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“I had done an interview in England when I was on the road with Linda Ronstadt, and the journalist asked me what I thought of Jackson Browne’s production on the first Warren Zevon record. I said, ‘Oh, I think he had his hands too full and didn’t really know what he was getting himself into.’
“The day I got home, the phone rang and it was Jackson. He had never called me before. I told him that I just walked in the door from the tour, and he goes, ‘Yeah, I know. I read your interview – you know, the one where you said I had my hands full and didn’t know what I was doing. You’re absolutely right, so that’s why I’m calling. You’re gonna co-produce the next record.’
“I said, ‘Wait a minute. You don’t even know me.’ He said, ‘Not only do I know you, but I know where I stand with you. More important, I need you. Warren won’t listen to me anymore, but he’ll listen to you.’ Then he added, ‘But believe me, that’ll change after this record.’ Which it did – he was right about that.
“Werewolves Of London came about after Phil Everly called Warren and said, ‘Hey, there’s this old English horror movie called Werewolves Of London. You should write a song with that title.’ I got together with Warren at my friend Roy Marinell’s house. Warren told me about the title, and I was like, ‘Hey, I just got back from London.’ And what happened was, Roy had this guitar lick that we couldn’t put to anything. We tried to write songs with it, but nothing worked. A whole year of this fucking lick. But when Warren told me the title, I said, ‘Hey, Roy, play that lick of yours!’ And having just gotten back from London, I had all of these images and words in my head. In one pass, I spit out the first verse.
“Warren loved it. ‘Do it just like that,’ he said. And I went, ‘Why don’t we do the ‘Ahh-ooo – werewolves of London.’ And he goes, ‘That’s great. I love it.’ And I said, ‘All right, well, you finish it. I gotta go to work.’
“They finished up the song, masterfully, all except for the last line. The music had already been recorded, and I got a call from Warren – I was on the road at the time – and he said that we needed one more line. I was like, ‘OK, whatever you say.’ And then he said, ‘I’ve got it – I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s. His hair was perfect.’ I said, ‘That’s it, we’re done!’
“Funnily enough, I didn’t think that the song was a hit. When the record company picked it, Warren and I went fucking ballistic. We were so wrong, and they were so right. We were so proud of the other songs on the record. To us, Werewolves Of London was the dirty joke. We had no idea what we really had.”