- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (May 6, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060763493
- ISBN-13: 978-0060763497
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 282 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon Paperback – May 6, 2008
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“In one of the most unflinching examinations of the rock & roll life ever, Warren Zevon’s ex-wife Crystal paints a harrowing picture of a brilliant mind ravaged by alcohol — using excerpts from the late singer-songwriter’s journals and interviews with friends including Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen.” (Rolling Stone, The Best of Rock Issue)
“I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead turns out to be one of the most casually insightful rock bios ever.” Grade: A- (Entertainment Weekly)
“ The book reveals a smartass satirist . . . as bankrupt as the characters he documented in his songs.” (Los Angeles Times)
“[A] new, riveting oral history... unflinching interviews with his friends, admirers and fellow hell-raisers.” (Rolling Stone)
“... an unforgettable journey into the depths of Mr. Zevon’s mad genius.” (New York Times)
“Few books have captured so well the L.A. rock and roll scene in all its mindlessness and eloquence.” (Los Angeles Magazine)
“…I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead definitely piles up enough horrendous behavior to back the title’s claim.” (New York Times Book Review)
“It’s a frank account of yet another great talent taken down by his own demons.” (Time Out Chicago)
“.. a fascinating collection of anecdotes... as assembled by his ex-wife, Crystal Zevon. ” (Philadelphia Daily News)
“[It’s] a satisfyingly sordid read that’s full of bad behavior…” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
About the Author
Crystal Zevon is Warren Zevon's former wife and lifelong friend. She lives in Vermont near her daughter, son-in-law, and twin grandsons.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 79%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Amazon's contribution to the poor Kindle conversion: Text-to-speech is enabled, which is nice, but this only works on Kindles and not on the Kindle apps. Thanks Amazon. Thanks a lot.
Now, what about the book itself? This is a warts-and-all memoir compiled from interviews with dozens of family and friends, which gives it immediacy and emotional impact. Warren Zevon was a brilliant, talented, and accomplished artist, perhaps a genuine genius. He was also a non-stop train wreck. One has little to do with the other; people expect the artists that they like to be virtuous and impeccable people. Sorry but it doesn't work that way; they're people just like the rest of us, with their demons and challenges, making their way through life as best as they can.
What stands out for me is Zevon's work was always authentic. He did not pander. He maintained his individuality and his own voice.
Theodore Sturgeon supposedly said "90% of everything is crud." This certainly applies to popular music, 90% of which is manufactured, packaged, soulless crud. It's product. Someday they'll find a way to produce it in overseas factories with child labor for pennies per day. Authentic voices are rare, and so are honest biographies. I'll take honesty and authenticity over sanitized manufactured pap any day. Carl Hiassen describes Zevon as equally parts "saint and son-of-a-bitch." Some people are bothered by the son-of-a-bitch part, which makes me wonder how well they really understand his music, because it's all in there.
If you want the unvarnished story of a great artist, you will like this book. If you prefer your heros soothing and sanitized, you better skip it.
Crystal Zevon presents this in the form of diary excerpts and interviews with Warren's friends, contemporaries, girlfriends, family and others that encountered him whether briefly or for a lifetime. This is the life of a troubled man and his incredible genius for creating some of the best and most highly respected music of our times.
No matter how incorrigible and difficult Zevon could be, he always ends up with the respect and love of the people who surrounded him in his life and legions of fans world wide.
Warren Zevon was much, much more than 'Werewolves of London". He was a laundry list of music that was the brainchild of one of the greatest writers/composers/singers/instrumentalists to grace the concert stage.
Highly recommended for the reader who loves to read outside the box and who craves biography in all it's glorious and no-holds-barred best.
Now for my personal take on Warren Zevon the man, he was indeed a person haunted by the terribly sad and abusive childhood and family life he was subjected to.
Unfortunately, Zevon was never able to overcome the ghosts of his past and those are the torments that stayed with him his entire life, affecting him in all corners of his existence. I think deep down he wanted to be a better person, a better father, a better husband and friend but, he was unable to accomplish this because he had no guidance for this.
The reason I feel this way has to do with remarks made by others when they recount an event when Zevon treated someone badly and afterward Zevon puzzles as to, "Why did I do that?" or "I hated to be that way to him!"
There are of course other reasons for my feelings on this but, just by reading between the lines and understanding human emotions, I feel sorry for him in many ways. Other ways, yes, I do find his behavior reprehensible but, one must also go back and remember the events that happened to create this personality.
I feel in many cases, Zevon's friends and contemporaries knew how badly he needed help, and not just for his alcohol addiction but for his emotional problems stemming from his early life traumas. These people knew there was little they could do but still accept Zevon for the person they knew him to be which in many other ways was a lovable and incredibly talented man.
Even the most difficult of people can have those around them in life that know the truth about them and those are the people that will stand by and lend support to the best of their abilities. These are the people that gathered and supported Zevon into rehabilitation and a 17 year sobriety.
Notice how Zevon eventually falls from sobriety once he learns his fate in the end. He had two ways to go, either sober and brave or drunk and realistic about the fact that death was the ultimate end of the story.
I do not think Warren Zevon had any ability to take the former path. He had no guidance in how to do that.
Sad that this was the way things ended for such a great artist that will forever be unmatched. Sad story on all counts.
This is one of the best rock bios I have ever read. It delivers the full Zevon which oftentimes wasn't that pretty at all. Perhaps that is what makes great creative music though. The book is an often brutal look at the debauched Seventies California rock and roll lifestyle and its assorted demons and devils. I also enjoyed the tales of his early days with The Everly Brothers and his Gambler Father.
Warren had a good wolf and a bad wolf battling for his brain and that bad wolf liked booze. Eventually he contained, mostly, his Mister Hyde and made his way as a working rocker, a David Letterman favorite and a close friend of Hunter Thompson and Carl Hiaasen.
Zevon wrote the most creative lines in rock. I hope the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame remembers him soon.