Friday, May 29, 2009


This is a "feature", of sorts, that began on Facebook. Over the course of several weeks, it seemed that every time Friday rolled around, I was in that Zevon frame of mind and invariably posted some video of his. AJ Michel later dubbed it "Fridays with Warren".

Today's selection is "Splendid Isolation", here featured in live performance on David Letterman. Zevon was a frequent guest on Letterman's show (if memory serves correctly, I believe the two had been roommates at some point way back when), and he'd often sub for Paul Schaeffer whenever he was out of town. In October 2002, having been diagnosed with terminal mesothelioma, Zevon gave his last public performance on Letterman; in the ensuing interview, Zevon offered his now oft-quoted summation of life: to "enjoy every sandwich." He died in September the following year.

I was fortunate enough to see him live no less than a half-dozen times. I really miss his shows - as much for his banter between songs as the music itself. One time, while performing on stage at the Theater of Living Arts on South Street in Philadelphia, he remarked that he'd been in the music business for 30-odd years.

"How many folks out there playing now will be around in, say, 10 years," he posited, then, after a protracted pause, added, "Take Alanis..."

At this, a handful of people in the audience groaned; Morissette was all over the radio dial in those days.

"Nah," Zevon added dryly. "She'll still be playing. Ten years from now, she'll be up here on stage, and some drunk guy will be down in front yelling, 'Hey, Alanis, do the one where you give the guy the blow job.'"

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