Time Line: 1981 - 1985

Jan. 81 Tour promoting Heartattack And Vine: November 1980 - October 1981 (album released: September, 1980). Tom Waits: vocals, piano, electric guitar. Teddy Edwards: tenor saxophone. Greg Cohen: upright bass. Further reading: Performances 1981-1985
'81 Released: the 7-track album "The Other Side Of This Town" (Select records #21611) by Chuck E. Weiss. Dr. John: piano, Shine Robinson: guitar. Waits mentioned in liner notes
'81 Released: compilation-album "Bounced Checks" (Asylum). LP and MC
Cover for the album "Bounced Checks". photography by Scott Smith
Mar. '81 Interview for The Guardian: "He's A Coppola Swell". Mick Brown, London/ UK. Photography by Garry Weaser
Mar. 18, '81 Published: interview for Smash Hits magazine "Tom Waits: Waits And Double Measures" by Johnny Black
Apr. 8, '81 Interview by Bert van de Kamp for Dutch magazine Muziekkrant OOR: "Tom Waits: Een Zwerver Verliefd"
Jul. 3, '81 Televised concert appearance at the Expo Theatre, Montreal/ Canada (Montreal Jazz Festival)
Video screenshot from Montreal Jazz Festival, 1981
Jul. 2-9, '81 In the Byrne Meadowlands Arena, East Rutherford/ New Jersey/ USA Bruce Springsteen does his first live version of "Jersey Girl".
Aug. 24, '81 Guest appearance with: "Bruce Springsteen & The E. Street Band" at the L.A. Sports Arena, Los Angeles/ USA (live version of "Jersey Girl")
Sep. '81 TV appearance on the Don Lane Show, Australia (broadcast September 1981). Interview and performs "Mr. Siegal" (w. Teddy Edwards and Greg Cohen)
Early Sep. '81 Finish of the recordings for the album "One From The Heart" at the Wally Heider recording studios, Hollywood/ USA. Further reading: One From The Heart
Oct. '81 End tour promoting Heartattack And Vine: November 1980 - October 1981. Further reading: Performances 1981-1985
Early '82 Waits breaks up with his manager Herb Cohen and separates from his long time friend and producer Bones Howe (Rolling Stone April 1, 1982).  

Jay S. Jacobs (2000): "Howe himself had seen the writing on the wall. He and Waits were clearly pulling in different directions. "After we did One from the Heart and the sound-track album came out" he recalls, "Tom and I sat down and had a glass of wine at Martoni's. He said, 'I'm trying to write the next record. The problem that I'm having is, I know you so well and everything that I write, I keep thinking to myself, I wonder if Bones is going to like this? Or, I can't write this tune because I don't think you'll like it.' I told him, 'Tom, I shouldn't have any influence on what you create. Yeah, we do know each other really well, and of course you know the things that I like.' He said, 'I really want to get away from composing on the piano, because I feel like I'm writing the same song over and over again'. While assuring Tom that he was in no such rut Bones did concede that if he truly felt that way, there was no "more rational reason for two people to stop working together than this. So, we sort of shook hands and said, 'Okay, that's it.' I just told him, 'Look, if you ever want to make another record with me, you know the kind of records I'll make. Call me, and wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, I'll stop it and make a record with you.' Because that was really, really fun. I miss doing that with him. I've never found anybody I've enjoyed doing that with as much as Tom." So, over an amicable glass of wine, a long and fruitful partnership was dismantled. Howe adds that Kathleen played a role in the demise of the relationship, as well. "She really separated him from everybody in his past. And, frankly, it was time for that for Tom. Kathleen has been very good for him. He was never as wild as many people have said, but he was living in a motel and not really taking that good care of himself. It really was time. She separated him from everybody. Unfortunately, I was in the cut. I was from the past." (Source: "Wild Years, The Music and Myth of Tom Waits". Jay S. Jacobs, ECW Press 2000)

Early '82

Waits wins a lawsuit against the LA Police Department (May 27, 1977).

Tom Waits (1982): "Yeah, finally did. I was picked up at a restaurant by 3 cops and accused of challenging to fight, fighting in a public place, being drunk in public. It was insulting and embarrassing, so I felt it was my duty to make sure the record reflected the truth of the matter. It dragged on for 5 years before I got my day in court, with a little arbitration hearing, and I finally got a small settlement ($7,500)." (Source: "Tom Waits on One From The Heart". Steve Pond. Rolling Stone p. 44. April 1, 1982). Further reading: Waits And The Cops

May 82 Short tour promoting One From The Heart: May 1982 (album released early 1983). Tom Waits: vocals, piano, electric guitar. Teddy Edwards: tenor saxophone. Jim Nichols: electric guitar. Greg Cohen: upright bass. Further reading: Performances 1981-1985
Early '83 Released: the soundtrack-album "One From The Heart" issued on Colombia Records/ Sony Music Entertainment. With Crystal Gayle sharing the vocals. Engineered by Bones Howe and Biff Dawes. This would be the last co-operation with Bones Howe. From now on Waits would take production in his own hands. Further reading: One From The Heart
Cover for the album: "One From The Heart". Photography by David Alexander
Apr. 11, '83 Waits attends the Oscar nomination for "One From The Heart" (best filmmusic, 1982). It went to Leslie Bricusse and Henry Mancini for "Victor/ Victoria". The 1982 Academy Awards were presented April 11, 1983 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles
Jul. 1-7, '83 Interview for City Limits magazine: "A Simple Love Story" (One From The Heart). London/ UK, Peter Guttridge/ David Corio
'83 In 1982 Asylum (Joe Smith) doesn't feel "Swordfishtrombones" has the commercial potential. It is rejected. In 1983 Waits signs up with Island Records (Chris Blackwell).
'83 Released: "Girl At Her Volcano" (Warner Bros.) by Rickie Lee Jones. On the album is the song: "Rainbow Sleeves", written but never recorded by Waits.
'83 Released: the movie "Rumble Fish". With supporting role as "Bennie the pool hall owner"
'83 Released: the movie "The Outsiders". With supporting role as "Buck Merill". Tom Waits (1988): "I had one line: 'What is it you boys want?' I still have it down if they need me to go back and re-create the scene for any reason." (Source: "Tom Waits and his Act".  Rolling Stone Magazine: David Sheff. October, 1988)
Aug. '83 Michael Andreas Russ "Prussian Blue" art exhibit at the Los Angeles/ USA China Club. Waits visited Michael�s show and commissioned his Island label album cover, Swordfishtrombones. Russ also co-directed 'In The Neighborhood', Waits's MTV video.
Late Sep. '83 First born daughter "Kellesimone"
Sep. '83 Released: the Beefheart and Partch inspired album Swordfishtrombones (Island Records). First album produced by Waits himself. With "Johnsburg Illinois" dedicated to Kathleen who co-produced the album.
The cover for the album Swordfishtrombones. Photography: Michael Andreas Russ (Germany). "Michael Russ moved to Los Angeles in 1981 and had an exhibition at the China Club in '83, called 'Prussian Blue'. Tom Waits visited Michael�s show and commissioned his Island label album cover, Swordfishtrombones. Michael also co-directed 'In The Neighborhood', Tom�s MTV video."
Sep. '83 Released: LP and MC: "A Conversation With Tom Waits: Tom Waits talks about Swordfishtrombones" (Island Records)
Late '83 Meant to be released in Australia and New Zealand: WEA limited edition of Swordishtrombones, 1983 (� Rondar Music/ Asylum Records 60211-1 MX207155. (P) 1983 WEA International Inc.) This mysterious album was released by Asylum(!) probably against the wishes of Waits. Its cover features a painting by Waits himself
The cover for the Rondar/ Asylum Swordfishtrombones
Late '83 Released: single: "In The Neighborhood/ Frank's Wild Years" (Island). Released: video "In The Neighborhood" shot and directed by Haskell Wexler. Co-directed by Michael A. Russ.
'83 Session with Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn in Los Angeles. Pictures published in: "Famouz" (Anton Corbijn, 1988), NME Magazine, 1983 and the Rain Dogs tour book, 1983
One of the pictures from the 1983 session, published in: "Famouz" (Anton Corbijn, 1988)
Oct. '83 Interview for Rock Bill magazine (USA), "The Beat Goes On" by Kid Millions. New York/ USA October 1983. Photography by Lynn Goldsmith
Oct. 1, '83 Interview for "New Musical Express" (UK) magazine: "One From The Heart & One For The Road". Kristine McKenna. Photography by Anton Corbijn
Oct. 8, '83 Interview for Dutch magazine Muziekkrant OOR: "Interieurfoto's Van Een Raaf". Herman van der Horst/ Anton Corbijn
Early Oct. '83 Interview for the Dutch book: "Warm Bier En Koude Vrouwen". Jip Golsteijn/ Lex van Rossen
Oct. 18, '83 TV interview for "Loose Talk", Channel 4 television talkshow with Steve Taylor. Newcastle/ UK. 

Brian Case (1983): "Now firmly established as television's most sheerly embarrassing chat show since they last allowed Eamonn Andrews to confuse a motley selection of guests on the air, Channel 4's "Loose Talk" clambered towards new peaks of unintentional hilarity last week when croaking old wordsman Tom Waits ran rings around sloth-witted presented Steve "Shakespeare" Taylor. Taylor had heard that Tom liked living in dives. "Ya mean places where they got swimmin' pools?" Waits groaned. Steve squirmed; no, he meant, well, you know, places that were, like, low-rent. "Low-rent? Ya mean somewhere like Rangoon or Iowa?" Poor old Shakespeare: this series alone he's been wound up more times than a shiftworker's alarm clock. In a later confrontation with Steve's co-presenter (some oily oik drafted in from Private Eye), Tom came perilously close to losing what little remained of his patience. Admitting that he was in Blighty just to promote his new LP, Waits was told by the PE lardpot that he should be promoting it more volubly. "I'll promote it my own damn way," snarled Waits." (Source: "Tom Waits For No Man". Melody Maker magazine, by Brian Case. Date: October 29, 1983)

Edwin Pouncey (1983): "Tom's storytelling technique suits the image many people have of him down to the ground. Mention him to many people and they will probably shoot back the image of a down-heeled alcoholic scraping for a bottle of cheap wine behind the keyboard of some smoke filled, dock-side bar. It was certainly the image chat host Steve Taylor was expecting when Tom turned up to promote his brilliant Swordfishtrombones album on Channel 4's ghastly, but masochistically watchable Loose Talk show recently. Taylor's "research" (ie: skimming through Face and NME interviews) went horribly awry as Tom proceeded to turn the gabbling cuckoo's beat-speak into the nonsense it ultimately was. For those of you who missed this conversation at cross purposes it went something as follows; Steve: "What part does this infamous image that we have of you over here play? This sort of low life, American..." Tom: "I beg your pardon?" Steve: "You've lived in some dives have you not?" Tom: "I don't know if I translate in my language. Do you mean a place with a pool?" Steve: "No not really. I'm thinking of more of the other side of the housing scale really, something pretty rough. Low rent? Is that an American expression?" Tom: "Low rent. You mean like Rangoon?" Steve: "I'm thinking of the seedier parts of LA probably." Tom: "You mean like a farming community?" Steve: (getting impatient now): "No, not that kind of seed. Have a go, have a guess. Try and guess what I'm getting at, yeah? Tom: "I think what you're trying to ask me is, uhhh, have I ever lived in a cheap hotel?" His cool thus blown, Steve's brain is far too fuddled to conduct a sensible, patient interview where much of Tom's true personality would have eventually trickled out. I suppose Tom Waits makes for a lousy young people's chat show guest. He is an artist and television moves too fast, before Tom had time to get his head out of his shell his slot was over and Steve's bandwagon had rolled on to its next fashionable guest." (Source: "Swordfish Out of Water: Tom Waits". Sounds magazine by Edwin Pouncey. November 15, 1983)

Oct. 22, '83 Radio interview for "Saturday Live" by Richard Skinner. BBC Radio 1. London/ UK
Oct. 29, '83 Interview for Melody Maker magazine: "Tom Waits For No Man". Brian Case/ Tony Barrat
Nov. 15, '83 Interview for Sounds magazine: "Swordfish Out of Water: Tom Waits" by Edwin Pouncey
Dec. 21, '83 TV appearance (interview) for "Late Night With David Letterman" TV show/ USA (Frank's Wild Years, On the Nickel)
Late '83 Photo session with George DuBose. Times Square, New York/ USA
Picture by George DuBose. Shot for Andy Warhol's "Interview Magazine". Kind permission George DuBose
Late '83 Dutch pop critics vote "Swordfishtrombones" best album of the year
Jan. 28, '84 Dutch magazine "Muziekkrant OOR" reprint of the "Swordfishtrombones promo interview" (Island, 1983)
Early '84

Waits moves from LA to New York ("A burned-out loft off West 14th Street in Little Spain"). In New York Waits gets acquainted with: John Lurie, Mark Ribot, Jim Jarmusch (they apparently met at a party held in honor of Soho artist Jean Michel Basquiat, November, 1984) and Robert Frank. "I'd write and go down to the Westbeth building (Greenwich village) where I shared a room with John Lurie and his brother Evan. We'd go down there at night and write songs."

Barney Hoskyns (2009): “The Waitses first discussed the idea of moving to New York in early 1984. Three factors contributed to the decision. First, Tom was now signed to a label whose US offices were located on the East Coast. Second, the "Frank's Wild Years" musical stood a significantly greater chance of getting off the ground as an off-Broadway production than it did of seeing the light in Los Angeles. And third, Jersey girl Kathleen's parents lived just half an hour outside Manhattan... With baby Kellesimone in tow, Waits and wife installed themselves in a loft in "Little Spain," just off West 14th Street near Union Square. The neighbourhood was hip and happening, with an array of unassuming establishments Courmey's, the Ricky Ricardo Lounge, the Salvation Army Diner, the Babalu Bar and Grill to hold court in. "That's what we want here, that kind of diner ambience," Waits told an interviewer from London as he strolled into Fanelli's in SoHo on a snowy day in early 1984. That morning, he said, he'd been at the piano working on songs for the "Frank's Wild Years" musical. The demented energy of Manhattan took its toll on Waits, who never quite adjusted to the city's feverish pace and missed the inviolable space provided in California by automobiles. For a while he drove a Cadillac bequeathed him by Kathleen's dad, but "I was towed three or four times, just crazy ... $1,500 worth of tickets." (Source: “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

'84 Released: "Strange Weather" by Marianne Faithfull. This song was recorded by Waits himself in 1988 (Big Time). It seems there was originally a plan for Waits to write and produce a complete album. It was Hal Willner who had the idea of them working together. The song grew out of telephone calls 

Jay S. Jacobs (2000): "Waits had met Marianne Faithfull when they were both working on producer Hal Willner's Lost in the Stars tribute to Kurt Weill (Faithfull's contribution was "The Ballad of the Soldier's Wife"). Waits was attracted to Faithfull's style; her voice, much like his own, had been ravaged by hard living and had evolved into a raspy croak. The two became phone friends, holding transatlantic musical debates. The idea of working together naturally came up. And, for the first time, Waits felt that he could produce the work of another artist. He offered to produce Faithfull's next album, a concept piece that he wanted to call Storeyville, after New Orleans's historic red-light district. Waits pictured Faithfull portraying an aging hooker who tells her story in song, a kind of Prostitute's Revenge. In her autobiography, Faithfull admits to having had mixed feelings about the concept. "It's always curious the way people see me, which is always in a much more sexual light than I see myself. Much as I'd love to believe the sexpot image of me, I don't really see myself as an unrepentant hooker belting out blues from the bordello." (Source: "Wild Years, The Music and Myth of Tom Waits". Jay S. Jacobs, ECW Press  2000)

Marianne Faithfull (1994): "A project like this requires weeks and weeks of sitting around listening to old records, and the person you usually end up working with is the one who has the time. Tom wanted to do it, but he was busy having a life: getting married, having children, making records." (Source: "Faithfull: An Autobiography", Marianne Faithfull/ David Dalton, 1994)

'84 Released: 12" single "Cover Me" by Bruce Springsteen. With a live-cover of "Jersey Girl"
'84 Released: documentary "Streetwise" by Martin Bell. Soundtrack. With a supporting role by Ralph Carney. Inspired by a Seattle photo session with Mary Ellen Mark (married to Martin Bell). "Streetwise, nominated for an Oscar, portrays the lives of nine desperate teen-agers. All underage survivors fighting for life and love on the streets of downtown Seattle."
'84 Released: Anthology, WEA/ Elektra. LP and MC. At this time Waits had already left Elektra-Asylum for Island
Cover for the album Anthology. Artwork/ photography by Matt Mahurin
'84 Released: movie "The Cottonclub" by Francis Ford Coppola. Supporting role by Waits as club owner Irving Stark. Here he meets William Kennedy who will get him a role in "Ironweed" (1987). Tom Waits: "I was in a tuxedo for like two and a half months." (Source: "Tom Waits and his Act".  Rolling Stone Magazine: David Sheff. October, 1988)
Nov. '84 Waits and Jim Jarmusch meet at a going away party for John Lurie in New York on the eve of a Lounge Lizards European tour.

John Lurie: "Jean Michel Basquiat was a really good friend of mine, probably my best friend at this particular time and my band was about to go on tour so he throws this dinner party for me. Now, at the dinner party was Andy Warhol, Steve Ribel, Bianca Jagger, Julianne Schnabel, Francesco Clemente, Wim Wenders, Tom Waits, Jim Jarmusch and like 30 other people - everybody's a heavyweight in some area. This party was just a great party. So, Andy Warhol writes in his diaries that this party was THE BEST PARTY he's been to in, like, 5 or 10 years and he was going to stop hanging out with faggots and start hanging out with artists because they are just so much more elegant and interesting. Now, the woman who transcribed his goddamned diaries turned me and Tom Waits into "John Waite". Do you realize a person could retire from nightlife FOREVER if Andy Warhol said your party was THE BEST PARTY he's been to in 10 years!! I really got screwed, boy. Her name's Pat. If you put her in the article, misspell Pat." (Rebirth of the Cool - the Toast chat with John Lurie of the Lounge Lizards by Melissa Maristuen. Toastmag)

'85 Released: the album "Lost In The Stars, The Music Of Kurt Weill" (A&M). With: "What Keeps Mankind Alive ?" from the "Drei Groschen Oper/ Three Penny Opera". Produced by: Hal Willner
May 25, '85 Interview for New Musical Express (UK): "The Marlowe Of The Ivories". Barney Hoskyns/ Anton Corbijn
Summer '85 Recordings for the album "Rain Dogs". Recordings took about 2 1/2 months
Summer '85 Shootings for the movie "Down By Law" by Jim Jarmusch
'85 Session with Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn in New York City/ USA. Three pictures were later published in the photobook "Famouz" (1989)
Sep. 30, '85 Released: Rain Dogs (Island Records). Produced by: Tom Waits. Collaboration with Keith Richards (Big Black Mariah). Album was recorded in NY/ USA. Further reading: Rain Dogs
Cover for Rain Dogs. Front cover by: Anders Petersen
Sep. 30, '85 First born son: "Casey Xavier" (second child). Some sources claim the right date to be October 24, 1985
Sep. - Oct. '85 Released: LP "A Conversation With Tom Waits: Tom Waits talks about Raindogs" (Island)
'85 Released: 12" single: "Downtown Train/ Tango Till They're Sore/ Jockey Full Of Bourbon" (Island). Released: single: "Downtown Train/ Tango Till They're Sore" (Island)
Oct. 3, '85 Interview for Time Out magazine: "Dog Day Afternoon". New York/ USA, Richard Rayner/ Adrian Boot
Early Oct. '85 Interview for You Magazine: "The Sultan Of Sleaze". New York/ USA, Pete Silverton/ Colin Jones
Oct. 85 Start tour promoting Rain Dogs: October 1985 - November 1985 (album released: September, 1985). Tom Waits: vocals, piano, electric guitar. Ralph Carney: saxophones, horns, baritone, alto, clarinet, violin, bass clarinet, banjo, harmonica. Marc Ribot: electric guitar, trumpet. Greg Cohen: upright bass. Michael Blair: percussion, bass marimba. Stephen Hodges: drums. Further reading:Performances 1981-1985

Marc Ribot (1999): "The first tour was really brilliant - we did an entire week in London at this West End theatre at the beginning of the tour - and intensely creative, but one which also drove us crazy. Because Tom never had a set list. Normally if you're playing in a small club you can get by without a set list, but Tom changed it every single night. He was playing these fairly large theatres like he was playing in a tiny bar. We would rehearse intensely every day rather than soundcheck. I think Greg Cohen may have had a talk with him because on the second tour we more or less stuck to a set list. On the first tour there were a lot of brilliant mistakes because of that, when you don't quite know what to expect. Everybody gets stressed out on tours. On the Rain Dogs tour he didn't really know whether people would like his new direction. So he was really driving himself very hard, putting a lot of pressure on himself - productive pressure that went into perfecting the music. But it was fun. We were all in the bus together, we hung out and talked about music." (Source: "Tom Wait's Right-Hand Man" by Sylvie Simmons. Mojo Magazine. April, 1999)

Oct. 19, '85 Interview for New Musical Express: "Hard Rain". New York, Gavin Martin/ Bleddyn Butcher. The Waits family still lives in NY, but around this time they consider to move again
Oct. 19, '85 Interview for Sounds magazine: "Subterrenean Low-Life Blues". New York/ USA, Chris Roberts/ Peter Anderson
Oct. '85 Interview for The Face magazine: "Lower East Side Story". New York/ USA, Elissa van Poznak./ Steve Tynan
Oct. '85 Interview for Rolling Stone magazine: "Tom Waits: The Drifter Finds A Home". Elliott Murphey (published: January, 1986)
Nov. '85 Interview with Glenn O'Brien for Spin Magazine: "Tom Waits For No Man". The interview was probably done in September (just before the European tour)
Nov. 4, '85 Fifth visit to Holland. It is said Waits was arrested by customs for reasons unknown.
Nov. 30, '85 Interview for Dutch magazine OOR: "De Diamantslijper". Bert Van De Kamp/ Anton Corbijn
Nov. 85 End tour promoting Rain Dogs: October 1985 - November 1985. Further reading: Performances 1981-1985
Late '85 Rolling Stone critics vote Waits: "Songwriter Of The Year 1985". Dutch pop critics vote "Rain Dogs": "Album Of The Year 1985"

Further reading
Performances 1981-1985
Pictures 1981-1985