…those were david lettermans’ last words to warren zevon when he was on the late show last year. last night, there was a documentary on the making of warren’s new record, the wind, on vh1. man, was that hard to watch.
i still wonder, even after watching that, which way is best to go – suddenly and unexpectedly, like john lennon, or with advance notice, like warren…i wonder how i’d handle having the time and opportunity to be able to say goodbye the way warren is? i wonder how i’d handle the process of making peace with my fate and tying up my loose ends? i don’t know if i’d be anywhere near as graceful about it as he was portrayed as being in this show last night.
one of the things that struck me during the letterman appearance that they incorporated into last night’s show was a statement he made: “i think i may have made a tactical error in not seeing a doctor for 20 years…”.
i’m remembering a great story that jackson browne told about warren in a musician magazine article back around 1982/83 or so. apparently, warren had a pretty intense case of the flu, but he had some commitments that he wanted to honor. jackson said that he gave him some tea that he’d gotten from a chinese herbalist friend that he’d met through david lindley, and gave it to warren with instructions that you were supposed to drink half a cup of it and get under the covers and sweat it out…so warren figures that if one cup is good, then two cups would be better, and so on and so forth…so warren drinks cup after cup of this tea, and proceeds to the airport to get on a plane! so, in the middle of the airport, warren has a tea-induced seizure…and, according to legend, the last thing warren remembered thinking as he was lying in a pool of his own sweat at the airport was….”God, please don’t let me die and have jackson browne write a song about me…”
here’s a guy whos’ laughed about death, and written about it often in his music…and to see him humbled by it was tough. if there was a lesson to be learned in this, for me, i think it’s that i’d better consider seeing a doctor sometime soon.
i’ve always, up until recently, had a pretty cavalier, ronnie van zant attitude about death…when it’s my time, it’s my time. and i think i still feel that way, largely. but i think a lot of the motive behind that attitude in the past has been because it hasn’t really mattered to me one way or another whether i’d be around or not…
…but it’s mattering these days.
i was supposed to play with the youngers in wilkes-barre this past weekend, but the gig was cancelled, and i ended up playing with my ex-sister in laws’ band at a friends’ party instead, and had a blast. jayda got up and sang two songs with me, and dylan got up and played two songs with me as well. i also had a conversation with my ex-mother in law that was really nice – she said some really sweet things about the kids and their relationship with me, dylan in particular. and i think a lot of that is true…i think my bond with my kids is probably its strongest right now. i think we enjoy each others’ company more now than we ever have in the past. and i think that, for the most part, i can say that about a lot of areas in my life. i don’t feel anywhere near as discontent and restless as i’ve felt almost perpetually for most of my previous years. i enjoy my family, i have a good job, i’m as active musically as i’ve ever been with no apologies or pretense whatsoever, i surround myself with good people…for the most part, i’m having fun.
so, if something were going to happen, now would be the time.
that’s the way it works, right?
anyway, tonight is my only real night off this week…i’m embarking on something of a tour this week, playing three dates in three nights with charlie degenhart, and i entertained sneaking in a fourth this past saturday night, but i knew somehow there was no way i’d be able to make it there in time to set up my gear and play the gig, and i was right. there was discussion of a stone road rehearsal tonight, but i haven’t heard anything of it yet, so at this point, i’m ready to assume that it isn’t happening. which is just as well, there’s much to be done at home right now, and not enough time to do it in.
and, warren has planted something of a seed…i think i need to get out the pencil and paper and start making use of all that equipment upstairs at my house.
it’ll be lunchtime soon…think i’ll have a sandwich for warren.