|Title: The Heart Of Saturday Night Press Release
Source: As printed in Dutch magazine "Muziekkrant OOR". December 18, 1974. Also printed in Omaha Rainbow, Issue 4: "Tom Waits Would Like A Word With You All" October, 1974
Date: October, 1974
Keywords: The Heart Of Saturday Night, Jack Kerouac, Musical influences, Favourite writers, Opening acts
The Heart Of Saturday Night Press Release
ELEKTRA/ ASYLUM NONESUCH RECORDS
15 COLUMBUS CIRCLE NEW YORK. N.Y. 10023. 212-582-7711
962 NORTH LACIENGA BLVD. LOS ANGELES. CALIFORNIA 90069. 213-655-8280
The blur drizzle down the plate glass and a neon swizzle stick stirs up the night air, as a cue ball maverick of a moon rolls across an obsidian sky and the busses groaning and wheezing at the corner of restless blvd.(1) and midnight road, across the trucks from easy street and window shoppers beat the cement stroll and I sit scowling over this week's special Norm's(2) pancakes and eggs c69 trying to stretchout in the bowels of this metropolitan area. I've tasted Saturday nights in Detroit, St. Louis, Tuscaloosa, New Orleans, Atlanta, N.Y.C., Boston, Memphis. I've done more traveling in the past year than I ever did in my life so far, in terms of my level of popularity, on the night spot circuit, I remain in relative obscurity and now upon the release of a second album(3), which I believe a comprehensive study of a number of aspects of this search for the center of Saturday night, which Jack Kerouac relentlessly chased from one end of this country to the other, and I've attempted to scoop up a few diamonds of this magic that I see. Musically pulling influence from Mose Allison, Thelonious Monk, Randy Newman(4), George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Ray Charles, Stephen Foster, Frank Sinatra...
My favorite writers, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, Michael C. Ford. Robert Webb, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Larry McMurtry, Harper Lee, Sam Jones(5), Eugene O'Neill, John Reechy and more. I drive a 1965 Thunderbird that needs a valve job and at least 4 quarts of Penzoil a week and gets 4 miles to the gallon on a long distance, the trunk is busted. And I have 3 warrants on traffic violations in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area alone. I am a pedestrian piano player with poor technique but a good sense of melody. I write in coffee shops, bars, and parking lots. My favorite album is Kerouac-Allen on Hanover Records(6).
Born December 7, 1949 in Pomona, California, I drink heavily on occasion and shoot a decent game of pool and my idea of a good time is a Tuesday evening at the Manhattan Club in Tijuana. I reside now in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles and am a dedicated Angelino and have absolutely no intention of moving to a cabin in Colorado. I like smog, traffic, kinky people, car trouble, noisy neighbors, crowded bars, and spend most of my time in my car going to the movies.
Now, with two diploma albums, Closing Time and The Heart of Saturday Night, I trust I will secure enough club dates to keep me moving. I've been an opening act for many artists including Frank Zappa and the Mothers, Buffalo Bob and the Howdy Doody Review(7), Charlie Rich, John Stewart, Billy Preston, John Hammond, Jerry Jeff Walker, Bob La Beau, Danny O'Keefe(8) and others and I've met Ed Barbara of Manhattan Furniture.
Your friend and mine,
(1) At the corner of restless blvd: Later to be included in the lyrics for "Nighthawk Postcards" (Nighthawks At The Diner, 1975)
(2) Norm's: Intro to "Eggs & Sausage" (WAMU Radio Interview, Washington, DC. April 18, 1975): "This is new, I don't know what the hell to do with it really yet, but after you hang around enough diners, it seems a place you always go when you're feeling like a refugee from a disconcerted love affair - you end up at a 24 hour place, in LA we got a place called Norm's - all the losers are there and the waitresses are all good looking." Intro to "Eggs And Sausage" ("Nighthawks At The Diner", 1975): "Yeah, I've had strange looking patty melts at Norm's. I've had dangerous veal cutlets at the Copper Penny..."
(3) Now upon the release of a second album: "The Heart Of Saturday Night" (Elektra/ Asylum Records) was released October, 1974
(4) Randy Newman:
- Tom Waits (1974): "There are songwriters that I like that aren't so well liked - it's still a matter of what your own taste is but I do think there's a strong difference between someone like Randy Newman who is certainly a craftsman when it comes to putting a song together, someone who can evoke such a feeling from his listeners and it comes from him really sweating over a song and then you take somebody like - I don't want to slander anybody, we're on the air- but take somebody like [mumbles] who really writes ridiculously childish songs that don't have meat to them or real vision - I think it's certainly craft." (Source: "Folkscene 1974", with Howard and Roz Larman (KPFK-FM 90.7). Date: Los Angeles/ USA. July 23, 1974 (June 10?))
- Tom Waits (1975): "I admire Johnny Mercer, Oscar Hammerstein and George Gershwin - Cole Porter, Randy Newman - I don't know, I just don't listen to that much country music anymore. I don't write much of it anymore."(Source: "Folkscene 1975", with Howard and Roz Larman (KPFK-FM 90.7). Date: Los Angeles/ USA. January 12 (February 13?), 1975)
- Tom Waits (1975): "I listen to Rudy Ray Moore, Oscar Brown Jr, Ken Nordine, Lord Buckley, Jack Kerouac who I've just been fortunate enough to obtain 4 albums from - from the 50's, he made an album on Hanover Records with Steve Allen in New York City in 57 that did an instant nose dive except among his enthusiastic constituents that bought the record - it was essentially Steve Allen playing jazz behind Kerouac and Kerouac was just telling stories. I like Randy Newman a great deal, I like London Wainwright."(Source: "WAMU Radio Interview". Date: Washington, DC. April 18, 1975)
- Marv Hohman (1976): "You obviously didn't hear those guys on the radio. What did you listen to when you were growing up? Waits: It was mostly the hit parade, that kind of stuff. There are a lot of composers I like: George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, bless his soul, Cole Porter. Hohman: That stamps you as somewhat of a throwback these days, more than a little out of sync with the mainstream of the American music scene. Waits: Well, I do like some of the current people. I like Martin Mull, Randy Newman." (Source: "Bitin' The Green Shiboda With Tom Waits", Down Beat magazine (USA), by Marv Hohman. Date: Victoria restaurant/ Chicago. June 17, 1976)
- Barney Hoskyns (1999): "Was Randy Newman an influence?" Tom Waits: "Yeah, because he was always like a Brill Building(11) guy. He was part of that whole tradition: you go siddown in a room and you write songs all day. Then you get these runners and you get the songs out to Ray Charles or Dusty Springfield. I mean, that's what Joni Mitchell was doing too, she was sitting in a room writing songs, it was just the perception of yourself as a songwriter was changing. And I caught that wave, the songwriters garnering understanding and sympathy and encouragement." (Source: "Mojo Interview With Tom Waits" Mojo magazine (USA), by Barney Hoskyns. Date: Santa Rosa. April, 1999)
- Tom Waits (2000): "I love Los Lobos. Those guys out of Denver, 16 Horsepower. What about Sparklehorse? He's great. Lou Ann Barton, she's got a great voice ... [Captain] Beefheart, of course. Elvis Costello. He's a renaissance man, he's multidimensional. His song "Baby Plays Around" I thought would be a good song for Little Jimmy Scott, who is someone else I really admire a lot. Howlin' Wolf, of course. The 3M Corporation - Monk, Miles and Mingus. Roland Kirk is up there really high. Sun Ra, Cryin' Sam Collins, James Harman, Tina Turner, Aretha, Daniel Johnston. And I like anybody with "little" in their name. Little Jimmy Scott and, uh ... Little Charlie & The Nightcats ... all the Littles, and I like all the Bigs ... Big Mama Thornton, Big Joe Turner Big Bill Broonzy, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Little Richard ... Zappa, Nick Cave and, of course, The Rolling Stones, can't leave them out. Bill Hicks, Johnny Cash, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Guy Clark, Randy Newman. And Harry Belafonte." (Source: "Tradition With a Twist" Blues Revue magazine No. 59 (USA). July/August, 2000 by Bret Kofford)
(5) Sam Jones:
- Tom Waits (1988): "I hitchhiked to Arizona with Sam Jones while I was still a high school student. And on New Year's Eve, when it was about 10 degrees out, we got pulled into a Pentecostal church by a woman named Mrs. Anderson. We heard a full service, with talking in tongues. And there was a little band in there - guitar, drums, and bass along with the choir." (Tom's Wild Years Source: Interview Magazine (USA), by Francis Thumm. October, 1988.)
- Tom Waits (1999): "I have slept in a graveyard and I have rode the rails. When I was a kid, I used to hitchhike all the time from California to Arizona with a buddy named Sam Jones. We would just see how far we could go in three days, on a weekend, see if we could get back by Monday. I remember one night in a fog, we got lost On this side road and didn't know where we were exactly. And the fog came in and we were really lost then and it was very cold. We dug a big ditch in a dry riverbed and we both laid in there and pulled all this dirt and leaves over us Ike a blanket. We're shivering in this ditch all night, and we woke up in the morning and the fog had cleared and right across from us was a diner; we couldn't see it through the fog. We went in and had a great breakfast, still my high-water mark for a great breakfast. The phantom diner." ("The Man Who Howled Wolf" Magnet magazine, by Jonathan Valania. Astro Motel/ Santa Rosa. June-July, 1999).
- Tom Waits (2002): "Actually I had some good things that happened to me hitchhiking, because I did wind up on a New Year's Eve in front of a Pentecostal church and an old woman named Mrs. Anderson came out. We were stuck in a town, with like 7 people in this town and trying to get out you know? And my buddy and I were out there for hours and hours and hours getting colder and colder and it was getting darker and darker. Finally she came over and she says: "Come on in the church here. It's warm and there's music and you can sit in the back row." And then we did and eh. They were singing and you know they had a tambourine an electric guitar and a drummer. They were talking in tongues and then they kept gesturing to me and my friend Sam: "These are our wayfaring strangers here." So we felt kinda important. And they took op a collection, they gave us some money, bought us a hotel room and a meal. We got up the next morning, then we hit the first ride at 7 in the morning and then we were gone. It was really nice, I still remember all that and it gave me a good feeling about traveling." (Source: "Fresh Air interview with Tom Waits", Fresh Air with Terry Gross, produced in Philadelphia by WHYY. Date: show aired May 21, 2002)
- Sam Jones is also name checked in "I wish I was in New Orleans" (1976) "And Clayborn Avenue me and you Sam Jones and all." He's also mentioned on the booklet of the album "Nighthawks at the diner": "Special thanks to Sam (I'll pay you if I can and when I get it) Jones.
(6) Kerouac-Allen on Hanover Records: "Poetry for the Beat Generation - Jack Kerouac and Steve Allen". Hanover Records HML 5000 . Fourteen poems read by the author to original piano accompaniment by Steve Allen. Side 1: October in the Railroad Earth; Deadbelly; Charlie Parker; The Sounds of the Universe Coming in My Window; One Mother. Side 2: Goofing at the Table; Bowery Blues; Abraham; Dave Brubeck; If I had a Slouch Hat Too one Time; The Wheel of Quivering Meat Conception; McDougal Street Blues; The Moon Her Majesty; I'd Rather Be Thin Than Famous. The second of Kerouac's recordings for general distribution. 33 1/3 rpm, 12" mono LP, with music by Steve Allen and poetry by Kerouac. Kerouac and Allen had met at the Village Vanguard at a poetry reading Kerouac was giving, and Allen sat in with him for the second show. After the show, they decided to collaborate on this album, which they produced in one take. Dot Records, which was to have released it, got cold feet at the last minute, after they had already sent out the review copies; it was issued by Hanover with liner notes describing the controversy over its release and also describing the genesis of the album. Gilbert Millstein, who had reviewed On the Road for the New York Times in 1957, wrote the liner notes.
(7) Howdy Doody Review: This is probably the first mention by Waits of this hilarious collaboration.
- Howdy Doody (w. Buffalo Bob, born Robert Schmidt on November 27, 1917) was one of the first American television shows for children. In 1947, NBC brought The Howdy Doody Show to television sets across the US. The TV show went off the air in 1960. From 1970 to 1976 Howdy Bob toured with his show and made hundreds of appearances across the US. There's no confirmation Waits actually ever opened one of these shows. It's still a great story... Buffalo Bob died in 1998 at the age of 80.
- From "Tom's Wild Years" Interview Magazine (USA), by Francis Thumm. Livingston. 1989: FT: Some of your earliest tour bookings were legendary. For instance, you opened for Buffalo Bob and the Howdy Doody Revue in Georgia. TW: And Bob called me Tommy. FT: You didn't like that, did you? TW: I couldn't stand it and I told him. "Bob. please don't make me hurt you. I have a breaking point." FT: That's a weird line to use with a guy who holds a puppet with a plastic head. TW: And it was very strange, having seen him when I was a child.... FT: And there you were yelling at him. TW: He had had a big place in my life as a child. Later, when he was having a come-back. I was his opening act. We did matinees at 10 a.m. for screaming children and women in curlers, and there was candy in the piano. Show business was starting to look like a nightmare.
- From " The Resurrection Of Tom Waits", Rolling Stone magazine (USA), by David Fricke. Washoe House/ San Francisco. June 24, 1999: DF: "The gig with Fifties TV star Buffalo Bob and his marionette, Howdy Doody, was a double whammy: at 10 A.M., in front of housewives and kids. "I wanted to kill my agent. And no jury would have convicted me," Waits says, only half-kidding. "Bob and I didn't get along. He called me Tommy. And I distinctly remember candy coming out of the piano as I played. "Jesus," he sighs. "That's when you need the old expression, 'You gotta love the business.' "
(8) Charlie Rich: April 18 - April 23, 1973: Max's Kansas City. New York/ USA. Opening for Charlie Rich. John Stewart: June 17 - June 19, 1974: Ebbet's Field. Denver/ USA. Opening for John Stewart. John Hammond: May 29 - June 3, 1973: The Boarding House, San Francisco/ USA. Opening for John Hammond. Bob La Beau: January 1971: The Heritage Coffeehouse. San Diego/ USA. Opening for Bob LaBeau. Danny O'Keefe: April 11 - April 15, 1973: Passim Coffeeshop. Cambridge/ USA. Opening for Danny O'Keefe. Further reading: Performances