David Letterman asked Warren Zevon if there was anything
he understood now, facing his own mortality, that he didn’t before.
“Just how much you’re supposed to enjoy every sandwich.”
I love Warren Zevon, who died from cancer at only 56 in 2003. Warren was an insane and insanely talented songwriter and dark humorist, as well as an alcohol-addled world-class jerk, a songwriter’s songwriter, all mixed in with a touching sentimentality.
He was part of the California music scene in the seventies, very much woven into the fabric of my life, where singer/songwriters were emerging such as Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, the Eagles, JD Souther and many others.
Fairly under the radar, you may know Warren from his twisted humor songs like ”Lawyers, Guns and Money,” ”Werewolves of London” and ”Poor Poor Pitiful Me” — and for troubled love songs like ”Hasten Down the Wind” and ”Accidentally Like a Martyr.” Covers are probably what you know him best by; Linda Ronstadt covered a few, mentioned just now, as well as Mohammed’s Radio and ‘Carmelita‘.
A brilliant artist, but troubled, out of control and had such HUGE addiction problems – drinking beyond anything I could even have imagined in my wine days. He made my little wine thing seem ‘healthy’. Hitting bottom, Warren was clean and sober for the last 18 years of his life. Didn’t make him any less acerbic and wry – his last collection of songs were pulled together under the title of his song: ‘I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead’.
Enjoy every sandwich
So today I think of Warren’s wisdom in those three words … Savor every second of your life, the small stuff, the big stuff, the tough stuff, the struggles – the moments of beauty around you. The ups and the downs … the sandwiches. And most of all, your sobriety.
Don’t wish your life away.
Enjoy every sandwich
“Send Lawyers, Guns and Money, the sh*t has hit the fan”
If you are interested, a somber yet sweet last interview with Jon Pareles of The New York Times that captures Warren Zevon.