During the five months of his solo acoustic world tour in the summer and autumn of 1992, Warren Zevon said that his apartment was “knee-deep in digital audio tapes”, from the recordings his co-producer Duncan Aldrich had made during 60 different concerts across the globe. From more than a thousand tunes, they selected the 17 tracks that appeared on the final version of Learning To Flinch, Zevon’s second live album, a follow-up to 1980’s superb Stand In The Fire, which had been cut with a band that included David Landau on lead guitar.
“I’d eventually stop being self-conscious”
Learning To Flinch, another album with one of Zevon’s characteristically eye-catching, original titles, was released on 13 April 1993 and offers a memorable retrospective of his career. “If we record every show, I figured, I’d eventually stop being self-conscious about the fact we’re recording,” Zevon told a New Zealand newspaper during the tour, on which he was accompanied by his chronicler Aldrich, a musician and recording engineer to whom he usually referred as “Doctor Babyhead”.
Zevon chose Splendid Isolation as the opening track on the album, a song which shows off his passionate vocals and his skill on the 12-string guitar. Boom Boom Mancini, which was recorded during the US leg of the tour, at The Flood Zone in Richmond, Virginia, is Zevon’s biographical song about boxer Ray Mancini, which references the death of Mancini’s South Korean opponent Kim Duk-koo during a fight in 1992. Zevon was always interested in the darker side of sport.