Fern Bar Fridays: Howlin’ At The Moon With Warren Zevon

Welcome to Fern Bar Fridays, a lighthearted romp (is there any other kind?) through a decade of cool music and even cooler drinks. The fern bar era, which roughly spanned 1975-1985, was filled with giant lapels and ties (and then later teeny tiny lapels and ties), ridiculous drinks, and sweet sounds. Every Friday we’ll bring you a song and drink pairing emblematic of that delightful time to help you get the weekend started off on the right loafer-sans-sock-shod foot. Today, and throughout the month of October, we’re celebrating the season of the witch with "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon.

Warren Zevon holds a special place in the heart of the staff at Rita’s, the imaginary fern bar that exists in my head. We like to think of Warren as the prototypical Rita’s patron—quirky glasses, a personality that leans toward ornery but which escapes full-on bad humorism with a sparkling wit and a penchant for a good time, if you know what I mean and I think you do, and a really good head of hair. Love a good head of hair. I would give anything to be able to get tanked on piña coladas (and scorpion bowls) at Trader Vic’s with Mister Zevon. Alas, both are gone now, off somewhere in the great fern bar in the sky.

Linda Ronstadt, who we’ve discussed before and is, as you know, the Patron Saint of the Fern Bar, covered a number of Zevon’s songs including "Carmelita" and, notably, "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me" which features probably my all-time favorite stanza in song:

Well I met a man out in Hollywood
Now I ain’t naming names
Well he really worked me over good
Just like Jesse James
Yes he really worked me over good
He was a credit to his gender
Put me through some changes Lord
Sort of like a Waring blender

We named the Waring Blender we use to make the coladas “Linda.” Joanne, our best waitress, likes to holler, "GIT ‘EM GOIN’, LIN!!" when she’s on frozen drinks duty. Bertie once sent me a birthday card expressing the sentiment that I was a credit to my gender. It still hangs on the bulletin board in the Rita’s back office, so touched was I by it.

But back to "Werewolf": The Dead often played this song during their Halloween shows, a fact which does nothing more than make me fall to the floor, rending my garments and pleading with the sweet lord to let Phish cover it.

(The above is, to say the very least, an unpopular opinion at the fern bar.)

And then there’s this line from Warren’s wikipedia article, which makes me want to do nothing other than shove my entire fist down my throat: “By September 1975, Zevon had returned to Los Angeles,where he roomed with then-unknown Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.”

#mouthfist #mouthfist #mouthfist

(Also both John McVie and Mick Fleetwood are featured, playing bass and drums, respectively, on "Werewolves" which deserves a keyboard smash made up entirely of sevens and threes because those numbers are spoo0ooky just like werewolves. 73773737737737373737373777373737377437373737737373737. (How’d that four get in there? GET OUTTA THERE, FOUR.))

This clip of "Werewolf" was chosen mostly because the concert takes place in Passaic, New Jersey, and even though Jersey generally is about as un-ferny a place as you’ll find, Passaic gets a pass because the name is such a delight to say. Pass-aaaaaaaaaaa-ic! What fun!

Also the concert takes place in 1982 and, good God damn, ’82 was a great year for ferns.

Our weekly drink pairing is a delightful brew called the Howlin’ Wolf. Might I suggest you serve your Howlin’ Wolves in one of these?

werewolf glasses

Howlin’ Wolf:

½ oz vodka
½ oz white creme de menthe
1 oz blue curacao
Sprite

Pour spirits in a glass. Add some ice and fill up with Sprite. Spear a blue cherry with a cocktail sword. Warren would have wanted it that way.

I love this drink because 1) the name and 2) the blue curacao. God, I love blue curacao. Arrr-oooo!
 

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