Izaak Opatz Covers Warren Zevon’s “Carmelita”

Photo courtesy of the artist

Earlier this year, Izaak Opatz released Mariachi Static, a new full-length album, via Mama Bird Recording Co. Opatz, who spends his time working in National Parks when he isn’t making music or touring, got the title from the Warren Zevon song “Carmelita,” which opens with, “I hear mariachi static on my radio, and the tubes they glow in the dark/ and I’m there with her in Ensenada, and I’m here in Echo Park.”

Now, Opatz has recorded his own taken on “Carmelita,” which appeared on Zevon’s 1976 self-titled album. Opatz pays homage to the laid-back longing of the track, but adds a little rock and plenty of grit, bookending verses with crunchy guitar and employing a bare-bones production style that gives the listener the sense of being in the room as the band plays.

“It seemed like a natural fit for three reasons,” Opatz says of the song’s influence. “One, my friend Malachi DeLorenzo and I recorded our album on his four-track in his living room in Echo Park; two, while recording the first song on the record, ‘Got To Me Since,’ we picked up Echo Park’s mysterious but omnipresent Mexican-language radio station through an ungrounded distortion pedal, and after fiddling with it for a bit, decided to leave it in the mix (you can hear it at the very beginning of ‘Got To Me Since’), as it typified the natural, unique, seat-of-our-pants experience of recording at Malachi’s house, where we frequently had to pause to allow for helicopters to pass and next door dogs to stop barking; and three, that first line in Zevon’s song is about being in two places at once, and many of the songs on the record deal with longing, regret, hindsight, etc.”

“Carmelita” serves as a bonus track to Mariachi Static. Listen to “Carmelita” below.