Tuesday, January 26, 2010



i remember sitting at room 40 at the tiki motel, the porter station. mike johnson was there & bill thornton(who had gotten a job as front desk clerk there based on some inside info i'd provided)stopped by before his shift began. i was playing guitar as usual & johnson was wired on jameson. primarily, what i remember was johnson's babbling monologue was astonishingly excremental. i mean, every other word was "shit." i suppose it was a verbal tick of johnson's that i hadn't noticed until i became aware of thornton's bodily response to each & every "shit" that spewed from johnson's mouth. it was like he was landing manny pacquiao body shots. i was almost amused but equally embarrassed. i'd known bill a lot longer than i'd known johnson & i didn't really want bill thinking that this was the kind of person i usually hung around with. bill excused himself & headed to the front office to clock in. johnson kept it up for another hour or two before he headed on down to baron samadi's(a beach bar).
later, alone w/bill, i mentioned mike's "brown tone," jokingly. thornton was clearly disgusted & changed the subject.

the fact is, there are times when the word "shit" just can't be substituted. it HAS to be in the conversation. zevon does a pretty good job laying out when that is.

i bought the first album & was a little disappointed but i can tell that zevon wouldn't have cared. i did play several of his songs in bars when i was playing for what little living i could make then. he kept on doing the corrosively cynical, insightful oddball songs he introduced on that first album(he saw through the vanity of pop music early on: listen to "desparados under the eaves" if you doubt me). when you go back though his entire body of work, he left us w/some great songs, some hilariously jaded songs, & some songs that were just simply good. as an artist, you can't do much better than he did.
he died a very public death & did it w/as much grace as human's can muster under the circumstances. when asked by david letterman if there was any advice or wisdom he wanted to give to us, the ones blissfully unaware of our own inevitable, unavoidable date w/death, he said, "enjoy every sandwich."


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