In the clip above, Crystal Zevon discusses the off beat life of her late husband, Warren Zevon, his inspirations for songs like “Mohammed’s Radio” (below), as chronicled in her book about him “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon“.
I’m not one for reading biographies, especially rock and roll biographies, yet Crystal Zevon‘s book is unique in that she lets Warren’s story to be told by those who knew him best – friends, lovers, collaborators, musicians, managers, girlfriends, groupies – who shared those “dirty life and times” with him, even those “awful ugly parts”. A must read for any Zevon fan. Frankly, most other musician’s biographies, and autobiographies, pale in comparison.
The same can be said for Moon Zappa‘s essay, “Mom Redefined” in Afterbirth: Stories You Won’t Read in a Parenting Magazine, edited by Dani Klein Modisett (St. Martin’s Press, 2009). Moon, too, is never wary of examining the “awful ugly parts” of growing up in the shadow of rock ‘n roll royalty:
. . .dad toured for nine months out of the year, cheated on my mom when he was away, but always came back to us, to sleep all day and work all night.
As I got a little older, “Mom” was also starting to mean too overwhelmed to pay close enough attention. Or be patient or kind. It meant no time for herself, no time to sleep, and then one day “Mom” meant tolerance for the unthinkable, like the time my dad moved a groupie into the basement for several weeks and we watched Gail put up with it so we could remain a family when I wished they’d get a divorce instead.
Tenacious writers, both. It takes a brave resolve to look at the “awful ugly parts” of someone’s life and then to share them in print. In both instances, we get a deeper, more fully rounded perspective of both subjects.