Tom Waits

Tom Waits

God"s Away On Business

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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

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Vietnam - Don't Even Turn The Car Off



This Old Clotheshorse likes the sweater, the turned up sleeves, the tall neck. Oh yeah the flowers in the gun barrels too. So I am wondering about the hipster in question and turn to The Keeper of the Graveyard since I know he knows these things.

Turns out the hipster is none other than Joel Tournabene.

"So who's Joel Tournabene, Tom?"

"He's in the concrete biz. Mob guy. He was the grandson of Sam Giancana from Chicago. He did some yard work for me, and I hung out with him most of the time. He died in Mexico about five years ago. He was a good friend of [producer/composer] Hal Wilner, and he was a good guy. He had an errant--I don't know how to put this--he used to go around, and when he saw something he liked in somebody's yard, he would go back that night with a shovel, dig it up and plant it in your yard. We used to get a kick out of that. So I stopped saying, 'I really like that rosebush, I really like that banana tree, I really like that palm.' Because I knew what it meant. He came over once with twelve chickens as a gift. My wife said, 'Joel, don't even turn the car off. Turn that car around and take those chickens back where you found them.' He was a good friend, one of the wildest guys I've ever known."

"How's It Gonna End?"

"...Drag your wagon and your plow

Over the bones of the dead

Out among the roses and the weeds

You can never go back

And the answer is no

And wishing for it only

Makes it bleed

Joel Tornabene was broken

On the wheel..."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Down At The Tropicana



Thing is, we are down at the Tropicana.

Rikki is in the background,

soon to take the foreground.

What a vagabond.

Singing 'Easy Money' at The Troubadour

gotta ask yourself, what for?

Some romantic dreamer

stuck in the wrong time zone.

Gotta buy a pair of high heels

falling off your shoes in low style

Santa Monica Boulevard

looking like a little girl.

I wish I was in New Orleans

stealing my own car

with a beret and a mojo

taking it all too far.

Just swimming and imagining

feeling like a movie star

Little Amy playing pi-an-o

singing Wish Upon A Star.

Walking round the same streets

jazz side of life.

I really am that girl.

I'm really not that wife.

Young blood and coolsville

Chuck. E.'s out of love

lost in the bullshit

swallowed up in drugs.

Filling in the darkness

L.A. streets at night

things I saw as a little girl

empty and quiet.

Life, so serious

and hard

and cruel.

In the Salvage Business


This old clotheshorse was wondering about Chuck E. Weiss recently. That other old clotheshorse set him to the wise.


"Chuck E. Weiss is a mensch, a liar, a monkey, and a pathological Vaudevillian. He is a distant relative of Houdini's; he's a praying mantis riding an egret through a bad neighborhood. He's a reverend waving a pistol around. Basically, he's in the salvage business and you should do everything he tells you."

The Devil Incarnate


So Mr. Nick is thinking souls, is thinking imaginarium. Valentina is the prize, but the prize is the deal, the bet. There is not a song he has written that promises anything less.


Parnassus is trying to bring amazement to people, and not doing a very good job of it, because they aren't paying attention to him. But if they will enter his mirror, and allow their imagination to mix with his, they enter these extraordinary worlds, and they come back transcendent -- or they strangely disappear...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Straight Trees and Crooked Trees

My kids are starting to notice I'm a little different from the other dads. "Why don't you have a straight job like everyone else?" they asked me the other day. I told them this story: In the forest, there was a crooked tree and a straight tree. Every day, the straight tree would say to the crooked tree, "Look at me...I'm tall, and I'm straight, and I'm handsome. Look at you...you're all crooked and bent over. No one wants to look at you." And they grew up in that forest together. And then one day the loggers came, and they saw the crooked tree and the straight tree, and they said, "Just cut the straight trees and leave the rest." So the loggers turned all the straight trees into lumber and toothpicks and paper. And the crooked tree is still there, growing stronger and stranger every day.
"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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