Monday, 6 December 2010

61 Reasons to be thankful for Tom Waits...

A happy 61st birthday to a true great, actor, singer, soundsmith, whatever.
I don't know who said it, but they put it far better than I ever could...
"If America was a nation of circus freaks, Tom Waits would be Bruce Springsteen."
So sit back, stick on some of his classics, pour yourself a coffee or a brandy and crack open a 20-deck... Some of his most memorable facts, songs, quotes, photos and film/tv appearances...
Here we go, it's gonna get wierd....
Also, please remove your shoes when you enter and leave them by the door. No dogs allowed.

1. He claims he was born in the back of a taxi in Pomona California, popped out, had a shave then grabbed a beer.

2. His first album, Closing Time has Tom crooning like a jazz-singer, this was way before the voice became what he is now famous for. Check out 'Ol' 55' later a hit for the Byrds.

3. He says that the place he hates the most in the world is Disneyland - he said it primes kids for Las Vegas.

4.  He sued Doritos for copying his style on an advert which ripped off his song 'Step right Up'. And won the case!

5. He wrote a play, Frank's Wild Years which debuted in 1986.

6. His appearance in Shrek 2, a cartoon version of himself singing 'Little drop of Poison'.

7. On Portobello Road in London there's a massive tom waits album painted on the wall...

8. He once said 'My father was an exhaust manifold, and my mother was a tree'

9. "The other day I heard my older kids talking to my younger boy, and they were saying 'dont EVER, dont EVER ask Dad to help you with your homework'. They said I made up a war once."

10. Tom on Keith Richards - 'He's been borrowing money from me for so long that I had to put a stop to it. He's a gentleman, he came into the studio and took his hat off and all these birds flew out.'

11. The lyric 'The moon ain't romantic, it's intimidating as hell.'

12. He once opened for Frank Zappa.

13. The fanastic wierdness of Rain Dogs, from the film BigTime... Some nice dancing too, and the accordian player is cool as.

14.  He loves climbing trees.

15.  He was even on family guy...

16. 'You know, I don't like straight lines. The problem is that most instruments are square and music is always round'

17. He has a guitar made out of a 2x4 plank of wood he bought in Cleveland. He said 'You know in Iraq, you can't have a guitar in the window of a music store because it's too sexy, you know the curves. So I could go over there with these 2x4 guitars and really take the country by storm.'

18. The song Tom Traubert's Blues (Four Sheets to the wind in Copenhagen'. About throwing up in another country!

19. He makes smoking look like an art-form.

20. Even his album titles sound cool, i'd just buy them on the name itself...wait I already did.
Mule Variations, Bounced Cheques, Blood Money, Glitter & Doom, Nighthawks at the Diner, Swordfishtrombones.

21. 'I don't get played on the radio. Marcel Marceau gets more air play than I do'

22. God's Away on Business - why is he in this video in a room with a load of emus! Awesome.

23.  No matter how wierd he gets, he can also shock you with something just as beautiful and calming. Some of the best love songs ever written.

24. Ralph the dog on Sesame street was modelled on him.
25. "A gentleman is someone who can play the accordian, but doesn't"

26. His recent collaboration with rapper Kool Keith.

27. He's an amzing source of interesting (useless?!) facts.. here are a couple...
In Claradon Texas, it's illegal to dust any public building with a feather buster.

28. 'The barnacle is the animal with the largest penis in proportion to its body'

29. 'In washington, it's illegal to paint polka dots on the american flag'

30. 'There are only two things you can throw out of the window of a moving car, legally. Do you know what they are? Water, and feathers. Everything else you can get in trouble for.'

31. He did his first real interview in years for his record label, but insisted on interviewing himself.
You can read the whole thing here - lots more interesting facts promised...

32. His 'press conference' launching the Glitter and Doom tour... Brilliant.

33. 'I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotamy'

34.  'I dont't have a drinking problem, 'cept when I can't get a drink'

35. This stroke of genius...

36. "I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things."

37. "We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness.

We are monkeys with money and guns"
38. "You can learn a lot about a woman by getting smashed with her."

39. "I've never been a fan of personality-conflict burgers and identity-crisis omelets with patchouli oil. I function very well on a diet that consists of Chicken Catastrophe and Eggs Overwhelming and a tall, cool Janitor-in-a-Drum. I like to walk out of a restaurant with enough gas to open a Mobil Station."

40. His appearance with Iggy Pop in the film Coffee & Cigarettes.

41. Toms appearences on Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour. Just brilliant from two absolute legends.

42. He even tells childrens storys...

43. "Most of the people I admire, they usually smell funny and don't get out much. It's true. Most of them are either dead or not feeling well."

44. His album Raindogs, one of my personal favourites. It switches between tender and melodic, to plain wierd.

45. The percussion on the song 'Earth died Screaming'. It's just like banging two sticks together.

46. On nighthawks at the diner, when he says 'I'm so horny, the crack of dawn better watch itself around me.'

47. (When asked for advice for younger musicians) "Break windows, smoke cigars, and stay up late. Tell 'em to do that, they'll find a little pot of gold."

48. He played the Devil in The Imaginarium of Dr Parnaccuss, the last film with Heath Ledger in.

49. As heard in the intro to Train song on BigTime...
"All right. Actually I get asked... Well... look, I think the question I get asked the most is... I mean, it happens a lot. Enough that I would remark on it. A lot of people come up to me and they say, 'Tom, is it possible for a woman to get pregnant without intercourse?' And my answer is always the same. I say, 'Well, listen. We're gonna have to go all the way back to the Civil War.' Apparently, a stray bullet actually pierced the testicle of a Union soldier, and then lodged itself in the ovaries of an eighteen year old girl, who was actually a hundred feet from him at the time. Well, the baby was fine. She was very happy, guilt free and... Of course, the soldier was a little pissed off. When you think about it, it's actually a FORM of intercourse, but... not for everyone. Those who love action maybe." (Transcribed by Ulf Berggren. Tom Waits eGroups discussionlist, 2000)

50. Bruce's Version of Jersey Girl (alright i'm still not sure whose i prefer actually, but they are both amazing)

51. "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

52. He even turned up alongside Kiera Knightley in Domino...

53. Ok heres one for all you fans of 'The Wire'

54. This photo...

55. He recorded his own version of the Dwarves song from snow white, heigh ho...

56. All stripped down sounds like Ned from South Park...

57.  He even rocks the christmas lights...

58. His voice was described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding "like it was soaked in a vat of bourdon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car."

59. He takes himself out on dates - The Heart of Saturday Night

60. He even does christmas songs...

61. And we'll finish with this one, - seeing as it is his birthday...

Thanks again. Hope you like. Come back, have a watch.

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