Warren Zevon admitted that his 1982 album, The Envoy, was a challenge to himself, to test “whether he can pull off art, as well as life, straight”, as he put his producer hat on to sing and play on songs he had composed during a recent tour of Europe.
Zevon, then 35, called in Waddy Wachtel to act as co-producer of the album (alongside Greg Ladanyi), and they assembled a superb set of session musicians and guest stars, including guitarist David Landau, brother of Bruce Springsteen svengali Jon Landau, bass player Leland Sklar, drummer Jeff Porcaro, and harmony vocalists Don Henley, Lindsey Buckingham, JD Souther and Jorge Calderón.
Listen to ‘The Envoy’ here.
“My envoy is a self-disciplined James Bond”
Zevon’s then 12-year-old son, Jordan Zevon, provided backing vocals on The Hula Hula Boys, a wry song about a man whose wife is cheating on him with the valets during a holiday in Maui. The song included the droll lines “I didn’t have to come to Maui/To be treated like a jerk/How do you think I feel/When I see the bellboys smirk?” For added authenticity, Porcaro played the Tahitian log drums on the track.
Jordan Zevon went on to become a solo musician and recalled: “My relationship with Dad had very little to do with music. We didn’t sit and play songs together or anything, but he liked my voice. I was his go-to David Crosby, so I was happy to come in and lay down the high harmonies.”