The War on Drugs on the Sonic Roots of 'A Deeper Understanding'

Adam Granduciel guides us through his key influences, from Bruce Springsteen to Sonic Youth

Warren Zevon
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Warren Zevon performing in Philadelphia in 1982. Mediapunch/Alamy1/6

Warren Zevon

In late 2015, Granduciel moved from Philly to L.A., where he rediscovered the music of local legend Warren Zevon. On long drives to the studio, Granduciel constantly played 1978's "Accidentally Like a Martyr," a diary of post-relationship loneliness. He cites Zevon's simple but profound lines, like "The hurt gets worse and the heart gets harder," as "something that I'll try to achieve forever." Granduciel had that song in mind while writing "You Don't Have to Go," also about heartbreak. "I just had to sing and not be too worried about it being too revealing. It felt naked."