Title: WNEW-FM radio
Source: WNEW-FM by Vin Scelsa. October 31, 1979. Transcription from tape by "Pieter from Holland" as published on the Tom Waits Library (excerpts)
Date: New York. October 31, 1979 (also lists as November 2, 1979)
Key Words: Guy Peellaert/ Rock Dreams, Heartattack And Vine, Beacon Theatre, Paramount Theatre

Picture: Vin Scelsa at WNEW (date unknown)





TW:. eh a real house I rented on a little street, with dogs and children and a refrigerator and a stove and a barbecue you know? The full catastrophe.
VS: No tan though, you don't have a tan.
TW: (laughs) . Inside I've got a tan!
VS: We gotta pause for these commercial words.

(Commercial break)

VS: . Dean Martin here at WNEW-FM in New York. I'm Vin Scelsa. With me this evening Tom Waits. Now, we came up with an idea about eh. just now we came up with an idea, I think maybe you and I ought to go in business together. This whole idea of rent-a-kid service. For people who need kids you know? For .?. things when you need kids to get in some place, you know?
TW: (laughs)
VS: In this way like. like they say you know, you got this nice place now, you're renting out in California.
TW: I didn't say it was a NICE place! It's just an alternative. It's in a hotel and everything!
VS: Okay, it's in a hotel. You know, it's your own place on the street with dogs and kids. And let's say you wanna have an affair where it would be helpful to have a couple of little tykes around you know?
VS: I think it's a pretty good idea? This way, when you're done with 'em, you just send 'em back where they came from?
TW: (laughs)
VS: We could clean up Tom! We could make big bucks, man! We could get out of this music business! You know, cause.
TW: Yeah, it looks like it's getting ready to fault isn't it? The seeds of its own destruction are. you know, right in the lapel.
VS: You were working on a book as I recall, ehhh something about Las Vegas?
TW:Yeah, I'm working on the text on a collection of paintings by a gentleman named Guy Peellaert who did a book called "Rock Dreams".(1)
VS: "Rock Dreams", right. Incredible painter, yeah.
TW: He is doing a new book that was tentatively titled "Las Vegas". And now it's eh. I don't know what the title is at this point. Ehm, but it's portraits of American heroes like: Jimmy Durante and Bugsy Siegal and Meyer Lansky and eh.
VS: Really?
TW:. Pearl Bailey and eh. yeah.
VS: An assortment of folks from "over the decades"?
TW: Yeah.
VS: There are any contemporary people in this one?
TW: Yeah. You know eh Ali and Elvis. like that. So I'm doing like emotional profiles. It's ehm real challenging you know? Writing for the page in stead of the stage. And eh, so it's.
VS: You haven't published anything?
TW: No, a few things published in small, you know, street rags in Los Angeles(2). But eh. no national distribution you know?
VS: You have any desire to do that maybe?
TW: I'm looking for something that can keep me home a little more often, cause the traveling is starting to turn me into a real irritable guy. you know?
VS: The road is getting to you huh?
TW: Yeah, well you know, it's. You know, all the traveling it's just not eh. well it's just THIS side of a thrill, you know?
VS: (laughs) WHICH side was that? We didn't catch that on the radio.
TW: Yeah. It's just eh. I just would like to try and cut down on it, you know? And stay home a little more often. And work on some projects there. And I'm just getting tired of hotels and cabs and station wagons, you know?
VS: I don't know, the people would probably fear if Tom Waits didn't live in hotels and cabs and station wagons out on the road, that the whole body of his work would change.
TW: (laughs) Well.
VS: Would it?
TW: Yeah, I think it would, you know? I'm really kind of ehm. poised on the threshold on some sort of a new direction. I'm working on eh. ehm something called "Heartattack And Vine" right now(3) . It's a new project, but eh. Yeah, I'm looking for something that's a little more refreshing for me, you know? Getting a little tired of growling and scratching the back of my neck, you know?
VS: (laughs)
TW: So eh.
VS: Well see, the fans man! That's what the fans want! It's like the whole. It's like the Pete Townsend Syndrome, you know? Pete would like to sit home and eh. meditate but eh, all these kids out there want him to jump around and do gyrations on the stage and play the guitar with his hands over his head, you know?
TW: Well, I've considered a career in "air-conditioning and refrigeration" that's a possible opportunity.
VS: Because all those air-conditioning is sooner or later gonna break down man!
TW: (laughs)
VS: SOMEBODY has got to fix 'em right? (laughs). You read any good books lately?
TW: Ehm. I read eh "Requiem For A Dream" ehm. by Hubert Selby jr. It was very disturbing.
VS: It's a hard book to get into. It took me a while. And then, I confess I didn't finish it, you know? I had a lot of trouble with that.
TW: Yeah, it was a real tale of woe, you know? But eh I thought it was very well written, you know?
VS: Let's do eh. This is one of those songs from the Blue Valentine collection.
TW: Oh yeah.
VS:. that kinda conjures up almost a novel sorta feeling. This song called "Romeo Is Bleeding".

(Romeo Is Bleeding)

VS: "Romeo Is Bleeding" from Tom Waits, who is with us in the studio this evening at WNEW-FM New York.
TW: Yeah.
VS: We gotta pause and take care of some commercial business.

(Commercial break)

VS:. WNEW-FM New York. Tom Waits with us this evening. Tom will be at The Beacon Theatre tomorrow night and Friday night(4) . And on Sunday out in Bay Shore, Long Island at this new place that just opened. They are called The Paramount Theatre(5), you will be out there as well. They just opened like a couple of weeks ago. It's kinda of eh. a virgin place for you?
TW: Yeah, I've... on Long Island I've played at eh, you know Eppy's Place(6).
VS: Out at "My Father's Place"?
TW: No, I've never been to Bay Shore. Should be real fascinating.
VS: (laughs). You're doing some new stuff on this tour?
TW: A couple of things, you know? One called "Breakfast In Jail" and another thing called "Whose Sport Coat Is That?"(7) You know?
VS: Is "Breakfast In Jail" an autobiographical tune?
TW: No, it's kind of a dance number. It's like DO the "Breakfast In Jail", you know?
VS: Oh! I get it! This could the Tom Waits entry into the dance music scene. They don't call it disco music anymore, it's dance music.
TW: Yeah. maybe.
VS: But for the most part, going back and touching upon some of the classics?
TW: Yeah. I don't know. I'm gonna do some old stuff and some new stuff and eh, you know, some word salad and eh, you know? Booze, broose, blues and broads, you know? So, yeah I hope it'll be educational and entertaining and comprehensive, you know?
VS: It's good to see you man! I'm glad you had the opportunity to stop by.
TW: Yeah, I'm glad I came man.
VS: It's always a pleasure a visit by Tom Waits! And you're looking good man! I want people to know that. They'll see you at The Beacon tomorrow night. Everything's is okay with Tom?
TW: Yeah, I'm doing fine man.
VS: Okay man, when you get that new album recorded, you come back and play for us some.
TW: Okay, maybe I will.
VS: I wanna say goodbye to you with one of my favourite songs. This one called "Tom Traubert's Blues".

(Tom Traubert's Blues)


(1) Guy Peelleart who did a book called "Rock Dreams": The collaboration is also mentioned in: Circus Weekly (January 23, 1979) and MelodyMaker magazine (May 5, 1979). There's no confirmation this book was ever published, or this collaboration ever took place.

(2) Street rags in Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Free Press. "The Los Angeles Free Press (often called “the Freep”) was among the most widely distributed underground newspapers of the 1960s. It is often cited as the first such newspaper. The Free Press was edited and published weekly, for most of its existence, by Art Kunkin. The paper initially appeared as a broadsheet, in 1964, at the annual Southern California Renaissance Faire. At this time it was entitled “Faire Free Press." In 1965 it became the Los Angeles Free Press." This newspaper was notable for its radical politics when such views rarely saw print. The paper also pioneered the emerging field of underground comics by publishing the “underground” political cartoons of Ron Cobb. The Los Angeles Free Press was a founding member of the Underground Press Syndicate. In 1970, much of the newspaper's staff and then editor Brian Kirby left the paper due to financial and editorial differences. The team began a competing newspaper, The Staff." (Source: Wikipedia, 2007)

(3) Something called "Heartattack And Vine" right now: Waits had been working on the album since May, but it wasn't going to be released in 1979. In November/ December Waits fled to New York, looking for a new environment, wanting to challenge himself, maybe looking for a new producer (Jack Nitzche). Waits was sick, and he had to fight some serious addictions. For the first time since his debut, there was not going to be a new Tom Waits album that year. Heartattack And Vine was finally released in September, 1980.

(4) Tom will be at The Beacon Theatre tomorrow night and Friday night: known shows are November 5 (Monday), 13 (Tuesday) and 15 (Thursday). Further reading: Performances

(5) They are called The Paramount Theatre: November 4 (Sunday) Paramount Theatre. Long Island/ USA. Early show and late show. Further reading: Performances

(6) You know Eppy's Place: Michael Epstein's "My Father's Place" Roslyn Village, Long Island, New York/ USA.

(7) "Breakfast In Jail" and another thing called "Whose Sport Coat Is That?": "Breakfast In Jail" would later be released as the instrumental "In Shades" (Heartattack And Vine, 1980). "Whose Sport Coat Is That?" was performed several times during the 1979/ 1980 Blue Valentine tour (Uptown Theatre, Kansas City, October 8, 1979. Beacon Theatre, New York, November 11, 1979)