Saturday, July 21, 2007

Warren Zevon: "Send Lawyers, Guns, and Money"

Burt Stein (friend, "babysitter," companion for Warren while on tour):

Joe Smith [chair of Asylum Records] came to me and said, "We think Warren needs a little break. He's talking about Hawaii. How would you like to go with him?" Warren and I were pretty close, and if anybody from the record company was going anywhere with him, it was usually me.

We settled in and our pattern was that I would go to sleep at a normal time. Warren would sit on the balcony 'til all hours of the morning reading Raymond Chandler novels, sipping Stolichnaya. I'd get up in the morning and invariably he was ready to carry on. It would be time for breakfast, and Warren would stop at the refrigerator, and he'd say, "I can't eat on an empty stomach." He'd down a little more vodka and we'd go have breakfast.

Of course, every afternoon we spent hours in the cocktail lounge - to the point where Warren got friendly with the waitress. One day he says, "A friend of the waitress has a cabin up in the mountains. She's off tomorrow and she'll take us there. We can get a little mountain experience." The three of us get in my rental car. We're going to spend the night up in the mountains and come back the next day. So, we're driving through a sugarcane field and Warren's sitting next to me. The girl is in the backseat. I ask how long before we get up there. She says, "Oh, ninety minutes." She goes on to say, "I'm sure my friend won't mind if we break in." I say, "Oh, shit. Warren, I can see it now. A telegram to Joe Smith: "Dear Joe, please send lawyers and money." And, Warren says, "Joe, send lawyers, guns and money." And then I say, "Warren, we're not going up there." He says, "You're right. Back to the bar." So, we went back to the cocktail lounge. On two cocktail napkins, he wrote "Lawyers, Guns and Money."

Lawyers, Guns and Money

Well, I went home with the waitress
The way I always do
How was I to know
She was with the Russians, too

I was gambling in Havana
I took a little risk
Send lawyers, guns and money
Dad, get me out of this

I'm the innocent bystander
Somehow I got stuck
Between the rock and the hard place
And I'm down on my luck
And I'm down on my luck
And I'm down on my luck

Now I'm hiding in Honduras
I'm a desperate man
Send lawyers, guns and money
The shit has hit the fan

- Warren Zevon

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