Warren Zevon doesn’t have a favorite TV show. ”That’s one of those questions like, ‘Which band do you like out of Seattle?’ that I’m not equipped to answer,” growls the grizzled singer-songwriter who is best known for his 1978 hit, ”Werewolves of London,” and is now scoring NBC’s revamped Route 66. ”My lack of a vast knowledge of episodic TV music may have been what appealed to [the producers],” Zevon, 46, explains. ”I wouldn’t know a Rockford tension cue if it was floating in my coffee cup.”
Zevon describes the new series’ instrumentals as ”grunge-classical” numbers that bear no resemblance to the jazzy Nelson Riddle arrangements from the original 1960-64 series. His gravelly voice, which he says ”sounds like Nick Nolte trying to sing the national anthem,” is heard only on the opening theme.
No stranger to film soundtracks (his songs have been heard in movies from 1969’s Midnight Cowboy to 1991’s Grand Canyon), Zevon started dabbling in TV scoring a few years ago with NBC’s Drug Wars and HBO’s Tales From the Crypt. Way back in the ’60s, he penned TV ad jingles for Chevrolet’s Camaro, Gallo wines, and ”one of the two principal catsup makers of the age,” he recalls.
Still, if Zevon’s new 66 tunes don’t make people forget ”Werewolves” (”a stupid song for smart people”) that’s just fine with him. ”If you’re lucky, people like something you do early and something you do just before you drop dead,” he says. ”That’s as many pats on the back as you should expect.”