Tom Waits: Five Fun Quotes, 20 Overlooked Songs

You’ve seen him read Bukowski. You’ve seen him talk about being famous at the dump. You’ve seen him explain his work at a press conference. Today Tom Waits dropped this little gem of 411 re: his upcoming record, Bad As Me, which the label just scrubbed from YouTube, which iTunes has for sale and which Spotify peeps can hear at the top of the playlist below. Waits speaks like few others, rendering his observations in full-tilt idiosyncrasy. Here are five nifty utterances.

1. Some of [my photographs] are pretty wild. I don’t know if anyone is as interested in them as I am. The shapes are just bizarre. [Photos of oil stains found on the ground]. I don’t think they’re going to be the next big thing. “Look Honey, Look, there’s Jackie Gleason; he’s got a Horse coming out of his head. It looks like a bird is eating his chin. There’s a camel, see the camel? The camel is disappearing into the pond right here and now there’s a fountain coming and Richard Benjamin is launching.” I see stuff that nobody else sees. I think they’re just for the home. Just for my own peculiar amusement.  Beck Interview.

2. I guess the only thing I hate is bluegrass played poorly.  Totalitarianism Today

3. I tell you, playing a calliope is an experience. There’s an old expression, ‘Never let your daughter marry a calliope player.’ Because they’re all out of their minds. Because the calliope is so flaming loud. Louder than a bagpipe. In the old days, they used them to announce the arrival of the circus because you could literally hear it three miles away. Imagine something you could hear three miles away, and now you’re right in front of it, in a studio…playing it like a piano, and your face is red, you’re hair is sticking up, you’re sweating. You could scream and nobody could hear you. It’s probably the most visceral music experience I’ve ever had. And when you’re done, you feel like you should probably should go to the doctor. Just check me over, Doc, I did a couple of numbers on the calliope and I want you to take me through the paces. GQ 

4. I’m usually more concerned with how things sound than how they look on the page. Some people write for the page and that’s a whole other thing. I’m going for what it sounds like right away, so it may not even look good on the page. But I’m still a word guy. I’m drawn to people who use a certain vernacular and communicate with words. Words are music, really. I mean, people ask me, “Do you write music or do you write words?” But you don’t really, it’s all one thing at its best. Sometimes when you’re making songs you just make sounds, and the sounds slowly mutate and evolve into actual words that have meaning. But to begin with, most people who make songs just start out with [Waits makes noises]  Pitchfork 

5. Aw… I’m not as demented as I’d like to be. We all have to prescribe to certain conventions and it’s difficult to dismantle this world and rebuild it the way you’d like. Some are completely unselfconscious and gone; I admire that. When I’m an old guy I’ll sit on the porch with a shotgun, and a skirt, and an umbrella, an’ if you hit your baseball in my yard you’ll never see it again. The Quietus.

20 Overlooked Tom Waits Songs on Spotify

Bad As Me tracks:

1. “Chicago”
2. “Raised Right Men”
3. “Talking at the Same Time”
4. “Get Lost”
5. “Face to the Highway”
6. “Pay Me”
7. “Back in the Crowd”
8. “Bad as Me”
9. “Kiss Me”
10. “Satisfied”
11. “Last Leaf”
12. “Hell Broke Luce”
13. “New Year’s Eve”
14. “She Stole the Blush (Bonus Track)”
15. “Tell Me (Bonus Track)”
16. “After You Die (Bonus Track)”

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