Monday, August 18, 2008

The Fascinating and Multitalented Tom Waits

Tom Waits is an intriguing performer. I'm a big fan not only of his singing but also of his acting. His sandpaper voice and distinctive appearance make him quite the unforgettable character. Wikipedia has a good bio, including this bit about his attitude towards mainstream advertising:

Waits has steadfastly refused to allow the use of his songs in commercials and has joked about other artists who do. ("If Michael Jackson wants to work for Pepsi, why doesn't he just get himself a suit and an office in their headquarters and be done with it?") He has filed several lawsuits against advertisers who used his material without permission. He has been quoted as saying, "Apparently, the highest compliment our culture grants artists nowadays is to be in an ad—ideally, naked and purring on the hood of a new car," he said in a statement, referring to the Mercury Cougar. "I have adamantly and repeatedly refused this dubious honor."

Here he is paying homage to those gun-totin' chicks we love so much, followed by a few other favorites.


  1. Interesting choices. I'll definitely say that you could go all day listening to different versions of Gunstreet Girl, seems like he's done a live version of that song at every concert since he wrote back in '85. That, 16 Shells from a .30-06, and Innocent When you Dream have been on nearly all his setlists in the last 20 some years.

    His studio work is amazing, but its on stage where Tom really shines, and he never does the same song the same way, he always adapts the song how he's feling that day and adds slow changes, over a long period of time you get some pretty radical departures (such as his replacing the Chorus of Gunstreet Girl with "I Ain't Goin' Down to that Well" I saw him on September 19 1999 in Boston and on that night he did BOTH Choruses, seems the shows before that he did one, shows after that he did the other, not sure how many performances had both)

    Great post!

  2. He is a unique artist, not for everyone. Pretty good actor too.

  3. Weer'd, Thanks for the background and personal experience. I knew you'd like that first video.

    Earl, You're surely right about his not being for everyone. His album Alice is what hooked me.