward the end of the tune Zevon chants up, open up in his brooding baritone, it one of the disc most striking moments.
Similarly, the plaintive, pianofueled Stay could be just another in a long series of Zevon tenderhearted lovegonewrong songs. But the circumstances surrounding the whispergentle ballad imbue it with the gravitas of a dying man last wish. It almost as if Zevon is asking whether he can stay.
Sadder still, you can hear weakness in Zevon singing throughout the album. Too Good for Me glides gently on softly shaken maracas, a precisely picked acoustic guitar riff, and Zevon fragile but always melodious warble. Except for its bittersweet lyric, the stately Amor de Mi Vida could easily become a staple of wedding bands everywhere. And with its sottovoce backing choir, Grove, a dark and funereal blues, conjures Work, a track from Zevon stillthrilling 1980 outing, Luck Streak in Dancing School.
But the album Dylanesque closer is its finest moment. Me in Your Heart is heartbreaking in its modesty, with Zevon hoping, merely, that former friends and lovers and by extension, his audience will me in your heart for a while. As if forgetting him is even a remote possibility. This is the guy, after all, who offered the world Guns, and Money, the greatest (OK, so it the only) rock roll song about playboy colonialism ever written.
Even if the album were crap, of asics black shoes course, it would be impossible to pan: Not even a rock critic could be so heartless. Plus, ever since some high school buddies and I traveled to an Orlando concert hall with a of Florida sign in asics black shoes tow, I been unable to utter a negative word about the man. That joke, admittedly, doesn seem quite as hilarious as it did to me as a kid, but the concert remains one of the best I ever seen. Zevon lacerating lyrical skill notwithstanding, he the most generous performer this side of Bruce Springsteen and one of the most joyous, too. As I recall, Zevon was basically beaming throughout the entire show. And so was the audience.
But Wind isn crap. It heartbreakingly good, in fact, ranking right up there with Zevon endlessly amazing early work. Thanks mainly to its roughhewn production, the album echoes his selftitled 1976 disc in particular. Zevon most famous tune, Poor Pitiful Me, was a minor hit for Linda Ronstadt back in 1977. But the album best number was Down the Wind, a pretty but ultimately bitter ballad about the mercurial ways of love relationships.
With this Zevon resolves that crisis, bringing his illustrious career fullcircle by embracing or at least coming to grips with the ephemeral nature of the ties that bind. He still singing about asics black shoes death, of course, about the way things sadly and inevitably end. This time, though, there gentleness in Zevon voice, acceptance without resignation and, at the same time, a genuine lust for life asics black shoes.