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


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Science of Sound

Great sound engineers are like scientists. They don't make value judgements. What's interesting about working with great engineers is that if you stop by the side of the road and drag something out of the ditch, throw it in the truck and bring it down to the studio, these guys will circle it like it's a moon rock. They'll mic it, hit it with a hammer, and find out the most expeditious way to approach it. Move it around to different parts of the room. They don't make value judgements. They're more like scientists. They get very subjective about the whole issue of sound. But you don't really know when you're going in what you're looking for. Sometimes you find it while you're there.

1 comment:

Drunk Country said...

Tom Waits Special (The WAITSing Room) on The Waiting Room radio show (last Wednesday) can be listened to here:

x DC

"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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