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Transcript of Warren Zevon on Letterman

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Jorn Barger

Nov 2, 2002, 6:46:16 AM11/2/02
On amz in message news:<dH6w9.652276$>
Jim Cowling posted a raw closed-caption transcript of the WZ
Letterman show. I've edited it a bit for readability:

[band playing "late show" theme]
From New York-- the greatest city in the world-- it's
the "late show" with David Letterman. tonight... plus
Paul Shaffer and the cbs orchestra.
captioning sponsored by cbs and worldwide pants
[cheers and applause]
and, a man who always smells slightly eggy, David
Letterman! [cheers and applause]

Dave: thank you very much. [applause] thank you. I
have really, I have been through the wringer. I am,
you're look at an emotional wreck.

Paul: what, what!

Dave: I am a ruined man. I'll tell you why. today was
my conjugal visit with lizzie grubman. so I'm just...
what can you do?

Paul: well, yeah! well, congratulations.

Dave: maybe you don't know about this story. there's a
publicist here in the New York city area, lizzie
grubman and a couple years ago in the hamptons, the
big vacation resort area on long island, something
happened, there was a mishap and she backed over some
people in her suv, and they say okay, we know you're a
publicist but still you have to go to jail. and now
she's doing time, like 40 days, and this is a tough...
[laughter] I didn't sentence her. but it's, they got
her in a tough jail, it's a legitimate slammer out
there in southampton. [laughter] she was kept awake
all last night by the sound of the surf. so it's a...
you can't... [applause]

Here's good news. and I've known about this for a long
long time, and you people know this to be true.
according to the zagat guide, thank you. New York city
is the best united states city to visit. you folks
already know that. [cheers and applause] now I just
have to find a way to keep my mom from learning about
this. because, oh, man, we're having a lot of trouble
with mom. I got a call earlier today, she tried to
walk out of the gap wearing five pairs of jeans.
[applause] so. zagat!

I don't know if you heard about this. robert blake,
who is another star going haywire, he's out there in
california, and he's in jail because they think he
might have killed his wife, and earlier today heard
that his attorney quit, just quit. and but he's been
replaced by frank lautenberg. does that make any
sense? [applause]

And of course, winona ryder, another one of our stars
in trouble, she's on trial for shoplifting and her
defense is that she was researching for a role in a
movie. [laughter] o.j. simpson heard that and he said,
gees, why didn't I think of that? [applause] yeah, so
winona ryder is researching for a movie role, and oh
yeah, I believe the name of the movie was sax, lies a

Paul: oh, hello!

Dave: there he is, ladies and gentlemen, my good
friend, Paul Shaffer!

Paul: thank you so much.

Dave: Paul Shaffer, ladies and gentlemen!

Paul: yeah!

Dave: let me tell you a little about tonight's
program. our guest this evening, Warren Zevon. [cheers
and applause] the great Warren Zevon. this is a guy
we've known for a long time, gees, I guess like 20
years or so, he's been on the show over the years, and
he's filled in for Paul, a couple dozen times.

Paul: many times.

Dave: when Paul has been off, and everybody knows
excitable boy, everybody knows that, everybody knows
Werewolves of London, these two great Warren Zevon
songs, but you're not even scratching the surface
there. what a remarkable collection of work. and he's
going to be doing songs for us tonight, roland, the
headless thompson gunner, fantastic song. [applause]
the envoy, lawyers, guns and money.

Paul: that's a great one.

Dave: chasing down the wind. searching for a heart.
desperados under the eves, mohammed's radio. white
christmas. did you realize --.

Paul: wait a second, wait a second. irving berlin

Dave: oh, I'm sorry. got the wrong list. bu and if you
don't have a current collection of this guy's work, by
god, you ought to have. and I think we have two new
offerings here, this is the best of Warren Zevon, and
I think he's got several best of albums. and you know
what that means, when you have several, you have too
many great songs.

Paul: too many for one record, yeah.

Dave: this is the newest one right here, Warren Zevon,
my ride's here. [applause] this guy is the real deal,
you know, he's not one of these pretty faced phony
rock and roll guys, he's the real thing. and a poet
and a singer and a songwriter.

Paul: musically, erything, always delivers.

Dave: like the song, you can't start it like a car,
you can't stop it with a gun. talk about love.

Paul: that's one of his lyrics.

Dave: isn't that true about love? you can't starts it
like a car, if it ain't going to work it ain't going
to work. pail.

Paul: that's probably what he meant when he wrote
that. [applause]

Dave: anyway, it's... and you start listening to this
guy's stuff, I mean there was like a two cd collection
of his greatest hits about five or six years ago, and
I was listening to these this afternoon, and it's like
oh my god that one and then oh my god that one, I mean
it's a remarkable collection of work that this man has
contributed to modern culture. so he'll be our only
guest tonight, and we couldn't be happier that he's
with us, so Warren Zevon, everybody. [cheers and

As you know, maybe you don't know this, I'm working on
some catch phrases that I will drop into the show to
make things more entertaining. one I've stolen from my
friend, george miller, in my pants! periodically, when
you least expect it, I will drop in, in my pants! and
now we came across another one last night, I like it
pretty well and he'll just see how it goes, what is
this, vassar? don't make any sense. don't make any
sense now, but.

Paul: it makes more sense now than it did last night.

Dave: it's growing on people, and tomorrow kids all
across the country will be saying, what is this, vasr?
in my pants! wait a minute. I think Warren, Warren
actually wrote a song called in my pants.

Paul: he wrote that, too.

Dave: let's start the evening with some words of
wisdom from our new good friend, dr. phil. dr. phil?

Dr Phil: so I'm telling you now, I've had an affair.

Dave: he's gone nuts, this guy!

Paul: can't believe it.

Dave: here's something else that's really rubbing me
the wrong way. last night you and I were eating
snickers bars on tv.

Paul: yes we were.

Dave: and I'm holding up the snickers and said if we
don't get a truck load by tomorrow, something is
desperate. you're eating one and we're talking about
how not only they're tasty they're like a meal in
themselves. we were passing them out. so, and I.

Paul: must have come today.

Dave: I thought I'd have trouble finding a place to
park because of the big snickers truck. zippo,
nothing! not a call, not a letter, not a courier, not
a single nothing! and I said what is this, vassar?
[applause] so if we don't get the snickers tomorrow,
then I'm going to turn op them and I'm going to drive
them out of business. I'll start saying nasty
unpleasant things about their product.

Paul: all right.

Dave: but I'm going to give them a 24 hour notice.
because two weeks ago we were talking about M&M's and
how great they are, well, today we received our free
M&M's,. but they're making a mistake too.

Paul: wait a minute.

Dave: here's what it is, the plain M&M's, you can't do
any better than that, they were great the first time,
they're still great today, they'll be great 100 years
from now. it's a simple beautiful idea, I can eat my
weight in M&M's. okay, in a pinch I'll take the peanut
M&M's, in a pinch! they're okay. well, you think
they'd recognize that and leave it a loan. well now
they've got likes six different varietys of M&M's, and
they're sending those over to me thinking I'm going to
talk those up, but I'm telling you, they're no good.
they're no good. [applause] they've got a new crunchy

Paul: yeah?

Dave: what is making it crunchy is what I want to

Paul: I'm afraid to ask.

Dave: and they got some other cheese flavor, like a
parmesian. but god bless the M&M's, they delivered.
these punks over, the snickers.

Paul: it's nice of you to give them 24 hours.

Dave: okay. all right. you know what, turns out that
New York city is on the edge of a precipice of a
fiscal isis, did you realize that? we're having
budgetary problems so all of New York is economy
minded and looking for ways to cut back. so right here
tonight we're going to show you ways that this great
city, New York, is cutting back.

Paul: may we have a little music

ways New York city is cutting back
for example, time square watch salesman now selling
knockoff of fake rolexes.

Paul: that will save a lot of money right there.

Dave: city hospitalless be treating all emergencies
with tums. [applause] tums. in my pants!

department of corrections slashing food bills by
allowing inmates to go home for lunch. that's not a
bad idea. I think that makes sense. what is this,

police department horses phased out, mounted police
now ride guys in horse costumes. that's been going on
for years.

Paul: used to be that would be more expensive. I would

Dave: with the cleaning and so forth. that's right.
we'll just see what happens.

donald trump cutting down on travel expenses by only
dating miss New York, miss new jersey, miss
pennsylvania and miss connecticut. [applause]

but when we get the snickers, by the way, I don't want
people sitting at home getting their nose out of joint
thinking I'm going to lay around all day eating candy.
we'll get the snikers and give them to people who
don't have candy, that's what we'll do, that's how it
works. [applause] so now already they're starting to
look doubly bad that they won't participate in our
charity candy drive. it's getting uglier by the all
right, if that's the way you want to run your
business. [laughter]

pamela anderson, she's not in New York, we just wanted
to take a look at pamela anderson. she's not cutting
back on anything. do you know women like that, Paul?

Paul: do I know, that's a loaded question. it's a
stacked question.

Dave: the parks department replaces lawn mowers with
hungry goats. or guys in hungry goat costumes. that
would be even more expensive. mike piazza forcing
himself to stick to his strict monthly budget, and by
the way,

so that's how New Yorkers are...

ways New York city is cutting back.

Dave: Warren Zevon is the guest on our program
tonight. we'll be back with the old top ten list,


[band playing].

Dave: johnny strikes up the band.

Paul: another great war remember Zevon composition.

Dave: I remember, and I'll ask him about this when
he's out here, but I remember one night he was filling
in for you and I said to him, there was an album you
did live at the roxy in los angeles on sunset
boulevard, a live album, stand in the five, was the
name of it, it was fantastic, one of the best live
rock and roll albums I've ever heard in my life. and
he said, I don't really remember it. he had no memory
of it exactly. but we got a copy of it a couple weeks
ago and it's still fantastic, absolutely great.

oh, ladies and gentlemen, it's time now, we haven't
done this in quite a while. it's always fun, that's
all you need to know about it. it's a little something
called, is this anything? okay, now. you see, behind
the lovely New York city, city scape, we will have a
man, a woman, a child, all three, a group of people,
friends, neighbors, professionals, amateurs, we don't
know, and they'll be doing something interesting,
peculiar, something unusual, something weerl,
something provocative, something entertaining, and
Paul and I after we see the demonstration, the
presentation will have a brief conversation and try to
determine whether or not we think it is in fact

Paul: when it's anything or not.

Dave: is that how we play it?

Paul: I believe so.

[band playing]

Dave: this is a tough one. because it could have been

Paul: yeah.

Dave: I mean, I'm telling you, I was thinking to
myself what are those things and then he flipped it,
and then... because now it just looks like an accident
in the cafeteria.

Paul: I would agree. it could have been something.

Dave: Paul and I both believe it could have been
something. sadly, it was not.

ladies and gentlemen, time for tonight's top ten list.

top ten signs you're too old to be trick or treating.
this happens every year at my house. I don't mind the
trick or treaters coming by, but when you drive
yourself to trick or treat, you're too old. and they
didn't even have costumes, they'd be getting out of
the car smoking, hey, how you doing, give them a candy
bar, they get back in the car and drive home, I said
that's too old. doesn't seem right at all.

well, hello! what is this, vassar?

there you go. we'll be right back, everybody, with
Warren Zevon.

Paul: between a rock and a hard place, now I'm down on
my luck.

Dave: thank you very much, Paul. [applause] our first
guest tonight is a brilliant songwriter and a musician
who has been a friend of ours for 20 years, and belief
me it's a thrill to have him here with us. ladies and
gentlemen, please welcome Warren Zevon. Warren!

[band playing].

Dave: I didn't know he could play that.

WZ: yeah, I know he can play it.

Dave: you're I guess a couple month ago we all learned
that your life has changed radically, hasn't it?

WZ: you mean you heard about the flu?

Dave: yeah.

WZ: yeah, yeah. well, it's true.

Dave: how did you learn about it and what is it and
how have things been since?

WZ: what was the order of those questions again?

Dave: entirely up to you, any way you want to field

WZ: how did I learn about it?

Dave: yeah.

WZ: first of all, let me say that I might have made a
tactical error in not going to a physician for 20

Dave: I see.

WZ: it was one of those phobias that really didn't pay
off. the only person I ever go to is dr. stan, you
know dr. stan, the dentist.

Dave: so you go to a dentist on a regular basis.

WZ: yeah, and I always said if he can't fix it, I'm
screwed. and I told dr. stan that I was having
shortness of breath, which, well, I had it for months,
and I did a shore tour, I went to canada, and I went
would only hire people who would tell me it was
stress. you know, like, flunked out medical students
who became musicians, and I said I'm short of breath.
oh, all the time. they said don't you ever watch the
sopranos? I said no, I don't know. but when dr. stan
the dentist heard about it, he said it sounds like
congestive heart failure or something, so he made me
go to a doctor the next morning.

Dave: and it turned out not to be congestive heart

WZ: no.

Dave: what was the diagnosis?

WZ: it's lung cancer that's spread.

Dave: that's tough.

WZ: it means you better get your dry cleaning done on

Dave: now, when I first heard about this, I think that
you were in touch with Paul's assistant, you had a
conversation with him,nd he said it was the most
bizarre thing, kind of the stunning revelation of
this, but yet Warren was making jokes just like that.
now, how is that possible? I'm not sure I could make
jokes like that, if I had that --

WZ: I know you would.

Dave: really?

WZ: yeah.

Dave: to me, you look and seem remarkably healthy. I
mean, that's kind of an odd --

WZ: well, don't be fooled. don't be fooled by

Dave: how do you feel?

WZ: well, I don't feel as bad as they say I am. you
know. that's a good deal.

Dave: and you have spent a lot of time recently
working very hard, haven't you, working on another

WZ: yeah. they certainly don't discourage you from
doing whatever you want. it's not like bed rest and a
lot of water, you know will straighten you out.

Dave: how is that work now under this circumstance,
living with this diagnosis, how is the work now
compared to when you assumed you were healthy, when
you were only going to see dr. stan?

WZ: i'm working harder, and, you know, you put more
value on every minute, you do. I always thought I kind
of did that, I really always enjoyed myself. but it's
more valuable now. you're reminded to enjoy every
sandwich and every minute of playing with the guys,
and being with the kids and

Dave: yeah. I'm stricken now, and I guess this is the
way things like this work, by the irony of your work
now, you know, when we look at it, knowing about the

WZ: that's the strangest part to me certainly. I mean,
except that maybe, I mean as you know, I don't know
how many other people know, because Dave's the best
friend my music has ever had, soy don't know how many
of the audience realized that the last... [applause]

Dave: for example, the title of the new cd, my ride's

WZ: hello.

Dave: that has a whole different meaning. and another
song, the one Paul played, I'll sleep when I'm dead.

WZ: and the previous album was called life will kill
you. it was all about my phobia of doctors. you know,
I just figure that if artists don't have, well, I
guess artists have some kind of instincts or, you
know, feelings about things that can't be put into
words, you know, kind of impressions combined with
very rudimentary manual skills, otherwise how would
you get away with having a job so easy and so much

Dave: so you're saying that you think maybe somewhere
this comes as not so much a surprise to you?

WZ: well, I can't really complain. I did take copies
of the albums to my doctors and said this is why I'm
not so shocked. but I don't know what the connection
is, I don't know why I was writing those songs, but
I've always written them.

Dave: and mr. bad example, a song, I know, I guess
everybody who knows you knows that you did enjoy
yourself to the point of punishing others really at
some point.

WZ: well, that's not really the way to put it outside
of meetings, but if you want to say so. I know how you
meant it.

Dave: and did you think that contributed to the lung

WZ: punishing people emotionally?

Dave: no no no, maybe not taking care of yourself.

WZ: I think that, you know, I think I chose a certain
path and lived like jim morris, and live 30 more
years, who knows why. you make choices and then have
you to live with the consequences, there are always

Dave: from your perspective now, do you know something
about life and death that maybe I don't know now?

WZ: not unless I know how much you're supposed to
enjoy every sandwich. you know.

Dave: how's your family?

WZ: they're holding up pretty well. it's tough on
them, but they're holding up pretty well, we're a
pretty close family, me and my kids.

Dave: good. you have the boy and the girl?

WZ: yeah.

Dave: good for you. and tonight you're going to sing,
hopefully three songs.

WZ: yes, I am.

Dave: the first one is called mutineer.

WZ: no, the last one is called mutineer.

Dave: there's some confusion. when are you doing white

Paul: mutineer is first.

WZ: oh.

Dave: you want to change the order? we can change the
order. [applause]

Paul: why should we do what he wants to do?

Dave: oh, stop it, Paul. what is that song about. you
wrote in 1995 I think.

WZ: I don't remember, that was seven years ago.

Dave: you don't remember the live album?

WZ: the live album, which live album.

Dave: the roxy.

WZ: no, I don't remember that. I remember with one
from 19... you know.

Dave: I don't know. anyway we're delighted that you're
going to do some of your stuff for us.

WZ: thanks, David.

Dave: and let me just say now, thank you for being
here, and thank you for everything. [applause] we'll
be right back with Warren see involve who is going to
perform for us.


Dave: okay, thank you, ul. and now, performing the
aforementioned Mutineer, which is featured on the best
of Warren Zevon album entitled genius, ladies and
gentlemen, here is Warren Zevon. [applause]

yo ho ho and a bottle of rum,
hoist the main sail, here I come.
you're my witness, I'm your mutineer.
I was born to rock the boat,
some may sink, but we will float.
grab your coat, let's get out of here
you're my witness, I'm your mutineer.
long ago we laughed at shadow,
lightning flashed, thunder followed.
it could never find us here.
you're my witness, I'm your mutineer.

long ago, we left a shadow,
lightning flashed, thunder followed.
we thought it would never find us here.
you're my witness, I'm your mutineer.
I was born to rock the boat,
some may sink, we will float.
grab your coat, let's get out of here.
I'm your witness, you're my mutineer.
you're my witness, I'm your mutineer.
you're my witness, I'm your mutineer. [applause]

Dave: great. turn around here. very nice. we'll be
right back with some more from Warren Zevon.


Dave: yes, sir, welcome back to the program, ladies
and gentlemen. if you're just joining us, Warren Zevon
is with us this evening and as I've said all night we
couldn't be happier. and now Warren, I believe we're
going to hear a song from the album we taked about, my
ride's here, and the name of the song is genius, do I
have that correct?

modestly titled.

Dave: ladies and gentlemen, here's Warren Zevon again.

I've got a bitter pot of I don't know what,
guess what I'm stirring it with a monkey's paw,
since I saw you coming out of my barber shop,
in that skimpy little halter top.
did you light the candles,
did you put on a kind of blue?
did you use that ivy league voodoo on him too?
he thinks he'll feel all right,
but he doesn't know for sure.
but every other koo died a co-conspirator.
mata hari had a house in france,
where she worked on all her secret plans.
men were filing for her silence,
she was a genius.

there's a face in every window
of the songwriter's neighborhood,
everybody's your best friend,
when you're doing well, I mean good.
the po e who lived next-door, young and poor,
grew up to be a back stabbing entrepreneur.
albert einstein was a ladies man,
while he was working on his universal plan.
he was making out like charlie sheen,
he was the genius.

when you drop me a hand you state your claim,
on a VIP who could make your name,
you latched onto him
and I became a minor inconvenience.
don't care about art,
I for one have always told you you were smart.
you broke my heart into smithereens,
and that took genius.

you and the barber made a handsome pair,
guess what,
I never liked the way he cut your hair.
I didn't like the way he turned your head,
because nothing I can do or say
I haven't done or said.
everybody needs a place to stand,
and a method for their schemes and scams.
if I could only get my record clean,
I'd be a genius.


Dave: Warren, you're obviously doing very well. we'll
be right back here with Warren Zevon. [rock music

Dave: all right. now, I like to think that this next
song is because of me. this is my contribution to this
show tonight, and I'll tell you how that happened. I
begged him to do this song, so I feel like I've played
a pretty important part in this. [applause] this song
also appears on genius, and --

you wrote it, right?

Dave: boy, I wish, could you make that happen? it's
one of our favorites, everybody, I think, enjoy this
is song, we're happy to have it here live on the show
tonight. it's roland, the headless thompson gunner.
Warren Zevon.


roland was a warrior
from the land of the midnight sun
with a thompson gun for hire.
fighting to be done
the deal was made in denmark
on a dark and stormy day
so he set out for biafra
to join the bloody fray
through '66 and 7
they fought the congo war
with fingers on their triggers
knee deep in gore
for days and nights they battled
the bantu to their knees
they killed to earn their living
and to help out congolese
roland the thompson gunner
roland the thompson gunner
his comrades fought beside him
van owen and the rest
but of all the thompson gunners
roland was the best
so the c.i.a. decided
they wanted roland dead
that son of a bitch van owen
blew off roland's head
time time time
roland the headless thompson gunner
for another peaceful war
norway's bravest son
in the muzzle flash of roland's thompson gun
in the muzzle flash of roland's thompson gun
roland searched the continent
for the man who'd done him in
he found him in mombasa
in a bar room drinking gin
roland aimed his thompson gun
he didn't say a word
but he blew van owen's body
from there from there to johannesburg
roland the headless thompson gunner
roland the headless thompson gunner
roland the headless thompson gunner
talking about the man
roland the headless thompson gunner
the eternal thompson gunner
still wandering through the night
now it's ten years later
but he still keeps up the fight
in ireland in lebanon in palestine and berkeley
patty hearst heard the burst
of roland's thompson gun
and bought it.

Dave: yes, sir! there you go! Warren Zevon, everybody!
Warren, enjoy every sandwich. we'll see you tomorrow


Nov 2, 2002, 9:15:47 AM11/2/02

"Jorn Barger" <> wrote in message

> On amz in message news:<dH6w9.652276$>
> Jim Cowling posted a raw closed-caption transcript of the WZ
> Letterman show. I've edited it a bit for readability:

> And of course, winona ryder, another one of our stars
> in trouble, she's on trial for shoplifting and her
> defense is that she was researching for a role in a
> movie. [laughter] o.j. simpson heard that and he said,
> gees, why didn't I think of that? [applause] yeah, so
> winona ryder is researching for a movie role, and oh
> yeah, I believe the name of the movie was sax, lies a
> videotape.
Maybe "Saks, lies and videotape"?

I taped the show and just last night finally had time to watch it. It was
very touching, if a bit difficult to watch at times.


The Sanity Inspector

Nov 2, 2002, 3:45:38 PM11/2/02

The dignified don't even enter in the game.
-- The Jam


Nov 2, 2002, 8:54:47 PM11/2/02
"Jorn Barger" <> wrote in message
> On amz in message news:<dH6w9.652276$>
> Jim Cowling posted a raw closed-caption transcript of the WZ
> [applause]
> Dave: Warren, you're obviously doing very well. we'll
> be right back here with Warren Zevon.

Didn't he say "Your audition is going very well"?

Howard Roseman

Nov 2, 2002, 9:33:54 PM11/2/02
> Didn't he say "Your audition is going very well"?

Absolutely. Another great Letterman ad lib.

johnny bobby bee

Nov 3, 2002, 1:05:31 AM11/3/02
Howard Roseman wrote:
>>Didn't he say "Your audition is going very well"?
> Absolutely. Another great Letterman ad lib.

reminds me of something similar, said once before, by John Lennon, on
the rooftop of the Apple Corps HQ after playing 'Get Back', some 33
years ago.
"i'd like to thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and i hope
we passed the audition".

corrections, donz?


Nov 3, 2002, 1:23:01 AM11/3/02
johnny bobby bee wrote:

>reminds me of something similar, said once before, by John Lennon, on
>the rooftop of the Apple Corps HQ after playing 'Get Back', some 33
years ago.
>"i'd like to thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and i hope
>we passed the audition".

>corrections, donz?

Yup; that's right -- it was also edited onto the single version of "Get Back"
at the end of the LP "Let It Be."

Jim Cowling

Nov 3, 2002, 4:32:58 AM11/3/02
In article <>, (Jorn Barger) wrote:
>I've edited it a bit for readability:

Thanks for doing this; I sure wasn't going to be able to find the time. :)

Spamblock: There is no 'p' in my address.

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