Warren Zevon’s decision to go public with his struggle against lung cancer was characteristic of his unflinching approach to his life and his work. But what a shame that he let VH1 shoot this documentary about the making of his final album, The Wind, when surely his many artistic friends could have done a far more illuminating job. Admittedly, it’s a unique event, but VH1’s effort offers little understanding of the nature of Zevon’s iconoclastic gifts?the problem being that the film was prompted by Zevon’s illness rather than his work.
Interspersed between Billy Bob Thomton’s grindingly sincere commentary and some intimate access to the recording sessions, interviews with the ailing songwriter find him terse and laconic rather than keen to wallow in harrowing displays of emotion. The DVD includes the original uncut interviews shot for the film, and the questions are so tepid and unchallenging that you can see Zevon?who didn’t suffer fools gladly?making an effort to restrain himself from smashing a bottle of Wild Turkey over his interlocutor’s head. The best bits are footage of Springsteen’s visit to the studios to sing and play guitar on “Disorder In The House”, galvanising the proceedings with his larger-than-life exuberance, and comments from Zevon’s diary which offer glimpses into his state of mind as his illness progresses. Now, publication of Warren’s full diaries would be worth waiting for.