[BlogEntry] How Cool Was Warren Zevon?

You know Warren Zevon's music, even if you don't know his name or his face. He's the "Werewolves of London" guy. Or maybe "Lawyers, Guns and Money" or "Excitable Boy", take your pick. If you've heard his voice, you know what I'm talking about.

But did you know the story of what happened to him, and how he died?

A lifelong phobia of doctors means he never got medical attention. That is, until 2002, when his pains were becoming too unbearable and he was finally convinced. Turns out he's got mesothelioma. You know, cancer. One of the bad ones. In his own words during a final David Letterman interview, "I may have made a tactical error in not going to the doctor for 20 years."

But then, he decides not to take the treatment which would have knocked him on his ass, probably for good. Instead, he heads into the studio and starts recording. And out of the woodwork come some gods of the music world to help him, including Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and many others to help him finish. The whole experience is documented in video by VH1.

The finished product, The Wind, is damned near beautiful at times. Take for example some lyrics to "Keep Me In Your Heart":

Shadows are falling, and I'm running out of breath,
Keep me in your heart for awhile.
If I leave you it doesn't mean I love you any less,
Keep me in your heart for awhile.

On the one hand, they are simple and repetitive. But yet that's all they need to be. They are the kind of lyrics that stick in your head one bit at a time as sentiments, not just as sounds. They are nice thoughts. "Sometimes when you're doing simple things around the house, maybe you'll think of me and smile" captures it beautifully. If anyone in your life has ever left it, you know exactly what that moment feels like.

Zevon goes on Letterman, who dedicates an entire hour to him. It was here that we got his famous quote where, on the subject of facing death, he replied, "Enjoy every sandwich."

When diagnosed in fall of 2002 he only had months to live. But he lived to see the birth of grandsons in June 2003 and the release of the album soon after. At one point he said he wanted to live to see the next James Bond movie, which he did.

Warren Zevon died in September, 2003. The Wind went gold in December of that year, and received 2 Grammys (and 5 nominations).