Monday, September 08, 2003

An expected but nevertheless sad day for many of us came today when the news was announced that Warren Zevon had passed away over the weekend. Warren was one of the best songwriters to ever work the rock beat - his songs were consistently smart and funny as hell, mixing biting, incisive wit with a clinical eye for detail and an unmistakable sense of compassion for the characters inhabiting his songs. His classic work of the late 1970s was a much needed blast of reality into the plastic gloss of then-contemporary LA rock music. And unlike many great artists who burn out early, he kept on producing consistently solid material right on up until his death. I can’t think of many other lyricists who’ve hit the nail on the head so often throughout their careers.

Moreover, he deserves a great deal of credit for the way he reacted after learning about his terminal cancer. His famous appearance on Letterman last year is a lesson in facing adversity with determination and humor, and he managed to channel his energy into recording one last album, The Wind. The mere fact that he recorded an album at all given his condition is remarkable, the fact that it’s a pretty damn good record that delivers an unflinching, affecting view of staring down the end of life is downright amazing. Would that we all face our own mortality with the same dignity and courage.

Rest in peace, Warren. Hope you enjoyed every sandwich along the way.

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