Comments/ Anecdotes On Waits

"I saw Tom Waits for the first time last night, and he knocked me out. He is the best contemporary expression of the loner I've yet encountered. But beyond his extraordinary ability as writer, monologist and performer, he exhibits the single ingredient most missing from the music of today's new stars--personality. He's so original, consistent and animated, he reminds us that, while there are a lot of first-rate craftsmen coming up through the ranks, most of them lack the distinctive point of view necessary for the creation of art."

Sal Crivello (1999) on Waits working at his Napoleone Pizza House: "He was fifteen years old. He was doing songwriting. He was playing several clubs then ... coffeehouses and things like that. We'd always talk about it while we were working. I saw him going in that direction. I knew he was talented, but I just never thought he'd be that big."(Source: "Wild Years: The music and myth of Tom Waits" Jay S. Jacobs. ECW Press, 2000. Telephone conversation May 20, 1999.)

Sal Crivello (2007) on Waits working at his Napoleone Pizza House: "He started when he was in high school, about sixteen years old. He was shy at first, but I think that was just because he was young. He washed dishes, and then he became a cook. He was an excellent worker. He made good pizzas" (Source: Sal Crivello interview March 22, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Bobi Thomas (2006) on Waits in high school: "Tom Waits and I went to the same High school (Hilltop High in Chula Vista, California). My first memory of Tom is seeing him walk (actually it was more of a free-wheeling strut) down the open-air hallways at Hilltop High. I remember thinking at the time "that man has music in him" partly because of the free-and-easy way he walked (and the way his shoulders swayed from side-to-side, his shoes clicking down the walk-way)." (Source: Email conversations with Bobi Thomas. September, 2006)

Barney Hoskyns (2009) on Waits’s early photography ambitions, ca. 1971/ 1972: "I think Tom and I were in that (photography) class together," says Carey Driscoll, now a promoter of acoustic music shows in San Diego. "He was noticeably a little bit different from the norm, the average student. He wasn't a total social outcast, either by society's standards or his own, but he was far from a social butterfly." For a moment Waits seems to have been serious about photography, purchasing several cameras and trying to exhibit pictures where he could. "He told me he'd been really into it, and that he wanted to be a photographer," says songwriter Jack Tempchin. "He had all these cameras and he would go downtown and photograph the bums." Singer Bob LaBeau remembers buying a black and white print of a pair of folded hands. "7hey were real greasy, dirty work hands," he says. "It was a nice photo" (Source: “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Ray Bierl (2007) on Waits taking piano lessons from a female classical teacher, ca. 1971/ 1972: "He took it pretty seriously. He said he was able to tell her the kind of thing he was interested in learning which was not just your basic classical music. She was somebody who really saw what Tom was after and helped him on a lot of chord theory and the kind of thing that shows up in his early compositions on the piano" (Source: Ray Bierl interview May 30, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Ray Bierl (2007) on Waits at the San Diego Heritage Coffeehouse ca. 1971/ 1972: "Tom was a pretty impressive guy from right off. He just struck you as a guy who was a thoughtful person. There was some intergrety to him. That reserve and shyness you saw as a positive thing, and I don't think that's inconsistent with being a performer" (Source: Ray Bierl interview May 30, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Martin Henry (2007) on Waits at the San Diego Heritage Coffeehouse ca. 1971/ 1972: "Tom was always very friendly and easy-going. He was wild-looking though. He always looked like he'd been out partying late. I guess you create the world around you, and you go to the places that evoke that inner world" (Source: Martin Henry interview June 24, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Dave Robinson (2003) on Waits at the San Diego Heritage Coffeehouse ca. 1971/ 1972: "I remember one of the few times seeing Tom do an extended set of more than 20 minutes or so. It might have been one of the Thursday nights and he finally got to share the night with Phil [Gross] as co-headliner (not too sure of that). Anyway, Tom mostly did covers of well-known folk writers such as Dylan. He wore a harmonica holder around his neck like Dylan and would change harmonicas between songs. But he never once played the harmonica. He would talk between songs, and he was pretty funny, but his expression would remain completely dead-pan. I thought it was hilarious, but I'm not sure whether many other people got the joke about the harmonicas that never got played. The music he played was a bit dull. He wasn't much of a guitar player or much of a singer. But he did do a killer Elvis impersonation that came as a shock - again completely deadpan." (Source: Email conversations with Dave Robinson: March, 2003)

Bob Webb (2003) on Waits during his Heritage days ca. 1970/ 1971: "A fair bit of advance work became necessary whenever Tom was booked. On "hoot nights" he played a flat-top steel-stringed guitar, but he began to rely more heavily on the piano to present his own songs, and we didn't have one. A few blocks up Mission Boulevard, down another alley leading to the beach, Tom had a close friend who owned a large upright piano, which we agreed in a mercurial moment to borrow for his use. This required hoisting the instrument out of her cottage onto a wheeled dolly, then shoving and pulling it awkwardly down alleys and walkways that seemed to be made more of sand than pavement. The dolly repeatedly became stuck, and when we finally reached the side door of The Heritage, we had to physically lift the piano down into the club, which was slightly below grade. Then we had to again get the dolly under it so we could move it into position along the north wall of the room. We decided not to put it on the stage, fearing that the supporting structure might collapse under its weight. Then someone had to climb a ladder to redirect some of the stage lights toward the piano. Tom sang and played guitar from the stage, and moved through the audience to the piano whenever he wanted to use it." (Source: "TOM WAITS AT THE HERITAGE" By Bob Webb. As sent to Tom Waits Library July 23, 2003.)

Bob Webb (2007) on Waits during his Heritage days ca. 1971/ 1972: "Almost all the local musicians were on the make. They were scrounging for any sort of thing - a gig, a drink, a lay, or a joint. Tom wasn't like that. He was polite, a little self-effacing, and in some real sense professional. I don't remember him having vices of the ordinary kind, though I suppose he smoked cigarettes. I never saw him do drugs, and he drank only moderately" (Source: Bob Webb email interview June 29, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Lou Curtiss (2002) on Waits during his Heritage days ca. 1971/ 1972: "You know I think it was Toms storytelling ability that attracted me to him first. We'd stand out in front of The Heritage, Tom & fellow musicians Ray, Wayne Stromberg, Tom Presley, sometimes Bob LaBeau or we'd go down to Saska's Steakhouse for a burger & beer after The Heritage closed and sit and talk, swap stories, bullshit about people, politics, etc. til the early morning hours or until they chased us out. That boy could talk with the best of them and that's probably what I miss the most... I've still got the tape of that "Dirty Joke Workshop" he took part in with his buddy & fellow musician Ray Bierl." (Source: Letter from Lou Curtiss to Tom Waits Library: September 16, 2002)

Lou Curtiss (2007) on Waits being the doorman at the Heritage, ca. 1971/ 1972: "Sometimes it was more fun standing outside gabbing with Tom than being inside the place. He was great to talk to. He was reading everything he could get a hold of. He'd have books by Kierkegaard. He was getting into some pretty heavy philosophy along with Kerouac and all that stuff" (Source: Lou Curtiss interview March 22, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Phil Gross (1974) on Waits during his Heritage days ca. 1971/ 1972: "The closest now to national prominence is Tom Waits. Two or three years ago, he'd play at The Heritage, a Mission Beach club, now closed. Tom's got two new albums out. I first met him at the Back Door when it first opened in about 1968. He was Bob Dylan. He had the corduroy hat, the speech inflections of Dylan, a harmonica, all the mannerisms. After that, I didn't see him for a long time. Then, he was the doorman at the Heritage. He used to play there almost every week, but I never heard him. And then he went off to L.A. and disappeared. He came back, got an album out, and finally, last year, I went to see him and really enjoyed him... think he's a fine writer. He's one of my favorite people in general. Hopefully, if he gets the right breaks and a little advertising, he'll become a big seller from San Diego... be sorta nice." (Source: "Interview with Phil Gross." The Reader (weekly alternative newspaper) Volume 3, #40. October 31 to November 6, 1974)

Francis Thumm (2004) on sitting at the paino with Waits (early 1970's?): "It was during this period that Waits realized he wanted to "be an old man," at least musically speaking. That goal was furthered by his friendship with San Diego pianist-composer Francis Thumm, who has collaborated on several of Waits' albums and theatrical productions, notably 1983's groundbreaking "Swordfishtrombones" album. Thumm was also a member of the avant-garde Harry Partch Ensemble, whose music profoundly influenced Waits. "Tom has a background that he doesn't give himself credit for, a very old-fashioned music background, where you're making music in the home," said Thumm, who once studied conducting with Leonard Bernstein. "He got a lot of that from his mom and church songs. When we met, that's what we found ourselves doing, singing great tunes by Gershwin. "We'd sit down at the piano and go through all these Gershwin songs, like a couple of old men in the retirement home. Tom is great at leveling the playing field in music; there's no distinction for him between classical or any other style. He's a slave to sound and to music, and you have him from the instant you play anything for him. It's a very childlike response, and also very refined." Waits and Thumm met here (San Diego)in 1969, when both were 20. They soon began making home recordings together, often with a proudly warped sense of humor. "We'd create a premise and work through it and do routines," Thumm recalled. "For instance, I'd be a retired truck driver who went into piano teaching, and I had the instrumental attack of a truck driver, and Tom would be this little boy coming in for a lesson. Another tape we made was 'Frank Sinatra Sings the Music of Jim Morrison.' My favorite one was Tom singing (The Doors') 'Riders on the Storm,' as Frank. We're still doing stuff like that." (Source: "There Was Always Music In The House". San Diego Union Tribune. October 3, 2004. By George Varga)

Jerry Yester (1999) on Waits during the Closing Time sessions late 1972: "We used to go play pool a lot. We used to go drinking a lot - when drinking was fun instead of suicidal. There was a place in Burbank that was fifty cents an hour for a nine-foot table covered with cigarette burns. And cheap beer, cheap Coors. Tom really loved those kinds of places. It had that kind of funkin' atmosphere... We'd start working on the tunes and he didn't like to hang around. He didn't want to hear it that many times. He was out just soaking up the atmosphere of Coyne and the Boulevard, which was hookers and all the strange population down in Hollywood at that time - God, it's a hundred times weirder now! It was very colorful." One day, Tom was gone for an hour, and he came back in and he was like ... white. And just shaking a little. I said, 'Jesus, Tom, what's the matter?' And he's, like, 'I just came on to a guy.'" (Laughs), 'He's like, 'This guy was one of the most beautiful women I ever saw in my life! We were going to go up to her place, and right before she said, 'You know I'm a man?'" that really shook [Tom's] foundation." (Source: "Wild Years, The Music and Myth of Tom Waits". Jay S. Jacobs, ECW Press, 2000. Telephone conversation. June 1, 1999)

Jerry Yester (1999): on Waits during the Closing Time sessions late 1972: "Tom's real easy to work with, we had a real good relationship. I really wasn't interested in telling him what to do. I just wanted to get the music out of him. That was the important thing. So, we talked about how he wanted to do it and I would make suggestions. There was a very good relationship between all of the band members. That album was absolutely the easiest one I've ever done in my life. It was done in, like, a week and a half ... in the studio at Sunset Sound. One reason it was good, I think, was we couldn't get the nighttime hours that I was looking for. We had to come in from ten to five every day. It took two days to get used to it, but once we did it was great. We were even awake when we got there, and it was like a job. Everybody was real alert and into it. We took our lunch breaks, came back and worked again. And we had the evening to do something with. It was like being human, you know?" (Source: "Wild Years, The Music and Myth of Tom Waits". Jay S. Jacobs, ECW Press, 2000. Telephone conversation. June 1, 1999)

Bill Plummer (2007) on recording Closing Time, late 1972: “Tom was very quiet. I later figured out that he was totally focused on what he was trying to do. He wanted that funky bar room sound (from a little upright piano). It was nicely in tune but it had a flavor to it. I don't know if he had it shipped in specially but he knew it well and was very comfortable with it... He was just so calm and relaxed about everything. And he knew those songs backwards and forwards. There was a wonderful feeling that he was authentic about the whole thing. He had his cigarette there in the ashtray, and all that kind of stuff. Just his appearance and demeanor and everything felt very real.” (Source: Bill Plummer interview May 7, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Jerry Yester (2007) on recording Closing Time, late 1972: "He was absolutely communicative with all the musicians. He didn't talk to them a lot in musical terms, but he always got his point across and could tell them exactly what he wanted. He'd put things in terms of metaphors and they knew exactly what he was talking about” (Source: Jerry Yester interview June 8, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Jerry Yester (2007) on Waits’s car early 1970’s: “When Jerry Yester helped Waits find a beautiful 1952 Buick, within two weeks it had been reduced to a trashmobile. "Every wrapper was still in the car, and he kind of reveled in that," Yester says. "He said, 'A car is like a suit. It's gotta fit real well."' (Source: Jerry Yester interview June 8, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Michael Melvoin (1999) on studio recordings with Waits in 1974: "I knew that I was dealing with an extraordinary, different kind of talent. There were a couple of things about it. First of all, the lyrics ... I would describe them as top-rank American poetry. I thought then, and I still believe, that I was dealing with a world-class poet. My degree from school was in English literature, so I felt that I was in the presence of one of the great Beat poets. Tom's work was a counterpoint to that experience. I was amazed by the richness of it. The musical settings that he was using reminded me of certain roots jazz experiences that I thought were very, very appropriate for that." (Source: "Wild Years, The Music and Myth of Tom Waits". Jay S. Jacobs, ECW Press 2000. Telephone conversation. June 25, 1999)

Jim Hughart (2007) on Waits’s persona when recording The Heart Of Saturday Night, May 1974: “In Hollywood you get accustomed to seeing people in costume, projecting an image. I thought, “Well, he's just another one of those.” It took a while for me to realize it wasn't costume but just the way he was. I figured he couldn't be broke, and had at least a father who was in academia. He seemed to live in self imposed poverty." (Source: Jim Hughart interview March 15, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Mike Melvoin (2007) on Waits’s persona when recording The Heart Of Saturday Night, May 1974: "I thought of Tom as a professional poet who was in character. He needed to be thought of as the character. It's where you and your body and your personal experience are the artifact. The question was,'How far are you willing to go with this jacket? How tight are you prepared to wear it?"' [Melvoin draws parallels with Prince, whom he met several times when his daughter Wendy was a member of the Revolution in the eighties]. "In Prince's case I think there's a pathological need not to lose character. Underneath the character he inhabits is a thoroughly acculturated guy from northern Minnesota with pencils in a pocket protector who goes home and fantasizes about being the Purple Master of the Universe. In Tom's case there was something a lot more organic about his love of his characters.” (Source: Mike Melvoin interview March 20, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Barney Hoskyns (2009) on Waits’s relationship with producer Bones Howe during the Heart Of Saturday Night sessions, May 1974: “For the most part, Waits kept his head down and let Howe do the talking. Though he wasn't exactly hip was if anything sartorially and politically conservative the forty year old producer seemed to function as yet another of the father figures Waits craved. "I definitely must have been in some ways," Howe says. I was sixteen years older and very experienced in the record business. I understand enough about the psychology of the thing to know that that puts you in a different kind of place”. Jim Hughart watched the dynamic between Waits and Howe evolve over the course of the fortnight they worked on the record. "There seemed to be a little uneasiness between them, and that may go along with the surrogate father thing," Hughart recalls. "Kids frequently are uncomfortable with their parents. Tom seemed to depend on Bones to get us through a session, yet he was chafing at what Bones had to say to him. It was almost the kind of attitude that said, 'Okay, Bones, that's enough, go back to your little room and leave me alone."' (Source: “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Jim Hughart (2000) on collaborating with Waits 1974-1980: “I really enjoyed almost everything about working with Tom. He's a character, and he comes up with some wonderful things. I think he's a poet more than he is a songwriter. He keeps his show on little scraps of paper in his pocket. We'd go to the session, and sometimes it was just Tom and me to begin with. This is probably my one and only complaint about Tom: we'd go into the studio and he'd rummage throught the scraps of paper he had in his pocket and say, "Okay, give me something like this," and snap his fingers to give me the tempo. He'd just sort of growl these words over the bass line that I was playing, and that became the tune. My complaint about it is when the record came out, it was "Words and Music by Tom Waits". It would have been nice to give me a credit; it wouldn't have cost him much to give me an opportunity to share the royalties, because nobody else does his material, I don't think, or very few people do. But it was all enjoyable working with him, every bit of it was enjoyable.” (Source: “The Joseph Scott Interview with Jim Hughart”, Bassics Magazine. July, 2000)

Bones Howe (2004) on recording Nighthawks At The Diner in 1975: "We did it as a live recording, which was unusual for an artist so new". "Herb Cohen and I both had a sense that we needed to bring out the jazz in Waits more clearly. Tom was a great performer on stage - Herb had him out there opening solo with an acoustic guitar for the Mothers Of Invention, so that was a baptism under fire for anyone, having to yell back at the hecklers and do your show. I told Tom that he should use a piano instead, and he says back [and Howe can almost perfectly mimic Waits' trademark growl and inflections], 'There's never one up there!' So we started talking about where we could do an album that would have a live feel to it. We thought about clubs, but the well-known ones like the Troubadour were toilets in those days. "Then I remembered that Barbra Streisand had made a record at the old Record Plant studios, when they were on 3rd Street near Cahuenga Boulevard. It's a mall now. There was a room there that she got an entire orchestra into. Back in those days they would just roll the consoles around to where they needed them. So Herb and I said let's see if we can put tables and chairs in there and get an audience in and record a show. "I got Michael Melvoin on piano, and he was one of the greatest jazz arrangers ever; I had Jim Hughart on [upright] bass, Bill Goodwin on drums and Pete Christlieb on sax. It was a totally jazz rhythm section. Herb gave out tickets to all his friends, we set up a bar, put potato chips on the tables and we had a sell-out, two nights, two shows a night, July 30 and 31, 1975. I remember that the opening act was a stripper. Her name was Dewana and her husband was a taxi driver. So for her the band played bump-and-grind music - and there's no jazz player who has never played a strip joint, so they knew exactly what to do. But it put the room in exactly the right mood. Then Waits came out and sang 'Emotional Weather Report'. Then he turned around to face the band and read the classified section of the paper while they played. It was like Allen Ginsberg with a really, really good band." (Source: "Bones Howe & Tom Waits" by Dan Daley, Sound On Sound. January/ February 2004)

Jim Hughart (2000) on recording Nighthawks At The Diner, July 1975: “For some reason Waits always recorded at the and of July, so for six years in a row or something like that, i celebrated my birthday in the studio with Waits, July 28. Preparing for Nighthawks In The Diner, Bones Howe was the producer on that, and he wanted the control of working in the studio, be he wanted the atmosphere of working live. So we went into the Record Plant, the old Record Plant that burned down a number of years ago. It had one big scoring stage in it, out of, I think, four studios in the building. It was a pretty good-sized room, and they set it up like a nightclub with big tables with checkerboard tablecloths and peanuts and pretzels and wine and beer, and it was an invitation-only audience. We did four shows each night, and we changed the audience after each show. It was done like a nightclub thing. And incidentally, Waits had this bright idea. There was a girl he knew who was a stripper, so he said, "I think I'll bring her in." What could be more appropriate for the warm-up for a Waits show than a stripper? It was perfect. Preparing for this thing, we had to memorize all this stuff, 'cause Waits had nothing on paper. So ultimately, we spent four or five days in a rehearsal studio going over this stuff. And that was durdgery. But when we did actually get it all prepared and go and record, that was the fastest two days of recording I've ever spent in my life. It was so fun. Some of the tunes were not what you'd call jazz tunes, but for the most part that was like a jazz record. This was a jazz band. Bill Goodwin was a drummer who was associated with Phil Woods for years. Pete Christlieb is one of the best jazz tenor players who ever lived. And my old friend, Mike Melvoin, played piano. There's a good reason why it was accepted as a jazz record.” (Source: “The Joseph Scott Interview with Jim Hughart”, Bassics Magazine. July, 2000)

Barney Hoskyns (2009) on the Nighthawks At The Diner musicians: “To this day, the Nighthawks musicians find themselves regularly being grilled about those two famous nights at the Record Plant. When people learn of their association with Tom Waits, the fact that they've played with innumerable jazz greats over the years apparently counts for nothing. "People like Melvoin and Christlieb have traveled the world and played with everybody," laughs Bones Howe. "Yet the one thing people always ask them is, 'What was it like making Nighthawks at the Diner?"' (Source: “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

John Landau (1975) on seeing Waits perform live. December,1975: "I saw Tom Waits for the first time last night, and he knocked me out. He is the best contemporary expression of the loner I've yet encountered. But beyond his extraordinary ability as writer, monologist and performer, he exhibits the single ingredient most missing from the music of today's new stars--personality. He's so original, consistent and animated, he reminds us that, while there are a lot of first-rate craftsmen coming up through the ranks, most of them lack the distinctive point of view necessary for the creation of art." (Source: "Positively 84th Street - Poet of the Crack of Dawn" by John Landau. Rolling Stone magazine. December 18, 1975)

John Landau (1975) on seeing Waits perform live. December, 1975: "Waits onstage is something to behold. He bobs, weaves, smokes and snaps his fingers from the moment he enters until the moment he leaves. He has now advanced to a point where his entire set revolves around his command of the language. He raps as much as he sings, but these are no average raps. He has become a master storyteller, and the whole set now feels like one long story - beautifully told. He functions throughout at one of the highest levels of energy I've ever seen in a top performer." (Source: "Positively 84th Street - Poet of the Crack of Dawn" by John Landau. Rolling Stone magazine. December 18, 1975)

John Hammond (2001) on seeing Waits perform at the Scottsdale nightclub Balcony Hall, 1974: "When Tom went on, I did that double take: 'What? Who is that?' This is before Tom's voice had gotten rough, and he did the most incredible songs. I didn't want him to stop, and then when the show ended, I didn't want to go on. I wanted him to do another set. But I went on and played, and after the show he was hangin' out and told me he was a big fan of mine. I said I'd never heard anything like him before, and he moved to New York in the late '70s, so I got to see him a whole bunch and got to see his star rise, ya know what I mean?" (Source: "Blues Valentine" interview w. John Hammond by Robert Wilonsky. Phoenix New Times. April 5, 2001)

Lordfrench (2000) on John Stewart and Tom Waits in the mid 1970's: "Following a show at the Palomino one night in the mid '70s, Waits drove out to John and Buffy's house in his '54 Cadillac with John as his passenger. His driving was so erratic, smoking and talking and weaving as he drove, that when they pulled up at the Stewart's home, John crawled out of Waits' car on his hands and knees and kissed the ground in appreciation. Anyway, Waits stayed up all night telling stories and reciting poems and songs (I remember him doing a new one, "Small Change Got Wasted with His Own .38.") I left about 4, and went back the next day around noon to find Waits still there. The sun was blazing up from the Pacific down below Malibu Road, and Waits squinted at it and said "I'm waiting for it to get dark again. How long does this last?" (Source: Bloodlines archives Digest V2 No 97. December 7-8, 2000)

Harvey Kubernik (2007) on meeting Waits in the early 1970’s: "Waits was an oasis for us. See, I'm writing for Melody Maker, I like disco girls in spandex pants... and all of a sudden here's Tom Waits, a guy we knew. At least he was a solo guy and he wasn't doing phony country rock. When you went up to Elektra Asylum on La Cienega Boulevard in 1974, you'd think, ‘At least there's somebody here without a buckskin jacket’” (Harvey Kubernik interview March 20, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Robert Marchese (2007) on getting to know Waits when a doorman at the Troubadour, ca. 1975: “I just thought Waits was fulla shit, which I always would tell him. You know, the whole mystique of this real funky dude and all that Charles Bukowski crap. Because nobody was really like that. He was basically a middle class, San Diego mom-and-pop-schoolteacher-kid. And it was his impression of how funky poor folk really are... For some odd reason Tom was very concerned about what I thought about his stuff. He gave me an acetate of one of his albums and said, 'I think I'm really takin' a chance with this one.' I said, 'I'll tell ya something, Tom. 1956 at the height of McCarthyism, Little Richard comes out in a silver suit singing "Tutti Frutti"... now that's somebody takin' a chance!' I would always say things like that, not out of belligerence but to keep everybody from getting bigheaded or losing perspective." (Source: Robert Marchese interview May 18, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Paul Body (2007) on Waits in the mid 1970’s. "He was driven. And the reason he got in the position he got into was that he was a little bit more driven than everyone else. He wasn't messing around getting high.” (Source: Paul Body interview March 9, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Bones Howe (2007) on meeting up with Waits in New York mid 1970’s: “From where Tom was staying it was about a five minute cab ride. Well, the cab pulls up and as Waits is paying the fare he's saying to the driver, 'Man, I hope your wife's operation turns out all right, and maybe your kid will come around and straighten out.' In that short period of time, Waits had gotten into that cab driver's life. That's how Tom's mind worked... he snagged every piece of information, and it kind of rattled around in his brain till it became a title or a piece of verse or whatever." (Source: as told by Kirk Silsbee March 20, 2007. “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Bette Midler (1978) on meeting Tom Waits in 1975: "My idea of a good time in L.A. is to go to the Fatburger with Tom Waits. Fact, Peter Riegert and I schlepped him over there last night for fries and a malted. "The Fatburger is a local junk-food pit, and Tom Waits is - do you know Tom Waits? - oh, he's won-der-ful. I first ran into him at the Bottom Line in New York. He was singing 'The Heart of Saturday Night.' and I just fell in love with him on the spot. "We got passingly acquainted that first night, and then I ran into him out here someplace, and I suggested we get together for a visit. Tom lives ... well, sort of knee-deep in grunge, so he was reluctant for me to see his apartment. I grew up in lots of clutter myself, and delicate I ain't, so I kept after him till he finally invited me over. He acted ultra-shy at first, but he finally ushered me around, and he's got his piano in the kitchen, and he only uses the kitchen range to light his cigarettes, and then there's this refrigerator where he keeps his hammers and wrenches and nuts and bolts and stuff like that. He opened the fridge door and with an absolute poker face he said, 'I got some cool tools in here.' You ever hear a cornier line than that? I howled for an hour, and we've been buddies ever since. "Tom can always get me tickled, and he really helped jack up my spirits after the disaster of that gay-rights benefit in Hollywood." (Source: "Bette Bounces Back" Bette and Aaron: One Sings, The Other Doesn't. Grover Lewis. New West: March 13, 1978)

Barney Hoskyns (2009) on Bones Howe and Waits working together on Small Change, early 1976: "He would call me and say,'I'm going into the studio to do some demos’. And he'd go in with his lyrics strewn all over the floor and the songs would come together." Working closely with Biff Dawes, who'd been Howes second engineer at Heider's, Waits would emerge with a collection of what Howe called "fragments and bits and pieces." He would then send Howe the tapes and book the first of a series of "pre production meetings" at either Duke's or Ben Frank's. "We'd sit for hours in one of those dumpy restaurants,” Howe says, “We'd talk about what the album was going to be, just in general. Most of our relationship was talk. We had played in the sandbox enough that I felt like I really got to know him... and I really liked him as a human being." (Source: Bones Howe interview March 13, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

David "Lefty" Foster (2007): on Waits performing at his Shaboo Inn (November, 1976): "Waits played the Shaboo shortly after releasing his acclaimed 1976 album "Small Change," but the record was a slow grower, and the audience was small when he rolled into Willimantic. "There were like 12 people the first night we booked him, and in the middle of the show - he's chain-smoking at the piano, and the bass player and the drummer are there, and all of a sudden, one of the Shaboo cats - we had cats - jumped up on the piano and started walking across the piano while he was playing, and Tom was enamored by the cat," Foster says. "At the end of the night, he's up in the office, he's kind of mumbling and chain-smoking, going, `Lefty, this is a great place. I really dug it.' I had my head tilted, going, `Tom, there was nobody here. What could possibly get you off about the place when there was nobody here?' He goes, `Man, the vibe, the cat - everything was just great.'" Waits' booking agent sent the singer back to Willimantic eight weeks later in the tour, after the album had attracted more attention, and this time the 1,000-capacity Shaboo sold out in advance. Foster recalls, "At the end of the night, I'm paying him again up in the office, and I said, `Tom, a little better this time,' and he goes, `Nah, it was better the first time.'" (Source: "Memorable Nights At The Shaboo - Concert Saturday Marks 25th Anniversary Of Roadhouse's Closing" by Eric R. Danton. August 12, 2007)

Don Roy King (1999) on Waits at the Mike Douglas Show, 1976: "It was a great hook, I thought. He started his set in character, sort of a half-buzzed derelict with the voice of a bulldozer, slurring his way through a metaphor-rich stream of semi-consciousness. It was 1973. Reno Sweeney's, a small club in Manhattan. "Tom Waits" the program said, the opening act for a lovely, thin-voiced flight attendant turned cabaret singer (turned flight attendant, I'll bet). I couldn't wait for him to drop the act, to see what he was really like, to hear how he really sounded. Well, song after song went by. Each rich and gutsy. Each with its own syncopated stutter-step of urban images and dark-side tales. Some were brash. Some were tender. All were captivating. The moods swung and flipped and flayed. But Tom never changed. He played the role straight through. He never looked at us. Never smoothed out the gravel. Never put out his cigarette. (He did balance it on his stool once when he sat down to play the piano.) The whole set as that derelict. A gutsy, shrewd act, I thought. Fast forward. 1976. I was directing the Mike Douglas Show in Philadelphia. The name Tom Waits came up in a booking meeting. He had a new album, I think. A press release had been sent to our head booker. I was the only one on the staff who knew the name. "He's great," I said, "the night I saw him he played this character on stage, sort of a beatnik street poet. Let's give him a shot." We did. One week later during rehearsals, I got a panic call. "Tom Waits isn't here yet. The car picked him up but nobody's seen him!" Well, someone had seen him, actually; and that was the problem. The security guard at the door wouldn't let him in. "There is no chance," he thought, "that this guy is on the show! Our guests own combs, razors and shoes, well, at least shoes with laces!!" My stage manager rushed out to get him. Tom was asleep in the lobby. Now it was my turn to panic. Tom Waits shuffled into the studio, mumbling something about South Philly, scratching a three-day beard, balancing an inch-and-a-half ash on a non-filtered cigarette. "Oh my God," I thought, "It wasn't an act!!! I pushed for this guy to be on our national television show, and he's going to panhandle the audience!!" We didn't have time to rehearse. I sent Tom up to the band leader, Joe Massimino, to go over his charts; we opened up the house, and set for the show. Ten minutes later, Mike Douglas stormed into the control room. "Who is that?!! I just stopped in the green room to say hi to the guests and there's some homeless guy in there asleep! Don't we have any security here!!" "It's okay, Mike," I blustered (in a tone that is now known as "Clinton Under Oath"). "He is a guest. That's Tom Waits. Jazz singer. It's just a role he plays. You'll love him." Mentally, I was typing my resume. The first half of the show went by in a blur. I can't remember who the co-host was that week - Shecky Green, Red Skelton, perhaps. Maybe Joey Heatherton, Robert Goulet, Roy Clark -- some name of 70's popular culture. I can't remember any other guests either. Could have been Professor Irwin Corey, Shari Lewis, the Amazing Kreskin, I don't know. But what I do remember is Tom Waits. And I'll bet every member of that staff and crew, every member of the studio and home audience remembers him, too. Tom knocked 'em dead! Mike introduced him. "A new talent on the cabaret scene, blah-blah-blah." Something like that. And then suddenly, there was Tom and all the regular rhythms of television talk skidded from four/four time into some beat only three-armed drummers could play. Mike was asking simple "how did you get started" kinds of pre-written questions, but Tom was answering in this other-worldly, or rather under-worldly way. He was sputtering and wheezing and barely intelligible but genuinely poetic. Street poetic. His answers sounded like quotes from some Clifford Odets Depression play. Mike was getting nervous. I was holding my breath. "Well, why don't you sing for us, Tom," Mike said, after a quick glance to his floor producer who suddenly didn't know which cue card to hold next. I'd never heard the control room so quiet. Tom got up, lurched to the performance area, and began. Small Change got rained on with his own .38 and nobody flinched down by the arcade... Right there on the chirpy, sparkling, squeaky-clean Mike Douglas Show, some urban low-life named Small Change died in the street, shot by his own handgun, left to lie in the gutter. Small Change got rained on with his own .38 and no one's gone over to close his eyes and there's a racing form in his pocket, circled Blue Boots in the 3rd. There were "naked mannikins with Cheshire grins," "raconteurs and roustabouts" saying "Buddy, come on in." Cops telling jokes about "some whore house in Seattle." It was a first for national daytime TV. Small Change got rained on with his own .38. and a fist full of dollars can't change that and someone copped his watch fob and someone got his ring and the newsboy got his pork pie Stetson hat. I glanced over at Mike's monitor. He was hooked. I saw that small, crooked smile of his, the one that meant he liked what he saw. I always believed that Mike's success was due mostly to his unselfish love of performers doing well. He didn't mind being upstaged by his guests. If they got big laughs or standing ovations he was thrilled. They'd scored on his show, and he loved it. Well, he was loving this. Tom was mesmerizing and he knew it. We all knew it. and the tuberculosis old men at the Nelson wheeze and cough and someone will head South until this whole thing cools off cause Small Change got rained on with his own .38. In three riveting minutes the painting was done. It was harsh and hard-edged and very real. But there was an abstract rush to it, too. Some steady hand had splattered reds and blacks and yellows in a way that opened up a dark and unknown world and let us in. We'd been escorted to those back streets we fear, those alleys we've never seen after dark. And there we met and almost got to know some poor loser named Small Change. I almost sent flowers. Mike jumped up at the end, rushed over to Tom. I could tell he was surprised and happy and relieved (not nearly as relieved as his director, however). I seem to remember Mike putting his arm around him, probably catching his ring on the rip in Tom's jacket. Tom mumbled a thank-you, and the show went on. The next day we had another ninety minutes to fill. I'm sure we did it with Dolly Parton or Dom DeLuise or Rosemary Clooney. But things were never quite the same. Every camera operator, every band member, every writer on that show did Tom Waits impressions for weeks. I heard Mike himself break into a "Small Change" refrain at least twice. And to this day, I'll bet fifty people tell this story as one of their highlights from the good old days." (Sent as an e-mail to "Blue Valentine" (the Italian Tom Waits fanclub) July 2, 1999. Forwarded by Francesco to the Raindogs Discussionlist July 5, 1999)

Rip Rense (1999) on Waits at the Tropicana in 1976: "Whenever I do an interview with Tom Waits, I wind up thinking about drainboards. Kitchen drainboards . . . It all goes back to my first meeting with him, in the fall of 1976, at the now-fabled Tropicana Motor Hotel in West Hollywood, where he was living. I was a police reporter for a suburban daily, and had wrangled an assignment for the entertainment page, just to break up the daily grind. I seem to remember taking the assignment because Waits' publicist represented Frank Zappa, who I really wanted to interview. If I write a piece about this guy, then maybe I can meet Zappa ... I knew nothing about Waits. I had sort of half-listened to some of the albums that the publicist had sent: The Heart of Saturday Night, and Nighthawks at the Diner. The brand new one, Small Change, would be along in a few days. No matter ... For the hell of it, I took a few friends along that night. (As any publicist will tell you, this is taboo.) One was six-foot-six and had an Afro the size of a tumbleweed. Another could have played linebacker for the Cowboys. We looked ... arrestable. We made our way up the steps between the white stucco-and-wood motel bungalows, there above busy Santa Monica Boulevard, around 9:30 or 10:00 P.M. Waits was leaning against the wall outside his room under a bare white bulb, smoking. He wore pointed black boots, black chinos, and a short-sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled up above the bicep, revealing an expansive, decorous tattoo. Three-day-old beard. A Mack cap was pulled so far forward over his face that his eyes were in shadow. I thought he looked like Henry Hull in "Werewolf of London" (who despite his lycanthropia, remained stylish in a cap). I introduced myself. "Just woke up," growled Waits, "Come on in." "In" was the kitchen of his bungalow, which was not quite as large as a broom closet. We sorta squeezed inside, and Waits and I sat in a couple of old wooden chairs, at an awkward angle. The other guys milled around, half-in the doorway. Waits kept glancing up at them, like he was wondering if he was about to be mugged and put in a cement overcoat. He crossed his legs, rested his elbow in one hand, and smoked and rocked incessantly. Backward, forward, rocking, rocking. Taking each drag like it was his last breath of life. I noticed that his fingers bent backward at the knuckle, in "double-jointed" fashion. With some panic, it occurred to me that this was probably not going to be a pat interview with a dopey up-and-coming pop star. Obvious and insipid questions ("What are you working on/what inspires you") weren't going to cut it. "Lived here long?" I ventured. (Now that wasn't insipid.) "Uh ... a while," said Waits. The joint was ... homey. If home was a place where you surrounded yourself with absolutely anything that interested you, in no particular arrangement. I seem to remember an automobile bumper on the kitchen counter. "I'm thinking about putting a piano in the kitchen," he offered. "Uh ... piano in the kitchen? Uh ... oh. Why is that?" What is this guy talking about? He said he just liked the idea. His delivery was marked by enigmatic pauses for head-scratching and sandpapery mumbling like, "Uhh ... well ..." and "I dunno, uh ..." Guess I'll uh ... have to saw off the drainboard to get it in, though," he added, rocking. What? "Saw off the drainboard? He nodded, gesturing with his cigarette hand. "Yeah. Uhh ... well .. Dunno ... Yep, gonna have to saw it off. Won't fit!" I read articles later in which the writer referred to a piano in Waits kitchen. It was not until then that I realized that the man had not merely been attempting to discuss ... interior design. That he really did saw off the kitchen drainboard to get a piano inside." (Source: Intro by Rip Rense for the July/ August, 1999 issue of Performing Songwriter. "Tom Waits: A Q&A About Mule Variations" Epitaph promo interview (MSO), by Rip Rense. Also re-printed in "Performing Songwriter" July/ August, 1999)

Chip White (2007) on touring with Waits from 1976 on: "It was like a traveling party and it kind of went on that way for a couple of years. It was the first time I'd done one of those tours where they took out all the seats on the bus so you could sleep in your bunk. They had videos and a kitchen and you could pick up fans and friends as you traveled along. We always kept a case of Heineken in the refrigerator. A frequent way of killing time was gambling. We played a lot of cards. I'd come out of my bunk in the middle of the night and there'd be hundreds of dollars on the table. Tom gambled along with everyone else, including the bus driver. There was never any star shit with him." (Source: Chip White interview December 11, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Chip White (2007) on touring with Waits from 1976 on: "Waits knew the script of Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity by heart... The whole band knew it. One of us would take Fred MacMurray's character and another would take Barbara Stanwyck's. It was like learning the lines to a song" (Source: Chip White interview December 11, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Chip White (19??) on Waits and a stripper. December 7, 1976: "One night is Tom Waits' birthday and we had been playing Pasties & A G String - you know, that song on his album and the road manager decided to - you know, it's about a stripper - that's what the whole song is about - so he decided to hire a lady to come on stage in the middle of that tune and he didn't tell Tom about it, you know, so we got to that part of the concert, we played the tune and this lady comes up, looks like out of the audience, you know, he thought she was just somebody coming out of the audience and she begins to take off her clothes, like, and she gets down to pasties and everybody's like - this is in Cleveland, a club called the Agora in Cleveland, Ohio. It was 1976 - 77, in there, probably 76. So she came onstage and began to dance with him and he got into it right away cause he thought - wow, this is just somebody out of the audience. He didn't know that she was really a professional dancer so she started dancing and then she started to take off her clothes and she unzipped her dress, man, and she stepped out and she had pasties and a G string on. She had - like in the song. That was a funny night. So after that, every town that we were in, that was at the beginning of a tour, every town that we played he had the road manager call up a stripper and she would come up out of the audience. We started to rate the strippers. We played about 50 or 60 cities so there was one every night. And Madison, Wisconsin actually was the best stripper. We had Los Angeles and San Francisco. Salt Lake City, Chicago, You Know, everywhere, Phoenix. We did it across the country in every town so we were kind of like judging, checking out, see who was best." (Source: Unidentified European interview w. Chip White. As sent to Listserv Discussionlist by Gary Tausch. August 8, 2001)

Chip White (2007) on Waits and his voice: "The first time I met Tom's mother was the first time I ever heard his voice come up high. He wasn't quite as gruff with her. We teased him about it. It was like, 'Oh hi, Mom, how you doing?' in a real high voice" (Source: Chip White interview December 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Paul Body (2007) on Waits's voice changing, May/ June 1976: "On one of the tours his voice changed. I think when he went to Europe something happened. When he came back it was different. He caught a cold or something, and after that the voice was forever gravelly. The sweet voice that's on Closing Time and Heart Of Saturday Night was gone" (Source: Paul Body interview March 9, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Chip White (19??) on Waits encountering a Japanese woman. January, 1977 "We went to Japan one time. We went to Japan and he met a lady over there and there was some confusion because she got kind of friendly and everything and she thought that he was asking her to marry him - to get married but he was not asking her to get married. So then we go back to California and we're playing at the Roxy on Sunset Strip one night with Jimmy Witherspoon. There were the two bands. We're playing and a strange thing happened because a car crashed into a telephone pole and knocked all the lights out in the club, completely blacked out and just at that moment this lady came from Japan to meet him. It was incredible because everything got dark and somebody'd light candles and then she walked in just when we lit the candles. So it was strange. And then we thought they'd fix the power but they could not fix the power so all the clubs - everybody went out in the streets and they were drinking and smoking - so the whole Sunset Strip is like one long party and he's there with this lady from Japan that's gonna marry him. But he's not gonna get married." (Source: Unidentified European interview w. Chip White. As sent to Listserv Discussionlist by Gary Tausch. August 8, 2001)

Dan Forte (1977) on Waits at the Tropicana. April, 1977: "Waits' Steinway upright does indeed occupy the far corner of his kitchen. "You'll notice what I had to go through in order to get it in," he says, leading the way. "First of all, I just could barely get it through the threshold. Then I had to saw off the draining board." He motions to the ragged edge of the sink's counter. "My next obstacle," he continues, "was a broom closet. Of course, I made short order of that son-of-a-bitch." The splintered-off corner of the room's entrance testifies to the validity of his statement." (Source: "Tom Waits - Offbeat Poet And Pianist" Contemporary Keyboard magazine, by Dan Forte. April, 1977)

John Lamb (2002) on Waits at the Tropicana ca. 1977: "I toured Waits' apartment at "The Tropicana" on Santa Monica blvd. in Hollywood in the same time period. He had 2 adjoining rooms with the common wall removed to make the joint bigger. Newspapers, manuscripts, ash trays and empties cluttered up the digs about waist to shoulder high throughout. A path literally led from the fridge to the piano.. piano to the couch.. couch to the bedroom and so on. If it was foliage, you would have needed a machete to hack your way through...the path was just wide enough to maneuver your torso through, sometimes having to turn sideways to navigate a tight turn. " (Source: E-mail conversations Tom Waits Library/ John Lamb. April 13 - May 24, 2002)

Loren Pickford (2002): on night auditing at the Tropicana: "I remember one of my last nights at the Tropicana Motel, where Tom Waits and a lot of rock bands stayed. I was doing the night audit, and in came Tom. 'I want to watch "Spartacus" on TV,' he said. About that time a girl walked in. I didn't think she was a prostitute, so I rented her a room. Two minutes later her pimp pulls a gun on Nick Lowe from Rockpile. "I'm calling the sheriff, and I got Tom Waits on the floor, rocking back and forth with a bottle of cognac. Right then, four gay Fillipinos came in. I gave them the room next to the office, and not 15 minutes later they're having an orgy in there, banging on the walls. "Meantime the sheriff pulled up, and there's a big confrontation in Nick Lowe's room. At that point a Mexican guy pulled in with his six kids in an old car. While they're in the office, his car caught on fire. Went up like a torch. He starts crying. The four guys are still banging on the wall. The cops are arresting the pimp. And, lastly, I got Tom Waits yelling, 'I love the scene of Spartacus on the hill.' "That night I came out so wrong with the audit, the manager came in and sent me home." (Source: "Beats Set Tempo Of Bop Lover's Life" by Bill Grady. The Louisiana Times Picayune. August 18, 2002)

Art Fein (1999): On the most embarassing moment of music (Gay rights show, 1977): "The other was Tom Waits at the Gay Rights show at the Hollywood Bowl in 1977. I went there with Todd Everett -- because we got free tickets! I was shocked to see George Maharis, of Route 66, made all up like Percy Dovetonsils. Todd acutely noted that three female performers that night - Helen Reddy, Tanya Tucker, and Bette Midler - had all had hits with "Delta Dawn." During a break, I noticed on the darkened stage the figure of Waits ascending some stairs to a piano atop a wall. He was to follow Richard Pryor, but he never got a chance. Pryor was not in the best of moods: "When they called me to do this gig for you I said fine. But then I was backstage and saw one of your guys yelling at this young kid from the Lockers dance group because he was smoking near a set. Those young kids worked their asses off to entertain you faggots, and they're not getting paid, but once one of them steps out of line a tiny bit you think you can yell at him. Well you can't! I'm sick of y'all and your faggoty-ass bullshit. What were YOU doing during the Watts riots - sucking each other's dicks? Fuck you and everything you stand for, I'm getting the fuck out of here." The audience at first laughed at his audaciousness, then let loose boos. The stage went dark. After ten minutes, someone gave the signal to get on with it. With people shouting "Kill him!" and "Fuck Richard Pryor!", the spotlight hit Tom Waits sitting on top of the wall. He was virtually unknown to this crowd, and decided it wasn't time to get acquainted. He wouldn't move. He just sat there smoking a cigarette for five long minutes. Finally they switched off the light, and a spokesman came out and apologized for Pryor's remarks. I think the rest of the show was cancelled. If any of y'all ever talk to Waits, ask him about that night. I never did." (Source: Another Fein Mess. Art Fein, March 1999.)

Chuck E. Weiss (1979) on Waits and Rickie Lee Jones, ca. 1975/ 1978: "She [Rickie Lee Jones] and Waits and I used to steal the black lawn jockeys from homes in Beverly Hills and hop freight trains together. Once we three were at an exclusive party in the Hollywood Hills, invited there by Tom's lawyer, and Rickie went right in, sat down, and put an avocado between her legs. Tom was embarrassed but got a great kick out of it. Nobody would talk to us after that, so we spent the evening going up to people with cocktail dip hidden in our palms and shaking hands with them." (Source: "Rock Lives, Profiles and Interviews". Interview w. Rickie Lee Jones from 1979. Timothy White. Omnibus, 1992)

Danny Trifan (2007) on Waits and the industry, Foreign Affairs tour 1977-1978: "Tom absolutely despised phonies. I remember one time a record company official came into the dressing room and greeted him with a loud ‘Hey, babe!' Waits just turned on his heel and left, leaving the guy standing there asking me, 'What I do?' I told him he had to be real with Waits and never call him 'babe' again.'” (Source: Danny Trifan email interview, October 11, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Ritz owner Jerry Swift (2006) on Waits performing at the Memphis Ritz. November 2, 1977: "I thought he was a homeless man looking for a handout. He looked like one of the winos who would come in if somebody left the backstage door open. I said, 'Hey, what do you think you're doing,' and he looked up at me and said, 'Well, I'm performing here tonight.'" (Source: "The Second Time Around - After a hot one-night stand in 1977, Tom Waits pays Memphis a courtesy call".The Memphis Flyer. Aug. 3, 2006. By Chris Davis)

John Lamb (2002) on Waits and his T-Bird, ca. 1978: "Tom also came to our studio in a middle class neighborhood on the outskirts of Beverly Hills/West L.A....primary residences to old silent era movie stars and the families of Hollywood entertainment personalities like Allen Carr, Yashur Heifitz, Arthur Freed and the sort. So Tom drives up in his 66' Bird with "Blue Valentine" spray-painted on the rear quarter panels [late 1978, as shown on the back cover of the album Blue Valentine]. His Bird was stuffed with newspapers, manuscripts and clothing from floor to ceiling, just like his apartment. There was only enough room for the driver behind the wheel, even the passenger seat was stuffed to the roof, his vision was completely obstructed except for his forward view out the wind shield, and all these old neighbors are peering out their windows watching this seedy looking character with a wrinkled suit and porkpie Stetson hat meander across the street ...pause and head up the stairs to our old Spanish - studio house. One of the old neighbors called after his arrival to see if everything was ok or if we wanted her to call the police." (Source: E-mail conversations Tom Waits Library/ John Lamb. April 13 - May 24, 2002)

Ted Quinn (2003) on Waits being a fan of the Rolling Stones, ca 1978: "... Bob [Kuhn] and i were hanging around way too much at the tropicana. one evening, around '77 or '78, we were driving there when we saw mick jagger getting out of a rental car on la cienega boulevard. he was driving himself and obviously high as a rooster on dawn patrol. we turned around and pulled up to him, "hey mick." he came over to our car (i think it was my '68 camaro) and leaned in the window. a couple of years later, when lennon was shot by a 'fan' in new york, 'major' rock n roll stars would never again be able to be so open and friendly. we shook his hand, saying we were huge fans of his. he said, "i'm a huge fan of yours, too, mates." we went to the trop, excited as hell. chuck e. was a big stones fan, mainly the really early r &b stuff, like "miss amanda jones." waits also loved the stones. especially, "i am waiting" and "she smiled sweetly." when we told them we'd just shook hands with jagger, waits told me, "you're never going to want to wash that hand..." (Source: NoMadHouse Ted Quinn blog. February 24, 2003)

Ted Quinn (2003) on Waits's appreciation for Bob Kuhn, ca 1978: "... Waits and weiss both loved bob [Kuhn], who could drink as well as anybody. he had a soulful voice and sad eyes. too deep and sad for someone not yet twenty. later... i had to toss him out, but to this day. i love him like nobody's business. when we played this song for waits, which was obviously inspired by him and his girlfriend at the time, rickie lee jones, especially, "last chance texaco." he smiled in an "aw shucks" sort of way. he especially dug the "fat chance, skinny" line and started using it around duke's and the trop." (Source: NoMadHouse Ted Quinn blog. February 24, 2003)

Ted Quinn (2003) on friendship with Waits: "... Waits would admonish me on occasion. when i dropped famous people's names in my songs, or the time i wrote a protest against doug weston's troubadour called "trouble's door." he didn't like patti smith, joni mitchell or frank zappa much at the time, all of whom i loved. he loaned me a kerouac album and i returned it with a scratch on it. shit, i was a stupid teenager. waits used to tell me not to try to write like him, that i should just write my own experiences and that would be the real stuff. he also said one time when i thought a song i wrote was too much like some other song, that you only write two or three songs ever, and then you re-write them hundreds of times. (if you're lucky.) soon after this stuff, i moved in with my first live-in girlfriend and her three year old. waits got the gig with coppola and met the woman he would marry. he moved to new york and i slipped into a techno band with my girlfriend for several years. i ran into waits a few more times over the years. he was always very kind." (Source: NoMadHouse Ted Quinn blog. February 24, 2003)

Bones Howe (1999) on Waits contributing to the Paradise Alley score ca. 1978/ 1979: "Sly and Tom got to be friends somehow or other. Maybe Sly saw him at the Troubadour or met him through somebody. I have no idea. He was suddenly there. But it wasn't unusual, because Tom had a way of accumulating people. Chuck E. Weiss. Rickie Lee Jones. People just sort of appeared all of a sudden." Stallone offered Waits the small role of Mumbles and asked him to record some songs for the Paradise Alley sound track album. Tom jumped at the chance to act, and the part was perfect for testing his wings. Mumbles, a piano player at a neighborhood saloon, wasn't exactly a stretch for him. Howe recalls that in the end he and Tom only contributed a couple of songs to the film's sound track - "Bill Conti was really upset because he wanted to do all the source music himself. He and Sly were very close, but Sly wanted Waits in that movie." (Source: "Wild Years, The Music and Myth of Tom Waits". Jay S. Jacobs, ECW Press 2000. Telephone conversation. June 23, 1999)

Brian Case (1987) on meeting Waits in Copenhagen, May 1979: "He's a hard guy to figure. I'd been on the road with him in Denmark near the start of his rise when he was still prepared to distinguish between act and self. He wasn't a loser, I told him, and wasn't he romanticising failure? Boy, I was beady back then. "I guess so. Two impostures, huh?' he chuckled. 'I don't care who I hafta step on my way back down.' And, unable to believe that voice. I'd hidden under a table one morning to see if he kept it up when he ordered breakfast alone. He kept it up all right, though he didn't match pennies to break the ol' monotony. The nighthawk stuff was true too. I told him a story about Durham miners' wives who buy butcher's hooks, decorate them with sequins, and stab them into the bar counter as hangers for their handbags on Ladies' Night Out, and he told me how alcoholics with the shakes can get a drink to the mouth by using the tie as a pulley, then we wound up in a Copenhagen bar on whisky cure with the All-Woman Eskimo Chapter of the Hell's Angels." (Source: "Worth The Waits" Time Out magazine (UK), by Brian Case. Compiled from earlier interviews ("Tom Waits For No Man", Melody Maker, October 29, 1983.) Date: November 11-18, 1987)

John Stewart (1979) on Tom Traubert's Blues: "Tom Waits is a master. Waits writes movies; he's one of the great songwriters. His Tom Traubert's Blues is one of the most gut-wrenching songs I have ever heard. I wept after hearing it." (Source: Songwriter magazine, 1979. John Stewart cover story)

Bones Howe (1999) on separating with Waits in 1982. "After we did One from the Heart and the sound-track album came out, Tom and I sat down and had a glass of wine at Martoni's. He said, 'I'm trying to write the next record. The problem that I'm having is, I know you so well and everything that I write, I keep thinking to myself, I wonder if Bones is going to like this? Or, I can't write this tune because I don't think you'll like it.' I told him, 'Tom, I shouldn't have any influence on what you create. Yeah, we do know each other really well, and of course you know the things that I like.' He said, 'I really want to get away from composing on the piano, because I feel like I'm writing the same song over and over again'. While assuring Tom that he was in no such rut Bones did concede that if he truly felt that way, there was no "more rational reason for two people to stop working together than this. So, we sort of shook hands and said, 'Okay, that's it.' I just told him, 'Look, if you ever want to make another record with me, you know the kind of records I'll make. Call me, and wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, I'll stop it and make a record with you.' Because that was really, really fun. I miss doing that with him. I've never found anybody I've enjoyed doing that with as much as Tom." So, over an amicable glass of wine, a long and fruitful partnership was dismantled. Howe adds that Kathleen played a role in the demise of the relationship, as well. "She really separated him from everybody in his past. And, frankly, it was time for that for Tom. Kathleen has been very good for him. He was never as wild as many people have said, but he was living in a motel and not really taking that good care of himself. It really was time. She separated him from everybody. Unfortunately, I was in the cut. I was from the past." (Source: "Wild Years, The Music and Myth of Tom Waits". Jay S. Jacobs, ECW Press 2000. Telephone conversation. June 23, 1999)

Bones Howe (2007) on Waits's wife Kathleen Brennan: "She provided emotional security and financial security. She was able to bring about these things that put the money back in his pocket. Because of her they sued Herb [Cohen] and Tom got a lot of money and got control of his copyrights. And when you get older those things become really important, because the big advances and big bucks aren't there particularly for a guy that's as much a hermit as he is." (Source: Bones Howe interview March 13, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Paul Body (2007) on Waits's wife Kathleen Brennan: “Basically, Kathleen saved Tom. I can't say anything better than that. If he'd kept going the other way, it would have just been sort of a dead end. It would have fizzled out and nobody would have cared. But he somehow managed to re¬invent himself, and Kathleen had a lot to do with that." (Source: Paul Body interview March 9, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Jim Hughart (2007) on Waits's wife Kathleen Brennan: "Kathleen changed his life radically. In some ways you might say she saved his life. He was getting out of control. But the perception I had was that she wanted to make the changes. It was like if he was going to go through with his marriage he'd better change, because she'd kick his ass otherwise. She was the warden, and you couldn't get through to him with¬out going through her first." (Source: Jim Hughart interview March 15, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Michael Hacker (2007) on Waits's wife Kathleen Brennan: "She showed him a way out. She's very smart, and she was kind of a muse figure, a lovely person. To me, in thinking about him, that was really Waits making a move from this minor figure. He really stepped up to become a world figure." (Source: Michael Hacker interview March 17, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Mike Melvoin (2007) on Waits's wife Kathleen Brennan: “[She] put a stake through the heart of various things. It's very easy for a woman to say, 'I love you so much, it's hard for me to see you put up with that," then you begin to look at what that is in a different way. You didn't even realize you were putting up with it, but now you feel it must diminish you in the eyes of others." (Source: Mike Melvoin interview March 20, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Bones Howe (2007) on Waits's wife Kathleen Brennan: "She really separated him from everybody. I don't know if it was her personal jealousy or what. I don't harbor any bad feelings towards her, because I really believe she saved his life. She came along at a time when his relationship with Herb [Cohen] was getting strained. She's a very strong woman and she found Tom's soft points. She provided him with strength when he needed strength. I have no idea what would have happened to him without somebody to really kind of take charge of his life." (Source: Bones Howe interview March 13, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Michael Hacker (2007) on Waits's wife Kathleen Brennan: “You can't really overestimate how much she brought positively to the table in a creative sense. As great as his early stuff is, his new music was so revolutionary." (Source: Michael Hacker interview March 17, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Joe Smith (2007) on Waits's wife Kathleen Brennan: "Kathleen was very concerned and very motherly and very protective of Tom. To get to Tom now you had to go through her. And even when you got to him, what did you get? He was non communicative, which was odd considering the roster I had at Elektra Asylum, where they were all big talkers. Tom always had his head down mumbling.” (Source: Joe Smith interview November 27, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Stephen Hodges (2007) on the Swordfishtrombones sessions, 1982/ 1983: "Kathleen was way into words and how the story was coming across. She's so into that shit, it's scary how she can break it all down." (Source: Stephen Hodges interview November 20, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Chris Blackwell (2007) on signing Waits up with Island records, early 1983: "I didn't know Tom's albums well, though I'd always loved 'Tom Traubert's Blues’. I loved the aura he projected his presence, his extraordinary intelligence, and his musical originality. [Flying to LA in early 1983, Blackwell and Conway met with Tom and Kathleen in a cafe in Los Feliz and offered to release Swordfishtrombones. A monosyllabic Waits left most of the talking to his wife, who greatly impressed the Island boss]. Tom didn't speak much. Most of the conversation was with Kathleen. Frankly, she played a big part in my decision to sign him." (Source: Chris Blackwell email interview December 1, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Spider Robinson (2000) on asking Waits permission to use some of his quotes, ca. 1983: "He's wonderful. I wanted to quote Tom Waits in an earlier book called Mindkiller. I wanted to quote a verse from his song "Twenty-nine dollars and an Alligator Purse." I wrote to the musician and he passed it to his lawyers and they wrote back: Send us $2000. And I wrote back and said: You don't understand. I sold the book for $5000. That's almost half my advance. But I really wanted this Waits quote and I couldn't afford no $2000. Jeanne's elder sister Kathy Rubico is a world-class musician and she's got the musician's union directory. So from that I got Tom Waits' personal address and wrote to him directly and said: I'm a starvin' artist, man. Your lawyers are going to hold me up for a whole bunch of bucks. I'd really love to quote that "Twenty-nine dollars and an Alligator Purse." Here's that chapter of the book so you can see the context and see I'm not making fun of you or anything. What can you do me? I got back this wonderful hand-scrawled crayon letter from Waits saying, [he affects a Tom Waits-style gravel voice] It's wonderful you wrote to me instead of my managers because they're all scum-sucking flesh peddlers and I just fired the cocksuckers. You wanna quote my song $29? All right: send me $29. So I sent him a check for 29 bucks and he sent me a waiver and then a year later -- and I still don't get this -- I get this envelope in the mail, return address: Tom Waits in care of a motel in Florida. And in the envelope -- without explanation -- are a matchbook, unused, from a gin mill in New Orleans in the Quarter somewhere; a single die from a Monopoly game -- red with white spots -- and a little plastic airplane with pontoons. That's it. Jeanne and I stared at this stuff for a week, because it's gotta be a rebus, right? Jeanne thought it was: Take a chance and fly to New Orleans. Whereas I thought it could just as easily be: If you fly to New Orleans you will die. After a week we just went and opened up our junk drawer and took out three goofy little items at random, threw them in an envelope and mailed them back to that motel. We never heard another thing. Either we failed the test or he sobered up or moved on. But I have no idea what it was about." (Source: "January Magazine's Spider Robinson Profile". September 2000. By Linda Richards. Also mentioned in foreword for "Off the Wall at Callahan's" Spider Robinson, 2004)

Brian Case (1983) on Waits being interviewed for Channel 4's "Loose Talk", 1983: "Now firmly established as television's most sheerly embarrassing chat show since they last allowed Eamonn Andrews to confuse a motley selection of guests on the air, Channel 4's "Loose Talk" clambered towards new peaks of unintentional hilarity last week when croaking old wordsman Tom Waits ran rings around sloth-witted presented Steve "Shakespeare" Taylor. Taylor had heard that Tom liked living in dives. "Ya mean places where they got swimmin' pools?" Waits groaned. Steve squirmed; no, he meant, well, you know, places that were, like, low-rent. "Low-rent? Ya mean somewhere like Rangoon or Iowa?" Poor old Shakespeare: this series alone he's been wound up more times than a shiftworker's alarm clock. In a later confrontation with Steve's co-presenter (some oily oik drafted in from Private Eye), Tom came perilously close to losing what little remained of his patience. Admitting that he was in Blighty just to promote his new LP, Waits was told by the PE lardpot that he should be promoting it more volubly. "I'll promote it my own damn way," snarled Waits." (Source: "Tom Waits For No Man". Melody Maker magazine, by Brian Case. Date: October 29, 1983)

Edwin Pouncey (1983) on Waits being interviewed for Channel 4's "Loose Talk", 1983: "Tom's storytelling technique suits the image many people have of him down to the ground. Mention him to many people and they will probably shoot back the image of a down-heeled alcoholic scraping for a bottle of cheap wine behind the keyboard of some smoke filled, dock-side bar. It was certainly the image chat host Steve Taylor was expecting when Tom turned up to promote his brilliant Swordfishtrombones album on Channel 4's ghastly, but masochistically watchable Loose Talk show recently. Taylor's "research" (ie: skimming through Face and NME interviews) went horribly awry as Tom proceeded to turn the gabbling cuckoo's beat-speak into the nonsense it ultimately was. For those of you who missed this conversation at cross purposes it went something as follows; Steve: "What part does this infamous image that we have of you over here play? This sort of low life, American..." Tom: "I beg your pardon?" Steve: "You've lived in some dives have you not?" Tom: "I don't know if I translate in my language. Do you mean a place with a pool?" Steve: "No not really. I'm thinking of more of the other side of the housing scale really, something pretty rough. Low rent? Is that an American expression?" Tom: "Low rent. You mean like Rangoon?" Steve: "I'm thinking of the seedier parts of LA probably." Tom: "You mean like a farming community?" Steve: (getting impatient now): "No, not that kind of seed. Have a go, have a guess. Try and guess what I'm getting at, yeah? Tom: "I think what you're trying to ask me is, uhhh, have I ever lived in a cheap hotel?" His cool thus blown, Steve's brain is far too fuddled to conduct a sensible, patient interview where much of Tom's true personality would have eventually trickled out. I suppose Tom Waits makes for a lousy young people's chat show guest. He is an artist and television moves too fast, before Tom had time to get his head out of his shell his slot was over and Steve's bandwagon had rolled on to its next fashionable guest." (Source: "Swordfish Out of Water: Tom Waits". Sounds magazine by Edwin Pouncey. November 15, 1983)

Jim Jarmusch (2005) on shooting Down By Law in a hotel, 1985: "There were a lot of student nurses living there at the time, which was kinda weird, I remember on Tom Waits' birthday, I remember him having a bottle of champagne in each hand and drinking alternately from each bottle, and he would go around knocking on doors saying, 'We're a party on wheels, let us in!' And the nursing students would open up the door with the chain still on, and they'd take one look at Tom and then slam the door." (Source: "Sad and Beautiful World" by David Lee Simmons. �1999 - 2005 Timothea & Blue Soul Records)

Stephen Hodges (2007) on the Rain Dogs sessions, 1985: "I got pushed into a lot of really uncomfortable positions, but we just made it work. We banged our heads bloody fucking around with sounds, till we finally learned how to suss out sounds and metals to the point where it was... not exactly a science but kind of" (Source: Stephen Hodges interview November 20, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Elvis Costello (1989) on Waits releasing Swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs, 1983/ 1985: "When the records 'Swordfishtrombones' and 'Raindogs' came out, I thought it was a very brave move, because he had such a totally complete persona, based around this hipster thing he'd taken from Kerouac and Bukowski, and the music was tied to some Beat/Jazz thing, and suddenly it's exploring music that was something to do with Howlin' Wolf and Charles Ives. I think I was envious, not so much of the music, but his ability to rewrite himself out of the corner he'd appeared to have backed himself into. It was an audacious thing to do, and I think that anyone who can't recognize the quality of that music really doesn't have their ears on the right way round!" (Source: "Small Change, A life of Tom Waits". Patrick Humphries, 1989. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-312-04582-4)

Ralph Carney (2004) on working with Waits from 1984 to 1999: "Tom was doing a couple songs for a documentary called 'Streetwise' and he wanted to have a kind of Salvation Army sounding band," Carney says. "I had a street band at the time and we just hit it off, I guess. Sometimes he would ask me to play two horns at once, and he liked me to play the bass clarinet a lot. But he doesn't like flutes," Carney says, laughing. "It's hard not to become attached to working with him, but he seems to like to change players a lot, so I guess I was lucky to have worked with him more than most." (Source: "Carney's Little Carnival" by Joe Jarrell. San Francisco Chronicle. May 30, 2004)

Stephen Hodges (2007) on touring with Waits in 1985 (Rain Dogs tour): "There was a fair amount of trial and error. We would change things around a lot, every night. Tom presented one of the most challenging monitor mixes on the face of the globe, with all these marimbas and pump organs. So you had to be on your toes... When Tom came out there was so much love in the air, it was like we were kids or something. It was like he was the principal of some global arts high school and everyone wanted the principal to come out of his office and play some songs at the assembly. Like, 'Come on, Mr. Waits! Play some songs, sir!'" (Source: Stephen Hodges interview November 20, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Marc Ribot (1999) on touring with Waits in 1985 (Rain Dogs tour): "The first tour was really brilliant - we did an entire week in London at this West End theatre at the beginning of the tour - and intensely creative, but one which also drove us crazy. Because Tom never had a set list. Normally if you're playing in a small club you can get by without a set list, but Tom changed it every single night. He was playing these fairly large theatres like he was playing in a tiny bar. We would rehearse intensely every day rather than soundcheck. I think Greg Cohen may have had a talk with him because on the second tour we more or less stuck to a set list. On the first tour there were a lot of brilliant mistakes because of that, when you don't quite know what to expect. Everybody gets stressed out on tours. On the Rain Dogs tour he didn't really know whether people would like his new direction. So he was really driving himself very hard, putting a lot of pressure on himself - productive pressure that went into perfecting the music. But it was fun. We were all in the bus together, we hung out and talked about music. He was a good geezer, though, contrary to the public perception, Tom is kind of shy. He's not a big one for partying after gigs. He'd go up to his hotel room pretty fast. But I think he did enough of the rock star thing for several lifetimes. The public image was well-earned a while ago. He's got kids now that he really cares about, and beyond that I have to say Waits is one of the most private people I've ever met, so the question, "What's Tom Waits really like?", must go unanswered." (Source: "Tom Wait's Right-Hand Man" by Sylvie Simmons. Mojo Magazine. April, 1999)

Bill Schimmel (2007) on working with Waits on the Frank’s Wild Years play, 1986: “Schimmel has never forgotten a nightly ritual enacted by his employer. Before each performance of Frank's Wild Years, Waits would show up outside the theatre, park his yellow Chevy Citation on the opposite side of the street, and walk straight past the people lining up for tickets. Nobody, says Schimmel, ever recognized him. "He'd have his blues hat on and an old school bag that he carried , " Schimmel says. "He'd get out of the car very slowly, close the door, and walk past the crowd into the door ... and they wouldn't see him. He could do the Rasputin thing. Tom could make himself invisible, and that blew me away." For Schimmel it was part of the mystery of Waits that he could somehow act his way into not being Tom Waits.” (Source: Bill Schimmel interview December 12, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Michael Blair (2004) on recording with Waits for Rain Dogs/ Frank's Wild Years 1985/ 1987: "On the A-list of alltime best performer/ writers ever. Bare none. Steinbeck and Howlin' Wolf rolled into one. Tom gave me a chance to go deep into the Euro-American story-telling tradition, for which I will be always grateful. A rare experience. I threw every monkeywrench, crowbar and pitchfork I had at his material, and every song came back for more. Indestructable and unavoidable." (Source: "Directions In Music": News about Chris Bell & Michael Blair, 2004)

Bill Holdship (1988) on interviewing Tom Waits, 1988: "Waits is indeed a tough cookie when it comes to interview time. He's tired of talking music and his view of movies is monosyllabic. Sometimes, he's serious, but brief; other times, I can't tell if he's putting me on or not.'Cuban-Chinese. That's what I'm doing,' he says when you ask what his live act is like. Or, he contends 'a slaughterhouse' is his chosen environment in which to write. He says 'DJ Pancake' is his favourite writer and notes he's been focussing on air-conditioning units and light fixtures these days. He coughs up the words 'I don't know' a hundred times. But the most telling moment is when I ask - since all his characters are dreamers - if he thinks dreams are really a good thing. We sit in silence while Waits studies my face for several seconds. 'Ask me another question,' he finally says..." (Source: "A Flea In His Ear" City Limits magazine (UK), by Bill Holdship. Date: Traveler's Cafe/ Los Angeles. May 12-19 , 1988)

Francis Thumm (1988) on his longtime friendship with Tom Waits, 1988: "It is divided between a mutual love of music and a compulsion to engage in elaborate and colorful histories of events and personalities that never existed. We would attend a concert by Arthur Rubinstein and follow it with an improvised conversation between two late-arriving plainclothes security guards who were blaming their incompetence on blocked chakra while stationed at Club Nahqui - a legendary watering hole with drawing rooms named The Hall of Yells, Rat Landing, and The Cherry Room." (Source: "Tom's Wild Years" Interview Magazine (USA), by Francis Thumm. October, 1988)

Steve Jordan (1997) on Keith Richards’ album Talk Is Cheap, 1988: "There were two turning points in the making of Talk Is Cheap. One of them was sitting down with Tom one evening in LA and listening to an acetate of Frank's Wild Years. Virgin were trying to figure out what sort of record Keith should make, which just struck me as absurd, and hearing Franks Wild Years set us all free about the integrity of the project." (Source: Steve Jordan interview March 10, 1997 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Mark Ribot (1989): On working in the studio with Waits: 1985/ 1999: "To this day Ribot is impressed by Waits' unusual studio presence, although he admits he didn't really notice it at the time. "Rain Dogs was my first major label type recording, and thought everybody made records the way Tom makes records," he says: "I've learned since that it's a very original and individual way of producing. As producer apart from himself as writer and singer and guitar player he brings in his ideas, but he's very open to sounds that suddenly and accidentally occur in the studio. I remember one verbal instruction being, 'Play it like a midget's bar-mitzvah."' Ribot says he somehow understood exactly what Waits was after, but when asked how he knew, he replies, 'I don't know. Listen to Rain Dogs and find out." Ribot went into the sessions for both Rain Dogs and Frank's Wild Years virtually cold; during the former, he says, Waits would teach him songs in the studio on acoustic guitar. "He had this ratty old hollow body, and he would spell out the grooves. It wasn't a mechanical kind of recording at all. He has a very individual guitar style he sort of slaps the strings with his thumb." For Frank's Wild Years, Ribot came in for one intense ten hour session of overdubs. "He let me do what I heard," Ribot says. "There was a lot of freedom. If it wasn't going in a direction he liked, he'd make suggestions. But there's damn few ideas I've had which haven't happened on the first or second take."(Source: "Play It Like A Midget's Bar-Mitzvah" - Mark Ribot". Option Magazine (USA). No. 27. July/ August, 1889)

Francis Thumm (1992) on Night On Earth, 1992: "Going mano a mano with Tom's quick mind and refined musical sensibilities is something I would compare to going 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali. There were several quick exchanges, a few haymakers and some of them were knockouts... Tom is one of the most creative and fearless musicians I've ever met. He continually astonishes me with his new ideas and his rare ability to absorb a fragment, whether it be musical or literary, and transform it into his own unique voice. And his wife, Kathleen, has been instrumental in encouraging and inspiring his constant development over the past 10 years. For the past three years, they've been writing songs together, including co-writing all of the material for Tom's next album. While I can't divulge the musical direction of the album, I can say that listening to it is like driving to Las Vegas in the middle of July, in a Cadillac El Dorado, with your hair on fire." (Source: "Thumm-Waits score a musical knockout" by George Varga. The San Diego Union-Tribune. May 6, 1992)

Jim Jarmusch (April, 2000) on Waits and the Gambinos ca. 1983/ 1985: "I lived for a long time, late '70s to mid '80s, right across from the Ravenite Social Club, which was the Gambino Family social club. So I saw those guys, John Gotti, Sammy the Bull, Neil Dellacroce, before he died, all the time on the street in my neighborhood. In fact I had a strange encounter with them once with Tom Waits. It's sort of a long story... Tom had this big Cadillac that was being repaired, so they gave him a loan car - a little Honda Civic, which was driving Tom nuts because he likes big cars. We were on Mulberry Street which was blocked up by some big Lincolns parked in front of the Ravenite Social Club. Some wiseguys were talking to a guy in one of those cars and we were behind them. Tom, who's a hothead, starts honking the horn and screaming out the window, [adopts hoarse Waits growl] "Let's move along here. We got to drive through." I was like, "Tom, shut the fuck up! Leave them alone. That's the Gambinos." But he's not listening to me, just getting more upset.So this thousand dollar suit guy walks over to us really slowly, leans in the car and says, "You got a problem here?" And Tom shouts, "Yeah, I got a problem. I want to drive through here. The light's been red, green, red, green, rah, rah, rah." I just said to him, "It's OK, man. We're cool. Take your time," while Tom blurts out, "Take your time!" The guy just looks at me, sort of smiles, and says, "I'll ask him to move." He walks back really slowly, and talks for a little while longer.All the while, Tom's honking the horn. Finally we drive by and Tom gives him some brusque gesture. And I thought, "Oh, Jesus!" It was right in my neighborhood, but luckily we didn't get shot or anything. Later I got it into his head, "Y' know, that's the Mafia, Tom." And he's like, "Oh, really? You should have told me!" (Source: "A Conversation With Jim Jarmusch". Culture Vulture, by Chris Campion. April, 2000)

Jim Jarmusch (1996) on visiting Waits in New York in 1985: "If you don't know Tom Waits' work, you're missing a lot. I don't know how to describe Tom Waits, because to me he's like some strange, very rare mushroom or something, growing out in the forest and there's no other species like him. You know, he is a kind of poet, troubadour musician and there's almost something like, carny about him too. I don't know; it's very hard to describe Tom Waits. I could tell you an anecdote that sort of explains...When he was living in New York in, I guess, 1985, he was living in a kind of burnt-out loft on 14th Street and I went up to visit him. He had a black suit laid out on newspapers on the floor and a spray can of yellow paint and he was spraypainting yellow stripes on the suit. And while he was doing that, his little daughter Kelly Simone was drawing all over the walls. So all around the loft, whatever her height was at that time, there were drawings up to that height. And I remember walking in and Tom spraypainting yellow stripes on a black suit that he bought on 14th Street, and his daughter saying, "Look, Daddy, I made a horse," or a dog or something, and "Oh, that's good, Honey. I'm making stripes on the suit." He can use storytelling in a very beautifully simple, poetic way. In one of his songs, a line is: "I bought a second-hand Nova from a Cuban-Chinese and dyed my hair in the bathroom of a Texaco." And that's like, oh wow, that's the start of movie, you know, or a whole little movie right there, in just a couple lines. I don't know how to describe him. You have to just listen to him and it becomes very apparent that it's a very rare kind of perspective on the world." (Source: Sundance Channel Jim Jarmuschfilmmaker profile (1996). As sent to Raindogs Listserv discussionlist by Larry Da Silveira. February 12, 2000)

Lisa Robinson (1987) on calling Waits for an interview, 1987: "He's also got a hell of a way with a telephone. "Uh, could you call back?" he asked politely during the first telephone interview attempt, "my home is on fire." (In fairness, the call was placed during the first, and the biggest of Los Angeles' recent earthquakes. That serves him right for moving back there from a three-year attempt to settle in New York.) The next attempt produced the desired effect, Waits was able to talk, although can you imagine talking to someone on the phone who has a truly sharp sense of humor and not being able to see the glint in his eye or the tongue in his cheek? "My house wasn't really on fire," Waits explained about the initial introduction to his conversational style. "It does catch on fire in its own way, and things are insane until you put it out, that's all I meant." (Source: "Wildman Waits Hits Broadway" New York Post (USA), by Lisa Robinson. Date: October 13, 1987)

Paul Grein (1987) on Waits attending a Frank Sinatra show, 1987: "Frank Sinatra drew a lot of celebrities to his recent Greek Theatre shows, including at least one you might not expect: whiskey-voiced balladeer Tom Waits. Waits, who said he's been a Sinatra fan "forever," told Pop Eye he enjoyed the show: "It was magic. He waves his hand over the crowd like a wand when he sings." Other impressions? "He drank Jack Daniel's and soda. Waits noted that he's written a song, "Empty Pockets," that he wants to get to Sinatra but he hasn't tried yet. "I'm sure he's unlisted," Waits said dryly. Has Sinatra been a big influence on Waits? "Oh yeah, no question about it." In what way? "We have the same tailor." (Source: Los Angeles Times. Column Pop Eye, by Paul Grein. August 30, 1987)

Bob Seger on encountering Waits in ca. 1987/ 1988: "I'm driving through Westwood [in L.A.], and I've got my Mercedes out there. I was working on a record, this is 1987 or '88. I've got a Hawaiian shirt on; it's real hot outside. I see Tom Waits, all in black, long-sleeved shirt and cowboy boots it's 90 degrees - and he's walking through Westwood. So, I pull up next to him and I say, 'Tom!' I've got these sunglasses on, he probably thought I was with the CIA - car phone and everything - and he says, 'Heh?' and looks real startled, so I say, 'It's Bob Seger.' "He says, 'Ooh, hi, Bob.' He jumps in the car and we start talking. I asked him what he's doin' and he says, 'Uh ... I'm walkin' , ' I've loved his stuff down through the years, so I start asking him all these dumb questions about his songs. I said, in 'Cold Cold Ground,' Tom, you say, 'The cat will sleep in the mailbox.' Yesterday I went and bought my cat one of those fuzzy mailboxes. Is that what you're talking about? He looked at me like I was from Mars. 'No, no. My cats sleep under the house.' So it goes on, this strange interlude, for about fifteen minutes. Finally, I asked if I could drop him somewhere and he says, 'Tell you what, take me back where you picked me up.' So I drove around a bunch of blocks, dropped him exactly where I picked him up and he says, And, uh, I'll just keep on walkin'" (Source: "Wild Years: The music and myth of Tom Waits" Jay S. Jacobs. ECW Press, 2000. As told by Bob Seger for a Rolling Stone interview)

Teddy Edwards (1995) on working with Waits on Mississippi Lad, 1991 ''Tom Waits is the one who got me my contract with PolyGram. He's wonderful, he's America's best lyricist since Johnny Mercer. He came down to the studio on the ''Mississippi Lad'' album, that's the first one I did for PolyGram, and he sang two of my songs, wouldn't accept any money, just trying to give me the best boost that he could.'' (Source: "Teddy Edwards: 'You ain't done nothing but play great'", Tony Gieske. Remembrance Of Swing Past)

Clark Suprynowicz (2008) on the Night On Earth sessions, 1992: "It was a fairly egalitarian situation, though Tom was definitely leading things. I really think I learned something from the experience, because Tom's way of directing the ensemble was very much as a theatre person. He would go into the recording booth and listen back to a take we'd done of something. Then he'd come out and look at Ralph [Carney] and say, 'It just sounds too friendly! Can't we make it more anti-social?!"' After an early take of "Good Old World (Waltz)," Waits emerged from the booth and began dragging himself around the studio like he had a club foot. "Boys, boys!" he implored the musicians. "It's gotta limp a little bit!"... Sometimes to get the result you want from music, that's the only way to get it. There are things that just aren't captured by terms like crescendo or diminuendo.” (Source: Clark Suprynowicz interview February 7, 2008 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Terry Gilliam (1997) on Waits' cameo for The Fisherking, 1991. "He [Tom Waits] was a friend of Jeff Bridges, basically. He said, "You ought to meet Tom". It's funny because when I met him and even in the course of making the film, I'd never heard a Tom Waits record. I'd never listened to them at all. I just met him and liked him immediately. So into the film he went, and he was great. The studio was trying to cut him out. They felt it wasn't advancing the narrative in any significant way so they thought that was things that could go. They were totally wrong." (Source: "Dreams: December 1997 interview with Terry Gilliam Edited by Phil Stubbs)

Jim Jarmusch (2000) on fighting over the video for I Don't Wanna Grow Up, 1992: "I'm not a very good maker of videos. There are two I made with Tom Waits that I like a lot. But it's very different [from movies] because you're using the music as your guide, as a track. Music videos are supposed to hit the audience and they are almost like commercials for the song. I had a big fight with Tom Waits -- and we're really close friends. I made one video and I was editing it in L.A. and I kept sending it up to him in Northern California and he kept making comments saying, "No put more of this in, put more of that in. And then I said, "You know Tom, I think it's stronger the way I had it." And he said (in a Tom Waits like voice), "Well I'm gonna fly down there and we're going to talk about it." So he came down and we had a big fight, and in the end I learned from him [that] this was not a Jim Jarmusch film this was a thing for Tom Waits' song. It was a very, very positive fight too. We ended up in the parking lot of Denny's in East L.A. somewhere at like four in the morning like really happy that we understood. I learned, 'This isn't a film I'm making, I'm making this for him for his music.' And he even said, 'I think your version is stronger too but I think if I was flipping channels my version's gonna catch somebody's [attention].' And he was absolutely right. He knew the form. He knew what it was for and I was just learning that. I'm grateful for that experience even though I locked him out of the building at one point." (Source: "The Way Of The Indie God", by Matt Langdon. IF Magazine. Issue 13.2. March 17, 2000)

Jim Jarmusch (2006) on fighting over the video for I Don't Wanna Grow Up, 1992: "Jarmusch has also cast musicians in his film, and in turn directed videos for musicians who have acted for him. But he dismisses the idea that a video he has directed is a film of his in miniature. "I had a big fight years ago with Tom Waits. He said: 'Look, it's not your film. It's a promo for my song.' It was after Down By Law, and it was about the editing. But he was right. And it wasn't a fight. It wasn't anything that disturbed. It was an argument, just one night. I remember I locked him outside in the parking lot, and he's hammering at the door, and he's shouting through 'Jim! I'm gonna glue your head to the wall!' He didn't glue my head to the wall. But they're not really films of mine, they're films for a song. I learned that a long time ago." (Source: "Tom Waits said he would glue my head to the wall" by Laura Barton Friday. The Guardian.June 9, 2006)

Jim Jarmusch (1992) on his friendship with Waits, 1992: "I have known Tom Waits now for over eight years. Tom is not only someone whose work has always, for me, been a source of inspiration, but a man for whom I have a very deep, personal respect. I admire him because he remains true to himself in both his work and his life. He follows his own code, which is not always the same one prescribed by laws, rules or the expectations of other people. He is strong and direct. There is no bullshit surrounding the man. Tom is, obviously, also a man whose use of language and ability to express himself are completely unique. I spent half the time while with him laughing uncontrollably, and the other half in amazement at the seemingly endless flow of very unusual ideas and observations pouring out of him. The guy is a wild man. Tom lives with his family in a big, strange house hidden away somewhere in California. I think of it as the Tom Waits version of a gangster hide-out; a world in and of itself." (Source: "Straight No Chaser Source: Straight No Chaser magazine (UK), by Jim Jarmusch. Date: October, 1992 (published early 1993))

Rip Rense (1992) on Waits's voice for Dracula, 1992: "Renfield was a masochist's nirvana. Waits wore a straitjacket for much of it, as well as manacles that imprisoned each finger individually (based on an actual apparatus used in Italy two centuries ago to teach young pianists to keep the proper position at the keyboard), thick glasses and one of those Supercuts-from-Bedlam haircuts. For a good deal of the movie, he was wet. "I was hosed down," he says. "And they seemed to want me that way...I got to have a really meaningful scene with Winona Ryder. Not how I imagined it would be, though. Bug juice dripping from the corners of my mouth. Unshaven. Totally gray. Screaming behind bars. Not how I saw our scene together. But I tried to rise above it." One more "Dracula" item, heretofore unreported, bears mentioning: Waits' voice was employed for the "primitive" vocal utterances of the Count. Gary Oldman was unable to get the desired horrific element into the lusty animalistic grunts and snarls of the character, so Waits was enlisted: "There's the lady in the back of the room with the bifocals on the chain, and the sweater, and the hair up, coffee and a cigarette, looking at the script," says Waits with bemusement, "and they're telling me, 'Tom, it's deep growl - you're killing her, and yet you're drinking of her'. And she looks up from her coffee and says, 'Tom - savor it!' And then looks back at her script. 'Oh, OK, savor it.' It was like porno radio. It was actually demeaning. But I think it will be good." (Source: "Waits In Wonderland" Image magazine (USA), by Rip Rense. Date: December 13, 1992)

Keanu Reeves (2005) on staying at Francis Ford Coppola's house during the recording of Dracula, 1992: "It was great to be in that environment: going for a run in the morning, looking at the stars at night, going into Francis's research library, spending time with him. You know watching Tom Waits sing "Waltzing Matilda" to Winona at the piano, Winona crying. It was a beautiful life. Les enfants du paradis." (Source: "Your Time With Mister Reeves" Premiere Magazine (USA), February, 2005)

Peter Silverton (1992) on interviewing Waits in Paris, October 1992: "To converse with Tom Waits is to be lied to, consistently, determinedly, entertainingly. 'I'll tell you all my secrets but I'll lie about my past," he once sang. Take that livid comma of a scar in the middle of his forehead. "Gee," he says, a word with an innocence on the page that it doesn't have on his lips. He doesn't know how he got that scar. He can't remember. He pauses, gives his eyes time to roam and his body to twist and untwist itself as he thinks. And then he can remember. A bullet went right in there. The scar marked the entry point and the bullet continued its journey through the Waits cranium until it emerged in the outside world from the back of his skull. "And I never felt better in my life," he growls into his morning coffee." (Source: "The Lie In Waits" VOX magazine (USA), by Peter Silverton. Date: Paris, October, 1992)

Peter Silverton (2008) on interviewing Waits in Paris, October 1992: "After we'd finished we walked across the square and had coffee with Kathleen. She and I chatted about this and that and Paris and art. Then I said, 'How about talking about Tom?' She looked at me as if to say, 'You know better than that,' and we went back to talking about Paris and art. To me it was clear she was his salvation, the Zimmer frame for his genius. She was smart and bright and fun and interesting and amused by Tom's shtick, seeing it for what it was - a clever performance that refracted parts of Tom and left other parts untouched and private." (Source: Peter Silverton email interview June 4, 2008 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Jim Jarmusch (1994) on Waits starring in Coffee and Cigarettes, 1993: "Tom was exhausted. We had just shot a video the day before for "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" and he had been doing a lot of press. He was kind of in a surly mood as he is sometimes, but he's also very warm. He came in late that morning - I had given him the script the night before - and I was with Iggy. Tom threw the script down on the table and said, "Well, you know, you said this was going to be funny, Jim. Maybe you better just circle the jokes 'cause I don't see them". He looked at poor Iggy and said, "What do you think Iggy?" Iggy said, "I think I'm gonna go get some coffee and let you guys talk." So I calmed Tom down. I knew it was just early in the morning and Tom was in a bad mood. His attitude changed completely, but I wanted him to keep some of that paranoid surliness in the script. We worked with that and kept it in his character. If he had been in a really good mood, I don't think the film would have been as funny." (Source: "Jim Jarmusch". Village Noize, 1994 by Danny Plotnick)

Gavin Bryars (2004) on recording "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet", 1993: "I spent one afternoon over 10 years ago working with Tom Waits in a studio in northern California. It was probably one of the most sublime musical experiences of my life. We were recording my piece, Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet, an orchestral arrangement based on a 1971 field recording of a tramp singing in London. Tom and I were first in touch at the time of his last tour of the UK - in the 1980s. He had lost his copy of the original vinyl LP released on Brian Eno's Obscure Records in 1975, an album that had quietly disappeared. This, he said, was his "favourite record", which seemed to me to be the highest praise. As it happened, there were a couple of pristine copies in my manager's office so I had one sent to him. I was given a couple of tickets for his London concert but in the event was unable to go. I still feel guilty at the thought of those two empty seats." (Source: "Tom Waits, Jesus and Me" by Gavin Bryars. Sunday Herald Online. October 3, 2004)

Joshua Camp (2003) on trying to sell Waits a Claviola, ca. 1995: "I was in a band with a guy whose brother was Sparklehorse, essentially. He [Mark Linkous] has a band but it's just him. Lone genius in the studio. And he got a deal with Capitol records and he became the critics' darling, everyone thought he was a genius. This was around 1995. And I got to know him fairly well because they were really close brothers and every now and then, before his fame, he would come play bass or whatever with our band. And of course all of us are huge Tom Waits fans and I think somehow, through his manager here in New York, he was trying to get in touch with Tom Waits now that he was gaining popularity. Or maybe it was that his manager gave Tom Waits his CD, and somehow it got back to him that Tom Waits really liked the Sparklehorse CD, so maybe that was what gave him the courage to ask. Or whatever. So roundabout that time we got the claviolas in, and I was excited about this crazy weird instrument and I told [Mark Linkous] about it because I knew he would think it was really cool, too, and he said, [very excited fan voice] "Wow, man, maybe I'll send this literature to Tom Waits! " And I'm like "OK, sure." And that's really what happened. He sent the standard literature they send out to record stores to Tom Waits, 'cause he got his address from his manager. So it was probably a couple months later, and I get this hand-written letter from California. And inside is this letter saying, "I've heard of this instrument, the claviola. Where can I purchase it in the northern California area? Tom Waits" With his phone number! And it's in pencil! And I'm like, it can't be THE Tom Waits. And as my job, I answer all the letters that come in. Product inquiries, et cetera. So Mike and I debated. And I was like, "Do you think it's really him?" And he's like, "Man, you gotta call." And I was like, "No, can't do it!" And finally I think I waited three days until I finally got the courage. And I said, all right, I'm going to dial the number. I'm just going to do it, it's my job, I have to do it anyway. So I call and it's a girl on the answering machine saying you've reached this number, so I start to leave this message, "I'm from Hohner, blah blah blah, claviola," and suddenly the phone picks up and he goes [JC does dead-on Waits growl] "Yeah, this is Tom Waits." And I was like "Oh My God!" It was all I could do to just keep my shit together and be all business-like and explain the claviola. I mean, I was literally on the phone for fifteen or twenty minutes with him... He just asked the questions anyone would ask, like what's the range on it. But then it got more interesting. Apparently he was working on "Mule Variations" at that point, and [he asked me if it would sound good if you ran it through an amplifier, and I said yes.] And then I was trying to find ways to describe it. And I was saying "Yeah, it sort of has a flute quality to it, a mellotron flute." And he said, "Oh, does it sound kind of like this? OOOoooh" And I was like, "Well, kind of. But it has sort of a reed-y clarinet to it quality as well." And he said, "Oh, you mean more like, AAAaaahhhh" And then I was like, "Well, Tom--because we were on a first-name basis at this point--do you want me to just play it over the phone?" And he said, "Oh, Josh, could you do that? It would be so wonderful if you could do that." So I immediately ran to get a claviola and then I had to debate in my head: should I play a song? Because at this point I hadn't really let out that I was a Tom Waits FREAK. And I didn't know if that be a little too much. So I just played something vaguely minor and circus-like. Like One Ring Zero [laughs]. And he said, "Oh wow, that's really interesting." And he wanted to know the price. And at that point I had to go ask our manager, what the price would be for Tom Waits, you know, who's famous, and if he could get a deal. And at that point [the claviolas] were new. The ones we eventually got were after they had discontinued them and they were supercheap. But originally they were 1400 dollars. And the endorsee deal at Hohner is just half price. Even Bob Dylan has to pay half price. Neil Young, all those guys. Even though nobody would be playing those things if it weren't for them. And my manager said we could give him 700 dollars. So I came back and said "Tom, we can give you a claviola for 700 dollars." And there was a long pause. And then he goes, "Josh." And I'm like, "Yeah." "Is there any reason why it's 700 dollars?" And I was completely bullshitting at this point and said something about 'fine German engineering.'... No, he didn't buy it. But he lingered on the phone for awhile, he was very interested. I told him I was a musician and played accordion and knew Mark Linkous and he was like "Oh, tell that boy that all of us love his record, we play it all the time, the kids love it." He actually mentioned his kids a lot. I told him at one point that the claviola sounds like a Melodica and he said "Yeah, I had one of those but I think my kid lost it."(Source: "Surgery of Modern Warfare" January 6, 2003. The Day Tom Waits Called the Hohner Warehouse: an interview with One Ring Zero's Joshua Camp)

Beck (1997) on Waits as a product of Los Angeles, 1997 "Tom's someone I see at the airport. He'll be going through the security X-ray machine and I'll be coming out of it, and we'll just pull over and talk about welding for a couple of minutes. He's definitely one of the luminaries, and one of those rare products of Los Angeles who has an interest in the history and background of the place. LA's a city that kind of hates itself, so the past is never really maintained for posterity. Tom represents a part of LA that died a long time ago, and he keeps it alive for us. Beefheart also totally makes sense to me as someone coming from LA. He's like that collective of people a few years ago called The Cacophony Society, who did things like douse themselves in mud and parade up and down Rodeo Drive. In some senses this town can be like a wasteland, but at least it forces you to use your imagination." (Source: "MOJO magazine" March 1997. As sent to Raindogs Listserv Discussionlist by Larry DaSilveira. May 27, 2003)

Mark "Mooka" Rennick (1999) on Waits recording at Prairie Sun studios in Cotati: "Studio X and the live areas are down in the old cement hatchery rooms, one of which, now called the Waiting Room, is Tom Waits' preferred acoustic environment. "[Waits] gravitated toward these 'echo' rooms and created the 'Bone Machine' aural landscape," [Mark] Rennick says.On this day, occupying a full corner of the cavernous main room of Studio X is an enormous pile of exotic instruments used by Waits while recently recording his yet-to-be-titled new album. The array runs the gamut from the gauche to the ramshackle, the most identifiable objects being huge, old wooden drums, antique carnival pianos, guitars of all shapes and sizes, and a heap of rusty yard tools. "What we like about Tom is that he is a musicologist. And he has a tremendous ear," Rennick says. "His talent is a national treasure." (Source: "Dream Maker - Prairie Sun Recording Studio chief Mark Rennick is a musician's best friend", by Charles McDermid. February 18-24, 1999 issue of the Sonoma County Independent)

Marc Ribot (1999) on Waits signing to Epitaph, 1999: "On his most recent record he did something astounding: he could have signed to any major he wanted, but he signed to Epitaph, an indie, and yet he insisted that Epitaph do it through the union, which it normally would not do in a million years. He's not a slave-driver, but he's a really hard worker, very single-minded. He gets very, very focused. He cares about things." (Source: "Tom Wait's Right-Hand Man" by Sylvie Simmons. Mojo Magazine. April, 1999)

Brett Martin (1999) on getting called by Waits for an interview, 1999: "Tom Waits may want to rethink the prank-call thing. Just before he's scheduled to call from his home in Northern California, the phone rings. Someone says, "Wrong number" and hangs up. A few minutes later, another ring: "This the Department of Motor Vehicles?" the person asks and then laughs. "This is Tom, I'm just playing with you." I don't have the heart to tell him that with a voice as distinctive as his, he's not fooling anybody." (Source: "Tom Waits For No Man" Time Out New York # 187 (USA), by Brett Martin. Date: April 22-29, 1999)

David Fricke (1999) on visiting a record store with Waits, 1999: Waits is standing in a record store down the road a piece from Washoe House holding a Japanese import CD by Rage Against the Machine that he's just bought for his thirteen-year-old son, Casey. "He'll think I'm really cool for getting him this.", Waits says proudly" (Source: "The Resurrection Of Tom Waits" Rolling Stone magazine (USA), by David Fricke. Date: Washoe House/ San Francisco. June 24, 1999)

Robert Hilburn (1999) on visiting a salvage shop with Waits, 1999: "Wearing a floppy old hat and jeans that hang so low on his rump that it looks as though he forgot to give them the final hitch when pulling them on, Waits steps from the truck and heads into the shop, which is filled with everything from rows of old toilet bowls to faded soft drink signs. "I do all my furniture shopping here," he says as he wanders through the dusty aisles. He points to a zebra-striped telephone, but appears most excited by a foot-high artillery shell, which he taps robustly with his finger. He likes the sound and says he would like to use it on his next album. Watching this, you wonder if Waits is really interested in all this stuff or if he's just trying to provide colorful atmosphere for the story. The answer comes when the shop owner spots Waits and waves to him with the enthusiasm reserved for one's best customers. "How ya doin' Ray," Waits responds. "Got anything good today?" The owner directs Waits to a New Year's Eve horn from the turn of the century, and Waits' eyes brighten. He gives the horn a few toots and smiles at the sound. He buys it--as well as the artillery shell, a pocket knife for himself and a toy car for one of his three kids. "This is a good haul," he says, slipping behind the wheel of the massive Silverado. "Sure you don't want to go back and get that zebra-striped phone?" (Source: "Pop Music: Tracking An Elusive Character" Los Angeles Times (USA), by Robert Hilburn. Santa Rosa. June 6, 1999)

Jambase (2005) on Jay Blakesberg's photo session with Waits, 1999: "Jay has enjoyed a rare, close relationship with Waits - the results being as intriguing and myth making as the man himself. Jay recalls one typically bizarre shoot in 1999 which originally involved typical Waits elements of posing by abandoned barns and chicken shacks before Tom then insisting on driving around and parking up outside the house of total stranger and demanding that an abandoned car in the yard be the backdrop to the session. "Jay," Waits growled, "I don't know who's house this is or who that car belongs to, but you are the captain of this ship so you better go knock on that door and ask permission to take some pictures." After getting no answer they headed towards the car only to be stopped by a little old lady, the property owner. Jay explained they just wanted some shots of Tom with the car, which led to her shouting, "That car, it don't drive! It don't drive! It has no wheels! It has not been driven since my husband died 30 years ago!" Eventually they realized the widow was mostly deaf, and didn't really understand what this group of strangers really wanted to do. She finally granted access to the vehicle, and left shaking her head shouting "Ok! Ok! - but it's got no wheels..." Jay eventually got the shots he needed before Tom proceeded to jump over a fence, run off down the road, jump in his truck and speed off - leaving Jay, his assistant and Tom's publicist standing literally dazed and confused in the driveway of a stranger's house in the middle of nowhere." (Source: "The Photography Of Jay Blakesberg", Jambase. April 28, 2005)

John Beck (1999) on Waits being a maverick in his own home town, 1999: "Any regular at Sebastopol's Food For Thought or Lucy's Cafe or Incredible Records has probably seen the hapless drifter wander through. His uniform is unmistakable: A beat-to-hell jeans jacket in the winter, a white T-shirt with the sleeves cut out in the summer. Always jeans worn thin, the leg cuffs torn from dragging under his boots. Adding another volume to West County folklore, Tom Waits stories abound. Like the time he paced the sideline at his daughter's soccer game, wearing a low-brow porkpie hat, cigarette hanging from his lip, yelling, "Kick the ball." Or the time he invited a drummer into the studio only to strip down his drum kit until he was left with nothing more than a drumstick and an object barely resembling a drum. Last january, Waits was called into court for jury duty. One of the last potential jurors, he was let go after explaining to attorneys that he would have trouble convicting someone who didn't actually pull the trigger. But that didn't mean he was totally off the hook. He still had to deal with an attorney (not related to the case) who unloaded a briefcase of CDs for Waits to autograph." (Source: "Sonoma County's music maverick", by John Beck. The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa/ USA). April 18, 1999)

Mark Linkous (2006) on meeting Waits for the first time, ca. 1999: "The first time Linkous was given Tom Waits's phone number he had to knock back five shots of whisky and lock himself in a room before he felt brave enough to make the call. He finally went to California to meet Waits. "He told really great stories. He also scared me to death. We were driving down the highway in his big suburban SUV talking about animals we disliked. I mentioned carrion-eating turkey buzzards. He doesn't like them either. He proceeded to do an impression of a turkey buzzard sunning itself, his arms outstretched as we were flying down the highway at 80mph. He did a great imitation, it just went on for too long." (Source: "I think I kind of blew it", The Guardian. September 29, 2006)

Marc Ribot (1999) on working with Waits in the studio 1985/ 1999: "He works initially from a groove. He plays guitar and he'll start communicating to his band what he wants the groove to be by rocking back and forth, and the band gets the message. He almost never said "Play this" or "Play that", but he'll keep going in what he wants until people come up with an idea that he's happy with. His basic way of working is editing. Waits doesn't dictate, he gives his musicians a lot of room to develop. He starts from a dramatic concept. He thought of the whole thing theatrically, and talked about the guitar as a character - adding a certain guitar part he'd talk of as bringing another character on-stage, like a director. I like his instruction on one tune on Rain Dogs: "Play it like a midget's bar mitzvah." The skill of being a musician in 1999, when anybody can buy a sequencer and play more accurately and faster than any musician possibly could, primarily has to do with being able to intuit what the songwriter wants. The songs are in all different shapes when he brings them in the studio. Often, he hasn't completed the lyrics. I've seen him working on finishing lyrics before he's doing the final vocal. But the studio is an instrument in itself, and to be really good at using that instrument - like Waits - you must be willing to throw aside preconceptions in favour of what actually goes to tape well. Waits' records are very studio oriented without being technologically oriented. There's a lot of awareness of recording history, what sounds were used 20, 30, 40 years ago, which is part of his dramatic idea." (Source: "Tom Wait's Right-Hand Man" by Sylvie Simmons. Mojo Magazine. April, 1999)

Marc Ribot (1999) on recording with Waits 1985/ 1999: "I worked on Rain Dogs, Frank's Wild Years and the live album Big Time. I did some overdubbing on his new record - although with Tom it's always best not to announce that you've played on something until after it's released because you truly never know! You could spend 10 days recording with him and he'd throw the whole thing out and re-record everything into a Walkman. This is what is absolutely great about Waits - he'll go with his instincts and is ready to follow them anywhere. But Waits was always very respectful." (Source: "Tom Wait's Right-Hand Man" by Sylvie Simmons. Mojo Magazine. April, 1999)

Stephen Hodges (2007) on Waits's career: "One thing to learn from Tom is that he never bothered to play with anybody else. He had the balls and the inclination and the songs and the drive to just do it on his own from the very start, and I think there's a lot to be said for that whole spirit and the tack that he's taken" (Source: Stephen Hodges interview November 20, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Stephen Hodges (2007) on the Mule Variations sessions, 1999: "She [Kathleen Brennan] was usually there. They sang stuff together and she commented on his phrasing, helped with the enunciations. They definitely worked together at sculpting this thing, and they were really honest about how much they needed each other. It's a fucking beautiful thing they have. Who wouldn't think it's pretty cool that these guys can relate on stuff and work together? Tom is a renaissance man of a sort. To be so powerful without being macho is... very cool. " (Source: Stephen Hodges interview November 20, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Glenn Frey (1999) introducing Ol' '55 at The Eagles Millenium show on New Year's Eve, 1999: "Tom didn't really like our version of 'Ol' '55' when it first came out. Then he got the check. And since then, Tom and I, we're really close!"

George Varga (1999) on friendship between Waits and Francis Thumm: "Waits and Thumm have been buddies since they met in 1969 at the home of Thumm's piano teacher in Chula Vista. While they have frequently made music together since then, it was not until the early 1980s that Thumm became involved with Waits' albums. "Back in the '70s, Tom used to ask me, 'Why don't you come up and help me?' But I was way too intimidated," said Thumm, who studied conducting with Leonard Bernstein in the early '70s and is a member of San Diego's celebrated Harry Partch Ensemble, now sadly dormant. "When I was mature enough, I told Tom: 'I'll work with you, as long as it won't wreck the friendship.' When we get together, it's never a matter of writing a complex (music) chart down and making everybody play it. "It's much more intuitive, almost like kids in a sandbox, and more malleable and combustible. I think it takes greater courage to do it that way. Tom has such wonderful instincts. And I've grown to know him so well that I can make suggestions immediately." Have the two ever discussed performing live together? "We've tossed the idea round," Thumm said of Waits, "But it would be hard to find a niche for me in Tom's band. And I'm a schoolteacher and not much of a rock 'n roller." (Source: "Point Loma Teacher Gives Waits Lessons", by George Varga. San Diego Union-Tribune. June 9, 1999)

Catherine McHugh (2000) on lighting design for the Mule Variations tour, 1999/ 2000: "Lighting designer Anne Militello met with Waits at a truck stop in Northern California to discuss the tour's design last June. "We just sat in a diner and talked about different ideas for a couple of hours," she says. "He was interested in working with me because I've done a lot of theatre and opera, he wanted to try something different. At one point he asked me,'Why are there rules in lighting?' He wanted to know why, when you see a beam of light onstage, does it have to hit that person? So at points in the show, lights would come on but not always hit people. One could mistake that for really bad lighting design, but it was just whimsical. There was a carny element to it all, so it had to be a little sloppy, but to be honest, that takes real effort. Militello also found some old floodlights from the 50s on the bottom shelves in Light & Sound Design's warehouse. "I used the floodlights overhead as pendants," she says. "We also had a couple of ratty, broken-down 2k fresnels on stands with big huge barndoors. Kathleen Brennan [Waits' wife] had found a ship's light at an antique shop, and it was on a beautiful stand, so we put it on the stage, too. Another souvenir from the country that factored significantly in the show's design was dirt. "During band rehearsals, Tom did this stomping during certain songs," Militello explains. "He wanted more sound, so he brought in a small box platform that he had used on another show. It was really old and dirty, so when he stomped on it the dirt came out-and it looked really cool. So they started bringing dirt to rehearsals, but I was afraid of the particles getting into people's lungs. The stage manager went and got Fuller's Earth and poured it all over. In terms of color, Militello followed Waits' instructions: "Don't try to make me look pretty." (Source: "Dirty Designing" by Catherine McHugh. Entertainment Design. January, 2000)

Danny McGough (2000) on touring with Waits, Mule Variations 1999/ 2000: "McGough says that the most challenging part of the Tom Waits gig was the fact that every night was different. "The sets were always changing; he has a lot of songs. And it was never a case of playing the songs the same every night, he'd want me to switch instruments. We had to rely solely on vocal and visual cues. Tom transmits a lot of his arrangements through physical direction with his body movements. It certainly keeps it interesting." (Source: "From Mule Variations To Cool Vibrations", Keyboard magazine. May, 2000)

Jay S. Jacobs (2000) on Waits' show for the South by Southwest music conference at the Paramount Theatre, Austin/ Texas. March 20, 1999: "Waits's show was the event of the conference. It was one of the few live performances he'd given in over a decade and the first time he'd played Austin in over fifteen years. Tickets for it were like gold. Local fans, record execs, and journalists fought one another for them. Several people were caught trying to sneak in. Everyone knew it was going to be an amazing show. Taking the stage, Waits won over the crowd immediately, happily preaching to the converted. He played a strong and varied set, previewing the new album [Mule Variations] with "House Where Nobody Lives" and "Filipino Box Spring Hog," He threw in several tunes from his Island years and, to the delight of those assembled, dusted off the classic Elektra cuts "Tom Traubert's Blues" and "(Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night." The band was smoking, and Waits was visibly enjoying his rapport with the crowd. It's sad that such an event had to end on a sour note. Waits was obviously shaken when a woman started heckling him from the crowd, calling him a sellout for allowing so many music-biz types to snatch up tickets, effectively shutting out his "real, " nonprofessional fans. While it's highly unlikely that Waits had decreed how the tickets would be divided up, the woman's words seemed to sting him nonetheless. It might have been because the heckler wasn't completely off base. The days of intimate gigs played in smoky little bars to audiences of twenty or so were long over for Waits. He could no longer lead the life of the troubadour who passes through town and has a drink with the patrons after the show. It was the classic irony of the entertainment business reasserting itself. the more successful you are at connecting with your audience, the more that audience swells, the more isolated you become from it." (Source: "Wild Years: The Music and Myth of Tom Waits". Jay S. Jacobs, ECW Press, 2000)

Dean Goodman (2001) on Keith Richards congratulating Tom Waits, 2001: "Tom Waits was awarded the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers' prestigious Founders Award Tuesday, at the 18th Annual ASCAP Pop Awards in Los Angeles. Before the performance, Keith Richards appeared larger-than-life in a video message recorded at his Connecticut estate. Dressed like Columbo in a grubby coat and hat, Richards staggered from thick brush and embarked on a generally indecipherable speech in praise of his one-time collaborator. He recalled buying 10,000 worms, on Waits' advice, to help aerate his lawn. An ASCAP spokeswoman said the Rolling Stones guitarist had hoped to attend the event in person, but was kept at home by family commitments." (Source: Dean Goodman, Reuters. May 23, 2001)

Elizabeth Gilbert (2002) on waiting for Waits before an interview, 2002: "So I'm waiting for Tom Waits when a homeless man wanders up to me. Thin as a knife, weathered skin, clean and faded clothes. Eyes so pale he might be blind. He's dragging behind him a wagon, decorated with balloons and feathers and signs announcing that the world is coming to an end. This man is, I learn, walking all the way to Roswell, New Mexico. For the apocalypse. Which will be happening later this spring. I ask his name. He tells me that he was christened Roger but that God calls him by another name. ("For years I hear God talkin' to me, but he kept calling me Peter, so I thought he had the wrong guy. Then I realized Peter must be my real name. So now I listen.") With no special alarm, Roger-Peter informs me that this whole planet will be destroyed within a few short months. Pandemonium unleashed. Madness and death everywhere. Everybody burned to cinders. He points to the passing cars and says calmly, "These people like their comfortable lives now. But they won't like it one bit when the animals get loose." Appropriately enough, this is the exact moment when Tom Waits shows up. He wanders over to the porch. Thin as a knife, weathered skin, clean and faded clothes. "Tom Waits," I say, "meet Roger-Peter.' They shake hands. They look alike. You wouldn't know at first, necessarily, which one was the eccentric musical genius and which one was the derelict wandering doomsayer. There are some differences, of course. Roger-Peter has crazier eyes. But Tom Waits has a crazier voice. Waits, immediately comfortable with Roger-Peter, says, "You know, I saw you around here just the other night, walking down the middle of the highway." "God redirects traffic around me so I don't get hit," replies Roger-Peter. "I don't doubt that. I like your wagon. Tell me about all these signs you wrote. What are they all about?" "I'm finished talking now," Roger-Peter says, not impolitely but firmly. He stands up, gives us a bible as a parting gift, takes hold of his wagon and heads east to meet the total destruction of the universe. Waits watches him go, and as we head inside, he tells that he recently saw another hobo with apocalyptic signs walking down the same road. "He offered to sell me a donkey. A pregnant donkey. I had to go home and ask everyone if we could invest in a pregnant donkey. But they decided, no, that would be too much trouble." (Play It Like Your Hair's On Fire" GQ magazine (USA) by Elizabeth Gilbert. June 2002. Published: May 2002)

David Harrington (Kronos Quartet) on sharing the bill with Waits for the Healing The Divide benefit show in 2003: "Performing with Tom Waits was absolutely fantastic, what a generous performer! He's just one of our greatest songwriters in the whole history of American music, as far as I'm concerned. To be able to be part of his music is really wonderful." (Source: "Collaborating with Kronos" by Jim Harrington. Mercury News. October 25, 2007)

Shane MacGowen (2004) appreciation for Waits, 2004: "Tom Waits has been a big hero of mine for years. His basic thing has always been romanticism tingled with black humour, and once he started collaborating with his Irish bride Kathleen Brennan she obviously taught him a lot of strange songs and stories that gave new life to his heart and soul. You can hear this on Rain Dogs. It's an amazing album. The songs are like hymns, they make you want to laugh and cry, and I still love it to this day." (Source: Mojo magazine. October, 2004. " We're not worthy - Shane MacGowan doffs his cap to the gutter guru")

Jake Thornton (2004) on working with Waits for The Black Rider theatre play, 2004: "After the show we went down to the bar to listen in on the notes that Tom was giving the band. I reiterate what I said yeserday. He lives in sound. He lives in feel and mood of music. All the members of the band find him truly inspirational. I was talking with two of them on the way home about their experience of him. They love his sense of humour and how he almost seems to know all their thoughts about what they are playing and what they want to do with it. Tom said: "I can't stand that sentimental bullshit. Give me false sincerity. I love false sincerity. I grew up on that" (Source: Jake Thornton blognote outtakes. Jake Thornton official site. August/ September 2004)

Richard Cromelin (2004) before interviewing Waits at Little Amsterdam cafe, 2004: "Up here, Waits is just another local with a green thumb. He's slouching in his chair and exuding an air of supreme harmony with his surroundings when a small, wiry man with a wild silver beard approaches the table. "Excuse me for interrupting," he says to Waits. "I know you're into some serious gardening. I'm cleaning up Spireto Ballatore's farm down there and I've got about a half a 40-gallon garbage bag of bat guano if you want it." "Oh, bat guano! Good, good," Waits says with unnerving enthusiasm. "Oh, God, I'd be definitely interested." "OK, well, I'll just set the bag out in front of the last barn; you can pick it up there." Waits' benefactor departs, waving off the singer's offer of payment. "It all comes down to bat guano," Waits says. "With that much bat guano around here, that puts you in a whole other category." (Source: "A Cluttered Harmony". Los Angeles Times (USA), by Richard Cromelin. September 26, 2004)

Eels frontman 'Mr E' (2005) on working with Waits: "I'd heard rumours over the years that he was listening to the Eels and my low self esteem wouldn't allow me to permit that as any kind of fact. I was forced to accept it when he nominated our last album for the 'Shortlist Music Prize' which is like Americas attempt at having a 'Mercury Prize'. Even then I thought it was a typo or something because, you know, he's one of my all time heroes. Eventually I got a phone call from him and I was talking to him and I though 'well its probably someone just pulling a gag on me', 'it's probably some radio station making fun of me, they know I love Tom Waits, its not really Tom'. So I tested him and asked him a lot of hard questions and he answered them all right. So I finally started to believe that this might really be him. And just in case it's really him, I thought, I'll ask him if he wants to do something on this record...and he did. It was a lot of fun [working with him]. We worked through the mail. I sent him a tape and the first thing he did was accidentally record over my lead vocal. Maybe he didn't like it or maybe it was an accident but he did offer to do yard work in exchange for the mistake." (Source: BBC Back Stage interviews. Later With Jools Holland. May 27, 2005.)

Julian Hintz (2005) on Waits using the accordion: "Every time I tell people I play the accordion, they say, 'You must love Tom Waits.' I don't. The way he uses the accordion is a gimmick. He's just taking accordion waltzes and sticking them into a minor key to create this scene, and even though he's trying to create this dark mood it still seems sort of goofy." (Source: "Hip-Hop, Fresh Squeezed" By Andrew Adam Newman. The New York Times. July 31, 2005)

Jesca Hoop press bio (2006) on being nanny to Waits's kids: "The naturally unconventional young writer/artist is summing up her life's story, which began with a strict Mormon upbringing and then veered dramatically, taking her to the most rugged and remote locales in America. There, she lived and worked as a survivalist in the most elemental fashion, before making her reentry into "civilization" in her unique way, becoming the nanny to the three children of Tom Waits and his wife and co-writer Kathleen Brennan. "I like to maximize my idiosyncrasies," she further explains, describing how she interacts with her destiny." (Source: Jesca Hoop official site, 2006)

Jesca Hoop press bio (2006) on Waits promoting Jesca Hoop: "Hoop formed a duo with a friend and started playing in Northern California clubs before going to work for the Waits family. The nature of this relationship and Hoop's budding talent inspired the couple to become her mentors. "This was very fortuitous timing as I was myself a pretty mixed up kid and in dire need of direction at that point in my life," she says. Things started to move when the Waits sent Hoop's demos to their publisher, Lionel Conway, who in turn put a copy in the hands of influential KCRW DJ Nic Harcourt, who began playing the song "Seed of Wonder"--the same song that convinced the Waits that she was ready--on his Morning Becomes Eclectic Show. "Seed" became one of KCRW's top five requests for eight weeks running, a station record." (Source: Jesca Hoop MySpace site, 2006)

KT Tunstall (2006) appreciation for Waits: "It was the first time I'd heard a white guy singing blues. To me, Waits is taking from something much more primal and darker, and it was quite liberating to hear a white guy sing like that. I thought he was black until I saw him in a film a few years later." (Source: "The happy hippie - On the 'wrong side of 25,' KT Tunstall overcame record company resistance to launch her career". By George Varga. San Diego Union tribune. May 11, 2006)

James Hetfield (2006) appreciation for Waits: "Who needs alcohol and drugs when you have Tom Waits?" (Source: "Metallica Frontman James Hetfield. Text Of Musicares Map Acceptance Speech. May 12, 2006)

Willy DeVille (2006) appreciation for Waits: "I want to tell you something about Tom. Back in 1980 I was banned in Boston. I had done something or other foolish, and this guy, a booking agent who if you pissed off could guarantee you'd never work Boston, said "Willy DeVille will never work Boston again." Well Tom was playing in Cambridge Mass. and we were traveling with him. Tom refused to go on, not only if we weren't allowed to play, but also if we didn't get equal billing. He really put his balls to the wall for us. This agent guy was making this huge fuss about it, but Tom just said "Willy gets equal billing or I don't play." So they gave us equal billing. Can you do me a favour, I want you to say thank you to Tom from me in what you're writing. I want that out there. A lot of people don't understand where Tom's coming from, with some of his stuff, but I think when you're an artist you just aren't going to be satisfied with doing the same stuff over and over again. You want to do something new to surprise people with. Whether they like it or hate it..." (Source: "Interview: Willy DeVille". May 14, 2006. By Richard Marcus)

Richard Fidler (2006) on Heather Howard being personal assistant to Tom Waits: "Over time, Heather has worked for some of the biggest names in the business, including Oprah Winfrey, Meg Ryan, Winona Ryder, Jeff Goldburn, Laura Dern, Melissa Etheridge, Sam Neill, Billy Bob Thornton and William Shatner. And she doesn't hesitate when it comes to sorting the wheat from the chaff. "The singers, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen, I would happily go back to work for them anytime," she says. It's apparently Billy Bob Thornton who will be left out in the cold though, should he ever require any of Heather's help ever again!" (Source: "Personal assistant or chore whore?" by Richard Fidler. ABC Brisbane. June 1, 2006)

Neko Case (2006): on Waits's career handling: "I'd like to have a career like Tom Waits where it lasts a really long time rather than be played on national radio as the person of the moment." (Source: "Artist makes statement by tuning own guitars" by Mark Brown. Rocky Mountain News. June 16, 2006)

Duke Robillard (2006) on touring with Waits August 2006: "He (Waits) originally told me I had to learn 20, but then as the tour went on he kept adding songs. Often I would find a CD under my door with a song that I had to learn by sound check highlighted. Eventually I learned 50 of his songs... "Tom Waits' music is so complex because it can go from the simplest thing you can do to him playing piano with a string quartet. And usually his songs have something slightly quirky, so they might take longer to get. There were a few tunes that I didn't feel like I had down until that last couple of gigs... A lot of the music he used with this band was very bluesy. So I was able to play the straight blues he wanted in a lot of the songs and be myself in his shows." (Source: "A Long Way to Go", Hartford Advocate. November 23, 2006. By Art Tipaldi)

Andre Hunt (2006) on the origins of Orphans artwork: "About eight years ago I spotted an old photo album from the 1880's in a used book store that instead of being filled with photos, was filled with cutout newspaper columns from that period. They were all from the same section...a column that ran weekly that was all about odd facts, medical hints, famous sayings, etc. Cleopatra's barge weighed such and such, then the next sentence a brand new fact thing. I picked it up, and a year later after Tom's show at the Paramount in Oakland, I left it for him at the stage door with my name and number inside. A couple of days later Tom called my number and left a long friendly message on my machine, stating he just got home and finally figured out what it was, and started to read from it. At the end he said he'd call again. Well, seven years later, this spring, he calls and leaves another message, stating that he's interested in using the imagery from it in the booklet design of his album that would come out in the fall, and asked whether or not if it was ok with me, leaving me a number. Well, after a couple of attempts to call back and get through, I left a message stating that he had my blessing. A week before Orphans was released, my local seller here in S.F. sold a copy to me, probably a clerk error...I opened it there, not knowing what to expect..a little copy and paste here and there, if anything at all. I was definitely not ready for what I saw. After picking my eyes off the floor, and matting down what is left of my hair, I turned to the girl at the counter and said, "My work on this planet is done". (Source: As sent to Raindogs Listserv discussionlist/ RandogsToo archives. November 30, 2006)

Danny Clinch (2006) on the making of the video for Lie To Me: "I was photographing Tom for publicities for his new box set CD - Orpahns and we were out at this little bizarre roadside caf� that is out in the country of Northern California around were Tom lives. I have done a fair amount of film work, a couple of music videos, documentaries, concert films, etc. The idea for these photographs is... Tom showed up with a truckload full of old vintage speakers and cassette players and radios, etc. and decided that we would build this speaker cabinet behind him. (It was) what you think a Tom Waits speaker cabinet would look like, with all these crazy bells and whistles. Then we plugged his guitar into it and we were shooting these photographs... it was just sort of an amazing location; everything came together and we were all so excited about it - myself and my assistant and Tom kind of built this thing together, over a cup of coffee. We were super excited about it and Tom looked at me and said, "It's too bad that we do not have a video camera... this would make a great video." Then he said, "Maybe I can have my wife run out with her video camera," and it didn't go farther than that. I said, "Well, check it out. Why don't I load something in my 35 mm camera, I'll burn through it really fast as I go through the motions and we will create something that is just really raw and I can animate those stills - run them together and we will create something that is just really raw, something that is not lip synced, something that is just super down and dirty - you know, style." Of course, he got a big smile on his face and he was like, (in a rough Tom Waits voice) "Yeah, that sounds great." We jumped on it; he went through it a couple of times. He did sing the chorus a few times so it might appear there is a moment of lip sync in there, maybe not. We loaded it all into the computer and started pushing it around. MVWire: Did you talk to the label about it at all? DC: I just called them and said, Tom said that he wanted to consider turning this thing into a video. Matt at the label said, "What would it cost to do it?" We gave him an idea; they just wanted to keep it super Lo Fi. We were going to throw some animation into the mix, some drawings that were done on glass, it was pretty cool. In the end I think they just wanted to keep it super Lo Fi and I was all for it. We just stripped it down to the barest essentials. MVWire: So the video was something that was inspiration, in the moment. DC: The opportunity to do something like that with Tom was just... I didn't care what it was going to cost." (Source: "Tom Waits' Video Highlights Rock Photographer's Talent", Freeze Frame/ Music Video Wire. December 2, 2006. � 2006 MVWire and contributors)

Danny Clinch (2006) on working with Waits during the making of the video for Lie To Me: "He is fantastic; he is one of the most creative guys, he is very restless as well... He doesn't like to sit still for too long. If you are taking a photograph of him, you might get two frames of the same pose and the next thing you know he is off doing something else. You have to be able to work fast, which is why I think I got the gig with him. He is all for the creative process; he is always coming up with ideas and participating. You have some people that just sit there and are looking for direction all the time and there are others that actually participate in the creative process, and that's what he does and he is always bringing something to the table. He is definitely into it... he is a super creative guy and has a lot of great ideas, a lot of them are super simple - a lot of time the more simple the better. For example at one point... the publicist had asked me to get couple of simple head shots that they could use. After a couple of frames he looked at me and said, "OK, are we done here? Because I feel like I am getting my hair cut." (Source: "Tom Waits' Video Highlights Rock Photographer's Talent", Freeze Frame/ Music Video Wire. December 2, 2006. � 2006 MVWire and contributors)

Bones Howe (2007) on being out of touch with Waits: “I would love to be able to pick up the phone and say, 'Hey man, what's going on? How are your kids? We're two complete opposites in a lot of ways but there are parts of us that are very much alike. I wouldn't make another Fifth Dimension record, but I'd make another record with Tom tomorrow. He is a real person and he has good manners. He's a gentleman. That's one of the reasons I miss him." (Source: Bones Howe interview March 13, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Mark Linkous (2007) on Waits as guest artist on Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain, 2006: "There's a fairly interesting story behind that song. I recorded a string section in Brooklyn, and I used this really cheap plastic microphone that I found at the dump, because I wanted the string section to sound really old, almost like maybe it was a record that was found on the beach, buried in sand and really scratchy. I went out to record with Tom and have him play on that record. I wanted him to play piano, but I wanted it to sound aged and scratchy and warped, and fit with the string section. While I was out there, I found an ad for a wire recorder from the '40s. Before we used tape, people recorded on stainless-steel wire, in the '30s and '40s, so I found one of those machines for sale, thinking that it would be the perfect thing to record his piano part with. I did it, and it sounded fantastic. The fidelity on this old, old recorder is amazing. In the end, I had to run his piano track through a computer to make it sound old." (Source: "Mark Linkous Interviewed by Scott Gordon". A.V. Club/ Onion Inc. January 16, 2007)

Mark Linkous (2007) on collaborating with Waits: "We started communicating after my first album, 'Vivadixie,' " he says. "Someone heard that he really liked it and that his kids stole it -- I still don't know if it was because they were sick of hearing it or because they liked it -- so I sent him a new copy and wrote him a little letter, and that's how we started talking." They've collaborated several times, with Waits making guest appearances on the past two Sparklehorse CDs. Asked if they plan to meet while Linkous is in California, he says, "I sure hope so. We meant to go see him when he was on tour here last year but, unfortunately, my wife almost got arrested. We both drive old diesel Mercedes cars, and she got accused of stealing gas, which is impossible because our cars don't run on gas, but it took two hours to sort it out with the cops and we missed the concert." (Source: "Sparklehorse Brightens", San Francisco Chronicle. Sylvie Simmons. February 4, 2007)

Book Of Knots (2007) on collaborating with Waits on the song “Pray” (Traineater, 2007): “BOK: In the case of Tom Waits, physically what he got from us was a mono submix of the track that we had decided we wanted him to sing on. He agreed to do so, and we sent him a cassette, an actual cassette for his four-track that he and Kathleen wound up singing in their bathroom together and clapping louder... I don’t know if they had chain mill caster’s mitts that they wear. You know, I don’t know how they clapped so loud. JS: So wait, so Tom Waits and his wife and songwriting partner Kathleen Brennan get a cassette from you and they immediately repair to their bathroom to write the lyrics and...? BOK: Yeah! JS: As far as you know is this uh his general way of working? (laughs) BOK: He did an entire record that way on his four-track, sort of singing in the tub kind of thing.” (“Soundcheck - Knot’s Landing”, WNYC with John Schaefer. July 9, 2007)

Duke Robillard (2007) on touring with Waits in August, 2006: "He was looking for a blues guitarist, so they called my agency and got my name to consider. Then he looked up my material and said, ‘We don't have to look any further. I don't know if I'll be working with him again, but it was a great experience and a lot of fun. He's a really nice guy, with a great sense of humor, of course, which you can tell by his music. A good guy to be around. I just loved the experience." (Source: "A world full of blues, Guitarist Duke Robillard returns to Cortland" by Jim Catalano. The Ithaca Journal. Juli 13, 2007)

Sam Spiegel (2007) on working with Waits for his NASA project: "Spiegel said he had to hunt down Waits in his northern California studio in "fucking farm country in the middle of nowhere," but it was worth it. "He got so fucking into it," Spiegel said of Waits. "I've never seen someone pour their soul into a performance as much as he did. His pinkie toe was going into that performance." (Source: "NASA reveal details of working with MIA, Tom Waits", news. July 24, 2007)

Tim Swadding (2007) on Waits appearing on Bob Dylan's weekly radio show: "Tom appeared twice on this week's Theme Time Radio Hour, Bob Dylan's weekly radio show. The show was "Head To Toe", about body parts. Dylan introduced Tom's first part saying that "most people don't know this - but me and Tom Waits exchange tape cassette messages back and forth, and have for years". He played one of Tom's recent "tape messages" from his mailbox, which does sound like it was recorded on tape cassette. Tom starts by thanking Bob for the investment advice and then talks about a strange law in China that prevents a man from seeing another man's wife's feet at the penalty of murder. Tom then re-appears later in the show on tape again (I believe a first that Bob has had a "guest" appear more than once in a single show) and Tom tells a story of a man who lost an eye and replaced it with a bottle opener to open beer bottles in the bar with his eye socket." (Source: Tim Swadding email. November 2007)

Joel Selvin (2007) on Waits and his wife collaborating: “I don't think Kathleen is alone in developing their approach. People love to see her as the power behind the throne, but my take is that they are very much a couple and highly collaborative. If she takes on a role that allows Tom to be more 'Who, me?,' then I suspect that's part of the plan. They are fiercely private people who control the public's contact with Tom as much as they can. Once past that veil of privacy, they are the most charming, witty, intelligent and caring people” (Source: Joel Selvin email February 27, 2007 as printed in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

Sean "Slug" Daley (2008) on Waits's contribution to the song "Waitress" of the Atmospheres' album "When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold" (april 2008): "Tom Waits beatboxes on it. I'm friends with his son. We've known each other for quite a while now, going on five or six years. And I finally asked him, I think literally, 'Have I known you long enough now to ask if I can get in touch with your dad? Or is that offensive?' So, I sent him the song and asked if he'd sing the chorus. He sent it back and totally avoided the chorus, but instead beatboxed on it. And it sounds good. It worked. We kept it subtle. I didn't want to be exploitive. I wanted to make sure it made sense musically, and I think ultimately it really did." (Source: The band: Atmosphere. Pioneer Press. April 5, 2008)

Doug Pullen (2008) on Waits being presented with a key to the city of El Paso/ USA, June 20, 2008: "A dozen songs into the show, the lame'-suited Waits moved from his instrument-festooned platform center stage -- where he had stomped, howled, pointed, strutted, posed and kicked up white dust - to a black mini-grand stage left. El Paso police officer Frank Perez nervously ambled onstage, prompting the soulman shaman to turn comedian, uttering alibis like "I paid all those tickets" and "She was dead when I got there." Officer Perez was really there to announce a special presentation from El Paso City Councilwoman Susie Byrd (whose hubbie is a big Waits fan), who handed the guest of honor a plaque-mounted key to the city. The crowd, which didn't know what to make of it all, erupted. "This is a first for me, a real first," he noted with a straight face. "Apparently this fits every lock in El Paso," Waits added. "If you find me in your living room in my underwear, we have an understanding." (Source: "Tom Waits bares soul, receives key to the city". El Paso Times. Doug Pullen. June 21, 2008)

Benedicte Page (2008) on Waits being quoted by musicians: "Faber fiction editor Angus Cargill has drawn on his personal love of music to produce a book of music lists chosen by high-profile literary names. Hang the DJ: An Alternative Book of Music Lists (Faber, October) contains eclectic top 10 song choices from writers such as Jonathan Lethem, Hari Kunzru, Patrick McCabe and Michel Faber, as well as from musicians including folk singer Kathryn Williams and singer/songwriter Tom McRae... Cargill said: “We did a book last Christmas called Ten Bad Dates with De Niro [by Richard T Kelly] which was a film compilation and did nicely, so we had the idea of doing a musical equivalent. A lot of writers I know and know of are very passionate about music and I thought they would be receptive to writing about it in a light-hearted way.” He added: “Interestingly, Tom Waits was by far the most cited artist, much more so than The Beatles or The Stones.” (Source: "Faber turns on the music". Benedicte Page. July 8, 2008)

Barney Hoskyns (2009) on writing the biography “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits", 2009: “Do you think it's about creating a mystique?" friends asked when I mentioned the obstacles encountered in writing this book. Generally I said that that was too simplistic, pointing out that Waits had done hundreds if not thousands of interviews over the thirty five years of his career. I said I thought it was more about impatience with writers stuffing him in a kind of box. He wants to remain uncontained and indefinable. "I don't like to be pinned down," he said in 1992. ‘I hate direct questions. If we just pick a topic and drift, that's my favorite part." (Source: “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)