Posts Tagged ‘Tom Waits’

The music a’Waits

March 14, 2017

OK, apropos of nothing in particular, check out this interview with Tom Waits at The New York Times Style Magazine.

Beck and Kendrick Lamar are in there, too, if that’s how you roll.

The money quote for me — from Waits, of course — is about inspiration and how it strikes:

If you want to catch songs you gotta start thinking like one, and making yourself an interesting place for them to land like birds or insects.

 

Life is but a dream

December 19, 2016
Life is but a dream; it's what you make it.

Life is but a dream; it’s what you make it.

Those last few moments of sleep before the bathroom light snaps on and a cat jumps on you are prime dreamtime.

So I’m drinking beer with Tom Waits and while we sip we’re wandering around his cabin, which is more of a shack, really, and with a decidedly M.C. Escherish tilt to it, and I’m apparently staying the night ’cause Tom rasps, “You know where the mattress is, right?”

And I ask where Kathleen is, and he says she’s dealing them off the arm downtown at some hipster hash house, and he wonders what that’s like, because every time he and the band are trying to wrap up a track it seems they get hungry and need a bite to carry on but even getting a simple sandwich from this posh beanery is a pain in the ass because the chef is always short some effete ingredient.

“Sorry, can’t finish your sandwich without my artisanal mayonnaise,” I quip, and we both have a good laugh about that and then the bathroom light snaps on and the Turk jumps on me.

And none of this has anything to do with the fact that the Electoral College votes today and with a little mercy, a lot of balls and a metric shit-ton of educated, far-sighted patriotism they could save us all from ourselves and deny Sir Donald of Orange his dubiously acquired electoral majority.

This would dump the whole hot mess into the fat lap of Congress. And the House would select some garden-variety-nightmare Republican to be president, and just maybe — maybe! — given the popular vote, the Senate would pick some run-of-the-mill Democrat to be vice president.

But being a presidential elector in these circumstances must feel a lot like being the maid at the Motel 666 in Federalist 68 Hell. We get to shit the bed and she has to wash the sheets?

No, thanks, honey, she purrs. I’d rather make a sandwich for Tom Waits. I know what kind of mayo he likes, and I hear there’s some beer left.

Life is but a dream. Hail, Beelzebozo.

 

(Almost) last leaf

November 12, 2015
Hang on there, fellas, it's only 38 outside.

Hang on there, fellas, it’s only 38 outside.

It’s not quite the last leaf on the tree … but it’s close.

Everyone’s a winner, bargains galore

June 1, 2013

wiggo-pythonToday 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.”

Christmas music that doesn’t suck (3)

December 24, 2012

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?”

 

Tom Waits’ latest, ‘Bad,’ is good

October 24, 2011
"Bad As Me"

The latest from Tom Waits, "Bad As Me," is a keeper. But then I'm the guy with most of his 20-odd albums cluttering up the joint, in CD and in vinyl.

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.

Last leaf on the tree

October 21, 2011
Palmer Park

Bibleburg as seen from Palmer Park. I used the Vivid mode on my little Canon 300 HS to pimp up the colors a bit.

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.

This morning I streamed the new Tom Waits album, Bad As Me, and it included a poignant number, “Last Leaf.” The refrain goes:

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.

Return of the Interbiker: Songs from Uranus

September 16, 2011
On the road again

Eastbound and down, loaded up an' truckin'.

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.

Good news and bad news

August 24, 2011

The bad news is Steve Jobs is stepping down as Chief Executive Black Turtleneck at Apple.

The good news is Tom Waits has some new music coming out in October.

All quiet on the western front

September 21, 2010

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.