Monday, September 15, 2014

Jackson Browne reconsidered

I will conclude my romantic comedy series soon. But first...

OK, so maybe I was a little harsh towards Jackson Browne last year. I have had cause to reconsider Jackson Browne when I stumbled into Anita Gevison's memoir about her relationship with Warren Zevon, which contains this:

"Before seeing Warren, I had to participate in group therapy, so I would be prepared for our new life together once he got out. I thought it was touchy-feely bullshit. I’d been through this with my sister before she died, overdosing on scotch and liquid methadone. You can’t save people, you just can’t. And needy doesn’t turn me on. Needy does not do it for me, even if it’s me someone needs. I did not want to see Warren like this. When I finally did, in group therapy, he grabbed me with sweating hands, and my heart was breaking. Apparently he’d told everyone in the group all about me, and my picture had been hanging up on the wall in his room. As we went around the room, each story was worse than the one before it. When it came my turn to “share,” I took the gloves off. 
“I just don’t see how this whole thing is going to work,” I said. “How are any of you going to be able to walk out of here and resist the urge to drink or do drugs just because you had a little warm-and-fuzzy session with the rest of the derelicts?” Not exactly what any of them needed to hear.
Warren ran to his room. I followed. I sat next to him on the bed. He pulled one of my t-shirts from under his pillow — he’d taken it out of my drawer before he left. I told him I just didn’t think it was going to work and he shouldn’t come back to Philly. But I remember thinking that if I left Warren there, he wouldn’t die on my watch. 
Somehow, Warren didn’t see this coming. He asked me to leave. I went to the counselor’s office, and they asked me who I knew that could replace me as Warren’s “co-dependent.” There is only one person to call, I said, one person who is un-fucked-up and responsible enough to handle this. 
“Call Jackson Browne.” And then I packed up my shit and got on the plane.
So Jackson took over and made living arrangements for Warren out in Hollywood after he got out of rehab — in Oakwoods, the place where all the rock stars wind up after their divorces.
So good on you Jackson Browne. And this is especially since, as reported by Gevinson, Zevon resented Browne's success and they were not on great terms at the time Gevinson recommended him as Zevon's caretaker:
I always hated bringing Rolling Stone home. At that point, a good article about Jimmy Buffett or Randy Newman would set him off on a jag and he’d be back in his robe, padding around the apartment for days, rudderless, full of vodka and ruin. He was on the outs with Jackson, and anything good that happened to Jackson Browne was bad, bad, bad. Warren was pea-green with Jackson envy. Who didn’t want to look like Jackson Browne? Everything was so hard for Warren that was so easy for Jackson and Don Henley. Out of nowhere he would just blurt out to me: “You know, Jackson’s first name is Clyde, and Henley gets all of his ideas from the phone book, you know that, doncha?” I’d just roll my eyes.
Poor Warren Zevon. He died from cancer at the age of 56, eleven years ago. He was a fine looking man when Gevinson was with him, so I did enjoy this especially intimate moment in her memoir:

...And then there was the night in Philly when we came out publicly as a couple, and I introduced him to the crowd at the Brandywine, and before I could get offstage he ran out from the wings with his guitar and slid across the stage on his knees, trapping me between him and the microphone. Warren kicked into Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away.” The crowd went ballistic. I just stood there smiling, not knowing where to look. At him? At the audience? Do I put my hands on my hips? Or at my sides? Finally it was over and Warren escorted me off the stage, and I collapsed in a heap on a chair. Then he walked up to the mike and said, “There’s a certain Philadelphia girl that I’ve been in love with, and tonight’s my night to show it,” and then he started playing Alan Toussaint’s “A Certain Girl.” I was putty in his hands after that. 
Which is the only explanation I have for why I wound up agreeing to walk down the aisle with Warren. We were making love one night after a concert in Denver when he proposed — how do I put this delicately? — in mid-stroke. “Will you marry me?” he asked, and then thrust his pelvis for emphasis. I don’t know why — I guess because deep down, I really was in love with the guy — but I responded with a breathless “Yes.” So we got done having sex, and Warren went to the bathroom. I was lying naked in bed and already starting to have second thoughts...