There are gaps in my pop-culture education. For example: I have never owned a record or CD by Bob Dylan. (I bet a white boy just fainted reading that. But it’s true.)
Lately I’ve wanted to fill some of those gaps. (Dylan’s not at the top of the list, however.) So I’m checking out some Warren Zevon.
Remember the “Werewolves of London” scene in “The Color of Money”? Cool scene, right? That was all I knew of Zevon’s music. That plus his occasional appearances on Letterman. And his one-off collaboration with George Clinton... a 1987 track called “Leave My Monkey Alone.” (Wanna hear it? It’s not good. Seriously, it blows. But if you’re curious, here it is... for historical purposes only.)
The track that’s got me wild about Warren Zevon right now is actually a bootleg. I stumbled across it on the intertubes. I will share it with you now.
On March 18, 2000, Zevon played a solo gig at Club Bene in South Amboy, N.J. (A Jersey Shore dive, basically.) No band. Just him, a guitar, a harmonica and a keyboard. A different kind of show for him.
Okay, now listen to him perform a song called “My Shit’s Fucked Up.” Lyrically, it’s loaded with Zevon’s dark sense of humor and fatalism. It’s especially powerful considering that Mr. Zevon would be diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2002. (He died in 2003.)
So... in 2000, Warren Zevon, with just his guitar, performs “My Shit’s Fucked Up.” Mid-way through the song, somebody yells out: “This sucks!” And repeats it. (This being a fan-recorded bootleg, the heckling is easy to hear.)
The thing is... it doesn’t suck! It has a haunting melody, and Zevon’s guitar playing is superb. If I had been lucky enough to witness this performance, I’m sure I would’ve perceived it as something special.
Still, that anonymous douchebag yelling “This sucks!” makes this recording extra special to me. Sort of a perfect artifact of Warren Zevon’s peculiar career.
Okay, let’s get to it now. Click here to hear the live solo performance of “My Shit’s Fucked Up.”
You can download the complete bootleg recording of Zevon’s March 18, 2000, show at Club Bene – any or all of it – by following this link to Internet Archive. Won’t cost you nothing.
And if you’d like to read a fan review of this particular gig – posted on the Web in August of 2000 – follow this link. According to the fan, Zevon’s performance was great, but “the crowd was dead. They just weren’t into it for some reason.”