Saturday, October 23, 2010

Warren Zevon - Excitable Boy


I can't say I'm a Warren Zevon fan, because I don't own any of his albums except for Excitable Boy - and this is the third copy I've ever bought.  Let me explain.  As a person with a rather large music collection, I've been alphabetising it for years.  And when you do that, Mr Zevon ends up... at the end.  Therefore I was devastated to find one day that my first vinyl copy of Excitable Boy had a very heavy wiggle in it, after it sat in the sun one too many times.  So now I have one vinyl and one CD version of this album in my possession.

I actually can't really say I'm a fan of the whole album, either.  You see, I've only ever played Side One - which I know really well - so on Side Two I can only really appreciate Lawyers, Guns and Money - and even that isn't a patch on the five songs on Side One.

My favourite?  Depends on the mood.  If I'm sad, I love Accidentally Like a Martyr.  If I'm in the mood for dancing, it's Werewolves, plus that has one of the best alliterative lines ever written in a song  "Little old lady got mutilated late last night" - that's so much fun to sing!  And Roland has great memories for me as being one of the jukebox favourites in the pub where I'd go with colleagues from my very first job.  But all in all I'd go for Excitable Boy itself as the best track on the CD.  His ability to tell a story that's macabre yet lighthearted is just amazing.

I've read a biography, and he wasn't a very nice person.  He was bedevilled with OCD and addiction - but still, he was a right arsehole to a lot of people who'd only tried to be his friends.  However, there's always room for Side One in my heart.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP when Johnny strikes up the band


The very first working band I was in was way back in the very early 80s.  It was called The Fuze (please remember, this was the 80s and compared to a lot of other bands, our name was pretty tame).  We were a bunch of airmen at our first posting in Melbourne, living and working and playing hard together.

As a traditional 4 piece, two guitars, bass and drum, we played sets of cover songs at Airmen's Club nights at various bases around the greater Melbourne area.  In fact, the only gigs we ever did were for other airmen.  But we had a ball and got paid well.  And in true rock and roll form, the chicks who wouldn't normally talk to blokes like us started hanging out.  Our set of covers ranged from hokey to, well, not so hokey.  But one of the few songs we did and everyone loved was Werewolves Of London.

Fast forward to when Mine and YourZ truly first moved in together and amalgamated our collection.  Like her, I'd been alphabetising my collection more as a way of keeping track of everything than anything else.  And for the first time, there was an artist sitting in the the 'Z' position. It was doubly pleasing as Excitable Boy contained both the previously mentioned track (which featured both Mick Fleetwood and John McVie on drums and bass guitar) and the only other Zevon song I knew in the title track.  And while his has never been the kind of music I've been into, I can't help but acknowledge him as a unique voice in the annals of rock history.


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  1. That's kind of weird, Mine, I always had you down as a fan. I certainly ended up with 2 cd's as a result of your influence. Don't know where it was originally, but "Detox Mansion" is one of my all time faves.

  2. Hmmm, glad all those late nights where I replayed Side One over and over again rubbed off! Next time you're in town bring Detox Mansion with you, and I'll have a listen...