St. Petersburg Times: Weekend

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He's An 'Excitable Boy'!! She Kisses Girls!!


© St. Petersburg Times, published December 7, 2000


In the first 10 Pressing Questions for Two, we present singers Warren Zevon and Jill Sobule, who perform together Wednesday at the State Theater in St. Petersburg. The duo tackle the tough queries by telephone.

(Hint: To get the full effect, imagine cynical satirist Zevon, 53, speaking in his flat-effect, I-can't-be-bothered tone. Basically, Warren's the exact opposite of the Excitable Boy of which he sings.

Sobule, 39, on the other hand, is lovely: she's bright, bubbly and enthusiastic, the kind of girl who would giddily tell the world I Kissed a Girl. She did just that on her 1995 smash hit.)

(1) Warren's dad made his living as a gambler. Jill's dad had a job during WWII inoculating prostitutes to protect American GIs from STDs. Did your fathers' backgrounds influence your outlooks on life?

Zevon: It prepared me for the vicissitude for a career in show business.

Sobule: Well, my father was a French translator for the doctors. They were just protecting our soldiers and he was, you know, (laughing) doing his duty for our country. I guess I have non-conventional genes.

(2) Are either of you into boxing?

Zevon: I've always been a boxing fan. My father was a boxer. My favorite? Boom Boom Mancini, of course.

Sobule: (whose grandfather was Jack Dempsey's sparring partner): It's pretty brutal. But I love watching it. I have mixed feelings about it. It makes me feel guilty like I'm watching an evil porn movie.

(3) Do you recommend therapy?

Zevon: I was never in therapy. Golf is my therapy. I was in jail like Robert Downey Jr., but not therapy. There is a fine line between the two.

Sobule: I've been in therapy, yes. The worst that can happen is that you change. But, you have to get a good one. Like, my last therapist, he told me I suffered from ADD (attention deficit disorder), which wasn't my problem. But I did forget to pay him.

(4) This is a two-parter: (a) Warren, if you kissed a boy, would you write a pop song about it?

Zevon: I used to kiss my uncle Murray. Not the french way, no. He was over 90.

(b) Jill, have you kissed any girls since the one you wrote about?

Sobule: I kiss boys and girls, I've been in relationships with both and it all sucks. People are a pain . . . , no matter what. I don't go for this Mars and Venus stuff.

(5) If you could go on one date with anyone in history, who would it be?

Zevon: (thoughtful pause) Catherine the Great.

Sobule: King David. Don't ask me why I said that, I have no idea. Maybe I'd get some good stories from him and learn what was real and what was fiction. But, really, he's just the first person who came into my head.

(6) What's your favorite food?

Zevon: You mean aside from these Atkins dog biscuits I live on? Raspberries.

Sobule: White truffles.

(7) Finish this sentence: "Guys who wear shirts and ties are . . ."

Zevon: Whenever I'm on David Letterman's show I wear a suit and tie. (Zevon, who often joins Paul Shaffer's CBS Orchestra, did a stint filling in for the band leader.) So whenever Paul Shaffer is sick I wear a suit and tie.

Sobule: "Automatons."

(8) What was the best decade?

Zevon: None.

Sobule: I like the 1920s. I write a lot about those times, the post-Victorian era. It was just so exciting with the flappers and all the great artwork. Everyone was starting to get abstract. People were drinking absinthe and smoking opium. I just wanted to live then.

(9) Would you ever pose in a Gap ad wearing khakis?

Zevon: You have to be awfully sure of yourself to say you'd never do a Gap ad.

Sobule: Well, I'm poor. If it were for a lot of money, I'd do it, but then I'd slam it afterward before anyone else could. I'd totally make fun of it and tell all my friends, "I had to pay my rent."

(10) I know Jill's other grandfather was a Shriner circus clown, which prompts the question: Have either of you ever worn a fez?

Zevon: No, I've never owned a fez. No clowns in my family. Just dour Scots.

Sobule: No, but I wish I had a fez. If I had one, I'd wear it all the time. I'd get a red one.


Warren Zevon performs 8 p.m. Wed. with Jill Sobule at the State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Tickets: $22.50. (727) 895-3045.

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