Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Enjoy Every Sandwich

The Netflix fairy brought VH1 Inside Out: Warren Zevon. The only problem was that the DVD was cracked. It wouldn't play. The film is a behind-the-scenes look at the "making" of Warren's final CD, which was written and recorded in the Fall of 2002 immediately after he learned he was terminally ill from cancer and was given only three months to live. You see Warren was cracked and broken too, just like my DVD. But him, he WAS going play. He refused chemotherapy treatments because he was concerned it would affect his strength to sing and play his songs.

Warren Zevon, what little I knew about him, was that he was a musician's musician. The kind of artist that the rock stars you love absolutely love. That is why the guests stars weren't taking part to further their own careers. It was because they loved him. Included on Warren's final CD, entitled The Wind, were Bruce Springsteen Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yoakam, and Tom Petty amongst others.

You get the feeling from watching the interaction of Warren with friends, family, and fellow musicians that people just absolutely loved being around him. He always had a smile on his face, he seemed like a very intelligent and down to earth man, and most impressively of all he wasn't afraid to let the audience know how he was feeling and what his emotions were at such a personal time. And that he was feeling the pressures of time. After all, how would you feel if you only had three months to live?

A very good friend of Warren Zevon was David Letterman. In fact, in October 2002, Warren was invited to be the ONLY guest on Dave's show that night. Warren originally turned down the offer as he did not want to lose any of the strength he had left by flying from his L.A. home to New York City. A short time later, after Warren stated that he was reading Sammy Davis Jr.'s biography and learned that when Sammy was dying of cancer he refused to stop performing, Warren decided he would be up for the show.

It was on this episode that Warren stated his now oft-quoted statement. Dave asked Warren if he had any advice for him and his audience in regards to how to live your life. Warren's simple answer: "Enjoy every sandwich."

Warren's original diagnosis of three months was incorrect. He passed away September 2003, a full year after diagnosis and four times as long as his doctors had predicted. Ultimately, Warren passed away just two weeks after his album was released. Unfortunately, one thing that Warren did not get to enjoy was winning his first Grammy award. He was posthumously awarded five Grammys for his album The Wind.

That Warren, he had some pretty good advice. I'm off to Katz's deli.

Warren Zevon
1947 - 2003

I was first introduced to this song by Widespread Panic's live version, but this unaccompanied 12-string acoustic version shows Warren performing it the way it was meant to be heard.

Warren Zevon
Lawyers, Guns, and Money
BBC, 1994

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