There's room for you and me . . . Warren Zevon has known from the start that hell is where they play rock & roll. In this, as well as in his romanticism, he resembles the great eighteenth century poet William Blake: "Good is the passive that obeys Reason. Evil is the active springing from Energy."
Hell is only half full
Room for you and me
Looking for a new fool
Who's it gonna be?
It's the dance of Shiva
It's the Debutantes Ball
And everyone will be there
Who's anyone at all
Monkey wash donkey rinse
Going to a party in the center of the earth
Honey, don't you want to go? [Zevon / Aldrich]
I only heard Zevon live once, in a bar in Santa Barbara twenty-five years ago. I don't know who was more fucked-up, Zevon or me. I had hitchhiked into town the day before from Seattle and been hanging out with a friend, a student and petty criminal named Wes. Around lunchtime we had gone to the bio lab at the University, where Wes was registered if not exactly in attendance, and stolen a pint of ether, which we had been sniffing most of the day while pouring down quarts of Old English 800.
Zevon was careening around the stage with a guitar when we first walked in. I have no ideaw what he was playing. I do have an extremely vague memory trace of him sitting at the piano singing "Desperados Under the Eaves," or maybe it was "Carmelita." "Carmelita," it was "Carmelita." Everybody went to the bar or the head during the slow songs, but I was mesmerized. What was clear to me even through the haze in my head was that here was a guy for whom words mattered. And callow as I was, words mattered to me, too. No doubt my head was as full of Jack Kerouac's On the Road and other beatnik fantasies as it was of beer, pot and ether.