Tom Waits changes your life

Recommend albums, songs, bands, etc.
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WillisDrummond
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Tom Waits changes your life

Post by WillisDrummond » Tue Mar 01, 2005 9:50 am

I just discovered Tom Waits through a friend. I'm sure there's another Tom Waits thread around here, but that's a lot of pages to dig through. My friend turned me on to the albums Blood Money and Alice, then I purchased Mule Variations through iTunes. I'm astounded. It's so cool to find someone still telling stories and putting so much theatrics into his work.

I'm looking for more recommendations on his work and, if anyone has seen him live, what's he like?
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Joey
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Post by Joey » Tue Mar 01, 2005 10:35 am

Tom Waits is my favorite musician! He's so great! The albums you have are amazing, his new album "Real Gone" should probably blow your mind. It's different, but give it a few listens, and you should appreciate it.

The thing to know about Waits is that he's got a LOT of albums, and they are all a little different from each other. "Closing Time" and "Heart of Saturday Night" were his first two albums, recorded in the early 70s, and they are a lot more mellow blues/folk kind of music. Not the Waits you've heard, but beautiful still. Then into the 80's he recorded a lot of similar music. For a while coming out with an album a year. That's probably my least favorite period. In the mid-80's though, he released "Swordfishtrombones" which was the first really experimental album. Many people would probably reccomend "Bone Machine" and "Rain Dogs" because I hear those refferred to as some of his best work. They are really good, but if you're looking for more storytelling like in "Alice" and "Blood Money," you should check out one of my favorites, "Frank's Wild Years" and "The Black Rider." Those two were written for musicals, just like "Alice" and "Blood Money." "The Black Rider" was sort of a cultural phenominon because the play itself was written by William Burroughs, Beat writer of "Naked Lunch," so as you can imagine the collaboration between the two was pretty nuts.

Unfortunately I've never seen Tom Waits live. He had to tour a lot in his early days, and found the experience very unpleasent, being booed off-stage and things like that. So, now that he doesn't have to, he rarely does. I got into Waits in '99 or so, right after "Mule Variations" came out. He toured for that, but I didn't really know about it at the time. And he hadn't toured since then until "Real Gone" came out last year, when he had a European Tour. I'm hoping to be able to get tickets for a US tour this year, if he has one. There have been rumors, but nothing confirmed. Tickets sell very fast for Waits concerts since there are a lot of die-hard fans, and tours are few and far between. I've seen a few live recordings though. They are awesome. He is very theatrical himself. Often telling funny stories, and really getting into the music. He often sings with props, like through a bullhorn, or throwing glitter. The setup is usually pretty low-key though. Just him at a piano, or on mic, with a couple musicians behind him. Live bootlegs are of course going around, and an out of print VHS "Big Time" is a movie that's basically a live performance, with Waits playing a few characters in between numbers. I've seen "Big Time" before, but haven't been able to get a copy of it myself. I see it go for like 50 bucks or so on ebay. Hopefully it'll be rereleased on DVD someday...

Ack, sorry, that was probably information overload. I'm just a huge Tom Waits fan. As you said, he'd change your life...
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WillisDrummond
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Post by WillisDrummond » Tue Mar 01, 2005 4:29 pm

Joey, thanks so much for your recommendations. I appreciate finding well thought and passionate responses to such a question. I, too, am hoping Waits tours soon. I read in a MOJO magazine review of his most recent show in England that Thom Yorke and Johnny Depp were in the audience. Amazing. The pictures of the show were great, like with the bull horn, maracas, etc. If you can pick up a copy of the Dec./Jan. issue of Paste magazine, there's an interview with him.

I really like what I've heard from Real Gone so far, so I'm looking forward to purchasing it. Mayabe I'll splurge and do it right now...no, I should wait...rrrr. :)
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Post by Joey » Tue Mar 01, 2005 11:03 pm

Oo, I'll look for that. I try to pick up any magazines with interviews and stuff that I run accross.

Real Gone is super good. I don't want to encourage you to spend money if you can't, but you should get ahold of it when you can. There's no piano on the album, which is a first, and a lot of the music is pretty different. He refers to it as "Cubist Funk." There's even turntables in a few tracks (played by his son, and occasionaly drummer Casey!) I have a friend who can't stand Waits, and she actually really liked Real Gone. Who would've known? I thought it was rougher to listen to than his other stuff, ha ha.

For more up-to-date info there are a few blogs devoted to Tom Waits:

http://eyeballkid.blogspot.com/

and

http://tomwaits.radicalwacko.com/

I check them semi-obsessively, in hopes for word about a US tour anytime soon. Also, you get interesting info about any public appearances, movie roles (oh yeah, he's an actor too), etc. Pretty cool, and good for a total geek like me.
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Post by pdaoust » Tue May 24, 2005 9:36 pm

I'm putting my chips down on Black Rider too. It's superbly bizarre, and I would have loved to see the musical it was written for.

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Post by Dek » Mon Sep 26, 2005 2:32 pm

Would this be a good time to mention I'm arranging and performing the music for a high-school Tom Waits musical? I think it would!

My drama teacher's just a hardcore Tom Waits fan; he went to his concerts in the 90s and all that kind of thing. Tom Waits' talent is just so...multifaceted. His voice is perfect for things like Anywhere I Lay My Head, the screamy-gravelly thing, yet it works amazing for I Hope that I Don't Fall In Love With You, or Dead and Lovely. It's uncanny; no cans!

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Post by neil » Mon Sep 26, 2005 5:12 pm

Woah, can i go to your high school? That's awesome!

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Post by Walter » Wed Sep 28, 2005 7:12 pm

Tom Waits is a native of the town I grew up in, National City, CA.

My buddy worked at a retirement community in a nearby city where his mother was staying.

Back in the 70s he hung around a lot at Napoleone's Pizza House on National City Blvd. It used to be the hotspot for kids and alumni of Sweetwater High School to go after the football games. You can see the name on the back of his album the Heart of Staurday Night under the track 'The Ghosts of Saturday Night'. At Napoleone's they have a couple of his albums in the jukebox. Above the Jukebox is a picture of the owner, Sal and Tom. The pizza there is excellent and there's a pay-pool table in the back room.

The line I like best from the album is "If I exorcise my demons, will my angels leave too?"

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Post by Joey » Tue Nov 08, 2005 10:13 am

While I'm sharing Gorillaz video links over in Hotel Adriano, I should also give a heads up about this...

There's an awesome collection of Tom Waits videos here: http://www.youtube.com/ Search for Tom Waits, and you'll find so much cool stuff! From music videos, to live performances, to talkshow interviews, to a rotoscoped "The One that Got Away"! New videos are being added all the time, I've already fallen behind..

The newer stuff I've seen a lot of, but it's a real treat to see the older appearances from the 70s & 80s...like his appearance on the Mike Douglas Show, and some show with Jeff Daniels and Fred Willard...oh, and a very nice performance on an old Saturday Night Live...ah, I could go on forever...
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Post by Los Fokos » Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:14 am

:D :D :D :D This made my day. Thanks Joey. :D :D :D :D
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Kazu
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Post by Kazu » Fri Nov 11, 2005 7:12 am

Thanks for the link, Joey. I love Tom Waits.
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Post by JessTheFink » Sun Dec 18, 2005 10:35 pm

Joey, Thanks SO much for that link, I get sad everytime I think of not being able to see Tom in concert, and this is the next best thing! Best Xmas present ever Tom Waits videos!
My fav so far is the performance on Letterman with the bullhorn and the glitter, he is so cool it hurts my eyes.

If you guys like Tom Waits, you might also dig the Tiger Lillies, they've been around forever, and they are an amazing act:
www.tigerlillies.com

also, here is an illo I did of Tom a while ago ^_^
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Joey
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Post by Joey » Mon Dec 19, 2005 5:57 am

JessTheFink wrote:Joey, Thanks SO much for that link, I get sad everytime I think of not being able to see Tom in concert, and this is the next best thing! Best Xmas present ever Tom Waits videos!
My fav so far is the performance on Letterman with the bullhorn and the glitter, he is so cool it hurts my eyes.

If you guys like Tom Waits, you might also dig the Tiger Lillies, they've been around forever, and they are an amazing act:
www.tigerlillies.com

also, here is an illo I did of Tom a while ago ^_^
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Woah! Cool!

Yeah, Tom Waits is a big fan of glitter, believe it or not...I've seen several performance videos of him where he uses it quite well.

ANYWAY, there's a rumor of a long awaited "Orphans" box set (which would contain a bunch of music not on any of his albums albums), coming possibley next year...as well as rumors of a tour happening next year. These are two seperate rumors which have been somewhat confirmed, and many have put one and one together to assume that a tour would be a great way to support a release of a box set so.......I'm hell of hoping these are both true! :D
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Post by PuzzleShift » Wed Dec 06, 2006 4:37 pm

Oh man...I, too, recently discovered Waits and I can't get enough. It strikes me as odd because he's really not like any of the other strange, edgy underground stuff I listen to, but...he's amazing! I first saw him in Coffee and Cigarettes and decided to check out Mule Variations at work (I work at a library), and now I'm starting from square one with the Early Years volumes. Excellent stuff!

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Joey
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Post by Joey » Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:30 pm

PuzzleShift wrote:Oh man...I, too, recently discovered Waits and I can't get enough. It strikes me as odd because he's really not like any of the other strange, edgy underground stuff I listen to, but...he's amazing! I first saw him in Coffee and Cigarettes and decided to check out Mule Variations at work (I work at a library), and now I'm starting from square one with the Early Years volumes. Excellent stuff!
His new box set, "Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards" is EXCELLENT. And I imagine that it would be a really great introductory set for people interested in getting a taste of Tom Waits, as it's a sort of "All You Can Eat Buffet" sampling all the diferent voices and styles of Tom Waits from the past decade or two....
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