Quotes: Kathleen/ Marriage

"We've been working together since Swordfish... I'm the prospector, she's the cook. She says, "you bring it home, I'll cook it up." I think we sharpen each other like knives. She has a fearless imagination. She writes lyrics that are like dreams. And she puts the heart into all things. She's my true love. There's no one I trust more with music, or life. And she's got great rhythm, and finds melodies that are so intriguing and strange. Most of the significant changes I went through musically and as a person began when we met. She's the person by which I measure all others. She's who you want with you in a foxhole. She doesn't like the limelight, but she is an incandescent presence on everything we work on together."

Michael Zangari (1977): "He says he'd like to get married someday. Heads turn around in surprise. Waits shakes his head and retreats, "Yeah, I even want to have kids. I'll call the first one "Get off the rug" and the second one "You too". (Source: "Tom Waits Lives His Haggard Vision And Survivers". Colorado Daily (USA). November 3, 1977. By Michael Zangari)

Clark Peterson (1978): "One of your best songs is 'Bad Liver and a Broken Heart.' Are women always dumping on you?" TW: "No, I'm just looking for the right one. I've tried all kinds and nothin' works. I may have to settle for livestock, like my first meaningful experience. Her parents didn't like me so we broke up. She was a small heifer. I'm looking for a woman who owns a liquor store. There's one maniac who sits on my porch every night -- it's like "Play Misty for me." No comic relief there at all; she's a few bricks short of a full load." (Source: "Sleazy Rider - A man who works at being a derelict". RELIX magazine by Clark Peterson. Date: May - June, 1978. Vol. 5 No. 2)

Tom Waits (1978): "I'd like to have some children. I'll probably adopt a bunch of Mexicans and live out in Pico Rivera and watch a black and white TV set with a T-shirt on and a beer in one hand and dogshit on the lawn." (Source: "Sleazy Rider - A man who works at being a derelict". RELIX magazine by Clark Peterson. Date: May - June, 1978. Vol. 5 No. 2)

Larry Goldstein (1978): Where is Waits really headed? The truth now. He's not so easy to pin down, though I tried. He can bob and weave with the best of them. The harder I tried the more he dodged the question. But finally I got it out of him. His glass of Tropicana was dry and he was on his last Winston. He was getting restless, but I was persistent. he finally replied, "I really just want to settle down with some unemployed cheerleader in Iowa somewhere. I'm just taking a roundabout route".(Source: "Nighthawks At The Chelsea", Modern Hi-Fi and Musics Sound Trax, by Larry Goldstein. New York. October, 1978)

John Hamblett (1979): Can you ever picture yourself as married? TW: "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? But I'm not cold-blooded. I'd like to have a home and kids one day." (Source: "The Neon Dreams Of Tom Waits". "New Musical Express" magazine. John Hamblett. London. May 12, 1979)

Patrick Humphries (1981): The conversation moved to marriage. Waits' bride of seven months was over with him, taking time off from her job at 20th Century Fox. She originally wanted to be a nun, but abandoned this when she married Waits. "You could say I've saved her from the Lord." The wedding ceremony was not without incident. Waits found the Marriage Chapel in the Yellow Pages, right next to "Massage": "The registrar's name was Watermelon, and he kept calling me Mr. Watts... My mother likes what I do, I guess she's happier now that I'm married, I think she was a little bit worried about me for a while." (Source: "Heart Of Saturday Morning" Melody Maker. March 14, 1981 by Patrick Humphries)

Johnny Black (1981): "There's a favourite scene in gangster movies where the private dick is standing at the bar with the bad guy and the bartender slips him a note with his double brandy. "Look out kid, he's got a gun," it says. I had a similar experience when the phone rang an hour before I left my house and Waits' press officer nonchalantly told me, "You know he just got married?". "TOM WAITS? MARRIED?". "Yes. Last month, to a script analyst at 20th Century Fox." Waits' version of how it happened is more appealing. "Kathleen was living in a convent, studying to be a nun. I met her when they let her out for a party on New Year's Eve. She left the Lord for me." (Source: "Tom Waits: Waits And Double Measures". Smash Hits magazine by Johnny Black. March 18, 1981)

Tom Waits (1981): "I've spent ten miserable years looking for her..." (Source: "Tom Waits: Waits And Double Measures". Smash Hits magazine by Johnny Black. March 18, 1981)

Tom Waits (1981): "My wife's part Irish. Brennan. So we spent our honeymoon crawling up and down the shoulders of Ireland for the last three weeks. Best thing that ever happened to me."... "We stayed in an old house, used to be owned by William Blake. Radio was busted, so we called down to the guy on the desk but he'd gone to get parts for the radio. Didn't come back for four days. Just great. They live at my level of incompetence. We fit in real well there."... "I've been all over the world, every city in America and I feel like I don't know anyplace. Some name comes up in conversation and I can say, 'Oh, I've been there.' But I don't know anything, never see anything. You're so insulated, usually you get no time to find a neighbourhood where you feel comfortable. You learn to wear your home on your back. It's strange and peculiar mostly. That's why I liked Ireland. My wife and me stayed three weeks." (Source: "Tom Waits: Waits And Double Measures". Smash Hits magazine by Johnny Black. March 18, 1981)

Tom Waits (1983): My wife is from Johnsburg, Illinois. It's right outside McHenry and up by the ching-a-lings. She grew up on a farm up there. So it's [Johnsburg Illinois] dedicated to her. It's real short. Somehow I wanted just to get it all said in one verse. There are times when you work on a song and end up repeating in the second verse what you already said in the first. So I thought I would be more appropriate if it's just like a feeling of a sailor somewhere in a cafe, who opens his wallet and turns to the guy next to him and shows him the picture while he's talking about something else and says: "Oh, here. That's her." and then closes his wallet and puts it back in his pants." (Source: "Tom Waits - Swordfishtrombones ". Island Promo interview, 1983)

Tom Waits (1983): "We met at a miserable little funeral in a miserable little town called San Casedra. She was an aerialist with circus Vargas and we were both standing under the same umbrella. It's a very long story, the guy was in his seventies, he choked on a chickenbone." (Source: "Skid Romeo". The Face magazine. Robert Elms. Los Angeles, 1983)

Elissa van Poznak (1985): " Waits says his wife of four years drives him "insane when I'm working and insane when I'm not". TW: She may have actually worked for the Ringling Brothers Circus at one time. "She can lie down on nails, stick a knitting needle through her lips and drink coffee, so I knew she was the girl for me," claims Waits, though it's doubtful whether she "jumped the Grand Canyon with Evil Knievel and had seven kids from a previous marriage." (Source: "Lower east side story". The Face: Elissa van Poznak. Ca. October 1985)

Tom Waits (1985): "I'm still drawn to the ugly, I don't know if it's a flaw in my personality or something that happened when I was a child. It's like when you look out of the window what's the first thing you notice? My wife says I look down, that's what's wrong with me. That's why I see the spit. I don't know - it's what you choose to take from your vision." (Source: "Subterranean Low-Life Blues". "SOUNDS" magazine. Chris Roberts. New York, October 19, 1985)

Tom Waits (1985). " I wrote it [Frank's Wild Years the play] with Kathleen Brennan. GB. How did you collaborate? TW. With great difficulty. GB. Did you work together or did you send stuff back and forth? TW. Well, she's my wife. We sent stuff back and forth. Like dishes, books, frying pans, vases." (Source: "Tom Waits for no man".Spin Magazine: Glenn O'Brien. November 1985)

Glenn O'Brien (1985): "Ever work with your wife before? TW. No, this is a first. And a last. GB. Do you think it's hard to be critical with somebody that you're close to? TW. Yeah. Or it's hard not to be critical." (Source: "Tom Waits for no man". Spin Magazine: Glenn O'Brien. November 1985)

Tom Waits (1986): "We met on New Year's Eve. Roy Brown was playing. It was love at first sight. We got married in Watts, at the Always and Forever Wedding Chappel, twenty-four-hour service on Manchester Boulevard...She's my true love."(Source: "Tom Waits: The Drifter Finds A Home". Rolling Stone. Elliot Murphy, January 30, 1986)

Tom Waits (1986): "My wife wrote the play [Frank's Wild Years] with me. Her name's first on it, not mine." (Source: "Waits Happening". Beat magazine. Pete Silverton. New York, 1986)

Tom Waits (1987): "She helped me a lot on the album [Frank's Wild Years]. We worked side by side on it. I'm getting to the point where I can take chances, I think. It's hard when you're a producer, and you're writing and performing. It requires, well, you have to shift a lot of gears. You need somebody you can trust standing on the outside to kind of push you into the water." (Source: "From the set of Ironweed, Tom Waits talks with Rip Rense ". New York Post: Rip Rense. Spring 1987)

Tom Waits (1987): "We're great together," says Waits of his better half. TW: "It's a real even exchange. She's Irish Catholic, she's out there, a real hothead. I'm not, I'm the stability factor." And with that, there was the distinct sound of a chuckle.(Source: "Wildman Waits hits Broadway". New York Post: Lisa Robinson. October 13, 1987)

Mark Rowland (1987): On Frank's Wild Years you two collaborate on several songs. Did that require much adjustment on your part? TW: "It's good. She's very unself-conscious, like the way kids will sing things just as they occur to them. It was chemistry. I mean, we've got kids. Once you do that together, the other stuff is simple. MR: Has family life changed your outlook? TW: No, but if you don't get that bug off the back of your seat he's gonna go right down into your pocket, [smiles] That's what I like about this place." (Source: "Tom Waits Is Flying Upside Down (On Purpose)". Musician, Mark Rowland. October 1987)

Tom Waits (1988): "My wife's been great. I've learned a lot from her. She's Irish Catholic. She's got the whole dark forest living inside of her. She pushes me into areas I would not go, and I 'd say that a lot of the things I'm trying to do now, she's encouraged." (Source: "Tom Waits 20 questions".Playboy magazine: Steve Oney -- March 1988)

Bill Holdship (1988): Your wife is obviously a writer as well. TW: "Yeah, we co-wrote a lot of the songs [Frank's Wild Years] together. She also did that painting inside the cover of the new LP. Kathleen's Irish-Catholic, from Dublin. I rescued her from the nunnery." BH: Are you serious? TW: "Absolutely. She was going to be a nun. We've been married seven years." (Source: "A Flea In His Ear". City Limits magazine. Bill Holdship. Los Angeles. May 12-19, 1988)

Terry Gross (1988): I wanna ask you about one more of your songs which we're going to end with. And this is a song called "Raindogs", that's in Big Time and on the new record Big Time. And one of the things I really like about this song is the way eh... the eh... the "Anniversary Waltz" weaves in and out of it. (laughs) Tell me about writing it... TW: "Oh the "Anniversary Waltz"? Oh, my father-in-law sang that to eh... Kathleen and I after we got married and eh... on the telephone. (laughs)" (Source: Fresh Air Interview Source: National Public Radio's broadcast of Fresh Air. Hosted by Terry Gross. Produced by WHYY (Philadelphia). September 28, 1988)

Tom Waits (1988): "We've been married for eight years and we're partners. Kalhleen's a great collaborator She's quick - she can catch a bullet in her teeth. She has a pet snake, reads The Wall Street Journal, has a '64 Caddy, and loves periodicals. She's from Johnsburgh. Illinois; that's the last place you can get margarine before you cross the Wisconsin border. No one makes me laugh like Kathleen. She got me listening to Frankie Laine, Rachmaninoff, and John McCormick. We write together, and she wants to do a two-character drama about a singer and his giant bald-headed limo driver who has a US Road Atlas tattooed on his head, wherever he itches his head that's where they play next. She's great in emergencies and she's brutally honest. Her own writing - her stories - is strange, bizarre and wonderful. Tragic and very Irish. She's real black Irish. Kathleen has a great sense of story and of the architecture of a story. I have a tendency to go back over familiar ground, and she's much more of a pioneer." (Source: "Tom's Wild Years" Interview Magazine (USA), by Francis Thumm. October, 1988)

Tom Waits (1988): "Kathleen has helped me to feel safe in my uncertainty. And that's where the wonder and the discovery are. After a while you realize that music - the writing and enjoying of it - is not off the coast of anything. It's not sovereign, it's well woven, a fabric of everything else: sunglasses. a great martini, Turkish figs, grand pianos. It's all part of the same thing. And you realize that a Cadillac and the race track, Chinese food, and Irish whisky all have musical qualities." (Source: "Tom's Wild Years" Interview Magazine (USA), by Francis Thumm. October, 1988)

Tom Waits (1988): "When I got married, I had about $27 in the bank; I thought I was a millionaire. [Laughs deeply] And so I think my wife is really the brains behind pa, as they say. And it's had great influence on my music and my life as well so. She opened my eyes to a lot of things, and my ears. You know, opera, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, John McCormick, gypsy music, makeup secrets, that type of thing. Kathleen's a writer, and we collaborate on some songs, stories, a lot of things, children, heh. So, we met, I been married eight years. And I got three kids, and I'm uh... Things are going okay... Hey, it's a happy ending. To a terrible story." (Source: Mixed Bag, WNEW New York. Date: October, 1988)

Tom Waits (1988): "She's an avid reader and she tells me about the things she's read and I feel like I've read them. She's extraordinary. She's the brains behind the pa, as they say. She can catch a bullet in her teeth. And she's also a great writer: short stories. Paints, too. (Source: "Tom Waits". Graffiti Magazine: Tim Powis. December 1, 1988)

Elvis Costello (1989): "Women hear rhythm differently than men. Do you think there's any kind of biological reason why so many girls play bass? TW: I don't know. I always go for the low end. Kathleen's always trying to kick my ass up the scale a little bit because I find that if I'm left to my own devices I will discover various shades of brown. And I'm seeing them of course as red and yellow next to each other. She says, what you've just really created here is sludge, dirty water. So I kind of have to be reminded of that." (Source: "Eavesdropping on Elvis Costello and Tom Waits".Option Magazine. July/ August 1989)

Tom Waits (1992): "Kathleen and I went into a room for about a month and banged 'em [songs from Bone Machine] out," he says. "We started with nothing sometimes. One on one. It's a different kind of thing, writing songs with someone. But hey, we got kids together, we can make songs together. I fall into a groove too easily. I get in there and say, 'Oh, here's my place." It's like a shovel handle. Even on the piano, my hands are at the same place every time, because your hands have an intelligence that's separate from your own. But sometimes you need somebody to say, 'No, put 'em over here and try this,' and she does that. She calls me on all that stuff. 'Oh, this again, oh Jesus! Oh, here's the hundredth one of those.' But, oh yeah, I beat her up, too. Not literally," he says, leaning into the tape recorder. "I don't really beat her up, don't misunderstand me." (Source: "Composer, musician, performer, actor - TOM WAITS is a Renaissance man whose musique noir captures the sound of the Dark Age". PULSE! Derk Richardson. September 1992)

Pete Silverton (1992): "Difficult working with your wife, is it? TW: "Sure, we beat each other up over stuff, but when you got kids and you live together, you do everything together. So why not, you know, write together?" Q: What does she bring to lyrics that wasn't there before? TW: "A whip and a chair. The Bible. Book of Revelations. She grew up Catholic, you know, blood and liquor and guilt. She pulverises me so that I don't just write the same song over and over again. Which is what a lot of people do, including myself." (Source: "The Lie In Waits". VOX (USA), by Peter Silverton. Paris, October, 1992. Article reprinted as "A Conversation With Tom Waits", The Observer, by Pete Silverton. November 23, 1992)

Peter Orr (1992): "Speaking of your missus, does she write the music with you, too? TW: Not in the studio. We went into a room and wrote together. We came up with a list of about 60 ideas for songs, and maybe 19 will make it. We recorded more than we needed, but then you have to tell the songs, "He's strong enough to make it--but you, you'll never make it. You little shit, you'll never make it." And some of them you say, "Oh! I'm sorry, we'll fix you up, we'll make you ready. We'll try." (Source: "Tom Waits at work in the fields of song ". Reflex nr 28: Peter Orr. October 6 1992)

Tom Waits (1992): "Writing with her has been great. It pushes me into new areas. She was raised Irish Catholic, grew up in Illinois on a farm, she's seen cats strung up by their necks swinging over the barn doors. She's got all kinds of things that she dredges up." (Source: "Waits in wonderland". Image: Rip Rense. December 13 1992. / Source: Island Bone Machine press kit (Island Records, Inc.). Rip Rense. Date: Late 1992)

Tom Waits (1993): "I was so moved when I first heard it (Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet) . A similar thing happened when I first heard the song cause it was my wife's birthday and it was real late and everyone had left and there were only a few people sitting around with the balloons and the confetti all around and some people nodding out in the corner and the radio was on and all of a sudden this song kind of drifted into the room and it just put such a nice dust on everything. It kind of became the theme song of her birthday. Just the light in the room and the balloons and this old man's voice. It seemed a perfect score for the evening and I taped it and then I played it hundreds of times in the car and then I found myself singing it as well - to myself when I was out. There's something about it that's so naive and something that rarely happens when you're recording in a formal environment. There was some quality that it had. Also the ambience of where it was recorded cause it was recorded outdoors. Most recordings are made indoors so I noticed that as well. And I've kept it right up there with my favourite songs for a long time so this was really great for me to be able to sing along with the old man." (Source: BBC Radio: Johnnie Walker Interview. Date: London. September 11, 1993)

Tom Waits (1993): "She has a real daring -- and also sometimes when you sit down and write by yourself you find yourself falling into the same patterns that you've been falling into before. You develop these little cowpaths through the music that are well worn by other journeys, so sometimes it really helps to be working with somebody that wants to go to a totally new place. She has more, she has a lot of biblical imagery that she keeps coming back to. She raised Catholic, and -- Well, Kathleen is a lapsed Catholic. She still knows all of her novenas and Hail Marys, and the whole bit. But they give her a very deep sense of questioning and spirituality." (Source: "Straight No Chaser" Jim Jarmusch. October 1993)

Tom Waits (1993): "These are our champagne glasses from the night we got married. She's carrying me in hers because mine broke and fell over. So the bride is carrying the groom. And I broke a piece out of hers. She didn't want me to get 'em. She thought we'd be wasting our money, to get a bride and groom champagne thing. It was the night we got married, she said, "What, are you nuts, you're gonna spend that kind of money?" We were gonna spend like $30. JJ: Where were you? TW:In Watts, in L.A., about 1am. She said don't do it, and I did. JJ: Did it say "groom" in black, or in white? TW: "Groom", just like this in white. You know, bride, groom. Kathleen calls it "blind gloom." The bride and groom are from the cake. They gave us a little bag, too, that had a novel in it called 'The Vanishing Bride', a tampax, a couple of rubbers, you know, some Snowy bleach. JJ: Come on! TW: To wash out, so you start clean, as a couple. It was nice. It was like your trouble bag. In this bag is everything you'll ever need to stay together." (Source: "Straight No Chaser" Jim Jarmusch. October 1993)

Tom Waits (1993): "My first record after we got married, 'Swordfishtrombones,' was also the first one I produced myself. She gave me the guts to just do it. Up to that point, I think I had created a character for myself and given him lines; I had a lot of fears concerning my own growth and development. She really helped me open up and not be afraid to do something." (Source: "Tom Waits, All-Purpose Troubadour". The New York Times (USA) by Robert Palmer. Also published as "Meet The Real Tom Waits, All Of Them", International Herald Tribune. November 16, 1993. Date: San Francisco, November 14, 1993)

Tom Waits (1998): "Kathleen is great to work with, she's a lapsed Catholic from Illinois. She's loaded with mythology and great sense of melody, and I spin the chamber and she fires it. It's Russian roulette. Sometimes you get great things. [laughs] But eh, the collaboration is great, with her, and we did have a lot of songs that were discarded, but that's part of the process." (Source: "Morning becomes Eclectic ".KCRW radio Interview: Chris Douridas. Original broadcast August 1992. Rebroadcast January 2, 1998)

Mixed Bag (1988): "Do you think you would have been on the road to ruin, as it were, if you hadn't ended up with this particular wife in this particular, ah... TW: Hey, I don't know where I was headed. When I got married, I had about $27 in the bank; I thought I was a millionaire. [Laughs deeply] And so I think my wife is really the brains behind pa, as they say. And it's had great influence on my music and my life as well so. She opened my eyes to a lot of things, and my ears. You know, opera, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, John McCormick, gypsy music, makeup secrets, that type of thing. Kathleen's a writer, and we collaborate on some songs, stories, a lot of things, children, heh. So, we met, I been married eight years. And I got three kids, and I'm uh... Things are going okay." (Source: "Mixed Bag, WNEW New York ". Interview on WNEW FM. October 1988)

Mixed Bag (1988): When you wrote "Jersey Girl," did you have Bruce Springsteen in the back of your mind? I know you've been asked this. TW: No, well I wrote it for my wife, she's from Jersey, well she's originally from Illinois, she moved to New Jersey, and she grew up there, Morristown, New Jersey, and so I wrote it for her when we met, and eh, so.. eh. (Source: "Mixed Bag, WNEW New York ". Interview on WNEW FM. October 1988)

Tom Waits (1999): " Get behind the mule. . .can be whatever you want it to mean. We all have to get up in the morning and go to work. Kathleen says, "I didn't marry a man. I married a mule." And I've been going through a lot of changes. That's where Mule Variations came from. What did she mean by that? TW: I'm stubborn." (Source: "A Q...A about Mule Variations".MSO: Rip Rense. January/ April 1999)

Rip Rense (1999): "Who wrote the Mule Variations songs? TW: My wife Kathleen and I collaborated on just about all of them. Of the sixteen songs that are now on the record, we wrote ten or eleven together. We've been working together since Swordfish... I'm the prospector, she's the cook. She says, "you bring it home, I'll cook it up." I think we sharpen each other like knives. She has a fearless imagination. She writes lyrics that are like dreams. And she puts the heart into all things. She's my true love. There's no one I trust more with music, or life. And she's got great rhythm, and finds melodies that are so intriguing and strange. Most of the significant changes I went through musically and as a person began when we met. She's the person by which I measure all others. She's who you want with you in a foxhole. She doesn't like the limelight, but she is an incandescent presence on everything we work on together." (Source: "A Q&A about Mule Variations". MSO: Rip Rense. January/ April 1999)

Tom Waits (1999): "Kathleen came home with "Black Market Baby." She had it almost all finished. She says, 'She's my black market baby, she's my black market baby, she's a diamond that wants to stay coal.' I thought she said cold. That was almost finished the minute that she said that. Just kind of filled it in." (Source: "A Q&A about Mule Variations".MSO: Rip Rense. January/ April 1999)

Tom Waits (1999): "Kathleen and I came up with this idea of doing music that's surrural -- it's surreal and it's rural, it's surrural. [sings] Everybody's doin' it doin' it doin' it. Surrural. She'll start kind of talking in tongues, and I take it all down. She goes places... I can't get to those places. Too, I don't know... pragmatic. She's the egret of the family. I'm the mule. I write mostly from the world, the news, and what I really see from the counter, or hear. She's more impressionistic. She dreams like Hieronymus Bosch. She's been a lot of things. She drove a truck for a while. Had her own pilot's license. Worked as a soda jerk. Ran a big hotel in Miami. She was going to be a nun. When I met her, she was at the corner of nun or ruin. So together it's You wash, I'll dry. It works." (Source: "Gone North, Tom Waits, upcountry". L.A. Weekly: Robert Lloyd. April 23-29, 1999)

Brett Martin (1999): "Your wife, Kathleen Brennan, was heavily involved in Mule Variations. TW: She's the sun, the seed, the soil, the leaf, the root and the rain of our work together. I think this record has a certain balance and light that she put there. BM: Some of the songs are among the sweetest and most optimistic-sounding you've done. TW: Those are songs that, if I were left to my own devices, I probably would have junked for the sake of something rougher. I'm usually wrong about those things. She's the brains behind Pa - [we've] been working together since Swordfishtrombones." (Source: "Tom Waits for no man". Time Out New York nr. 187: Brett Martin. April 22-29, 1999)

Tom Waits (1999): "Kathleen was the first person who convinced me that you can take James White and the Blacks, and Elmer Bernstein and Leadbelly - folks that could never be on the bill together - and that they could be on the bill together in you. You take your dad's army uniform and your mom's Easter hat and your brother's motorcycle and your sister's purse and stitch them all together and try to make something meaningful out of it." (Source: "Tom Waits for no man". Time Out New York nr. 187: Brett Martin. April 22-29, 1999)

Tom Waits (1999): "We wrote most of the songs together [Mule Variations], a complete collaboration. The writing and arranging and production and everything else. It was good. ATN: Had you done that before, that complete a collaboration? TW: We've been working together since Swordfishtrombones, at one level or another. We're kind of a mom-and-pop liquor store. ATN: How has collaborating with her, do you feel, changed your work, changed your art? Obviously you did many years worth of stuff before that. TW: Well, it's been good, it's really been good. She has these dreams like [Dutch Renaissance painter] Hieronymous Bosch. I write more from the paper or from the things I see around me. She's done a lot of things. She's an excellent pianist and opera buff and bug collector. She [was] an elevator operator at the Taft Hotel; that's where we met. We were married in Watts in '79. We've been together a long time. So yeah, we've been collaborating on various things. It's been good, it's been great really. ATN: My perception is that your music took a big leap forward when you began to collaborate with her. TW: Yeah. She's the brains behind Pa. [laughs] Is that what you're getting at?" (Source: "Tom Waits '99, Coverstory ATN".Addicted to Noise: Gil Kaufman and Michael Goldberg. April 1999)

Tom Waits (1999): "You have to give and take, you wrestle with things a lot. But ultimately, you have to come to the notion that somehow the combined energy of both of you [Waits ... Brennan] working on something is greater than working on something individually. It's good working in the studio with her. She's got great ears. It's been really good." (Source: "Tom Waits '99, Coverstory ATN". Addicted to Noise: Gil Kaufman and Michael Goldberg. April 1999)

Tom Waits (1999) "I think most teenagers and most kids in their 20s believe that to be an artist, you're going to have to really dig all the way to China and come back with chow mein in your hair. [laughs] You're going to have to go to hell in a handbag. But I don't believe it. I think you can be creative and all that, but I think you can still be reliable. Those are big things for me. I've been married almost 19 years now and it's been the best thing I ever did. My wife's great, she's the best. ATN: Did she help ground you? TW: Oh yeah, no question about it. Yeah." (Source: "Tom Waits '99, Coverstory ATN".Addicted to Noise: Gil Kaufman and Michael Goldberg. April, 1999)

Michael Barclay (1999): "The new song "Filipino Box Spring Hog" is the first time you've used your wife's name Kathleen in one of your songs, isn't it? TW: Yeah. She said, "Gee, thanks a lot! You finally stick me in a song, and I'm sitting in a bar in my bra. And you're there with the dog tied to the stool." It's a nice family portrait. I had to do some explaining, but she got a kick out of it." (Source: "Tom Waits, In Dreams". Exclaim: Michael Barclay. April/ May, 1999)

Tom Waits (1999): "We co-wrote most of the songs [Mule Variations] together. We like writing together. It's a family thing. We have more fun with the record before it comes out. Then everybody hears it. Until then, it's like a family record that only we've heard. Then it's like publishing your family photos. On some level it is. But then again it's not really. It's like if you're grabbing a bite to eat for yourself versus inviting seven people over for dinner." (Source: "Tom Waits, In Dreams". Exclaim: Michael Barclay. April/ May, 1999)

Jody Denberg (1999): "Take the title: Mule Variations. Mule has so many connotations. When I think of mules, I think about work. Are the 16 songs on the album 16 variations of your work? TW: Gee, I never looked at it like that. My wife said, "I didn't marry a man, I married a mule." That's what she said. You know, it's like the Goldberg Variations. Only these are the mule variations." (Source: "Mule Conversations" Austin Chronicle: Jody Denberg. April, 1999)

Jody Denberg (1999): "You have a partnership with your wife, Kathleen Brennan, which I know is multifaceted. How does it work as far as the songwriting is concerned? TW: Well, yeah, we've been writing and working together -- collaborating together -- since Swordfishtrombones. She's great to work with. It's one of those things where you wash, I'll dry. She's done a lot of things. She's an excellent pianist. She was a night clerk at a big resort hotel in Florida and then she was an elevator operator at the Taft Hotel. Then she played the organ on a cruise ship for a while. She's an opera buff and a bug collector, and you know, she's done a lot of things. She has dreams like Hieronymous Bosch. So she writes more from her dreams. I write more from the world or from the newspaper or something like that. And somehow it all works together. She's great, so it works.". (Source: "Mule Conversations".Austin Chronicle: Jody Denberg. April 1999)

Tom Waits (1999): "It's really my wife that started helping me see that you can find the place where Leadbelly and Schoenberg overlap. Or Cryin' Sam Collins and Beefheart, you know, intersect with Monk or Miles." (Source: "Mule Conversations". Austin Chronicle: Jody Denberg. April 1999)

Tom Waits (1999): "A lot of credit has to go to Kathleen, because that record [Swordfishtrombones],was really the first thing I decided to do without an outside producer. It was really Kathleen that said, "Look, you can do this. You know, I'd broken off with Herbie [Herb Cohen] , and we were managing my career at that point, and there were a lot of decisions to make. I mean, I thought I was a millionaire, and it turned out that I had, like 20 bucks. And what followed was a lot of court battles, and it was a difficult ride for both of us, particularly being newly weds. At the same time, it was exciting, because I had never been in a studio without a producer. I came from that whole school where an artist needs a producer. You know, they know more than I do, I don't know anything about the board. I was really old-fashioned that way. And Kathleen listened to my records and she knew I was interested in a lot of diverse musical styles that I'd never explored myself on my own record. So she started talking to me about that- you know, "You can do that." She's a great DJ, and she started playing a lot of records for me. I'd never thought of myself being able to go in and have the full responsibility for the end result of each song. She really co-produced that record with me, though she didn't get credit. She was the spark and the feed. The seminal idea for that record really came from Kathleen. So it was scary and exciting, but it was like, "Well, OK, let's find an engineer." And I found Biff Dawes, and he was into it." (Source: "Mojo interview with Tom Waits".Mojo: Barney Hoskyns. April 1999)

Barney Hoskyns (1999): "How do you and Kathleen collaborate on songs like Lowside of the Road? TW: Oh, y'know, one person holds the nail, the other swings the hammer. We collaborate on everything, really. She writes more from her dreams and I write more from the world. When you're making songs you're navigating in the dark, and you don't know what's correct. Given another five minutes you can ruin a song. So time's always a collaborator. Over the years she's exposed me to a lot of music. She doesn't like the limelight, but she's an incandescent presence on all songs we work on together." (Source: "Mojo interview with Tom Waits". Mojo: Barney Hoskyns. April 1999)

Barney Hoskyns (1999): "Do you think musician's marriages last longer when both parties are involved in the music, at least in the career? TW: Well, we've got a little mom-and-pop business. I'm the prospector, she's the cook. I bring the flamingo, she beheads it; I drop it in the water, she takes off the feathers... no-one wants to eat it." (Source: "Mojo interview with Tom Waits". Mojo: Barney Hoskyns. April 1999)

Tom Waits (1999): "She was Yma Sumac's hairdresser for a very short period of time.'' His slate-colored eyes twinkle devilishly. "They had to let her go - too much overhead!'' (Source: "Waits plays out 'Variations 'on a twisted persona". San Francisco Chronicle: James Sullivan. April 1999)

Tom Waits (1999): "My wife says I have two kinds of songs: grand weepers and grim reapers." (Source: "Waits plays out 'Variations 'on a twisted persona ". San Francisco Chronicle: James Sullivan. April 1999)

Karin Schoemer (1999): "When you're writing with Kathleen, do you write together or separately? TW: Sometimes we write separately and bring it together. It's different every time. You know, "You wash, I'll dry." You find a way to work. "You wring its neck, I'll take all the feathers off him." "You boil the water, I'll build the fire." You find a way. Sometimes you got a line, nothing more than a line and you don't know where to go with it. It might have been something thrown away and Kathleen says, "Oh, no, hang onto that, we can make something out of that." She'll say, "I can cook that up." Writing together's been really good. Does she like being the silent partner? TW: She doesn't like the limelight. But she sincerely has an incandescent contribution. We've been working together since "Swordfishtrombones." We go back that far. We got married in '80, we've been married 18 years." (Source: "Holding On: A Conversation with Tom Waits". Newsweek: Karin Schoemer. March 23, 1999)

Karin Schoemer (1999): "How old are your kids? TW: I've got two teenagers. Help. My daughter's 15 1/2, and I have a boy 13 and a boy 5. So we've been together since '80. We were married in an all-night wedding chapel in Watts. KS: Did you know her [Kathleen] for a long time before you got married? TW: I knew her a week. KS: Really? TW: A week. Ha ha ha! Oh, I did not. I knew her a month. Four weeks. KS: Really? TW: Two months. Then we got married. [raspy laugh] It's true, two months. But I like one week better. You just met, and then--bang! KS: Whose idea was it to get married? TW: My idea. Kathleen was really the one that encouraged me to start producing my own records. At that point I had done all my records with a producer. I kind of got stuck. I needed something to kick me. I needed some kind of car wreck or something. She was the one that started playing bizarre music. She said, "You can take this and this and put all this together." (Source: "Holding On: A Conversation with Tom Waits". Newsweek: Karin Schoemer. March 23, 1999)

Tom Waits (1999): "Hold on"I thought that was a good thing to say in a song. Hold on. We're all holding onto something. None of us want to come out of the ground. Weeds are holding on. Everything's holding on. I thought that was a real positive thing to say. It was an optimistic song. Take my hand, stand right here, hold on. We wrote that together, Kathleen and I, and that felt good. Two people who are in love writing a song like that about being in love. That was good." (Source: "Holding On: A Conversation with Tom Waits". Newsweek: Karin Schoemer. March 23, 1999)

Karen Schoemer (1999): "I tell Waits there's a piano ballad on his new album, "Take It With Me," that makes me cry, mostly because of the last verse. In a land there's a town And in that town there's a house And in that house there's a woman And in that woman there's a heart I love I'm gonna take it with me when I go. He droops his head bashfully. TW: "That's a very vulnerable song," he says. "We wrote that together, Kathleen and I, and that felt good. Two people who are in love writing a song about being in love." Then he puts two triangles of toast in front of his eyes, because I'm crying just thinking about it, and maybe behind the toast he's tearing up, too." (Source: "More Dylan Than Dylan." Newsweek magazine (USA), by Karen Schoemer. May 10, 1999)

Edna Gundersen (1999): "How do you and your wife split songwriting chores? TW: It's an adventure. You've got a flashlight, I've got the map. You hold the nail, I'll swing the hammer. You wash, I'll dry. If two people know the same thing, one of you is unnecessary. My wife has dreams and is telepathic and clairvoyant and female. I write from the news or what I see in my field of vision. I'm boots and hats and pocketknives. She's filled with musical and lyrical surprises. She's a joy to work with."(Source: "Wider public greets Waits' Variations "USA Today: Edna Gundersen. June 1999)

Edna Gundersen (1999): "Did she take you to places musically you might not have explored alone? TW: Oh yeah. She said, "You can jump off that cliff and you won't crash down on the rocks. "She encouraged me to take some giant steps. My wife loves ethnic music, tango's and polkas and waltzes, Bavarian bands and mariachis and Balinese stuff. EG: So she suggests the more exotic ideas and instruments? TW: Yeah, she's more adventurous with irreconcilable influences. If you like Iggy Pop and Schoenberg, what do you do? You'll never see them on a bill together, but they can be on the bill in you." (Source: "Wider public greets Waits' Variations " USA Today: Edna Gundersen. June 1999)

Tom Waits (1999): "I'd bring the music in like carpet, and walk on it. My wife, she's the one who pushed me. Finding a new way of thinking - that came from her." (Source: "The resurrection of Tom Waits ". Rolling Stone; David Fricke. June 24, 1999)

Tom Waits (1999): "I went through a period where I was embarrassed by vulnerability as a writer - things you see, experience and feel, and you go ' I can't sing something like that. This is too tender.' Maybe I'm finding a way of reconciling that," he says of Mule Variations. "I'm married, I got kids. It opens up your world." (Source: "The resurrection of Tom Waits ". Rolling Stone; David Fricke. June 24, 1999)

Jonathan Valania (1999): "You collaborated with Kathleen on most of the songs on Mule Variations. Can you describe how you two write together? Is she a musician? TW: Excellent pianist, plays contrabassoon, classically trained. Used to play recitals with all the relatives around, and she would start the nocturne and then go off and everybody would cock their ears like the RCA dog: "That ain't Beethoven anymore." She's free-floating. She doesn't seem to be pulled in any one direction. You see, we all like music, but what we really want is for music to like us, because it really is a language and some people are linguists and speak seven languages fluently, can do contracts in Chinese and tell jokes in Hungarian." (Source: "The Man Who Howled Wolf ". Magnet: Jonathan Valania. June/ July 1999)

Greg Kot (1999): "What's the secret to collaborating with your wife on your life's work? TW: Duck! Duck and cover. You collaborate all the time anyway. The way you do anything is the way you do everything. Did you get the full impact of that? The way you do anything, comma, is the way you do everything. She's the brains behind pa. I just do my best to keep up with her. Geeez, I feel like I'm counseling you in marriage... At a certain point, my son, you have to accept the fact that she's your better half. In my case, she has the extraordinary ability to invent and sustain a mood. She knows all about ethnic music and opera. She went to school, unlike myself. I rely on her to be like a Seeing Eye dog." (Source: "Reapers and weepers". Metromix Chicago: Greg Kot. August 1999)

Tom Waits (2000): "My wife and I collaborated on most of the songs [Mule Variations] and if it's really good it's probably her (laughs). Obviously she's more refined than I am. I'm more throw it against the wall ... Yeah, I like the little part, too. My wife's like a cross between Eudora Welty and Joan Jett. Kathleen is a rhododendron, an orchid and an oak. She's got the four B's: beauty, brightness, bravery and brains. She rescued me. I'd be playing in a steakhouse right now if it weren't for her. I wouldn't even be - playing - a steakhouse. I'd be - cooking - in a steakhouse." (Source: "Tradition With a Twist Source: Blues Revue magazine No. 59 (USA) by Bret Kofford. July/August, 2000)

Tom Waits (2002): "It actually started in 1980, we got married at the Always And Forever Yours wedding chapel in Watts at two in the morning, and our collaboration is almost as old as our marriage and I hope just as strong. We quarrel and all that, and she'll rail against me. It takes a long time to trust somebody long enough to let them stand up to you and tell you what they think. But she has an amazing imagination and is someone I trust immeasurably." (Source: "Conformity is a fool's paradise". Time Out London (UK), April 24, 2002 by Ross Fortune)

Tom Waits (2002): "I wouldn't be here at all if it wasn't for her. I'm living proof that marriage is good for you." (Source: "Dirt music". The Sydney Morning Herald. (Australia), by Nigel Williamson. April 27, 2002)

Tom Waits (2002): "Her opinion means a lot to me. She's from an Irish-American family and has a completely different sensibility. Grew up on a farm. Wanted to be a nun. I'm a lot more conservative than she is. You know, those Catholic girls. She's something else. But these records [Alice/ Blood Money] wouldn't have been possible without her. Nothing would have been possible without her." (Source: "Dirt music". The Sydney Morning Herald. (Australia), by Nigel Williamson. April 27, 2002)

Richard Kingsmill (2002): "Do you ever think about what would have happened to you if she hadn't come into your life, and how different your work might be these days?" TW: "Ghee I don't know.... Eh ghee I don't know how different it would be. I'm sure I would probably be dead...." (Source: "Interview with Tom Waits." Triple J's 2002 (Australia) radio show hosted by Richard Kingsmill. Aired May 12, 2002)

Terry Gross (2002): "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... 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." (Source: Fresh Air interview with Tom Waits: "Fresh Air with Terry Gross", produced in Philadelphia by WHYY" Date: show aired May 21, 2002)

Tom Waits (2002): "I trust her opinion above all else. You've gotta have somebody to trust, that knows a lot. She's done a lot of things. I'm Ingrid Bergman and she's Bogart. She's got a pilot's license, and she was gonna be a nun before we got married. I put an end to that. She knows about everything from motorcycle repair to high finance, and she's an excellent pianist. One of the leading authorities on the African violet. She's a lot of strong material. She's like Superwoman, standing there with her cape flapping. It works. We've been at this for some time now. Sometimes you quarrel, and it's the result of irritation, and sometimes it comes out of the ground like a potato and we marvel at it. She doesn't like the spotlight. She's a very private person, as opposed to myself. [Laughs.]" (Source: "The Onion A.V. Club online magazine (USA), by Keith Phipps. Volume 38, issue 20. May 29, 2002)

Tom Waits (2002): "My wife and I collaborated on all the songs, and we produced the record together (Alice/ Blood Money), which was a feat unto itself. And we're still speaking to each other." (Source: "Grimm's Reapers". Black Book magazine. June, 2002 by Terry Gilliam)

Elizabeth Gilbert (2002): "When they were first falling in love, they used to drive wildly around L.A. at all hours and she'd purposely try to get him lost, just for the entertainment value. She'd tell him to take a left, then hop on the freeway, then cross over Adams Boulevard, then straight through the ghetto, then into a worse ghetto, then another left... "We'd end up in Indian country," Waits remembers. "Out where nobody could even believe we were _there_. Places where you could get shot just for wearing corduroy. We were going into these bars- I don't know what was protecting us- but we were loaded. God protects drunks and fools and little children. And dogs. Jesus, we had so much fun." (Source: "Play It Like Your Hair's On Fire" GQ magazine. June, 2002 by Elizabeth Gilbert)

Tom Waits (2002): "The love came first, but we used to play a game called Let's Go Get Lost. We'd drive into a town, and I would say, 'But, baby - I know this place like the back of my hand, I can't get lost: And she'd say, 'Oh hell you can't, turn here, now turn here. Now go back, now turn left, now go right again.' And we'd do that all night, until we got lost, and she'd say, 'See, I thought you knew this town?' Now youre getting somewhere, now you're lost. That's kind of a good metaphor for how we collaborate... We do talk about what we're doing all the time. The way we work is like a quarrel that results in either blood or ink. You find you may not have known how you felt about a particular sound or issue or phrase or melody until you are challenged to expand or change it. If it's a successful collaboration, you end up with more things in there than occurred at the outside. But, hell, we got kids. Once you've raised kids together, you find songs come easy, actually." (Source: "Everything Goes To Hell". Uncut 5th Anniversary Special. Take 61, June 2002 by Gavin Martin)

Tom Waits (2002): "I DO collaborate with my wife. And I think that's why we're still married. Eh.. she was a blackjack dealer in a card room out in Emeryville when we first met... and eh she's done everything really. She was a eh... She does motorcycle repair (laughs), she does it all, and eh high finance, you name it. Deep-sea fishing. Has a pilots license. She's a barber, you know? Everything... R: When does she find time to work with you? TW: Exactly! That's right... I gotta book early. R: Is that why it's so long between records then? TW: There you go! Now you're starting to see the picture, yeah.R: When she's done with this Yamaha? TW: (laughs) It works, I don't know how it works. I guess: "If it's not broke, don't fix it" right? It works, it's like eh... I don't know. Yeah, it just works: "You wash, I'll dry". We have a good rhythm together so... And I trust her opinion, you know. If you're not careful it gets like "The Emperor's new clothes", you know? You have to have somebody to say: "Honey what is this, is this hard wash, is this crap? What is this?" So it's good. She's got a great sense of melody. She's the only one who plays the piano actually and reads music, you know? So... and eh... yeah she's excellent. R: How have you kept her from going solo? TW: Yeah, exactly she doesn't like the limelight. She doesn't like it. So... it works you know? R: Good choice of a partner there... TW: Yeah, right... yeah." (Source: Anti Electronic Press Kit - "We're All Mad Here - A Conversation With Tom Waits" by Robert Lloyd : Music industry promo. (P) ... � 2002 Epitaph/ Anti Inc)

Clare Barker (2004): "In 1979, Waits met scriptwriter Kathleen Brennan. "It was love at first sight, no question of it," he recalls. "It was New Year's Eve in LA and they were raffling off a '69 Caddy. There was a band playing called The Sandhogs, another group on the bill called The Spastic Colon. We met. She was all dressed in black. I was leaving town the next day going to New York, never to return. But never say never."... "You trust someone's opinion with a road map or a recipe, you may as well trust them with a piece of music," says Waits of his partner in song. "She's got a background in opera, she's got her pilot's license, she used to work in the circus when she was a kid." This is beginning to sound like the tall tale of the taxicab birth. Waits has a reputation for embellishing the details of his past to suit his point - in this case, that Brennan is at least as complex and creative as he is. "She wanted to be a nun, but she gave that up. She's originally from Illinois, her family is from Indiana, right out in the middle of the country where everything is flat and all you can do is dream. So I think I'm the conservative one of both of us. She's much more adventurous. I keep her from floating off." (Source: "Make Mine A Double", Black + White magazine (USA). Issue 61. June/ July 2002. By Clare Barker)

Tom Waits (2004): "The song she really hates is Saving All My Love For You, off Heartattack and Vine. `What is this bullshit?' I'm happy to have it pointed out. `If I have egg on my face tell me,' and she does. Because - I don't know where songs come from, some of them come from incantations, some from talking in tongues. Writing songs, you're the instrument. You know, you're really working on yourself." (Source: The Mojo Interview. Mojo magazine by Sylvie Simmons. Issue October 2004)

Tom Waits (2004): "I didn't know any way of finding a new one (voice), but I know I was anxious to reach a new channel, and sometimes we don't know how to do that. You're like a wound-up toy car who's hit a wall and you just keep hitting it. I was very self destructive. Drinking and smoking and staying out all night long and it wasn't good for me so I sounded like I had been screaming into a pillow. You know, I needed to shift gears - I knew that I wanted to change but I didn't really know how to do it. I got married there, right after, in 1980, so that was really the end of a certain long period of my life." (Source: The Mojo Interview: Tom Waits Speaks. Mojo Magazine (USA/ UK), by Sylvie Simmons. September, 2004)

Tom Waits (2004): "She had the best record collection - she thought that I was going to have a really great record collection and was sorely disappointed. I hadn't really listened to Captain Beefheart before, even though I worked with Zappa. I was such a one-man show - very isolated in what I allowed myself to be exposed to. I `was' like an old man, stuck in my ways. She helped me rethink myself. Because my music up to that point was still in the box - I was still in the box; hadn't unwrapped myself yet. She let me take my shoes off and loosen up - back then I was still wearing suits to the park. I think from that point on I really tried to grow ." (Source: The Mojo Interview: Tom Waits Speaks. Mojo Magazine (USA/ UK), by Sylvie Simmons. September, 2004)

Tom Waits (2004): "Kathleen made up the title (Real Gone). She said `All these people on the record are leaving. You're not going to be leaving are you?`" (Source: The Mojo Interview: Tom Waits Speaks. Mojo Magazine (USA/ UK), by Sylvie Simmons. September, 2004)

Tom Waits (2004): "A good woman will push you beyond your normal restricted safe area. My wife kind of pushed me out into traffic in a stroller. I kind of plumbed more the depths of myself when I started working with her. She had a much better record collection than me; most of my records were all scratched and had cheese on them. She had a lot of real cool stuff.... The Animals, Mitch Ryder, Captain Beefheart, Gavin Bryars' "The Sinking of the Titanic," Harry Partch, a lot of doo-wop stuff, the Wild Tchoupitoulas, Louis Prima and Mabel Mercer." (Source: "Tom Waits Interview" San Diego Union Tribune (USA). By George Varga. October 3, 2004)

Tom Waits (2004): "Collaborating with my wife is kind of like setting off firecrackers - some of them you get to light, and some of them, you get to throw. If both of you know the same stuff, one of you is unnecessary, and we didn't really know the same stuff. She'd taken many years of piano lessons and was raised Catholic. She wanted to be a nun..Q: So the old saying is true, about how only your wife will tell you when you have bad breath? Waits: Oh, yeah (laughing). Otherwise, it gets like the emperor's new clothes. (With my wife) I'll say: "Honey, is this crap? I just gotta know." And you have to be ready, because she may say: "It's crap." But you gotta have somebody in your life you might trust with that question, or you're lost." (Source: "Tom Waits Interview" San Diego Union Tribune (USA). By George Varga. October 3, 2004)

Tom Waits (2004): "She's like a heavy equipment operator and a clairvoyant -- it's rare you get that together," he says, flipping pages in his notebook to find his place. "She's something else -- tree surgeon and a ventriloquist, astronaut and private eye. You're always looking for those two things. A newspaperman and a bathing beauty. It's a combination that works for us, 'cause a lot of times, I'm in a stroller waiting to be pushed out into traffic. She's the one that'll do it ." (Source: "Barroom Bard's Next Round" San Francisco Chronicle (USA). By Joel Selvin. October 3, 2004)

Tom Waits (2004): "Her ideas are indispensable. They've definitely improved my aim and my perception. I think I used to be much more timid in my music. She pushed me out in traffic in my stroller. "She was going to be a nun, she was an opera singer, and a newscaster. She plays piano like Liberace and Glenn Gould, she's a tree-surgeon and a ventriloquist, she can even take the engine apart on the truck. And she's a bathing beauty." (Source: "Old Man Waits Is New Again" Globe and Mail (Canada). By Robert Everett-Green. October 4, 2004)

Tom Waits (2004): "She and I produced the record (Real Gone). It's like she's tying a rope around my waist and lowering me down into the well, hollering, "A little more to the left, a little more to the left." (Source: "Magnet Interview With Tom Waits" Magnet Magazine (UK), by Jonathan Valania. October, 2004)

Tom Waits (2004): "She's the heavy equipment operator, the tree surgeon, the palm reader. She's the ventriloquist and I'm the dummy. I also think she's got the heart of an old newspaperman and she's a bathing beauty. It's a great combination." (Source: "Nighthawk In The Light Of Day" Ottawa Xpress (Canada), by Melora Koepke. October 7, 2004)

Tom Waits (2004): "She's a botanist, went to med school for a while, worked at the good Samaritans who fly around doing medical work and she can fix the truck, take an engine apart and put it all together..Yeah, I got lucky. And she's a certified public accountant. And remains completely accountable for all she says and does. She can even drive heavy equipment, earth movers. They used to leave the keys in those things on construction sites. We were driving by one of those sites one night ... [and] we found this earth mover, a big bulldozer, and she started it up and took a spin around the vacant lot. I think I fell for her at that moment." (Source: "Waiting Game". Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), by Bernard Zuel. October 30, 2004)

Tom Waits (2004): "If you're doing a high wire act, you've got to have someone on the ground, right? You need someone around to tell you when you're full of shit and I'd rather have my wife say it than someone in the newspapers. So, you know, I watch her back, she watches mine." (Source: "Coffee With Tom Waits", Zembla magazine - Issue 7, by Richard Grant. December, 2004)

Tom Waits (2006): "I didn't just marry a beautiful woman, I married a record collection." (Source: "Off Beat", The Observer Magazine (UK), October 29, 2006. By Sean O'Hagan)

Sean O'Hagan (2006): "When he says that Kathleen saved his life, he means it literally. TW: 'Oh yeah, for sure,' he continues, rocking back and forth again. 'But I had something in me, too. I knew I would not go down the drain, I would not light my hair on fire, I would not put a gun in my mouth. I had something abiding in me that was moving me forward. I was probably drawn to her because I saw that there was a lot of hope there." (Source: "Off Beat", The Observer Magazine (UK), October 29, 2006. By Sean O'Hagan)

Mick Brown (2006): "I get the sense that marriage to Kathleen changed you enormously. TW: Oh God, yeah, no question about it. In a good way. I'm alive because of her. I was a mess. I was addicted. I wouldn't have made it. I really was saved at the last minute, like deus ex machina. I'm like The Roadrunner, you know, who ran off the cliff and looked around, and just before he dropped like a bullet, he ran back on the smoke from his feet, back to the cliff. That's me. I've been fortunate enough to be able to walk on smoke. I got sober about 14 years ago; it was a big turning point. And then having kids, you know... once you've had kids you can't imagine not having kids. So my wife and kids really did save my life. WORD: It's a paradox, isn't it? Cyril Connolly said, "There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hail". But for you it seems to have been the opposite - the pram in the hail, domestic life, was the catalyst for a radical transformation in your music. TW: You know, Nikola Tesla [the inventor of alternating current] said the reason he was celibate was... he said, "Name me one important invention that was created by a man who was married". 'Course he was also compulsive. He had to wash his hands 100 times. He had a thing about threes - everything had to be divisible by three, the number of steps to the door, the number of times he'd go around the house before he entered the door - three, three, three, three. He worked with Edison and then quit. He's really the reason we got electricity. But Edison got the medicine. And Tesla got the receipt." (Source: "My Wild Years And The Woman That Saved My Life", Word magazine (UK), November 9, 2006. By Mick Brown)

Tom Waits (2006); "Kathleen's my eyes and ears and everything. She has a pilot's license, she can sing like Maria Callas, she's a bathing beauty, she's a treehugger, and she can fix the truck. She was a roofer for a while. She worked at a funeral home and was going to be a nun. She's done a million things. She's a jack-of-all-trades." (Source: "The always-eccentric Tom Waits hopes you'll adopt his 'Orphans'", The Miami Herald (USA), November 17, 2006. By Evelyn McDonnell)

Tom Waits (2006): "I'm much more traditional; she's much more revolutionary." (Source: "The always-eccentric Tom Waits hopes you'll adopt his 'Orphans'", The Miami Herald (USA), November 17, 2006. By Evelyn McDonnell)

Tom Waits (2006): "Brennan is "a remarkable collaborator," Waits says. "And she's a shiksa goddess and a trapeze artist, all of that. She can fix the truck. Expert on the African violet and all that. She's outta this world. I don't know what to say. I'm a lucky man. "She has a remarkable imagination. And that's the nation where I live. She's bold, inventive and fearless. That's who you wanna go in the woods with, right? Somebody who finishes your sentences for you." (Source: "Songwriter's Wandering Orphans' Will Always Find A Musical Home", The Plain Dealer (Cleveland/ USA). November 19, 2006.Telephone interview by John Soeder)

Tom Waits (2006): "Sometimes we put on the boxing gloves and come out fighting. My wife is a really great musician and composer. She's much more adventurous than I am. She's always trying to disrupt the whole thing and take it apart and put it back together with its tail in the wrong place. She's much more questioning and critical. I'm like, "OK, I'm done, done, done." It's something you learn how to do after a while. It's like a sack race. Once you raise kids together writing songs with your wife is pretty easy." (Source: "Tom Waits Still In The Driver's Seat", The Chicago Tribune (USA). November 21, 2006. By Greg Kot)

Further readingInterviews (complete transcripts)