It’s not quite the last leaf on the tree … but it’s close.
Posts Tagged ‘Tom Waits’
Today is the neighborhood’s biennial yard sale, an event during which one hopes against all reason that strangers will cart off one’s useless bullshit and leave money in its place. This makes the tooth-fairy tale seem reasonable by comparison.
And now for something completely different: There is no truth to the rumor that Bradley Wiggins is skipping the 2013 Tour de France in order to stand in for the late Graham Chapman in a revival of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”
Any longtime fan of the DogS(h)ite knows my fondness for Tom Waits. He was a favorite, whether my old bros and I were in residence at the Mombo Club, El Rancho Delux or Ed Siegelman’s Ground Zero Equal Opportunity Apartments.
I mean, who else would perform a mashup of “Silent Night” and “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis” on “Austin City Limits?”
The latest from Tom Waits, “Bad As Me,” hit the stores today, and I bought my copy from the fine folks at Independent Records & Video, reasoning that Bibleburg could use the sales tax to plug a few of the potholes that keep knocking my wheels out of true.
I sprung for the deluxe edition, which includes a smallish book containing all the lyrics, photos, a breakdown of who plays what on which tracks and three additional tunes. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Musically, Waits is all over the map on this one. There’s less banging on shit just to hear what it sounds like and more toe-tappers; an occasional tip of the bowler to the bluesy old days of “Nighthawks,” “Blue Valentine” and “Small Change”; and a couple of audio political cartoons that I enjoyed a lot, especially “Hell Broke Luce.”
Herself thought she detected some marital distress in a few numbers, like “Face to the Highway,” “Back In the Crowd” and “Kiss Me,” but I’m not sure her spidey-sense is tuned into the Waits frequency. He’s always loved a good weeper, like “Ruby’s Arms” from “Heartattack and Vine.” And if there’s ever been a better fuck-you-I’m-gone track than “Frank’s Wild Years” from “Swordfishtrombones,” I’ve never heard one.
“Last Leaf,” a duet with Keith Richards, is just a song about the last leaf on a tree, says Waits. Uh huh. Whatever it is, it’s beautiful. And “New Year’s Eve” could be a Pogues number — it reminds me of “Fairytale of New York,” and I know Waits is a fan of the band and of Shane Macgowan, though like the rest of us he wishes the manky git would do summat about them teefuses a his.
Quitting the booze and the butts has mellowed the man’s voice without constricting his vision. If you’re a Tom Waits fan, you want “Bad As Me” in your collection.
• Extra credit bonus Waits: Libby, a longtime friend of the DogS(h)ite, sends this link to a Guardian interview with the man himself. It’s a good read.
People often ask me why I choose to live in Bibleburg. Seventy-degree days in late October have quite a bit to do with it.
I slipped out for a pleasant afternoon ride yesterday. Took the arm warmers, just in case; never needed them.
Lots of people were playing hooky. Dog walkers and joggers, moms pushing strollers, folks just slouching along, soaking in those last few sunny moments before it all goes sideways and snowy.
At one point I was high up on the south side of Palmer Park, looking west across town at the mountains. You can’t see the vacant storefronts, unpatched potholes and tinfoil-beanie wingnuts from up there. It’s all fall, all the time, green, orange and gold on a blue background.
I’m the last leaf on the tree
The autumn took the rest
but they won’t take me
I’m the last leaf on the tree.
Good stuff from start to finish. We’ll be adding that bad boy to the Waits library when it’s released on Monday.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Technology is not always our friend, and all too often the march of progress resembles the drunkard’s stumble that Tom Waits famously described in “Nighthawk Postcards (From Easy Street)” as “using parking meters as walking sticks.”
For example, we now enjoy “Italian” bikes wearing Asian components, “high-speed Internet” that is anything but, and “smart” phones that no longer need humans to place calls, choose music or launch apps.
The Italian-Asian hybrid you already know about. The Internet of the Living Dead was at the Fairfield, where I spent much of last night pushing one pixel at a time through a virtual soda straw.
And the “smart” phone? It was in one of the cargo pockets in my shorts when it decided Interbike was boring and needed a fresh soundtrack. Thus throughout the day my iPhone 3GS would randomly set Tom Waits, Gladys Knight and the Pips or Elvis Costello to singing, Ace Ventura-like, out of my butt, generally while I was trying to conduct a little business.
When that proved so 15 minutes ago it started ringing up people in my contacts list and launching apps at random. What’s next — texting my editors to ask them whether they’re wearing crotchless panties? Some of them probably are, and then where the hell will I be?
Oh, yeah — I’ll be on the road, that’s where. Show’s over, and I’m Colorado bound.
Eggs and sausage and a side of toast
Coffee and a roll, hash browns over easy
Chili in a bowl with burgers and fries
What kind of pies? — “Eggs and Sausage,” Tom Waits
Going to Interbike as a “cycling journalist” is a lot like deliberately overeating. Everything that goes in must eventually come back out, one way or another. Then it’s stand back, boys, she’s gonna go a gusher.
Outdoor Demo is but an appetizer, a trifle. It’s too hot to think, and people are either fresh from getting settled into their hotel rooms and routines and/or discovering with dismay which key piece of pro equipment they forgot to fetch with them from Podunk (MiFi, digital recorder, camera, Visa card). So they nibble around the edges out there in the desert outside Boulder City, ride a bike or two or three, gulp a beer in the VIP tent, take a deep breath.
Tomorrow the show opens for real at the Sands Convention Center. I recommend wearing Wellingtons, a slicker and a welder’s mask.
• Late update: Meanwhile, Lennard Zinn waxes rhapsodic over a $2,600 wheelset. Well, he’s waxing something, anyway. Jesus.
Happy birthday to expat cartoonist Robert Crumb from me and Tom Waits.
Here’s an early present for you — the Los Angeles Times reports that Tom Waits may (or may not) produce a new studio album in 2010.
In the meantime, the maestro has already given us some good quotes regarding the writing of music. Quoth Waits: “It’s like diamond-cutting or hunting for bear or dropping out of a tree. Sometimes, it’s like ping-pong. Other times it’s like operating on a flamingo. Every song’s different. Some are like empty swimming pools, and you’ve got to be the water.”
• Extra Credit Bonus Celebrity Artist Quotage: Here’s Terry Gilliam on making movies: “Once the voices are in your head, it’s either make a movie or kill a lot of people. That’s probably what I should be doing to get money for the movies: saying, ‘If you don’t give me the money, I will have to slaughter large numbers of people to deal with these voices in my head.'” Gilliam and Waits worked together on “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” which looks seriously weird (gee, imagine that; weirdness from Waits and Gilliam).