Title: The Neon Dreams Of Tom Waits
Source: New Musical Express (UK), by John Hamblett. Photography by Chris Horler. Thanks to Kevin Molony for donating scans
Date: London. May 12, 1979
Key words: Vienna Moulin Rouge, Paul Hampton, Tropicana, Religion, Jack Kerouac, Fan mail, Marriage, Childhood, James Brown

Magazine front cover: New Musical Express (UK). May 12, 1979

Accompanying picture
Early 1979. Photography by Chris Horler. Thanks to Kevin Molony for donating this scan


The Neon Dreams Of Tom Waits


Imagine: The aircraft shudders in and out of a random air-pocket. Without modifying his position Tom Waits observes with little interest the whipped layer of low, white cloud that reflects the sunlight, purposefully obscuring the ground, or sea, or whatever it is they are flying over. Couched inert in the soft blue seat, he thinks.

He is thinking about London and Vienna, lighting a cigarette and girls, 12 hours ago and reading a book, 12 hours yet to come and asking the hostess for another beer.

Lighting a long, tipped cigarette he attempts to attract her attention, without attracting too much attention to himself. He coughs and lowers his eyes as she smiles and moves toward him. "Do you think I could possibly have another beer, please miss?" "Oh, I think we can just about manage that, sir." The hostess turns and walks down the aisle. Waits watches her move.

She is wearing a beautiful blue uniform that fits her very well. He likes the way the blue creases into and away from the small of her back, and now her sophisticated curves move mesmerically this way and that; dragging his eyes crazily back and forth like a cartoon animation.

Most of all he likes the twitchingly organic rustle her thighs make as she puts one foot in front of the other. He thinks that he would like to write a song for her. Or about her, maybe: her blue uniform, clean smell and organic rustle, and the things she thinks about while putting on her make-up. He's never written a song about an airline hostess. By the time she returns with the drink Waits is flicking rapidly and happily through a magazine.

"Here, take a look at these," says Waits, handling across what appears to be a clutch of loose pages from a b/w magazine. "I was reading a magazine on the plane coming over and I just had to tear out these pages to show you. The photographs are really great." The press manager examines the pictures and passes them round the creamily veneered cafe table to the blonde haired photographer and the blonde haired journalist. Everybody laughs and searches for a joke to crack.

The pictures document the inside of a rough looking, harshly-lit bar where various combinations of middle-aged, apparently working-class men and women are in various stages of undress, and are engaged in all manner of bawdy frolic. (Privately the journalist thinks that it all looks a bit desperate.) "I don't know what language that's printed in, so I don't know where the bar is, but I sure would like to find out."

Waits takes back the magazine pages and folds them roughly into his pocket. His brown hair is swept back from his face and piled on top of his head in sculpted waves. He has a triangular head that is broad at the brow and narrow at the chin. He looks exactly like a man who makes exceptional records. He is exceptional.

Kerouac looked side-long at scratchily animated figure of Waits, and ran his tongue back and forth pensively over his top teeth, I wonder... I don't know... not... I mean... (?)

Waits rocks himself forward and then back against the aircraft seat; his arms folded tightly across his stomach and chest, his hands balled into fists and crammed into the armpits of his mildly scuffed, brown leather flying jacket. The magazine on his knee lays idle, forgotten for the moment. He nibbles gingerly on the inside of his left cheek and closes his eyes. He is thinking about The Moulin Rouge(1), a strip club-cum-whorehouse in Vienna. Waits is trying very hard to remember every last little detail of The Moulin Rouge. After all, it's not every day you get to spend some time in a joint like that. Not in Vienna, Austria, you don't... Christ, what a whacky dive, the damndest place he'd ever seen; all red plush, shiny gold and baby grands. (Whistles a low and constantly deep note).

The wildest place you've ever seen; it's like a strip club-cum-whorehouse, y'know?, and there's this girl writhing about stark naked on a goatskin rug in the middle floor; and she's writhing and groaning, and spitting and drooling, and crawling around on this rug... And all around this room there's a gallery which is full of respectable middle-aged and old men. And when she's finished writhing and groaning, and spitting and crawling, they just clap, y'know, as polite as you please. "could not believe it man," laughs Waits.

When Waits laughs it sounds something like a good-natured, but reluctant stumble. The Chinese waitress drops a plasticised menu onto this table. He picks it up and examines the form scrupulously, eventually ordering soup of the day followed by fish - despite the language problem.

Between mouthfuls of fish, milk, French fries, and peas he casts mildly curious glances out into the unnaturally lit cafe, and at the three apprehensive young men on the adjacent table. He's thinking about the soundcheck he's about to do, the interview he has to do, the gig in Dublin he's looking forward to playing tomorrow night, and the day off in Ireland he's looking forward to even more.

Kerouac's features were roundly doughy; marshmallow cheeks coarsly spattered with a spiky, rambling-derelict stubble. The cleft in his chin, the subtle indentation that bridged his top lip and the base of his nose, the lines that ran from the corners of his nostrils to the edges of his mouth, the furious furrows that criss-crossed his forehead, the brittle creases under each eye, all looked to deep, too blue-black, too obvious. His dark hair was almost hidden under a shabby tweed cap with a short peak, his fleshy torso closeted in a rustic, plaid work shirt, and a malfitting, once-white windjammer. His legs were crossed in laded-blue and salty denim.

Now Waits has finished his meal and is talking in a raggedy excited voice into one of the four house phones in the hotel reception. Animated, clicking his fingers and hopping from one foot to the other, he is trying to find the answers to two important questions:

1 Are they supposed to be doing this sound-check or not?
2 Who has the key to his suitcase?

Helplessly he watches as the press officer, photographer and journalist make their way across the almost-crowded lobby floor toward him. Now aren't they just all he needs at a time like this? Replacing the phone he slouches vaguely around, kicking at the floor, frustrated and tense, walking to and fro, impatient and tense.

Eventually his musicians make their entrance, relaxed and joking. Although his suitcase key hasn't turned up they order a cab and make their way to the Paladium.

Left in the lobby, the three apprehensive young men make nervous conversation and despairing jokes. They had all decided that perhaps it would be better if they let Tom go ahead with his sound-check before rejoining him, since he appeared to be right on the edge.

The journalist worried about his interview. The photographer worried about his photographs. The press officer worried about the interview and the photographs. Tom Waits, meanwhile, worried about the sound, his musicians, the lights, the props, the interview, the photographs, and where the fuck he'd put his suitcase key.

Kerouac picked up his glass of red wine, and twisted the stem around in his left hand (The cigarette occupied his right)... How many times had he vowed to give up drinking?... The only time I ever drink is when I'm alone, and when I'm with someone. He chuckled to himself. Now who was it that had said that? The beautiful hostess in the beautiful uniform passed Kerouac on his right hand side, and for the second time during the three-hour flight he seriously considered falling in love with her. And then he fell asleep.

Waits sort of comes round, still semi-tangled in his dream, and blinking rapidly he shakes himself and rubs his fists into his itching eyes. It was a strange dream; he had been in some beer joint in L.A., alone on a leatherette bar stool, drinking cool tangy beer. Drinking but not drunk, just passing some unoccupied time, watching the froth dissolve airily into the body of the beer. He'd looked up from his drink and took in the whole room from left to right with a long, slow sweep. Slowly and nervously he realized everybody had stopped talking, nobody was drinking, nobody was digging the great jazz he'd punched out on the silverchrome juke box. Everybody had some kind of note book open and they were all writing feverishly. The mad jazz swooped like a bastard, the tired neon flipped off the chrome and arked through the room, and the bald, paunchy guy behind the bar polished glasses on the tail of his greasy apron; unconcerned and sleazy looking. But everybody else was writing, pausing occasionally to look at him...

The taxi jerks to a halt outside the theatre and the three apprehensive young men stumble out. The photographer and the journalist are both carrying bags; the two have forged a harmlessly false and forced friendship founded in circumstance and tension. The press officer carries no bag and feels like an aimless intruder; a blackmailer almost.

They find the stage door, still trying to make a huge joke of the whole affair, and having found it they enter smiling loudly. Despite the efforts of the over-zealous house official they are shown into the massively red, gold and empty theatre in order to watch the sound-check which has not yet gotten underway.

On the deep stage technicians are struggling with props (a ramshackle red arm chair, an illuminated petrol pump, a b/w TV set, a mock-up of the back of a blue car with red tail lights, and an elaborate street lamp) so that other technicians may focus and synchronize the spotlights. Waits wonders around the stage, answers questions, sometimes tousling his hair, constantly smoking cigarettes, and sitting down at his piano to topple out a fragile melody. He is edgy and tired. His road manager taps him on the shoulder and reminds him of the interview. As if he needed to be reminded f'chrissake. Yeah, yeah, okay lets do it...

Kerouac woke up. he didn't know why, he hadn't been asleep long - but there again he never seemed to sleep long these days (had he ever?) He glanced across at Waits. No, he couldn't figure him out at all. A young guy like that in times like these. Surely he didn't fall for all that King Of The Beats crap. Surely he, himself, had laid all that to rest. Kerouac was puzzled. Legends? Heroes? Fables and coincidence.

He and his road manager walk up the centre aisle of the stalls and sit down with the three apprehensive young men:

"Er, where do you want to do this interview, man?" asks Waits, smiling slowly and thinking, "Shit, this cat looks edgier than I feel". "Anywhere you like Tom, I'm easy." They decide on the dressing room, as Waits does not want to leave the theatre in case a problem arises that needs his attention.

Waits whistles softly and taps his knee with his open palm. He looks through the small window. The red light above the cabin door is glowing. The melodiously affected masculine voice sing-songs over the tannoy, requesting that all passengers extinguish their cigarettes and fasten safety belts. Thank you. The plane clips through the low cloud, London sprawls somewhere close and Waits smiles.

The dressing room is irregularly shaped; an uneasy room with many mirrors, the occasional round, plaster pillar, various seats ranging from comfortable to uncomfortable looking, a hard floor, and a table fitted to one long wall on which is layed out an impressive quantity of alcohol. The photographer sits just inside the door assembling his equipment before conscientiously casing the lay-out for positive angles etc. The journalist and Waits sit opposite each other. Waits rocks himself in the black plastic bucket-seat. He clutches loosely at the neck of a Carlsberg lager bottle that sways close to the floor. The journalist relaxes a little and leads off...

Kerouac allowed cigarette smoke to drift through his barely parted lips and sucked it back up through his nostrils before exhaling it for good. He watched Waits out of the corner of his eye. Where did he get a beard like that? Was he religious; a Catholic, Buddhist, mystic, maybe? Had he ever read Jack London and The Diamond Sutra? Did he love his mother? Was his father still alive? Had he ever hitchhiked all the way across America? Did he ever stay up all night burning and bursting with things to say? Did he walk out before dawn, words gushing out of his head in a manic rush - like a damn bursting over a desert - stumbling over each other in the race to reach somebody? Had he ever been to Mexico and Paris? Did he really dig bebop and all those cool cats who hung out on Times Square and played the flowingest, swingingest, most seductive, sensual, narcotic music in the world? Had he ever slept with a woman he hadn't loved? Had he ever slept with a man he had? And how do you ask questions like that of a total stranger?

I understand that you're currently working on a film script. "Yeah, I just started working on the project(2) in December when I got off the road. I'm working on it with a gentleman by the name of Paul Hampton who used to be Bert Baccarach's old songwriting partner; he used to write for Famous Music in New York during the '50s, writing for Gene Pitney and cats like that. And he is also an actor, and we're collaborating on this film script about a used car dealer in Southern California, and an old friend of his who are reunited on New Year's Eve. It's a nice story. It's about a guy who's a success at being a failure and a guy who's a failure at being a success.

Do you have a picture of your leading man? "Yeah. Me. Actually we haven't got anyone to release the film yet. The whole thing's being written on spec. The characters are Jack Farley Fairchild, of Fairchild Dord. Torence, California, and Donald Fedore, his partner and side-kick. I never tried anything like this before. I don't find it at all easy. In fact, it's the hardest thing I've ever done... well, the most challenging anyway."

What about material for the next album? "I'm getting home in May and I'll be writing for a month, then I'll go into the studio. I think I want something a little harder. Needless to say I don't get much airtime on the radio, over here, or in the States. In fact, Marcel Marceau gets more airplay than I do." "I think I'd like to try some rock 'n' roll... I don't really know, I just got this idea in my head to try something a little harder. I think my voice is ready for it now. I'm ready to scream... yeah, I really feel like screaming."

Are you frustrated? "Yeah."

What sort of status have you attained in America? What sort of progress do you think you've made? "Well, it's taken seven years and I've gone from beer bars to small theatres, so I guess you could say that I'm breaking out of the bars. After seven years (laughs)."

Have you a clearly defined picture of ambition of what you want from all of this? "Yeah, I want a career in air-conditioning and refrigeration... Ah, I don't know. I mean like it's a toss up between that and motel management."

You still live in a motel? "Yeah, same one I've always lived in. The Tropicana. Actually a lot of famous people have lived there. You know that Andy Warhol filmed Trash there, and Jim Morrison lived there at one time. I have an old board that was up in the lobby many years ago with photographs of all the famous people that've stayed there, old movie stars and people like that..." "But I'm starting to think that maybe I should get a house or someplace with a little more privacy. Because every time I go out on the road it's really hectic, and when I get back home there's no break down from that."

Waits and his cohorts doze as the taxi bucks and swerves through the London traffic. Waits is thinking about the airline hostess, and the last time he played in London... how he'll maybe fix himself up with a pair of winklepickers, and why does he stay out till four in the morning and feel wasted the whole of the next day? His friends are also thinking about sleep. None of them notice the tall buildings and the old buildings as they whizz past.

Kerouac sat in the taxi; hunched forward with his hands clasped tightly between his trembling thighs (He was putting unusual pressure on his left foot). He gazed amazed at the group of young people crossing the road at the red light in front of the cab. Where the hell do they buy clothes like that? Why the hell do they buy clothes like that? They look just like that gang of fuckin' spooks that came round my house. MY HOUSE (&, Judy Ann Court, Northport, Florida) yeah, it was '62 or sometime thereabouts... all them maniacs perched on my goddamn doorstep like a gang of wild-eyed hooligans, all of them with DHARMA BUMS stencilled on the backs of their goddamn jackets christ are these the kind of people that Waits attracts hooligans nothing but five and dime hoods rock 'n' roll blue jean hipsters perpetuating some manic manufactured Saturday night neon junkiestinsel-tramps DOWDYFUCKINPRETENDERS...?

Are you religious? The journalist asks Waits. "Er. I don't know. Hahaha. Nobody's ever asked me that before. Why did you ask me that?"

Because nobody's ever asked you that before and I'm curious? "I don't know. The only trouble with going to Heaven is that I'm scared that there's no nightclubs up there. I think I'd rather go down there. I'm sure all my friends are down there. All my heroes."

Kerouac? "Oh no, not Kerouac, he's up there. I think that Kerouac had a religious persecution mania. Like when (Neal) Cassady died Kerouac wouldn't admit that he'd gone. People would come round his house, and he'd say things like 'Oh no, no, we can't go anywhere today, Cassady's coming over'."

Did you ever meet Kerouac? "No, I used to dream about him. I remember one dream I had very clearly. I was in the kitchen in this apartment somewhere out in the Mid-West. There was a party and I was sat on the floor in this kitchen, and Kerouac came banging through the door. He was dragging this Mexican girl along by the hair, and he threw her up against the refrigerator and started slapping the shit out of her. He was screaming something, and she was screaming. And then I woke up."

Did you attach any special significance to that kind of experience then? "Oh yeah, at the time, I was obsessed with Kerouac, but it's evened out now although he remains my hero. I think it's good to have heroes, actually. But when you try to hang out with them they let you down. They've got to. It's one thing having a hero, but it's something else being a hero to someone."

Are you conscious of having an image to live up to, or down to, which every the case may be? "Yeah, and I used to work at it much harder than I do now. Now the only time I drink is when I'm with someone and when I'm on my own (laughs). No, really I've been trying to give up drinking, but every time I stop it makes me so nervous I have to take a drink."

The Waits group arrive at the large and luxurious White House. Everybody idles thankfully over to the reception desk to check in and collect their keys. Waits's manager - Herb Cohen, a big, round, bearded individual - takes control of the situation. Waits is feeling tired and tense. He doesn't know which he's feeling most. All he knows for sure is that he wants to flop out on a big soft bed and dream about Mexican waitresses with soft brown skin in sparkling bars that have whole rows of Chevvys and stuff parked outside; bars with neon beer signs and Wurlitzer juke boxes stacked out with chrome, waitresses with soft brown skin and softer brown eyes, and hot-rod cars with a million tail-lights all glinting wicked smiles.

Kerouac's cab grumbled around the front of the hotel, and the ex-college track star football player and All American Hero beatnik Alcoholic Mystic folded stiffly out. He paid the driver and ambled in through the big, glass doorway.

"Anything the press writes about you, or anything you put in a song, creates an illusion of some kind and people construct what they think you are from what they read and hear. I care about my audience. I think I've got a lot of. hmmm. compassion for them. But it's difficult to know what they're thinking. I get a lot of letters though."

What do people write to you about? "Oh, I get a lot of letters that say things like, 'Dear Tom, why are you ruining your voice?' I get a lot of stuff like that; really personal letters from people I've never met. Total strangers. I find that very strange. And there are a lot of people who write to me who are obvious maniacs. Like a lot of girls who write to me are out of their minds. They are nuts. And I do mean bona fide lunatics. Oh, yes I've had my share of them. A girl who had just escaped from a mental institution in Illinois hitchhiked all the way to The Tropicana, dressed entirely in black. She was sat on my porch one time when I got home at about four in the morning, totally wasted. I almost had a stroke when I saw her. And then she'd call me up when I was on the road and just say, 'I'm going to kill you', and then put the phone down. She knew every hotel I planned to stay at, and nobody knew where I was staying except my manager and my father, so now I change my name when I check in at a hotel; I register as Hercules Bellville(3). And now I suppose I'm going to have to change that."

Can you ever picture yourself as married? "Yeah, I guess I have some kind of picture of that. But I don't know. it seems to let me down every time. It's like, Why is the dream always so much sweeter than the taste?(4) But I'm not cold-blooded. I'd like to have a home and kids one day."

What is the strongest memory you have of your childhood? "Ha, I remember my father taking me into bars when I was very young. I remember climbing up a bar-stool like a Jungle Jim, getting all the way up to the top and sitting there with my dad. He could tell stories in there for ever. I also remember that we travelled around in Mexico a lot, because my dad was a Spanish teacher. I remember once we were on Goodyear Boulevard, about 1957 and a hotrod was idling with us side by side at a red light on an intersection. And there was this guy in it with blonde hair all greased back in a D.A.(5) like a waterfall, and a tattoo, and an I.D. bracelet, shades and a cigarette. He was with his girlfriend and she had black eye make-up on, and they were drinking beer and listening to Fats Domino on the radio. And my dad looked over at me and said: 'If you ever grow a D.A. I'll kill you.' (laughs) I remember that very clearly. We had a '57 Chevrolet station wagon."

The telephone jangles in Herb Cohen's room. Cohen hasn't been asleep. He's just got out of a very hot bath and he feels pink, tingly and as close to relaxed as he ever comes. And that's not very close at all. It's the press officer guy wanting to know when Tom will be able to come down and do an interview with a dumb journalist from some dumb rock paper. Cohen says he doesn't know for sure as Tom is sleeping it off... poor guy he's really fucked out... Has the journalist arrived yet? When you expecting him? About half past two. Well, take him into the hotel cafe and give him something to eat or drink or whatever. Tom has got to wake up before four o'clock on account of how the soundcheck is booked for then, so when he surfaces I'll tell him where to find you. Okay. Right. Waits is sleeping.

Kerouac was drinking and thinking about Tom Waits and the kids he'd seen out of the taxi window, and Cassady, and the DHARMA BUMS. He wanted to fall asleep, but couldn't. But he didn't know why he couldn't.

What sort of childhood did you have? "Well my folk split up when I was about 10, so I moved around quite a lot. I'd sometimes live with my mother and two sisters. I felt really peculiar when I was going through puberty. That was a very peculiar period for me. I worked when I was 14 - I got a job but I stayed in school. I worked every night until four in the morning. My brother-in-law, who weighed about 300 pounds, was working in a small Italian restaurant and they decided that there was no room for him in the kitchen. So they sacked him and I got the job."

Is that where you first acquired the taste for hotel management? "yeah, that's what I thought I wanted to do - own an Italian Restaurant. It was like my boss said, 'At least you'll never starve'."

There was some talk of you working with George Dukes? "Yeah, I already did that. George worked in the studio with me on 'Blue Valentine'. He didn't use his real name though; he's got some jungle name he uses when he does session work (Da Willie Conga). I've been up onstage with him a couple of times in small clubs when we've run into each other on the road."

I wouldn't have thought Duke's type of music would've appealed to you. "Well, it took a little time for him to come off that Funkedelic thing. But he's been through a lot, and I think that perhaps you get to a point where your values shift when you've been in this industry for a certain number of years. A lot of jazz musicians nowadays are just sitting in hotel bedrooms, and they've been like working in toilets for 25 years... and that kind of lifestyle just might not hold all the romance that it seems to have. Sure, it looks good for the magazines when somebody's interviewing some down-and-out horn player on Times Square, but there's no dignity in it."

Don't you feel that in the past you may have contributed to the glorification of that kind of degradation through your songs? "No, I hope not. I try not to glorify it. I try to be a private eye."

On waking Waits imagines for a brief moment that he's at home, in The Tropicana(6); but a brief glance about the hotel room is enough to dispel the comfortable illusion. He scratches at his head, deadbeat. And the telephone is ringing. It's Herb. Yeah... yeah... what now? Aw shit... I've had maybe two hours sleep in the last 24. I haven't eaten since who can remember when... yeah yeah... okay... I got to get something to eat anyway...

Waits slouches into the bathroom and splashes freezing cold water in the general direction of his face. Rubbing and scratching at the top of his right arm, toying with his tattoo. He gives his T-shirt a brief glance before deciding it looks too complex and goes for his leather jacket which he zips up high.

Avant Garde jazz makes me nervous. It sounds like an automobile accident. I remember the most exciting musical experience I ever had; I was walking up the Harbour Freeway in L.A. during the rush hour, and it was like 120 degrees, and up ahead there's this car crash. The traffic was backed up for about ten miles; it was horrendous. Anyway, people started honking their horns and you had a few eeh aaah ooh wooohs and then everybody caught on. It spread like a wave from the front; everybody was leaning on their horns - which meant you had something like 500 car horns all blasting away at the same time... YAWWWWW EEEEEEE EEEH OOOOOH AAAAAAAH YEEEEEE HOOOO AAAA. It was very exciting... very exciting."

What was the first gig you ever saw? "James Brown and The Famous Flames on the bill with. er. it was an all-black act, a spade flush you might say. There was Martha Reeves and The Vandellas(7) - I opened a show for her in Detroit once(7) and I was murdered. Yeah, that was one of the first things I ever saw. I was amazed. It was like church; he played something like a 27-minute version of 'It's A Man's World'. I couldn't believe it. My sax player Herbert Hardesty used to play with him; that cat's played with everybody from Duke Ellington to Fats Domino."

When did you first begin to write songs? "Oh, when I was about 19 or 20 I guess, but they weren't very good. I think I'm improving. I wrote 'Blue Valentine' in a month. The whole thing. I wish I could've put my liquor bill on the expenses."

How long did it take you to record? "It took us five days to record that... I'm cheap."

... [rest of text missing] ...


(1) Moulin Rouge: The club is still there: Walfischgasse 11 1010, Wien (Vienna, Austria)

Moulin Rouge. Vienna/ Austria, 1979
Screenshot from "A Day In Vienna" (Austrian television concert documentary by Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher)

(2) The project: this would be the mysterious project Waits had been working on with Paul Hampton "Why Is The Dream Always So Much Sweeter Than The Taste?" The project however would never be realized. It is generally assumed the script was later used for Waits's play "Frank's Wild Years". A small part at least was used for Coppola's "One From The Heart":
- The one original movie script that Waits developed with writer/ actor Paul Hampton, Why Is the Dream So Much Sweeter Than the Taste?, didn't attract much industry attention, but a fragment from it, a scene called "Used Carlotta," turns up in One From the Heart: Hank conducts a symphony of blinking headlights in his surreal junkyard - appropriately named "Reality Wrecking." (Source: "Tom Waits: Hollywood Confidential", BAM magazine (US). Travelers' Cafe/ Echo Park. February 26, 1982).
- Also mentioned in "Wry & Danish To Go" MelodyMaker magazine, by Brian Case. Copenhagen. May 5, 1979: "Last Christmas he wrote a screenplay called Why Is The Dream Always So Much Sweeter Than The Taste? about a used-car dealer in downtown L.A. "It's about a guy who's a success at being a failure, and a guy who's a failure at being a success; and it all takes place on New Year's Eve. Hope it's as good as I think it is. Never done anything that large before"

(3) Hercules Bellville: Apparently Waits changed that to Montclaire de Havelin (as in "Montclaire de Havelin doin' the St. Vitus dance" from "Downtown", 1980 ).
- TW: "It's a name I came up with when I was on the road. I used to check into hotels and use my real name on the registration form. I had some unfortunate experiences because of that (clears throat and smiles), so I decided to change my name, at least on the road, so I wouldn't have people I didn't want to associate with trying to get in touch with me. " (Source: "Heartattack and Vine". Us promo pack: Stephen Peeples. September 4 1980).

(4) Why is the dream always so much sweeter than the taste?: referring to the project with Paul Hampton

(5) D.A.:
- Etymology: duck's ass; from its resemblance to the tail of a duck Date: 1951. Also: duck�tail.
- Etymology: from its resemblance to the tail of a duck Date: 1948 : a hairstyle in which the hair on each side is slicked back to meet in a ridge at the back of the head.

(6) The Tropicana: Further reading: Tropicana Motel.

(7) Martha Reeves and The Vandellas: Also mentioned in: "Folkscene 1975, with Howard and Roz Larman (KPFK-FM 90.7) Los Angeles/ USA. January 12 (February 13?), 1975".
- TW: "I was at a club in East Lansing, Michigan called the Stables. What they did was take an old horse stable and converted it into a night club. If you listen at night after they close you can hear the thoroughbreds in the back row. It's a huge joint - about as intimate as a bullring. It's hard to pull off. I was on a bill with Martha and the Vandellas. There was a small little postage stamp of a stage and they said they provide a piano so they put it way in the back, in the back row. They didn't say anything about putting it on stage."