“Timor mortis conturbat me.
It’s from a medieval Scottish poem by William Dunbar,
It means, ‘The fear of death just fucks me up’”
– Warren Zevon (told to The Guardian, and roaring with laughter)
Warren Zevon died in 2003 aged 56, he was noted for his black humour and dry wit; he never had the big commercial success he deserved. He was highly regarded by critics and music lovers (and musicians), you could say he enjoyed a cult following. He should have been big.
“This was a nice deal: life.”
– Warren Zevon
Two weeks before he died of lung cancer, he released one of his best albums, The Wind.
“It’s hard to say if he’s being sincere or darkly witty with his cover of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” though he manages to make it work both ways.”
– Mark Deming (allmusic)
When diagnosed with lung cancer, he said: “I feel the opposite of regret. I was the hardest-living rocker on my block for a while. I was a malfunctioning rummy for a while and running away for a while. Then for 18 years I was a sober dad of some amazing kids. Hey, I feel like I’ve lived a couple of lives.”
The diagnose did in his own words, lead him into one of the most intense and creative periods of his life. Many of his more famous friend came to lend a hand on the record, including Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, Emmylou Harris, Don Henley, Ry Cooder, Billy Bob Thornthon, Jim Keltner, David Lindley, T-Bone Burnett, Joe Walsh and Dwight Yoakam. None of them taking the show from Warren Zevon, he is so clearly in control of his last creation. It is not a big bombastic farewell, it is a guy who enjoys making a record with a bunch of his friends. It feels better, more right!
Here is a touching documentary about the making of The Wind and Warren Zevon’s last months alive: