Monday, September 15, 2003

WWWD (What world Warren do?)

On a live show I've got on CD somewhere, Jay Bennett & Edward Burch pose the "What world Warren do?" question and then proceed to do a great rendition of "Gorilla, you're a desperado".

What world Warren do? Like John Wayne in "The Shootist", he went out with his boots on, working until the end on The Wind, which has received great reviews. I picked Life'll Kill Ya up a couple years ago and enjoyed it immensely but it was the early Asylum era work that got me, that woke me up. About the same time that punk was coming around, there was Warren. The plate with the pistol. "That's fucked up, " said Darryl Parker, seeing on my dorm room wall. "Politely Berserk" was the headline in the ad.

You didn't have to lose your edge just because you could read, just because you studied with Stravinsky. You could be educated and still rail against the world. But you could love Ross MacDonald novels, you could nearly kill yourself with Stoli and still find yourself. You could take Linda Rondstadt's royalties, hang with the Eagles and still be punk. You could live until the end came. You didn't have to be Sid Vicious. You could grow up and be productive, hang out with David Letterman, joke about Jackson Browne and still be a wild man. On Sentimental Hygiene, Neil Young played one of his trademark solos. Those things still inspire me today.

I was wondering if Johnny Cash ever sang a Warren Zevon song. "Accidentally Like A Martyr" or "Empty Handed Heart" would have sounded great in JC's rumbling voice. Listening to Transverse City on the drive to work today, he was still good at that point, but just seemed unfocused or uncertain of himself, trying new things.

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