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


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..."

1 comment:

Fran said...

Joel was my brother; he passed away in 1993. He was indeed a wild guy, however our family was not and is not mafia-connected. That, it seems was a story concocted by Joel himself, why?, I have no idea. But I miss him terribly.

"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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