I'll Sleep When I'm Dead by P-HarpercollinsPubl


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									I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
Author: Crystal Zevon

When Warren Zevon died in 2003, he left behind both a fanatical cult following and a rich catalog of dark,
witty rock-n-roll classics that includes "Lawyers, Guns, and Money," "Excitable Boy," and the immortal
"Werewolves of London." He also left a trove of misadventures and anecdotes, a veritable rock opera of
drugs, women, celebrity, high times, and hard ways. As Warren once said, "I got to be Jim Morrison a lot
longer than he did."I'll Sleep When I'm Dead is an intimate and unusual oral history of one of our most
original and distinctive rock-and-roll antiheroes. Narrated by his former wife and longtime co-conspirator,
Crystal Zevon, the book draws on over eighty interviews with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Stephen
King, Billy Bob Thornton, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and countless others who came under his
mischievous spell. The result is a raucous and moving tale of love and obsession, creative genius and
epic bad behavior. Told in the words and images of the friends, lovers, and legends who knew him best, I'll
Sleep When I'm Dead captures Warren Zevon in all his turbulent glory.

You've seen him leaning on the streetlight
Listening to some song inside
You've seen him standing by the highway
Trying to hitch a ride
Well, they tried so hard to hold him
Heaven knows how hard they tried
But he's made up his mind
He's the restless kindHe's the wild ageWarren's father, William Rubin Zivotofsky, was born in Kiev,
Ukraine, in 1903. His father, Rubin, left for New York in 1905, and the Zivotofskys of Ukraine became the
Zevons of Brooklyn.Of his childhood, there was only one story Willie Zevon told when asked:William
"Stumpy" Zevon: Life was shit. We were poor, and it was either too hot or too cold. There was never
enough room to move around in, and never enough food to eat. My best memory is one birthday. I was
around ten, and my father came home with a cucumber. We never tasted a cucumber, and he took out
his knife and divided it up. We each got a slice. It was cool and it tasted like candy to us. What did we
know? We never had candy. That was the best birthday I remember. What I knew was I had to get out of
that shithole. And, I did.Sandy Zevon, Warren's first cousin: Willie and the youngest brother, Hymie, left
New York and headed West. Willie was in his mid-teens. Their first stop was Chicago. They got into
some gambling business. Sam Giancana, the famous mobster, put him into some shady business ...It
was like a Damon Runyon story.In 1946, when Willie was forty-two, he met an innocent twenty-one-year-
old beauty, Beverly Simmons, in Fresno, California. Although she had been born with a congenital heart
condition and had always lived under the protective wing of her overbearing Mormon mother, Beverly
believed she had found a "diamond in the rough."Warren Zevon was born on January 24, 1947, in
Chicago. His parents had a rocky marriage from the start. Beverly was after a family life that would prove
impossible for Stumpy to handle. Throughout his childhood, Warren was passed back and forth between
his parents as they fought bitterly, separated, got back together, then split again.When Warren was nine
years old, his father made a rare visit to Fresno, where Warren and his mother were living next door to
Beverly's parents. On Christmas Eve, Stumpy disappeared for a night of gambling. He returned on
Christmas morning, with a Chickering piano he had won in a poker game. Beverly was furious and
ordered his "headache machine" removed from her house.Warren wanted that piano. He silently cheered
on Stumpy as he grabbed a carving knife meant for the turkey that wasn't even in the oven yet. It was the
chilling image of Stumpy's poker face as he hurled the knife at Beverly's head that made a lasting
impression on Warren. Time stood still as he watched the lethal blade miss his mother's head by no
more than an inch. Without a word, Beverly stalked out the door and went to her parents' house down the
block.After his mother left, Warren's father sat him down on the piano bench, and they had their first ever
father-to-son talk. He said, "Son, you know I gotta go. She's your mother, so I guess you gotta stay. But,
there's something you better know. Your mother and your grandmother have been telling you you're the
pope of Rome, right? Well, you ain't never going to be no pope, you know why? Because you're a Jew.
You hear me, son? You're a Jew. Don't ever forget that."By the time Warren was ready to enter junior
high school, his father had charmed his mother into leaving Fresno to try living together again—this...
Author Bio
Crystal Zevon
Crystal Zevon is Warren Zevon's former wife and lifelong friend. She lives in Vermont near her daughter,
son-in-law, and twin grandsons.CHECK OUT: www.crystalzevon.com and www.warrenzevon.com

“I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead turns out to be one of the most casually insightful rock bios ever.” Grade: A-

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