Time Line: 1996 - 2000

Jan. '96 Recordings for the "Dead Man Walking" soundtrack. With previously unreleased: "The Fall Of Troy" and "Walk Away". Soundtrack only, not heard in movie
Jan. 9, '96 American release: the album "Dead Man Walking", (Sony/ Columbia) by Tim Robbins. Benefit for: "Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation" and "Hope House". Further reading: Charity
Jan. 19, '96 American release: the movie "Dead Man Walking." Further reading: Charity
Feb. 4, '96 Concert appearance for the Don Hyde Benefit at the Paramount Theatre, Oakland/ USA. Hyde, a personal friend, and owner of the Raven Theatre in Healdsburg was accused of trading LSD. The benefit was to help Don Hyde pay for his legal defense. With: Joe Gore, Ralph Carney, Greg Cohen, Kenny Wollesen and Charlie Musselwhite. Tickets went as high as $ 300. Further reading:Performances 1996-2000. Further reading: Charity
The concert poster by poster artist: Stanley Mouse
Feb. 16, '96 Concert appearance (short acoustic set) for: "John Huston Award For Artists' Rights Foundation" honoring Martin Scorcese at the Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles/ USA. Further reading: Performances 1996-2000. Further reading: Charity
Mar. 12, '96 Concert appearance at Luther Burbank Center, Santa Rosa/ USA. (!?)
Mar. 30, '96 Waits and his wife Kathleen Brennan attended the premiere of "Burnt Child" Broadway, New York/ USA
Summer '96 Recordings in Cotati with Ramblin' Jack Elliott for the next Elliott album "Friends Of Mine"
Aug. 11, '96 Concert appearance for the second Don Hyde Benefit at the Raven Theatre, Healdsburg/ USA (Storming Heaven). At this time accusations against Hyde were already dropped, but there were still more bills to pay. Further reading: Performances 1996-2000. Further reading: Charity
  L) Poster by Stanley Mouse for the second Don Hyde benefit/ Storming Heaven.
R) Handbill thanking the "Waits Family"
Oct. '96 Released: the Italian book "Tom Waits, Tutti I Testi Con Traduzione A Fronte" (Michele Lauro). Lyrics translated in Italian. Further reading: Bibliography
Jan. '97 Released: CD and book (boxed set album): "Gravikords, Whirlies And Pyrophones" by Bart Hopkin. Foreword by Waits: "...With the digital revolution wound up and rattling, the deconstructionists are becoming the wreckage of our age... They are cannibalising the marooned shuttle to send us on to a place that will sound like a roaring player piano left burning on the beach" Read entire text
Jan. - Feb. '97 Released: sheet music book: "Beautiful Maladies" (Amsco Publications). The album was released in 1998. Further reading: Bibliography/ sheetmusic
Mar. '97 Waits and Chris Blackwell (Island), meet in Jamaica discussing recording possibilities for a new album
Mar. late '97 Recordings for "Waiting For Twilight" at the Prairie Sun Studios. Seems it was payback time for Waits, who was unable to appear in Maddin's latest picture, Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, because of a scheduling conflict. (Frank Gorshin, the original Riddler from the Batman TV series, replaced him). Instead, the reclusive musician agreed to lend his rusty pipes to Guy Maddin: Waiting for Twilight. So in late March, the documentary's director, Noam Gonick, and his writer, Caelum Vatnsdal, made the trek to Northern California to meet Waits. "He drove up in a big blue caddy," Vatnsdal told Wall of Sound. "We met him at Prairie Sun Studios, the same studio where he recorded Bone Machine, and he did all the narration in three or four hours. It was a real thrill to hear him reading things I'd written. He even told me one of my lines would be great in a song ['The pixie dust is being carted away in dump trucks...'] - I told him to go ahead and use it." (Source: "Wall Of Sound". Apr. 27, 1997. Copyright � 2001 ABC News Internet Ventures.)
Waits and Noam Gonick at the Prairie Sun Studios
Apr. 4, '97 +Allen Ginsberg in New York City/ USA
Jun. 21, '97 Concert appearance for the "Allen Ginsberg Tribute" at UCLA's Wadsworth Theatre, Los Angeles/ USA. Performing the Jack Kerouac song: "On The Road/ Home I'll Never Be". Further reading: Performances 1996-2000. Further reading: Charity
Picture from the Ginsberg Tribute. Photography: Chapman Baehler
Summer '97 Waits family spend summer (2 months) in Wicklow County Ireland. It was rumoured, Waits did attempt to do some recordings at this basement studio
Aug. 2, '97 William Burroughs dies 83 in Lawrence, Kansas/ USA.
Sep. '97 Swiss magazine "DU" dedicates its September issue to Waits
Oct. 17, '97 Released: the documentary: "Waiting For Twilight" on filmmaker and friend Guy Maddin aired on Canadian Bravo. Narrated by Tom Waits. Production: Marble Island Pictures. Tom Waits (1999):"Someone sent me Tales from Gimli Hospital, which they thought I would enjoy, and I did. Then I saw Careful, and I also loved that. There's something ambiguous about the time they're being shot. It's kind of half carnival, half fairy tale, like Grimms, and then there's a 1920's thing going on - is it an old movie? New movie?....He wanted me to be in Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, but it didn't work out." (Source: Tom Waits, In Dreams" Exclaim (Canada), by Michael Barclay. Date: April/ May 1999)
Jan. 17, '98 Dutch theatrical debut of: "Tom Waits For Her" by Leon Tol & Blue Train. At the "Korzo theater", The Hague. Dutch artist
Feb. '98 Poster published for the ArtRock Gallery opening in San Francisco/ USA, advertising: "30 years of music photography" featuring Tom Waits as the cover musician
The Artrock Gallery poster. Photography by: Jay Blakesberg
Mar. 29, '98 Concert appearance for the benefit: "Not In Our Name: Dead Man Walking, The Concert" at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles/ USA. Featuring with other artists from the Dead Man Walking soundtrack. The event was sponsored by: "The Hope House" and "Murder Victim's Families For Reconciliation". Supported by: Helen Prejean. The band: Taylor, Carney, Hodges and Hormel. Further reading: Performances 1996-2000. Further reading: Charity
Mar. 31, '98 Radio appearance for the final show for Chris Douridas' hosting of "Morning Becomes Eclectic". KCRW-FM, Los Angeles/ USA. The program was heard over the internet at the KCRW web site. Waits stated that he would leave Island Records and that he was recording a new album some time in May 1998 (ic. Mule Variations)
Apr. 22, '98 Waits couple visits the Peter J. Owens gala tribute to Nicolas Cage (San Francisco/ USA).
With Kathleen Waits-Brennan at the gala tribute. Photography by: Pamela Gentile. Copyright 1998 P. Gentile and San Francisco Film Society
May - Jun. '98 Recordings for "Mule Variations" at the Prairie Sun Recording studios
Jun. '98 Released: the album "Beautiful Maladies, The Island Years". (Island, compilation). This compilation was assembled by Waits himself. It would mark the end of another era for Waits (leaving Island Records)
Cover for the album "Beautiful Maladies". Design by: Christie Rixford & Hajdeja Ehline. Photography by: Randall Ingalis
Jun. 19, '98 Waits signed to Californian punk-label Epitaph
'98 Released: short animated movie: "Bunny". Directed by Chris Wedge. Features "Bend Down The Branches" on soundtrack
'98 Released: the album "Friends Of Mine" by Ramblin' Jack Elliott. With "Louise"
Oct. 6, '98 Released: the album: "KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic 4/ Rare On Air" (Mammoth Records). This album includes a live version of "Fall Of Troy". It was recorded at Waits' radio appearance from March 31
Dec. '98 Waits has covered the song "Highway Caf�" for the Kinky Friedman tribute album (Pearls In The Snow). Released 1999(?)
Jan. '99 Last shootings for the movie: "Mystery Men" (Kinka Usher). Waits casting for the role of Dr. Heller. Tom Waits (1999): "I don't know why I agreed to do this except he (Kinka Usher) made the whole thing sound like a softball game." (Source: "The Man Who Howled Wolf "Magnet magazine, by Jonathan Valania. Date: Astro Motel/ Mission Cafe, Santa Rosa. June-July, 1999)
Jan. '99 It is rumoured Waits is considering touring in April or May
Jan. '99 Released "Sounds For The Soul" with Waits contributing "Jersey Girl". Further reading: Charity
Feb. 2, '99 Released: "Extremely Cool" (Slow River/ Rykodisc). Chuck E. Weiss. Tom Waits on "It Rains On Me" & "Do You Know What I Idi Amin". Album was financed and promoted by Tom Waits and Kathleen Waits-Brennan. Further reading: Rickie and Chuck
Feb. '99 Recordings for "Liberty Heights" soundtrack (Barry Levinson)
Mar. 20, '99 Concert appearances at the South by Southwest music conference (SXSW '99) "A late Evening With Tom Waits" at the Paramount Theatre, Austin/ USA (featuring: Hormel, Taylor, Hodges). Further reading: Performances 1996-2000

Jay S. Jacobs (2000): "Waits's show was the event of the conference. It was one of the view live performances he'd given in over a decade and the first time he'd played Austin in over fifteen years. Tickets for it were like gold. Local fans, record execs, and journalists fought one another for them. Several people were caught trying to sneak in. Everyone knew it was going to be an amazing show. Taking the stage, Waits won over the crowd immediately, happily preaching to the converted. He played a strong and varied set, previewing the new album [Mule Variations] with "House Where Nobody Lives" and "Filipino Box Spring Hog," He threw in several tunes from his Island years and, to the delight of those assembled, dusted off the classic Elektra cuts "Tom Traubert's Blues" and "(Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night." The band was smoking, and Waits was visibly enjoying his rapport with the crowd. It's sad that such an event had to end on a sour note. Waits was obviously shaken when a woman started heckling him from the crowd, calling him a sellout for allowing so many music-biz types to snatch up tickets, effectively shutting out his "real, " nonprofessional fans. While it's highly unlikely that Waits had decreed how the tickets would be divided up, the woman's words seemed to sting him nonetheless. It might have been because the heckler wasn't completely off base. The days of intimate gigs played in smoky little bars to audiences of twenty or so were long over for Waits. He could no longer lead the life of the troubadour who passes through town and has a drink with the patrons after the show. It was the classic irony of the entertainment business reasserting itself. the more successful you are at connecting with your audience, the more that audience swells, the more isolated you become from it." (Source: "Wild Years: The Music and Myth of Tom Waits". Jay S. Jacobs, 2000).

Michael Corcoran: "The magic is so quickly followed by mayhem. The night after Tom Waits plays the Paramount Theatre, one of the all-time highlights of SXSW, his friend and sometime-promoter Don Hyde is savagely beaten by bouncers at La Zona Rosa. The bouncers were trying to clear out the crowd after Alejandro Escovedo's set, but when Hyde wants to go backstage to get his bag, there is some jostling, and push soon turns to punch, then to kicks in the side. Hyde suffers five broken ribs, a broken collarbone and a separated shoulder. Waits vows to never play Texas again and has stayed true to his word." (Source: "20 years of music and mayhem" by Michael Corcoran. Austin360.com)

Waits at the Austin Paramount show. Photography by: John Anderson
Apr. 1, '99 VH-1 recordings for the Storytellers' special. Burbank Airport, Los Angeles/ USA. The show aired May 23. Further reading: Performances 1996-2000
Waits at VH-1 Storytellers recordings
Apr. '99 Waits visits Obregon Mexico w. Tomas Sawyer for the Tomas y Tomas project. Further reading: Charity
In Obregon Mexico w. Tomas Saywer. Credits: � 2000 Tomas Tomas
Apr. 16, '99 European release: the album "Mule Variations"
The cover of the album "Mule Variations". Photography by: Matt Mahurin. Art direction by: Kristin Vanderlip. Design: Christie Rixford
Apr. '99 Promo-interview by Rip Rense: "A Q&A about Mule Variations". Probably late January
Apr. 23, '99 William S. Burroughs Memorial Tribute presented by City Lights and RE/ Search Publications. San Francisco Art Institute Auditorium. San Francisco/ USA (not attended by Tom Waits).
Apr. 27, '99 American release of the album "Mule Variations"
Apr. 27, '99 A first on-line chat (Sonicnet website/ USA) on the American release date of Mule Variations. Host: Michael Goldberg
Jun. 9, '99 Start tour promoting Mule Variations: June 1999 - May 2000 (album released: April, 1999). Concert appearances at the Paramount Theatre, Oakland/ USA. Tom Waits: vocals, piano, guitar, bullhorn. Larry Taylor: upright bass, guitar. Smokey Hormel: guitar, banjo, mandolin. Danny McGough: keyboards. Andrew Borger: drums, marimba, percussion. Further reading: Performances 1996-2000
'99 Released: the tribute album to the late Moby Grape singer and guitarist Skip Spence "More Oar". Tom Waits vocals on "Helium Reprise"
'99 Released: the album: "Orbitones, Spoon Harps & Bellowphones", Bart Hopkin. 96 Page hardcover book with CD (follow up on: "Gravikords, Whirlies And Pyrophones ", 1997). With: "Babbachichuija"
Presskit for "Orbitones, Spoon Harps & Bellowphones". Tom Waits picture by Brian Graham (date: 1987 or earlier)
'99 Animated movie: "Bunny" wins Academy Award
Jul. 18, '99 The music video for "Hold On" aires during MTV's "120 Minutes". Video directed by Matt Mahurin who also did the album photography for Mule Variations
Jul. 30, '99 American release: the movie "Mystery Men" (directed by: Kinka Usher). Waits has been cast for the role of Dr. Heller. The movie is based on the Dark Horse comic of the same name
Waits as Dr. Heller (Mystery Men promo picture)
Sep. 14, '99 Released: "Jack Kerouac Reads "On The Road" (Ryko). Remastered and remixed spoken material by Jack Kerouac. Waits and Primus conclude the album with their version of the Kerouac song "On The Road"
Sep. 27, '99 While in New York for the Beacon concerts, Waits appears on the "David Letterman Show", New York/ USA
Video screenshot: Tom Waits at the David Letterman Show
Oct. 5, '99 Released: Primus new album "Anti Pop". Waits on backing vocals and Mellotron for the track: "Coattails Of A Dead Man"
Oct. 19, '99 Interview for KMTT radio "The Mountain Music Lounge" Seattle/ USA. With 2 songs live in the studio: Hold On, Picture In A Frame
Oct. 30, '99 Concert appearance at the Annual Bridge School benefit (Neil Young's Charity) at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View/ USA. Further reading: Performances 1996-2000. Further reading: Charity
Waits at the Bridge School Benefit. From the "San Francisco Chronicle". Photography by: Andy Kuno
Dec. 7, '99 Waits turned 50!
Dec. 10, '99 US release of the movie: "Liberty Heights". Written and directed by Barry Levinson. Examines race, class, and social distinctions in Baltimore in the early '50s. Starring Joe Mantegna, Bebe Neuwirth, and Adrien Brody
Jan. 4, '00 Released: "Liberty Heights" soundtrack and score (WEA/ Atlantic records). Waits contributes the tracks "Putting On The Dog" and "It's Over"
Feb. 3, '00 Tom Waits and Robert Wilson team up again for the Woyzeck theatre play in Copenhagen/ Denmark. Further reading: Woyzeck
Feb. 24, '00 Waits is awarded the Best Contemporary Folk Album Grammy for Mule Variations. This is his second Grammy (Alternative Album Grammy for Bone Machine in 1992)
Mar. 15, '00 TV appearance for the "Tonight Show"/ USA with Jay Leno, (House Where Nobody Lives)
Video screenshot from "The Late Show" w. Jay Leno
Apr. 11, '00 Released: "Helium" (Angel Records) by the Tin Hat Trio. With "Helium Reprise" (Tom Waits on vocals)
May 26, '00 Concert appearance at Sala Kongresowa, Warsaw/ Poland (as part of the TP S.A. Music & Film Festival). Tom Waits (2002): "I appreciate having an audience: it's like kind of shocking sometimes. Like this group in Warsaw that wouldn't leave the theatre, and I was already back at the hotel getting ready for bed. They were just screaming and stomping and I was like, what do we do? Do we go back, you know, isn't the evening over? Or do we go back and play more? That was kind of an odd kind of moment, a tribute, I guess. They wanted to hang out and be in the place where it happened, that was cool." (Source: "Never one for the conventional" Inpress Magazine (Melbourne, Australia) by James Nicholas Joyce. May 1, 2002. Further reading: Performances 1996-2000
May '99 End tour promoting Mule Variations: June 1999 - May 2000. Further reading: Performances 1996-2000
May 30, '00 Released: tribute album "New Coat Of Paint - Songs Of Tom Waits" (Manifesto Records). Various artists
Jun. '00 Released: "Free The West Memphis 3" (A Benefit For Truth + Justice). Aces And Eights Recordings. With "Rains On Me" by Tom Waits. Further reading: Charity
Jul. 7-9. '00 First international Rain Dogs party (Tom Waits fan meeting) in Oudewater/ Holland. With live show by "Nighthawks At The Diner"
Aug. 29, '00 Released: "Beatin' The Heat" (Surfdog Records) by Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks. With "I'll Tell You Why That Is" (featuring Tom Waits on vocals) and a cover by Hicks of "The Piano Has been Drinking (Not Me)". Other artists include: Rickie Lee Jones, Elvis Costello and Bette Midler
Oct. 1, '00 Released: Tom Waits biography "Wild Years: The Music And Myth Of Tom Waits", Jay S. Jacobs. Further reading: Bibliography
The cover for the J.S. Jacobs biography "Wild Years"
Nov. 17-18, '00 Woyzeck press conference at the Betty Nansen Theatre, Copenhagen/ Denmark
Woyzeck press conference, Copenhagen. Photography by Ozcar Fredriksson
Nov. 21, '00 World premiere for "Woyzeck". Betty Nansen Theatre. Copenhagen/ Denmark. Director: Robert Wilson. Music & Lyrics: Tom Waits & Kathleen Waits-Brennan. The play ran between November 21 until February 2001, It is rumoured there will be a world tour coming up. Further reading: Woyzeck
Dec. 7, '00 Waits turns 51

Further reading
Performances 1996-2000
Pictures 1996-2000