Saturday, August 29, 2009


Thorvald the Wise recommends the biography of Warren Zevon: I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon by Crystal Zevon. He was really out there until he cleaned up his act.

The song "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" was co-written with David Lindell, an ex-mercenary who ran a bar in Spain where Warren was the resident musician early in his career. He never liked talking about the origins of the song and usually refused to answer questions about it.

A diary entry from Warren’s bio:

March 21, 1983 - Austin

Gimme a fine old hippie bar like Clubfoot’s - Randy Davis left his friend James Crumley’s new book “Dancing Bear” . . . Brendan Collins from Stiges visited after the show - we reminisced about ‘75. Three military-looking men bluffed their way backstage, claiming to be journalists. Mutually stirred up combative adrenalin - I politely refused to discuss Roland & challenged their questions, but they were ‘bad’ looking cats, one esp: his name was David Reeve - it turned out he was Special Forces & had enjoyed my stuff with his outfit, the “wild bunch” when they were training at Bragg. He said he “didn’t know if I was for real,” but it if it meant anything to me, he wanted to give me his Green Beret pin. He told me most of the “wild bunch” was left behind, his friends died in the jungle. His companions in Austin told me they knew I “wasn’t from this country” - ?! - did I know what the emblem meant - I assured them I did –
“De Oppresso Liber” - that means “to free the oppressed.” I was totally overwhelmed . . . I looked up & found David Reeve’s listing in the Austin directory & phoned him at 8a.m. to try and tell him he’d given me the greatest honor of my life - I could barely talk (although I talked too much).

Warren Zevon, 1947 - 2003

I always liked that song, ever since my early days as a paratrooper in the Holy Land, and especially later on during my service in West Africa. Now that I know about the Special Forces tie-in, I like it even more - Sean Linnane

Here he is singing it on the Letterman Show:

Thorvald reports it's a pretty restrained version of Roland, he's seen him do it live where it's a lot more intense.

- Thorvald the Wise, official Philosopher in Residence of TEAM STORMBRINGER, is an old friend of Sean Linnane.


  1. It's a restrained version of Roland because Warren was dying at that point. He'd just flown in to NYC from LA and was exhausted by the time the 3rd of 3 songs were performed.

    Nevertheless, thanks for posting it.