Tom Waits in his own words: a collection of three decades’ worth of interviews with Tom Waits
‘I’ve never met anyone who made it with a chick because they owned a Tom Waits album. I’ve got all three, and it’s never helped me,’ Tom Waits.
Born, seemingly, in the back of a taxi cab outside a hospital in California, in December 1949, the young Tom Waits graduated through the jobs of janitor, dishwasher and cook to the position of doorman at a small L.A. club. Existing on a diet of whiskey, cigarettes and beat writing, he now added folk and jazz to his formative influences. In 1969, Captain Beefheart manager Herb Cohen discovered him – and five years later he released his first album, Closing Time, a record soaked in equal parts bourbon and melancholy. His drunken bohemian persona kicked in after this (‘The Piano Has Been Drinking, Not Me’), and his familiar hoary rasp (‘a voice that could guide ships through dense fog’), tales of losers, outsiders, hobos, dingy bar-room joints and seedy diners became the stuff of cult legend, covered by the likes of the Eagles, championed by Elton John, and instantly recognisable from a thirty-year career that has seeped through music (over 20 albums), theatre and film.
Waits has never written an autobiography, has notoriously played fast and loose with the truth, but this collection of interviews is practically Tom Waits in his own words. Witty, enigmatic and currently fired up about the state of America (his latest album ‘Real Gone’ has been his most successful yet), Innocent When You Dream is a must-have for any Waits fan.