|Title: Late Night With David Letterman (NBC TV show)
Source: audio tape. Transcription from tape by "Pieter from Holland" as published on the Tom Waits Library
Date: New York/ USA. October 16, 1987
Key words: Franks Wild Years, Ironweed, Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Voice
Late Night With David Letterman (NBC)
DL: Our next guest is one of the most creative musicians and distinctive performers at work today. This is his new album. It's called 'Frank's Wild Years'. Folks, please say hello to the one and only Tom Waits. Tom!
DL: Hi Tom! Good to see you. How are you doing?
DL: Have a seat. This is eh. (help me out here), this is eh.music from. the Broa...the show. the play... that you were doing in Chicago. Is that. am I close here at all?
TW: Yeah, yes. It's the music that went with that show.
DL: Was that a good experience for you, did you enjoy that?
TW: Splendid show and eh worked with good people and had a good time with it.
DL: Yeah. Eh, and also you just eh finished the film with eh Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.
TW: I did, yeah eh.
TW: Ironweed, yeah. So eh .
DL: What was that like?
TW: Well, eh.
LD: Had you met those people before?
TW: I had not. No, eh. Meryl Streep was wonderful. She's a Lincoln Memorial. She was just eh.
DL: Now what does that mean exactly!? [laughter]
TW: She was just eh, you know, devastating. She was really, did wonderful work and eh..Jack.
DL: Well we know she does wonderful work. Was she nice to you?
TW: She WAS nice to me!
DL: Aha, did you socialize with her?
TW: A little bit, yeah.
DL: Go to dinner, and so forth?
TW: Yeah, we went to dinner, now and then. Yeah.
DL: How about eh. Jack? Was he fun to work with?
TW: [resolute] Jack's a killer.
TW: He knows about everything from beauty parlors to train yards. And everything in between. he's eh... [laughter].
DL: Heh, heh, heh. So all and all it was a. And you think the movie will turn out well?
TW: Well you know, you never know. You wait and it's like, it's like eh anything in the kitchen. You put it in the oven and wait, you know and eh.
DL: That's right.
TW: Don't take it out too early... you know?
DL: That's right. You just. everyone has the best intentions when you begin and you hope for the best.
TW: Yeah. Hope so. Hector Babenco was the director and eh it was real pleasant.
DL: He eh, he'd done, he directed 'Kiss Of The Spider Woman'?
TW: He did.
DL: Yeah. Brazilian I believe, isn't he?
TW: He is, he's from South America.
DL: Aah. Let's talk about your voice. Did you ever have problems with your throat? Eh do you go to a throat doctor? Do you have eh.?
TW: Well, I'm glad you asked me that because I did go to a throat doctor for the very first time here in New York. And eh I told him: "I wanna get it lower". And eh. [laughter].
DL: Huh, you wanted him to lower your voice!?
TW: I don't care how much it costs. It's eh. Bring it down, it's embarrassing! [laughter].
DL: Heh, he, he, he.
TW: Actually, it's Frank Sinatra's eh... eh... throat doctor. So I felt save, I was in good hands.
DL: I would think so. Sure.
TW: I'm on steroids, if I seem a little... [laughter]. if I seem a little edgy you know eh.
DL: You're not on steroids! Now don't be joking like that!
TW: No, but it was eh. he's a good doctor.
DL: What kind of hints does he give for throat care to you?
TW: [with mad scientist voice] "You can't go on like that!" He say: "You're gonna wind up like Frank Sinatra!". I said: "You mean rich and powerful?"(1) [laughter].
DL: Heh, heh, heh, that's kind of the point isn't it?
TW: Yeah. No, he said: "You can sing like Tony Bennett if you listen to me", you know?
DL: Speaking of singing. What are we gonna hear tonight here?
TW: Eh. let's see we've got something I worked up here for you. Ehm, this is called 'More Than Rain'.
DL: More than rain.
TW: Kind of tragic little number. And eh. so eh...
DL: Here it goes.
TW: Are we gonna roll right in. ?
DL: I think we're ready to do it. If you're ready, we're ready.
TW: Oh, I thought we we're gonna do eh.
DL: [aside] Are we ready? Tom Waits, 'More Than Rain'!
[Performs: 'More Than Rain']
DL: Tom, good to see you again! That was really nice. Thank you for being here! Thank you gentlemen! Eh, we'll do a commercial, we'll be right back with 'Marry Teddy and her Traveling..[?]' .
(1) You mean rich and powerful?: Waits also used this one in his show that evening at the Eugene O'Neal Theatre, New York (October 16, 1987)