Los Angeles, September 1987. The director of A&R at Virgin Records rolls out of bed at three in the afternoon, his mind a fog after a three-day bender of booze, hookers and blow. He stumbles out into the kitchen to mix himself a screwdriver (“Hair of the dog’ll do it. Fuck you, I do not have a problem.”), putting on sunglasses after the glare of the light from the refrigerator proves to be more than his brain can process. Only then does he realize that his underwear is on backwards and his robe is inside out.
Nameless A&R Guy gets the mail – still in backward undies and inside-out robe – and sees a small brown envelope with no postage on it. He brings the mail to the kitchen table, opens the envelope, and pulls out a blank cassette that says, in block letters, “Warren Zevon Dance Mix.”
Sweet Jesus, what have I done?
He calls his assistant Claire (who bailed on the festivities two days earlier, shortly after her boss asked if he could snort the next line off of her ass), and asks her what the hell a Warren Zevon dance mix is doing in his mailbox. “You don’t remember?” she asks as neutrally as possible, secretly stung that her boss only wanted to snort coke off her ass. “You thought it would be hilarious to give Warren’s song to this pair of New York Latinos, just to see the look on Warren’s face when he heard it. You were so excited about it that I had them get started on it right away. They worked all night and overnighted the mixes to me this morning. Also, you dropped Scarlett and Black from the label, and signed Janet Jackson’s choreographer, for God’s sake. Good luck explaining that one at the next meeting.”
I am so dead, Nameless A&R Guy thought to himself.
In fairness to Nameless A&R Guy, his logic was not as twisted as you might think. Zevon had recruited George Clinton to do the arrangement for “Leave My Monkey Alone” (Clinton also shows up the video for the song), which makes a dance mix of the song a given. No, the twisted part would be the decision to get the Latin Rascals (Albert Cabrera and Tony Moran) involved. The Rascals, you see, were all about the edits, where kick drums are turned into machine gun fire. Perhaps their involvement was in response to the A-side mix, a ten-and-a-half-minute, rather unremarkable marathon version of the song. (We’ll assume that Claire commissioned that one.) Nameless A&R Guy, meanwhile, was very smart in assuming that if a Warren Zevon track is going to get any club play, it better have some pop, and the Latin Rascals mix, which will inspire a flurry of descriptors ranging from “awesome” to “blasphemous” and all points in between, has undeniable pop. And stutter. And pause. And pop again. Listen if you dare, Zevonphiles.
Warren Zevon – Leave My Monkey Alone (Latin Rascals Edit) (download)