Book Review: Accidentally Like a Martyr: The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon

The book is an elaborate, literate, sometimes difficult yet always rewarding work.

Accidentally Like a Martyr: The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon By James Campion (Backbeat Books) Rating: 4 out of 5 stars There have been a handful of books already written documenting the life and career of late singer-songwriter Warren Zevon. This one is different. Rather than just running down his life from either a chronological or personal standpoint, author James Campion chooses 10 songs and three albums — divided by a chapter each — he feels best encompass the mindset and “tortured art” that make Zevon’s work so exceptional. It’s a unique and somewhat unusual approach. Campion uses that structure to examine not only each of Zevon’s 13 albums, but the personal, political and business circumstances that impacted and instigated their creation. Over three years in the making, Campion interviewed 22 individuals close to the artist — everyone from his grown children and ex-wife Crystal (who has her own narrative about Zevon’s life, 2008’s I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life And Times Of Warren Zevon), band members Waddy Wachtel and David Landau along with friends/supporters/producers or co-songwriters Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther and Jorge Calderon — to provide a vivid, warts-and-all-portrait of a multifaceted individual other legendary artists such…

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