|Title: The Don Lane Show
Source: Don Lane television show (Australia), September, 1981 (w. Teddy Edwards and Greg Cohen). Transcription from tape by "Pieter from Holland" as published on the Tom Waits Library
Date: September, 1981
Keywords: marriage, drinking, smoking, Paradise Alley
Picture: Don Lane television show (Australia), September, 1981
The Don Lane Show
DL: The last time Tom Waits appeared with us(1), his unusual style and sense of humor lit up the switchboard for about an hour after the show. And not all with compliments either. Uh, but his concerts filled up. His albums continued to sell with great success, and he's gone from strength to strength. However, his unpredictability has remained unchanged. And how he'll be with us tonight, who knows? I don't know about you, but I'm really glad to see him again. Cause I think he's a heck of a talent. Ladies and gentlemen, Tom Waits! Say hello!
(Waits enters. Lane and Waits shake hands and they sit down)
DL: How are you doing?
TW: Fine, thank you.
DL: It's really terrific to see you again.
TW: Well thank you, good to see you.
DL: Good, sorry as I don't mean to digress immediately as you out here. But Burt Newton has a pair of shoes exactly like those. (points to Waits' shoes, camera zooms in). With the points on them.
TW: Fourteen, ninety-nine.
DL: Fourteen ninety-nine! Sounds like a good price. What about uh. Do you know we had two hundred, over two hundred and eighty phone calls about you the last time you were on here? I mean that was what, two years ago I think.
TW: Well I heard that you had some complaints, and I wanna apologize for that.
DL: Oh we didn't have any complaints, oh I guess they were complaints. It's just hey said, they thought you were on something, but you weren't. Cause that's just you? TW: I was surprised. You know. . (nervous laughter)
DL: In America you get this reaction, but of course they're used to it up there I suppose?
TW: Uhm actually I don't perform a lot on television in the United States.
DL: You don't do an talkshows Tom?
TW: It's very rare that I make an appearance on a television program.
DL: Is there a reason for that?
TW: No it's just uh. It makes me feel rather uncomfortable in the United States, cause I live there. (laughter)
DL: How is it by the way, is it still there?
TW: . .
DL: United States I mean
TW: . (holds his hat)
DL: Up there, sure it's still there. Any thoughts about Ronald Reagan or anything like that?
TW: No thoughts at all. (laughter)
DL: You're not politically oriented?
DL: No, I see. You quit smoking I understand?
TW: It was a real challenge for me.
DL: How many cigarettes were you smoking a day?
TW: I was a very heavy smoker. But I think in order to quit successfully you have to feel as though you're superior to those who do smoke. So I've managed to quit. And I feel like a good American. (laughter)
DL: When you quit, I have to wait and see what I had come in here, when you quit smoking like that, did it affect you at all, I mean did it make you.?
TW: It interrupts your rhythm.
DL: How did you know that, that your rhythm was interrupted?
TW: Well when you rely on something like that, it's hard to give it up. I've been smoking since I was like eight years old. So, it was a little rough.
DL: Yeah did you get nervous at first?
TW: Sure. It's like giving up food. (laughter)
DL: I had a horse once that I tried to train to go without food. And I just about got it there and it died. Really weird.
DL: Sorry about that, I couldn't resist. Uh you're working on a movie at the moment. I've seen your movies by the way, you were in uh. uhm Paradise Alley with Sylvester Stallone(2).
TW: A small role.
DL: A small role, yeah. Well you played piano and you sang a couple of lines in that?
TW: Uh I did yeah. I wrote a few songs for the film. But there was an edited version that was released on television. And uh you know, I wasn't in there much.
DL: Mmm. .
TW: Is that yours? (pointing to a drink)
DL: No that's yours. That was there for you. It's only water.
TW: Oh. (drinks) Thank you.
DL: That's okay. My pleasure. Water's free. It's a good vintage that. "Yesterday". Nice! Tom got married recently(3). How long ago did you get married?
TW: I've been married thirteen months.
DL: Uh you. If I remember correctly from the things I've read, you lived alone in the same hotel room(4) for something like seven or eight years?
TW: Uh I did live in a hotel for quite some time. In fact a considerable amount of time I've spent in a hotel. But uh that was when I was single.
DL: So obviously being married has changed your lifestyle Tom?
TW: To a degree, yeah. Are you married?
DL: No, is this a proposal?
DL: No I was just uh. No I'm not married. A lot of people wish I was. Sometimes I wish I was. Has it changed you a lot do you think?
TW: Mmm, you'll find out. (laughter)
DL: When my turn comes, I'll find out huh?
TW: Yeah, and I think it's become a very important part of my life. I married a fourteen year old Ireland girl and uh we're very happy together.
DL: You married a fourteen year old Ireland girl?
DL: Yes, and you are very happy?
TW: Actually, I rescued her from the jaws of an active volcano. (laughter)
DL: They were just about to sacrifice her then? Were they?
TW: He's one of the nicest guys you ever wanted to meet.
DL: Well he is! Okay well. Okay, well... You gave up liquor too?
TW: No, I enjoy a little wine with supper now and a nice Sherry before retiring. But uh.
DL: You never talked like this before Tom. I mean, you never said things like "a nice Sherry before retiring" and all that. Is this.
TW: Well we didn't really have a chance to talk on that level, I think the last time we were together. In fact we were enjoying a sumptuous Cabernet prior to the program this evening.
DL: What year?
TW: It was a '77, one of your local Australian wines that we were enjoying. They have a nice bouquet. Light and dry and flavorful. (laughter)
DL: Did you know which part of the valleys it came from?
TW: Uh, well we've actually found that the Australian wines are superior to the New Zealand wines. I believe this was a McWilliams.
DL: McWilliams. You're gonna sing for us in a little while. We're gonna take a break first and then you're gonna go over there and sing. Uh I think I'd like to tell people about your dates. Where you're gonna be. Do you know where you're gonna be?
TW: I'm really doing about, I think about seventeen concerts we have lined up. And uh I don't have the itinerary.
DL: Oh we got it here(5). Sydney this Saturday and Sunday. Brisbane, Tuesday. Then Adelaide and Perth. And Melbourne they added a fourth show down here. On October the 21st. Tickets on sale from tomorrow. If you've never seen him on stage, it's quite an exiting experience. (laughter). I mean it! He's really wonderful. You think, because he's low key now, but when he gets out here, (to Waits) you really give it to 'em don't you?
TW: I really give it to 'em.
DL: Yeah. We'll be back in a minute. Tom Waits is gonna sing!
DL: Tom Waits is back there. He sat up with some of the musicians that are with him. These are some of the fellows who work with him. He's working on a score at the moment for a Francis Ford Copolla movie. And he's working very hard on it. This song he's gonna do for us now is of his new album. Uh, it's called "Mr. Siegal" and it refers to Bugsy Siegal, who is the famous gangster in the United States. As you know, Tom's songs are always about people that move in those circles, in those areas. Anyway, here he is, Tom Waits and "Mr. Siegal"!
[Performs "Mr. Siegal" with Teddy Edwards on sax and Greg Cohen on upright bass]
(1) The last time Tom Waits appeared with us: further reading: Don Lane TV show. Australia, late April, 1979
(2) Paradise Alley with Sylvester Stallone: Paradise Alley (1978) Movie directed by Sylvester Stallone. Movie debut as pianist Mumbles. On soundtrack: "Meet Me In Paradise Alley" and "Annie's Back In Town". Peter Guttridge (1983): "Sylvester Stallone hired Waits for a cameo role in the ill-fated 'Paradise Alley' as a Hoagy Carmichael bar pianist. A few snatches of his music make it onto the soundtrack, though Waits did not score the movie nor write the main theme, sung over the credits by Stallone himself. Intended as a Damon Runyan comedy the film didn't fare too well with either critics or public. 'I went and sat in front of a piano for three weeks and then I went home. I didn't go to see it after.' Waits' appearance seems rather truncated in the film. He agrees. 'I had more scenes but they got cut. I finally saw it on TV with my wife (a script-writer from Twentieth Century Fox he married in '81 after breaking up with long-time partner Rickie Lee Jones). I sat her down to watch it, got really excited - look honey, here I am - shit where'd I go?' (Source: "A Simple Love Story" City Limits magazine (UK), by Peter Guttridge. Date: London. July 1-7, 1983)
(3) Tom got married recently: Marriage with Kathleen Patricia Brennan: August 10, 1980. The two first met at the 1980 New Years party thrown by Art Fein and later became acquainted when they met again at Zoetrope studio's. Kathleen was a script-analyst at Coppola's Zoetrope studios (unverified). Further reading: Quotes On Kathleen
(4) You lived alone in the same hotel room: further reading: Tropicana Motel
(5) Oh we got it here: further reading: Performances 1981-1985