Tom Waits

Tom Waits

God"s Away On Business


My Gravelly Voice

There's no one really in show business in my family but there were two relatives who had an effect on me very young and shaped me in some way. They were Uncle Vernon and Uncle Robert. I always hated the sound of my voice when I was a kid. I always wanted to sound more like my Uncle Vernon, who had a raspy, gravelly voice. Everything Uncle Vernon said sounded important, and you always got it the first time because you wouldn't dare ask him to repeat it.Eventually, I learned that Uncle Vernon had had a throat operation as a kid and the doctors had left behind a small pair of scissors and gauze when they closed him up. Years later at Christmas dinner, Uncle Vernon started to choke while trying to dislodge an errant string bean, and he coughed up the gauze and the scissors. That's how Uncle Vernon got his voice, and that's how I got mine

Hold On


Monday, October 29, 2007

Bone Machine: A Musical Apocalypse

This old clotheshorse is interested in Tom Wait's use of music as an exploration of self. Interesting to take this a step further and to consider the self in the Apocalypse. Thus goes Angela Jones paper of Bone Machine:

Musical Apocalypse: Tom Waits’ Bone Machine

"As a popular musical re-presentation of apocalypse, Bone Machine, like Derrida’s
apocalyptic tone, can be understood as registering an idea of the apocalyptic as process
and movement, wherein the act of revelation is conceived as a continual, often turbulent
and confusing, unveiling. The result is an understanding of apocalypse which is not
simply an ending to a narrative trajectory, nor which relies on genre-specific imagery or
themes; on the contrary, Bone Machine’s apocalyptic tone constantly disrupts and
destabilizes the eschatological visions and imagery detailed in the lyrics, drawing
attention back to itself as a revelatory gesture which nonetheless obscures as much as it
reveals. I believe that Bone Machine can be interpreted as offering a popular musical
perspective on the apocalypse, thus opening up new and subversive ways of engaging
with this seemingly timeless (and tireless) cultural theme..."

For other clotheshorses with courage, read on:

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"On Sundays, we'd always visit Uncle Robert, who was the organist at a methodist church in La Verne, California. Uncle Robert had a pipe organ in his house that went right through the roof. When he would play he would smear all the notes together like hot melted crayons and the whole house would shake.I remember his house was a complete mess; his clothes were everywhere, his bed was never made. "Now this is show business," I thought to myself. I asked my mom why I couldn't keep my room like Uncle Robert's, and she said, "Tom, your Uncle Robert is blind."
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