Title: WMMR Radio, 1975
Source: WMMR-FM radio show, Philadelphia. Presented by Michael Tearson. April 21, 1975. Transcription (excerpts) from tape by "Pieter from Holland" as published on the Tom Waits Library.
Date: April 21, 1975
Key words: touring, Danny O'Keefe, L.A. Free Press


WMMR Radio, 1975



MT: . the Main Point. That's kind of a funny thing, the way it works out doesn't it Tom?
TW: Uh I don't know. Yeah the last time I played on the bill with Danny O'Keefe(1) was, I opened a show for him at Passim's in Boston/ Harvard Square. Uh now he's opening a show for me, that's a little unusual.
MT: Well anyway, due to various (..?..) situations we have a piano, so if you can play us a couple of tunes?
TW: Alright. (at the piano). Well. I'm gonna start up with a little improvisational adventure into the bowls of the metropolitan region. It is kind of a, bit of an inebriated travelogue, behind the wheel of a 1958 monkey shit brown Buick-Super. Doing some serious highballin' with bankrupt brakes and giving the finger to oncoming traffic. And a rambunctious uh rambling drive into town. Throwing out cans of Miller Highlife. Using them as reflectors on the side of the highway, and coming into town! Vrooommm.

[Performs: Diamonds On My Windshield, Semi Suite, Warm Beer And Cold Women, Eggs And Sausage, Ol' '55]

MT: Well that is beautiful Tom. I really have to thank you for giving up what would have been a rare day off. You were gonna hit rush hour in New York this morning?
TW: Oh I was looking forward to it. (laughter) But I've been out for 2 months, travelling, playing nightclubs uh. It's a night off, but I enjoy playing, I enjoy playing. And I'm going from here to the Village Vanguard to see Thad Jones & Mel Lewis tonight. Gonna catch that after this. So it's still a night off. But I enjoyed playing, I do.
MT: Alright, it's really extra kind of you to stop between. You were in Washington on the way to New York(2), a couple of nights there and then back here?
TW: Yeah, well I was in Toronto then Washington and from Washington to.
MT: Toronto was a weird little place?!(3) It wasn't the hippodrome of the town.
TW: Well I played at a real toilet, that's what it was. (laughter) Kind of Toronto's little own walk-up barbecue pit with shuffle doors and they had pool and snooker, and a lot of. Well it was just one of those weeks, yeah.
MT: I guess it's (..?..) I've had to get you up on the station, which was never before. So I'm gonna let you play some more tunes for us if you don't mind.
TW: Okay.
MT: That's probably best.
TW: Okay fine. (at the piano) Well uh. You know uh.. Well uh.
MT: Let me identify the radio station.
TW: Oh, why don't you let me do that!
MT: I'll let you do that (hands over a note). in Philadelphia.
TW: (singing) "You're listening to. a leviticously duteronomous station... Positively boneroo, WMMR, Philadelphia/ PA. Yeah." (applause) Uhm I write a column for a local Los Angeles street rag, called The L.A. Free Press(4). It's uh called "Clothes Make The Man" (laughter). A lot of people ask me, my idea of a serious sort of spring ensemble now. Why, I just had to offer a few hints. People ask me what I wear when I go out on a Saturday night and uh.

[Performs: Spare Parts II variation, The Ghosts Of Saturday Night variation]

MT: Tom, if you would be so kind, we had a request that you might do "Phantom 309".
TW: Oh yeah I can do that. I'll do uh, I'll do uh. Well. Yeah I can do that. (with guitar).
MT: That's right, we couldn't hear you play it any other way anyway, it's not on an album.
TW: Well Michael I think before I do that, I'd like to tell you all about a foggy night on an abandoned road.

[Performs: On A Foggy Night, Big Joe And Phantom 309]

MT: Tom I can see we're getting up towards midnight.
TW: Oh, okay.
MT: And getting to catch the late show with Martin Mull(5) we're gonna have to. could you sing.
TW: Alright, one more song maybe?
MT: Yeah one more. Tom Waits at the Main Point this Thursday through Sunday(6). If you miss Tom, it's your own risk, you can't say I didn't warn you.
TW: Well I'm glad to be here Michael. And I'll think I'll do uh, I don't know uh. I could do something old, I could do something new. Well, you know, I could do uh. I'll do "Looking For The Heart Of Saturday Night". (applause)... (pause because of technical problems)... We're still here, this is WMMR in Philadelphia.
MT: And we get to bring the microphone back to. I got to say thank you, to Denis (..?..) for sound (..?..) for microphones (.?...)

[Performs: The Heart Of Saturday Night]


(1) Danny O'Keefe: Waits opened for O'Keefe: April 11 - April 15, 1973 (Passim. Boston/ Cambridge, USA).

(2) You were in Washington on the way to New York: April 15 - April 20, 1975 (The Cellar Door. Washington/ USA. With Chris Smithers)

(3) Toronto was a weird little place: April 7 - April 12, 1975 (El Mocambo. Toronto/ Canada. Opening for The Good Brothers)
- Tom Waits: "I get tired of playing when I'm playing like at the El Mocambo club in Toronto, like a steak house or a barbecue pit. When it's just a dragged week. But a week at the Cellar Door perks up your spirits quite a bit. It's a very good club and they enforce the fact that it is a listening club, in fact they even got it on a little card that sits on the table that says, "Quiet please". Only club I've ever played where they have that." (Source: WAMU Radio Interview. Date: Washington, DC. April 18, 1975)

(4) The L.A. Free Press: not verified yet.

(5) Show with Martin Mull: Waits would later appear on two Martin Mull shows: Fernwood2night (SYN), sequel 21: August 1 1977. America2night, sequel 34: May 25 1978. Martin Mull and Tom Waits became close friends with a compatible sense of humor. Both were musicians doing little comedic bits in between songs. Waits also appeared on the 1977 Martin Mull album: "I'm everyone I've ever loved " (ABC/MCA AB-997).

(6) At the Main Point this Thursday through Sunday: April 24 - April 27, 1975 (Main Point. Bryn Mawr/ USA. Shows opened by Danny O'Keefe)