Title: Tom Waits Does New York Shuffle
Source: Los Angeles Times (USA), by Richard Cromelin. Popline, Pg. N73(1)
Date: published January 20, 1980
Key words: Los Angeles, New York, touring


Tom Waits Does New York Shuffle

By Richard Cromelin

If a Neil Simon can relocate from New York to Los Angeles, it's only fair that one of our local fixtures should return the favor. Tom Waits, the asphalt voiced poet singer raconteur, is bidding farewell to his habitual haunts - Duke's restaurant at the Tropicana Hotel(2), Ben Frank's coffee shop, the Troubadour bar(3) and doing the transcontinental shuffle.

"I've been thinking about it for a long time," growled the Damon Runyon of Hollywood as he prepared for storage the boxes of rubble that cluttered -to legendary proportions- his apartment at the Tropicana. "I need a brand-new urban landscape. I just turned 30, I moved out of the hotel and tried the domestic bit - that was a complete catastrophe. I just feel driven to move."

This restlessness has also been evident in Waits' work habits. It's been a long 15 months since his last album, "Blue Valentine," and there's no new one in sight. In the interim, Waits has branched out, singing and acting in Sylvester Stallones "Paradise Alley' and stumbling through the set of "Fernwood 2 Night," Waits has recently done some work on a new Albert Finney movie and on comedian Dick Shawn's upcoming TV special.

"The challenge of putting out an album and going out on the road and doing 50 cities is losing a little bit of its thrill for me," he said. "I went out a little while ago, without a new album. Did quite well, but it seemed my enthusiasm needed a shot in the arm. All I got out of it was high blood pressure and a lot of anxiety. So I decided to find some other things to do.

"My instincts tell me this is the best move to make. I'll get a hotel for a week or so and find an apartment, and while I'm there I'll start writing a new album. I'm hoping that in New York I'll get a little more excited about the whole thing."

Will Waits - Southland born and bred - feel pangs of homesickness?

"This town's a real slut," he laughed. "Yeah, I'll miss the old whore now and then."


(1) This article dates Waits's departure from L.A. to "January 1980". Late 1979 Waits had broke up with Rickie Lee Jones and later that year he had met his future wife Kathleen Brennan at a New Years Eve party thrown by Art Fein (obviously unknown to the interviewer).

(2) Tropicana Hotel: Further reading: The Tropicana

(3) The Troubadour bar: Further reading: The Troubadour