Friday, June 08, 2007

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon by Crystal Zevon

Written by his former wife, Crystal, at his own behest, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead is comprised of interviews with more than 80 of the singers friends, fellow rockers, endless girlfriends, and family. It is a warts-and-all biography, heavy on the warts, many of them genital. Zevon was an unquestionably gifted singer, songwriter and musician, was classically trained (a rarity among rock musicians) and was the distinct oddball coming out of the lame-ass 70's SoCal school of bedwetters like the Eagles, Jackson Browne, et. al. . However, he was plagued with an addictive personality that first showed up in his legendary alcoholism. Once he “beat” drinking, he became a sex addict and a shopaholic. From the very beginning of his career, Zevon was enormously self-absorbed, cutting people in and out of his life for perceived slights, all the while acting like a petulant child. Talk about a guy who believed his own press clippings--once the Internet hit, he would go to chat rooms about his shows and defend his performance, under an assumed identity, of course, being a giant chicken-shit who couldn’t deal with confrontation. The book certainly fills in the blanks and informs the reader on the man though I could've done without the tremendous detail. But apparently, that's what Warren wanted and, narcissist that he was, I'm hardly surprised.

I’ve learned to appreciate a person whose work I admire for their work and not for some bullshit perception that since I like the music (or writing or acting or whatever), the person must be swell and cool and share my views. Not so Zevon and this book leaves me with a really bad taste in my mouth and the desire to take a long, hot shower.

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