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Saturday, February 18, 2017

"Sentimental Hygiene" by Warren Zevon + Neil Young

Back in 1987, Warren Zevon recorded "Sentimental Hygiene" with Neil Young, Mike Mills and Bill Berry (R.E.M.'s rhythm section,essentially).

Here's Warren Zevon & Neil Young on "Splendid Isolation" at the for the 7th Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre, 11/06/93.

Warren Zevon and Neil Young

Warren Zevon and Neil Young
Winter Park, Colorado, 1992 - Photo by Richard Creamer

The late, great Warren Zevon and Neil Young have a few interesting musical intersections.

From Sugar Mountain Set Lists, Warren Zevon and Neil Young performed together on 07-11-1992 in Winter Park, Colorado. Neil was a guest on two songs: 'Splendid Isolation' and 'Comes A Time'.

Neil also plays lead guitar on Warren Zevon's song "Gridlock" from his 1989 album, Transverse City.

Warren Zevon - Sentimental Hygiene

Neil Young played on one of Warren Zevon albums, the title song of the 1987 album Sentimental Hygiene with a blistering guitar solo.

And a minor Warren and Neil connection is Zevon's song "Play It All Night Long" with the lyrics:

"Sweet home Alabama",
Play that dead band's song.
Sweet home Alabama,
Play it all night long.

Of course "that dead band's song" refers to Lynyrd Skynyrd's anthem "Sweet home Alabama" with the immortal lines:

"Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A southern man don't need him around anyhow"

From Warren Zevon's biography, the sory is that he ran into Neil and invited him to play a benefit show. Neil then returned the favour by inviting him to the Bridge Benefit.

The biography uses passages from his diary. One passage reads:

July 10, 1992-Colorado

"Stopped to eat at what seemed like no more than a crossroads in the middle of nowhere: we walked in and there was Neil Young and his wife, Pegi. They're with their son at camp: pure coincidence.

July 11, 1992-Winter Park

...Up at 8:00 with a headache. Rode over to the festival site early with Randy Newman and his guy. Newman seemed to have no interest in me whatsoever...Neil and I running into each other was major local news. Later Neil and Pegi arrived, Neil wearing "Old Velvet Nose" boldly on his T-shirt...He asked me what we were going to do. We played Splendid Isolation and Cortez...great audience...great day. Neil and I spent some more time together. I sure like this guy and it was a thrill playing with him on stage.
Also, Warren Zevon wrote 'Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead'.


I was working on a steak the other day
I saw Neil Young in the Rattlesnake cafe
Dressed black, tossing back a shot of rye
Finding things to do in Denver when you die

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At 2/18/2017 07:40:00 PM, Blogger Richard, Glasgow. UK said...

Sorry Thrash, but on every version I have of Warren Zevon's 'Things to do in Denver" the line is - I saw Waddy in the Rattlesnake Cafe. There is no mention of Neil, indeed I believe the reference is to Waddy Wachtel

At 2/18/2017 09:48:00 PM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

Those lyrics are from the live acoustic version, the original lyrics referring to their meeting in Colorado. I may have supplied that information during the last WZ/NY post. NCN

At 2/19/2017 02:40:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Warren Zevon a songwriter out of the ordinary - never made a duff record. Take note ole Neil. Didn't he fall out with REM & Neil?

Well, I saw Lon Chaney walking with the Queen
Doing the werewolves of London
I saw Lon Chaney, Jr. walking with the Queen
I saw Jackson Browne "Walking Slow" down the avenue
You know his heart is perfect
Doing the werewolves of London
I saw a werewolf drinking a Perrier at Trader Vic's
His hair was perfect
Werewolves of London again
Draw blood

At 2/19/2017 01:06:00 PM, Blogger Hounds That Howl said...

Solo Acoustic at Horizontal Boogie Bar, Rochester, NY on 02-08-1994.
Song performed with a 6 String Acoustic Guitar.

At 2/19/2017 01:43:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Richard - right on the recording w/ Waddy Wachtel name check. but...

@ Syscrusher - yes, you're right. On a previous TW post similar to this, you commented on the live acoustic version. so thanks on that.

@ Andy - never duff, for sure.

@ Hounds That Howl - thanks for the wheat check.

btw, that's a nice bar name ... Horizontal Boogie Bar. will have to check out next time we're looking for things to do when we're dead in Rochester...

At 2/19/2017 02:28:00 PM, Blogger Richard, Glasgow. UK said...

Apologies for my earlier suggestion that Neil wasn't mentioned in this song - I got interested in Warren late in his career but I've not searched beyond his studio output.

Warren Zevon wrote many fine songs - clever, witty and literate - and he played with some fine musicians but while I enjoy much of what he did, I feel his output lacks emotion and soul. It is too clever by half!

@Andy - For me WZ never made a complete record. None of them hang together fully. All have some great songs but there's a lot of weak stuff and that plus the lack of feeling in much of his work is, for me, the reason he never made it big. You have been on here many times criticising Neil's output in the second half of his career and perhaps there are some similarities with all of Warren's output. I agree that Neil's later work is weaker than the earlier years - some fine songs and some weaker stuff side by side on the same album. The difference is that a great Neil Young song is exceptional and even his weaker work still holds enough soul, belief and feeling to make it worthwhile.

At 2/19/2017 02:39:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Richard - no apologies, necessary. We appreciate your contributions.

Also, good points made on WZ's output relative to NY. And the emotional soul of Neil's work is really the essence.

hmmm, which reminds us of ...

@ Andy ...

At 2/19/2017 04:37:00 PM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

@ Richard WZ never made a complete record? I guess that's a way of looking at it. Transverse City & Bad Luck Streak you could put in that category but they did contain Splendid Isolation & A Certain Girl which are worth the price alone. One of his finest records is the live Learning to Flinch, I had tickets to see him in 2000 in London when I arrived there was a sign 'no show Warren is ill' - little did we know how ill sadly missed. Crystal Zevon's book is a scary read Zevon lived out on the edge.
The documentary of The Wind is essential viewing.


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