cover image Nothing’s Bad Luck: The Lives of Warren Zevon

Nothing’s Bad Luck: The Lives of Warren Zevon

C.M. Kushins. Da Capo, $28 (416p) ISBN 978-0-306-92148-3

With refreshing candor, journalist and musician Kushins traces the ups and downs of Warren Zevon’s incendiary life and music career in intimate detail. Drawing on interviews with Zevon’s family, friends, and fellow musicians, Kushins provides a year-by-year chronicle of his subject’s struggles to stay sober, write songs, and make records. Born in Chicago in 1947 to a bookie father and Mormon mother who divorced, Zevon gravitated to music in junior high and developed a love of classical music to which he would return later in life. By the time he was 20, he was writing songs prolifically and in 1976 released his first record, Warren Zevon, to critical acclaim. Zevon had been drinking heavily throughout his 30s, and in 1984 he entered rehab. A sober Zevon in 1987 released Sentimental Hygiene, which contained his humorous take on rehab in the song “Detox Mansion,” which was “a deliberate push in introducing Warren to a new generation of fans.” When Zevon was diagnosed with cancer in 2002, he worked tirelessly to finish The Wind, which was released just before he died the following year. Kushins’s energetic writing and his deep dive into Zevon’s life and music offers a rounded and complete portrait of an enigmatic musician. (May)