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

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

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."

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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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