Title: Fresh Air Interview With Tom Waits
Source: "Fresh Air with Terry Gross, produced in Philadelphia by WHYY" radio show as archived on Fresh Air website. May 21, 2002. Transcription by "Pieter from Holland" as published on the Tom Waits Library
Date: show aired May 21, 2002 (edited version re-aired January 1, 2003)
Keywords: Alice/ Blood Money, Robert Wilson, Kathleen, childhood, musical influences, voice, songwriting, Johnny Cash

Picture: Terry Gross, 2002


Freh Air Interview With Tom Waits


TG: This is Fresh Air, I'm Terry Gross(1). My guest Tom Waits is one of the true eccentrics of pop music. In the New York Times this month he was described as "the poet of outcasts"(2). There's always been an element of mystery surrounding his life. The people he sings about are usually loners, losers, hobos, outlaws and drunks. The darkness of his lyrics is accentuated by the rumble and rasp of his voice. A voice that sounded old even when he was young. Waits has been recording since 1973. VH-1 named him as one of the most influential artists of all time. His songs have been used on the soundtracks of several films and he's acted in the films: Down By LawShort Cuts and Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. Waits has 2 new CD's: Alice and Blood Money. Each was written for a music theatre piece by Robert Wilson. Each has songs co-written with Waits and his wife Kathleen Brennan. Let's start with a song from Blood Money. This is "Misery Is The River Of The World"

(Misery Is The River Of The World)

TG: Music from Tom Waits' new CD Blood Money. Tom Waits welcome to Fresh Air.
TW: Oh thanks, thanks for having me here.
TG: Now this music started as a musical theatre piece?
TW: Oh yeah, originally yeah. This was a project I have done with Robert Wilson, the avant-garde theatre director, so. It's the third thing that we have done with him(3) and the production was called Woyzeck(4) and these are the songs from that.
TG: How did you get to collaborate with Robert Wilson?
TW: Well eh let's see. Wilson's like a surgeon. He's like eh. when you meet him you think this guy's with Aerospace or he's some kind of a medical guy. He has that feeling around, there's a certain precision to the way he speaks and works and I thought it was very different then my own approach which was more like I guess more like falling down the stairs compared to Bob. But somehow the fact that we were very different seemed to come together.
TG: Some of your music writing seems influenced by the German songs of Kurt Weill(5). Have you listened a lot to him, do you feel like he's influenced your writing?
TW: Well you know I didn't really listen to him until I had people tell me that I sounded somewhat like him or had some influence in there so I said: "Well I better start listening to that stuff."
TG: What did you think?
TW: I liked it, it was really angry. I guess I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things. So it works for me.
TG: So we could hear another of your songs from Blood Money. This is called "Everything Goes To Hell" This is Tom Waits from his new CD.

(Everything Goes To Hell)
TG: That's Tom Waits' "Everything Goes To Hell" from his new CD Blood Money. One of 2 new CD's, the other is called Alice. We'll listen to music from Alice in a little while.

TG: The arrangements for your songs are really good, do you do the arrangements yourself?
TW: Well I collaborate with my wife on the songs and eh every aspect of really composing and arranging and recording all the business. So you know we have a rhythm that we work in and eh it's kinda like borrowing the same 10 bucks from somebody over and over again.
TW: But you know when you live together it makes it a lot easier to pay back you know.
TG: What came first to you, for you being married or being song collaborators?
TW: Oh I guess eh. I don't know, it seemed we started working together after we got married I think. I tell you, my wife had 50 Dollars on her and I had 20. We got married and there was this 70-Dollar wedding, so she thought this was not the good way to start. But eh. we got married about 1 o'clock in the morning in Watts and it was kind of a harrowing thing and the preacher was on a beeper. But you know it worked out. Sometimes really expensive weddings only last a couple of weeks. So yeah, it worked.
TG: So you weren't already writing songs when you got together?
TW: Oh, I was!
TG: No, no the two of you, I mean collaborating.
TW: No, not really. We only knew each other a short time when we got married. We really hadn't time to write songs. We just kinda swooped down and we did it. (laughs)
TG: It worked I guess huh?
TW: Yeah it did.
TG: You got a wife and a song writing partner. It was a good deal!
TW: Yeah it WAS a good deal. You know when you collaborate sometimes it's a quarrel. But I think that it's good, it keeps you away from the "Emperor's new clothes" or whatever. Someone to check into that you trust. So yeah, it's been really good for both of us.
TG: Did you think it changed your style of songwriting other then change the music itself or change the process of writing the music, to collaborate?
TW: Well, I don't know I can run things by and she'd say: "That's a lot of bullshit, you've been doing that for years. That's really corny. That's really clich�." And it's good so eh we kinda sharpen each other like knives. And it seems to work out like that.
TG: What was the music that you grew up listening to because your parents were listening to it. I mean before you were old enough to choose music yourself. What was the music in your house?
TW: Eh really Mariachi music I guess. My dad only played the Mexican radio station. And you know eh Frank Sinatra and later Harry Belafonte. And then you know I would go to my friends' houses and I would go into the den with their dads and find out what they were listening to (laughs). That's what I was really. I couldn't wait to be an old man.
TW: I was about 13 you know, I didn't really identify with the music of my own generation but I was very curious about the music of others. I think I responded to the song forms themselves. You know Cakewalks and waltzes and Barcarolles and parlour songs and all that stuff. Which are just really nothing more then jell-o-moulds for the music. But I seemed to like the old stuff: Cole Porter and eh you know Rodgers and Hammerstein, eh Gershwin all that stuff. I liked melody.
TG: So when you were 13 being more interested in the music of your friends' parents then your friends' music, what was the music of your generation that didn't interest you?
TW: You know like the Strawberry Alarm Clock, or eh. But later I liked that stuff, you know like the Animals and eh Blue Cheer, Led Zeppelin and all that stuff, the Yard birds, you know of course the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and eh Bob Dylan and eh James Brown I was really hot on James Brown.
TG: What did you hear in them later that you didn't hear when you were in your early teens?
TW: Well I don't know, maybe I fell like it was save to go in now it had been there for a while or something I don't know. I think for a teenager music is really kinda like a college shirt or a watch. It seems more an accessory on a certain level.
TG: Or a badge of identity.
TW: Yeah you're making a remark about yourself as to what you listen to. I think I that part bug me and so it kinda kept me from really listening to it just as music you know.
TG: Now you said your father listened mostly to the Mexican station and to Mariachi music. Was your father Mexican?
TW: No my dad's from Texas. He grew up in a place called Sulpher Springs, Texas. And my mom's from ehm. Oregon. She was into church music you know all that "Brothers ...(?)... (laughs). She used to send money into all the preachers you know. But the early songs I remember was Abeline(6) . When I heard Abeline on the radio it really moved me. And then I heard you know: "Abeline, Abeline, prettiest town I have ever seen. Women there don't treat you mean. And Abeline..." I just thought that was the greatest lyric you know "Women there don't treat you mean". And then eh you know "Detroit City" eh. "Last night I went to sleep in Detroit City". (sings) "And I dream about the cotton fields back home". I liked songs with the names of towns in them and I liked songs with weather in them and something to eat (laughs). So I feel like there's a certain anatomical aspect to a song that I respond to. I think: "Oh yeah, I can go into that world. There's something to eat, there's the name of a street, there's a saloon, okay." So probably that's why I put things like that in my songs.
TG: You know how you said when you're in your early teens music is almost like a certain type of collar or certain type of accessory. When you started listening to older music and relating to that, did other things accompany that like a certain way of dressing or speaking or behaving?
TW: Oh yeah, sure. You know I wore an old hat, I drove an old car. I bought a car for 50 bucks from Fred Moody(?) next door who's from Tennessee. A 55-Buick special (laughs), AM-radio in there. I guess, yes sure. I walked with a cane (laughs). You know, I was really, I was going overboard perhaps with it.
TG: What kind of cane is it?
TW: You know a cane!
TG: No I mean, did it have like a silver tip. I mean...?
TW: No, no an old man's cane from a Salvation Army. I carved my name in it and everything. (laughs)
TG: And what did you think did that add to your image?
TW: It gave me a walk I guess. It gave me something distinctive. "Hey where's that guy with the cane? Did you see that guy?" It just gave me something I liked identity wise I guess.
TG: I wanna play another track from Blood Money and this is called "A Good Man Is Hard To Find". This is Tom Waits.

(A Good Man Is Hard To Find)

TG: That's "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" from the new Tom Waits CD Blood Money. He also has another new CD called Alice. We'll hear some of that a little bit later.

TG: Now I wanna ask you about your voice. You have a very raspy singing voice. Was that a sound that you ehm strove for, you know eh that you worked on having? Or what naturally developed?
TW: It's an old man thing you know, you have to get like an old man. You get a deep voice, Ahum. No I scream into a pillow.
TG: You know John Mahoney, the actor?(7)
TW: Sure yeah.
TG: He told me he actually did stuff like that. That he wanted a distinctive voice. And so he used to do these exercises, that he practiced in a closet. Just like shouting and trying to growl a lot and actually permanently did something to his vocal chords as a result of it.
TW: Yeah great, I'm all for it.
TG: Was Louis Armstrong an influence on you?
TW: Oh yeah sure. You can't ignore the influence of someone like Louis Armstrong. He is eh. you know he's like a river, he's like a country to be explored. Yeah he was like eh, he came out of the ground just like a potato. He's completely natural. And eh, yeah sure I love those tunes. But this one this "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" you know was an attempt to kinda tip my hat somewhat to that.
TG: Right. Were you actually singing different kinds of voices on your new CDs? I mean you have like your very deep growly voice and then a lighter voice that you use?
TW: It's just like the musical vocabulary really. You find the appropriate sound for the correct tune and mess them up. Yeah, you know I like to scream and you know and I can croon, all that stuff.
TG: Have you ever worried about hurting your voice?
TW: Oh I've hurt it, yeah I have worried. But I have a voice-doctor in New York who used to treat Frank Sinatra and various people he said: "Oh you're doing fine, don't worry about it"
TG(laughs) Oh that's good! Now you once said that you wish you could have been a part of the Brill Building era(8) in which people like Carole King and Leiber-Stoller and Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry were writing songs for singers and for vocal groups. What do you think you would have liked about that?
TW: Oh I guess writing at gunpoint (laughs). This sounds really exciting to me, and those kinds of deadline. I went into a rehearsal building on Times Square in New York one afternoon and I was in a really tiny little room. In fact it was probably smaller then the room I am in right now. It was just a little larger then a phone booth. There was just enough room for an ...(?)... piano. And then you could just barely close the door. And there you were. And you could hear every kind of music coming to you, through the walls, through the windows, underneath the door. And eh you heard African bands and you heard like comedians and you'd hear applause every now and than, you'd hear tap dancers. I think I just like the whole m�lange of it you know. When it all kinda mixes together. I like turning on two radios at the same time and listen to them. I like hearing things incorrectly. I think that's how I get a lot of ideas, by mishearing something.
TG: Although you weren't part of the Brill Building thing, other people have recorded your songs and I thought I'd play one of them eh Johnny Cash. recorded your song "Down There By The Train".
TW: Yeah right that killed me! That was, that was, that was wild. I was like "That's it, I'm all done now. Johnny Cash did a song. all done, thanks very much." That was really flattering you know. Lovely he did it too.
TG: Oh yeah. Do you know how he knew the song or why he decided to record it?
TW: Well a lot of people sent in tunes when he was doing this record with Rick Rubin. And eh different people that eh. you know, different songwriters sending in tunes and then he just picked them. I didn't know if he was doing it or not. I figured, well I hadn't done it. I don't know why I hadn't done it, I don't remember. And so eh. I didn't really know until the record came out. I said: "Wow that's great!" When someone is doing a tune, especially someone that you have been listening to since you were a kid, it's a bit of a validation.
TG: Oh yeah.
TW: . and it's meaningful.
TG: Johnny Cash is pretty validating when it comes to that. (laughs)
TW: Yeah alright!
TG: Okay, let's hear it. This is from Johnny Cash's "American Recordings" album and this is the Tom Waits song "Down There By The Train".

(Down There By The Train)
TG: That's Johnny Cash doing the Tom Waits song "Down There By The Train." My guest is Tom Waits.

TG: Did you hear anything different in that song when Johnny Cash recorded it? Different from how you heard it in your head when you wrote it?
TW: Oh, he changed some stuff around. That's normal. Eh I do the same thing when I do somebody else's tune. You really have to, you try it on and when it's a little tied in here, it doesn't quite close over this, you cut it or you make it fit. You wanna make it sound like yours.
TG: It's funny cause that song when he sings it, it sounds like it's an unusual spiritual.
TW: Oh yeah.
TG: . and usually you write about godlessness. (laughs)
TW: Godlessness. really?
TG: Wouldn't you say?
TW: I don't know about that.
TG: The absence of god?
TW: I don't know. Do you think so?
TG: Well some of the songs. Well one of them explicitly like "God's Away On Business".
TW: Oh, oh, okay! Well he's away, he's not gone, he's just away! You have to understand he was on business.
TW: Eh so, a guy like him has got to be busy and looking after a lot of things.
TG: So did you meet Johnny Cash?
TW: No, I have not met Johnny Cash. I look forward to that day down the road. I would love to meet him.
TG: Tom Waits you have 2 new CD's. We heard part of Blood Money. You have another new CD called Alice which I believe like Blood Money also has its origins as a Robert Wilson music theatre piece?
TW: Right yeah. It was done in Hamburg quite a while ago, in 93's.(9)
TG: And what is Alice about?
TW: It's a hypothetical situation. You know kinda imagining the obsession that Lewis Carol had for this young girl Alice.
TG: Oh.
TW: . you know whatever it might have been like inside of his mind in Victorian England and all that stuff. The beginning of photography. You know a young gal and eh, you know it's kinda like a fever dream or whatever. A virus. of the mind.
TG: Why don't we hear the title track. This is called "Alice". And eh if there's something you want to say to introduce it that's great and if not we'll just hear it.
TW: Yeah this is Alice. This is the opening tune. It's like a private moment. It's like sitting in a chair. by yourself. thinking about someone.
TG: Okay here's "Alice" the title track from the new Tom Waits CD.

TG: That's the title track of Tom Waits' new CD Alice, one of 2 new CD's that he has.

TG: Did you even as a kid like "murder ballads and stories of depravity" like you do now?
TW: Oh yeah, everybody loves that.
TG: What are some of the things that scared you as a kid, that scared you in the real life or movies or music that you found frightening? Interesting but frightening?
TW: . Oh I don't know. I guess like the plastic covers on sofas scares me (laughs). The sound that it makes when you sit on a sofa that's covered with plastic and it crinkles. I don't know, I used to watch Alfred Hitchcock and the Twilight Zone. That was captivating, those little tales.
TG: Monstermovies...
TW: And Monstermovies, yeah sure. But things that REALLY scared me, I don't know eh. I guess you know I could conjure up to just about anything and scare myself. If I heard a sound at night you know, it would get larger and larger and stranger and stranger and then I would get afraid to get out of bed and I think I had some kind of a disorder. The way I heard things. If I moved my hand across in the air I heard like "Whoooooohh" you know?
TG: Wow really?
TW: . and cars going by sounded like planes. And eh, yeah very small sounds in the house got enormous. But I think it was just a temporary condition.
TG: Did you ever see a doctor about it?
TW(laughs loudly) . eh. they said they couldn't help me.
TG: Aha.
TW: .
TG: What was your first instrument?
TW: I don't know pffft. I don't know. probably a box.
TG: No I mean the first instrument-instrument.
TW: Oh, I think I played guitar when I was about 9. You know I learned "El Paso". Actually I learned it in Spanish cause he wouldn't purchase any. you know any English speaking records. (laughs) He didn't like them. In fact I remember my father.
TG: This is your father?
TW: This is my dad yeah. We went by a stop sign once. There was this guy with a hotrod you know with the ducktail and everything, greased down here and combed all the way back He was on a motor and we were in the station wagon and he looked over at the guy like you know, and then he looked over at me as if to say: "Don't-get-any-i-deas."
TW: But I. yeah so I had a guitar, I learned 3 chords I thought I knew everything and it kinda grew from there. .

TG: My guest the singer-songwriter Tom Waits. He has 2 new CD's Alice and Blood Money. We'll talk more after a break. This is Fresh Air.

(All The World Is Green)
TG: My guest is Tom Waits. He has 2 new CD's: Alice and Blood Money.

TG: You dropped out of high school. Why did you drop out? Was there something that wanted to do instead or did you just hate going?
TW: Oh, I wanted to go into the world. Enough of this! I didn't like the ceilings in the rooms, I didn't like the wholes in the ceiling. The little tiny wholes in the cardboard and the long stick used for opening the windows.
TG: Oh god, yeah we had one of those in my elementary school! (laughs)
TW: Aaargh I just hated all that stuff! I was real sensitive to my visual surroundings and I just wanted to get out of there.
TG: Did any adults try to stop you? Your parents were teachers.
TW: I had very good teachers, I had some. My folks broke up when I was about 11 and. so I had teachers that I liked a lot and I kinda looked up to them and. But then THEY seemed like they couldn't wait to get out into the world themselves and do some hanging around and learning and growing. So I thought maybe they were encouraging me to leave. (laughs)
TG: So did you succeed in kind of getting out into the world so to speak?
TW: Pretty much yeah.
TG: What did you do?
TW: Oh I hitchhiked all over the place. Ghee I don't know.
TG: What's the craziest ride that you got when you were hitchhiking that you would shudder to think about now?
TW: Well 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(10): "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.
TG: Did you ever do the street-musician thing?
TW: I didn't but when I see people do it I say: "Aw man I should have done that! That's how you really get your chops together!" Cause I'm real, I guess, particular about things, I get real nervous. But I think I wish I had done that because it looks like it takes a lot of guts and I think that you probably cut through a lot of potential stage freight that you eventually have and maybe help you down the road.
TG: Has stage freight been an issue for you?
TW: Oh yeah, yeah I go through all kinds of stuff. about it. But you know, when I get out there I'm alright.
TG: So the better part is thinking about going out?
TW: Yeah. But my first gigs, my first big gigs were opening a show for Frank Zappa. And I think that was difficult. I was kinda like the rectal thermometer for the audience and it was a little awkward for me and I was alone and I was performing in front of large groups of people and they were verbally abusive. I'm like a dog, I was beat as a dog.
TG: Is there a point in your career that you see as a turning point from getting to where you are now from where when you started performing?
TW: Oh yeah, well I got married really. That was it. That's like the most important thing I ever did. And Kathleen really was the one who encouraged me to produce my own records you know?
TG: What kind of music background is she from?
TW: Aw eh. ghee I don't know. She's got like opera in there, she was going to be a nun, so you know we changed all that.
TG: Yeah I guess so!
TW: But she's adventurous you know and she picks up a lot of stations that I don't pick up. I get kind of narrow and concerned in making something and giving it four legs and getting it to stand up. She's more interested in what goes inside. She's very feminine and I think that's what works. And the idea of going into the studio and doing your own record is a little scary you know. Pick the engineer, pick all the musicians, write some kind of mission-statement for yourself where you want it to be and sound like and feel like and take responsibility for everything that goes on tape. That's a lot to do, especially it's a lot for a record company to let you do when you behave like eh. I did. And eh they thought I was eh. I think they thought I was a drunk. And I was really non-communicative. I scratched the back of my neck a lot and I looked down at my shoes a lot. You know, and I wore old suits. They were nervous about me. But it's understandable. And in those days they didn't really let artists produce themselves. Cause that was also the day of the producer. You know, the big shining producer who would eh, I guess like the director of a film. They give you the money and they say: "Go make a record with this guy over here." So you can get out of it. But I. wanna tell you, I got a taste for it. I really, really liked it.
TG: Tom Waits thank you so much. That was really great to talk to you. Thank you.
TW: Aw, we're all done?
TG: Yeah.
TW: Nice talking to you Terry.

TG: Tom Waits has 2 new CD's: Alice and Blood Money. Each was written for a musical theatre piece by Robert Wilson. Blood Money is for Wilson's avant-garde interpretation of the 1837 play Woyzeck. It will be performed this week at BAM the Brooklyn Academy of Music.(11)


(1) This is Fresh Air, I'm Terry Gross: Terry Gross did another interview with Waits on September 28, 1988.

(2) In the New York Times this month he was described as "the poet of outcasts""Tom Waits: A Poet of Outcasts Who's Come Inside" New York Times (USA) by Jon Pareles. Published: May 5, 2002

(3) It's the third thing that we have done with him: further reading: The Black Rider (1990)Alice (1992)Woyzeck (2000)

(4) The production was called WoyzeckFurther reading: Woyzeck full story

(5) Influenced by the German songs of Kurt Weill: Waits covered "What Keeps Mankind Alive?" Official release: "Lost In The Stars - The Music Of Kurt Weill". Various artists, 1985. Original words by Bertolt Brecht (published 1928). Music by: Kurt Weill (Second finale, Drei Groschenoper)

(6) But the early songs I remember was Abeline: "Abiline" Music/words - Lester Brown, John D. Loudermilk, Bob Gibson (� '63 Acuff-Rose Music). Abiline is in West Texas north of Austin. "Abilene, Abilene Prettiest town I ever seen. Folks down there don't treat you mean In Abilene, my Abilene. I sit alone most every night Watch them trains roll out of sight Wish that they were carryin' me To Abilene, my Abilene. Crowded city, ain't nothin' free Nothin' in this town for me Wish to God that I could be In Abilene, my Abilene. How I wish that train would come Take me back where I come from. Take me where I want to be In Abilene, my Abilene. Rotgut whiskey numbs the brain If I stay here I'll go insane. Think I need a change of scene To Abilene, my Abilene. Outside my window cold rain falls, Sit here starin' at the walls; If I was home, I'd be serene In Abilene, my Abilene."

(7) You know John Mahoney, the actor?: John Mahoney Steppenwolf Theatre Company Ensemble member since 1979 played in "Balm In Gilead, (1980)". He appeared in several theatre plays and movies. At the moment he's probably best known for his role in "Frasier" (American NBC television series). Further reading: John Mahoney at SteppenwolfThe Unofficial John Mahoney Fan pageJohn Mahoney at NBC (Frasier)

(8) Wish you could have been a part of the Brill Building era: "The Brill Building, located at 1619 Broadway in the heart of New York's music district, is a name synonymous with an approach to songwriting that changed the course of music. The Brill Building sound came out from the stretch along Broadway between 49th and 53rd streets. The Brill Building (named after the Brill Brothers whose clothing store was first located in the street level corner and would later buy it), was at 1619 Broadway. After its completion in 1931, the owners were forced by a deepening Depression to rent space to music publishers, since there were few other takers. By 1962 the Brill Building contained 165 music businesses. The Brill Building in the early '60s was a classic model of vertical integration. There you could write a song or make the rounds of publishers until someone bought it. Then you could go to another floor and get a quick arrangement and lead sheet for $10' get some copies made at the duplication office; book an hour at a demo studio; hire some of the musicians and singers that hung around; and finally cut a demo of the song. Then you could take it around the building to the record companies, publishers, artist's managers or even the artists themselves. If you made a deal there were radio promoters available to sell the record." (The History Of Rock 'N' Roll,2003). Further reading: Brill Building by Spectropop

(9) It was done in Hamburg quite a while ago, in 93's: The 3-hour play "Alice" premiered on December 19, 1992 at the Thalia Theater, Hamburg/ Germany

(10) Me and my friend Sam: This would be one Sam Jones. TW "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.) TW: "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). In Waits' 1974 press release for The Heart Of Saturday Night a Sam Jones is listed as one of his favourite writers. 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.

(11) It will be performed this week at BAM the Brooklyn Academy of Music: As a matter of fact it was only performed on October 29 - November 16, 2002: New York/ USA. Harvey Theatre (Brooklyn Academy of Music), performed in English as part of the 20th Next Wave Festival