That record you see at right, signed by Warren Zevon, was given to me by Craig DePoi the night Warren played Club Dada -- July 27, 1992, to be exact. I remember it like it was yesterday. Craig, then working behind the bar at Trees, knew of my fondness for Warren, and after his set asked him to sign a copy of the out-of-print Stand in the Fire, among the greatest live albums of all time (Warren's backed by a Zevon cover band, brilliant). Craig gave it to me that night; I recall his thinking my hug of gratitude lasted a little too long. The record has hung over my desk ever since. It's seldom more than two feet out of reach.
Not long after Warren and I got to be not exactly friends, but acquaintances, let's say. We bonded over Norman Mailer (he wound up with the cassette containing my interview with Mailer about his Oswald book) and Hunter Thompson, talked for hours in '95, and when I moved to Los Angeles a year later, we met a few times for eggs and bacon and biscuits at Hugo's on Santa Monica in West Hollywood, near where we both lived at the time. He complained a lot about how his label was treating him at the time (poorly, like they treat all the great ones), but was never less than gracious and kind and funny. Once he picked up Jeff Goldblum's check, just because, and he was sitting across the restaurant. Warren was his songs -- the tender-but-don't-tell tough guy.
Long ago a Friend of Unfair Park requested some Zevon for this week-ending feature; you'll find 101 recordings here, many essential but none from Dallas. But this evening, a Christmas miracle: Whilst browsing for something good, really special, I found this strange website featuring all manner of spectacular, holy-shit boots -- one of which, if you'll scroll way down, contains both of Warren's Dallas performances in 1992.
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There's the full-band show at Deep Ellum Live on February 1, with The Odds behind him, and that all-by-his-lonesome gig at Dada in July. Said Warren that hot night, "You can see that I've manipulated my career in such a way as to make two trips to Texas in six months, and in the summertime no less." He complained about "the Blade Runner weather," but cautioned: "I think this is the new deal. We'd better get used to it." Hard to believe he's been gone eight years now. But tonight, for us, Warren Zevon lives again.