ITT, “Lawyers, Guns and Money”
Zevon was already feeding worms by the time I became aware of him as anything other than “the dude who sang that song about Chinese takeaways”, so I really can’t call myself anything other than a massive latecomer, but all of you out there should know that, alongside HMHB and The Beatnuts, Warren forms part of the triumvate of permanently approved ILB acts. And “Lawyers, Guns and Money” may be his peak.
I think there is with Zevon, as with Eazy-E, a kind of movement to overintelectualise his personality when all you really need to know for both of them is “he was a fucking cunt of a human being, and those guys are always awesome”. And obviously that plays into lyrics, so whereas a good Eazy-E song has him busting a nut in someone’s eye, a good Zevon song has him drunkenly fucking around with people who he shouldn’t.
Radio 2 famously named “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand/ Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain” as the best first line of any song ever, but Zevon came with more killer openings than Bobby Fischer. “I went home with a waitress/ The way I always do/ How was I to know/ She was with the Russians too”. How this didn’t soundtrack Niko Belic’s gadding about on GTA 4 is a fucking crime.
Do you really need to be told why this is a fantastic tune? It’s a drinking song and a hangover song at the same time, it mixes in both legit danger with just being a fucking twat, and that piano, man. Here’s him doing it a bunch of different places:
Zevon with a HHH circa-1999 haircut plays it out on a 12-string guitar.
Zevon electrifies the fuck out of it, finds space for a damn saxophone as well.
Really wish I could carry those glasses off. Either Dave or Warren’s.