Tom Waits

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Tom Waits on the Glitter and Doom Tour , 2008

Thomas Alan "Tom" Waits (born December 7, 1949 in Pomona , California ) is an American singer , composer , actor and author . In his music, Waits combines influences from classic American genres such as blues , rhythm and blues , jazz , folk and the songwriters with aspects of vaudeville and theater music . Waits later also took on influences from avant-garde jazz , rap and industrial rock . His music is occasionally attributed to alternative rock or indie rock . Waits, who consistently refuses to listen to the expectations of a wide audience, grumbles and growls his stories, which were influenced by the Beat Generation , in a characteristically rough voice.

Since the beginning of his career in the 1970s, Waits' compositions have been and are covered by countless musicians - often more commercially successful. Rod Stewart , for example, reached number one on the Billboard 200 in 1989 with his Waits composition Downtown Train . His 2011 album Bad As Me was the first to achieve significant sales shortly after it was released. As an actor, Waits has appeared in the movies Down By Law , Bram Stoker's Dracula , Short Cuts , The Cabinet of Doctor Parnassus , 7 Psychos and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, among others.

life and work

Childhood and youth

The Hoover Hotel in Whittier has changed little since Waits was a child

Tom Waits was born in Pomona , Los Angeles County , and grew up in Whittier , a city that many years later was so typical of 1950s America that their high school was used as the backdrop for the film Back to the Future in 1985 could serve. Contrary to other sources, Barney Hoskyns also gives Whittier as the place of birth in his Waits biography. Waits' father, Jesse Frank Waits (named after Jesse and Frank James ) was of Scottish-Irish descent and came from Texas . He taught Spanish in Pomona, Whittier, La Verne and Montebello and was an incorrigible drinker. Waits' mother Alma, also a teacher, had grown up in Oregon and had been raised in a strictly puritanical way . After their parents' divorce (his father left the family in 1959), his mother moved to Chula Vista with him and his two sisters . There Waits attended Hilltop High School .

In the final years of his high school, Tom Waits began working as a dishwasher and chef at Napoleone's Pizza in National City . His former employer Sal Crivello recalled that he “made good pizzas”. Waits called this time his happiest, and conversations with the guests served as a source of inspiration for his later songs. In the jukebox of Napoleone's Pizza , he discovered the music of Ray Charles and James Brown . He raved about Bob Dylan , whom he temporarily imitated, but also about Frank Sinatra and Cole Porter . The hippie movement of the 1960s was and remained alien to him, he “was a rebel against the rebels”, as he was supposed to say in 2004. During this time he taught himself to play the piano and he joined the high school band The System , an R&B combo.

Waits was fascinated by the representatives of the Beat Generation and their literature. He studied the texts of Jack Kerouac , Allen Ginsberg and Delmore Schwartz . Inspired by the rhythm of the beat literature, he began to write his first songs. If you believe his words, he initially simply replaced passages in the original texts of existing songs with obscenities.

Beginnings of the career

In 1969 Tom Waits hired as a bouncer at Heritage , a club in San Diego that played mostly traditional folk music and bluegrass and was run by banjo player Bill Nunn and Englishman Stewart Glennan. He became known as the bouncer who always had a book under his arm. During this time he also tested his talent as an entertainer. During his work, he began to write down fragments of conversations that took place around him and to create his own songs from these snippets. "I found that there was a lot of music in the conversations," said Waits in an interview about this habit. Fragments of dialogue from the nebulous spheres somewhere between drunkenness, violence and depression recurred in his songs again and again. In Heritage Waits had on 20 November 1970 his first appearance against Gage, although his repertoire not quite fit into the program of the club - it consisted mainly of Bob Dylan -Titeln, mixed with blues and country -Nummern and bawdy jokes. The first song he played publicly was Poncho's Lament , an ironic country waltz typical of the San Diego scene at the time. The fee was $ 6 and he made $ 8 a night as a doorman.

The talent of the young songwriter quickly got around in San Diego and was soon followed by appearances in other local clubs such as In the Alley , where he supported Tim Buckley as well as Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee , which he considered a great honor. But a greater chance to become known outside the meager San Diego scene with their limited opportunities offered at the Open Stage - Hootenanny -Nächten on Monday in Doug Weston's Club Troubadour in West Hollywood .

The 1970s

Closing time

The American dream embodied on Sunset Boulevard

At one of the Hootenannies , the manager Herb Cohen heard him and signed him. At Cohen's label Bizarre Records were such unconventional artists as Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart , but Waits was only hired as a writer at the beginning. He liked the idea of ​​writing to order for other singers and getting a salary of $ 300 for it. Encouraged by his manager, Waits moved to Los Angeles in 1972 and recorded his first own compositions. Enthusiastic about an open stage performance and the demo recordings, David Geffen , the owner of Asylum Records , signed him to his label. For Geffen, Waits was “exactly what [he] wanted at Asylum. He didn't look like what the singer-songwriters looked like back then. He had his own voice, his own style, his own presentation, and evidently his own disinterest in all of these things. But his songs blew me away. I loved the way he sang. "

Waits discovered Charles Bukowski , the chronicler of the Californian lower class, through his weekly column Notes of a Dirty Old Man in the LA Free Press as a source of inspiration for himself.

For his second album Waits was inspired by Jack Kerouac (picture around 1956)

In 1972 Tom Waits recorded his first studio album Closing Time in just ten days under the guidance of producer Jerry Yester, together with an ideal studio band . It was published in March 1973 and is stylistically distinct from his later records. The promotional tour for the record with a hastily assembled band was initially well received by the audience, even if the music stylistically did not really fit into the time. Waits was delighted that his dream of establishing himself as a musician was within reach. He was also happy to "be away from home and drive through the American night." However, after appearing on a children's show in an Atlanta mall and having similar unpleasant experiences, Waits returned to Los Angeles in June 1973 disillusioned from the touring business. The sale of Asylum to Warner Brothers represented a further disillusionment for him. So it was a kind of consolation for him when his first musician colleagues began to discover songs by the young songwriter for themselves. As one of the first bands the Eagles recorded the song Ol '55 in 1974 , Martha was covered by Lee Hazlewood and Tim Buckley .

During his tour Waits had with his stand bassist Ben Webb in Lowell (Massachusetts) in vain the grave of the late 1969 beat poet Jack Kerouac sought. Waits was not only influenced by the poet when it came to poetry. He was also enthusiastic about the record Poetry for the Beat Generation , on which Kerouac had spoken his lyrics to the music of the comedian and jazz pianist Steve Allen in 1959 . From this kind of music he was inspired for the songs of his second album.

The Heart of Saturday Night

Waits had hoped to get an appointment for the recording studio in late 1973 , but Herb Cohen sent him and Ben Webb on tour to support Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention . The originally planned Kathy Dalton had dropped out because the Zappa fans did not accept her. Waits was forced to play on George Duke's electric piano and Webb had no experience with the bass guitar that was forced on him. Already the first appearance in the Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center in New York in front of "four thousand full-width and disgruntled Zappa fans [... who] didn't appreciate Tom's ballad style at all and let us feel it" (according to Bob Webb 2007) a real baptism of fire, and the two of them were insulted and hooted throughout the tour.

From then on, he turned into the art product "Tom Waits". When the LA Free Press interviewed him in January 1974, he was sitting at Duke’s , a coffee shop on Santa Monica Boulevard in the shadow of the Tropicana Motor Hotel . This rundown hostel was opened in the early 1960s by baseball player Sandy Koufax and served as the setting for director Paul Morrissey for his 1972 film Andy Warhol ’s Heat . The motel was frequented by musicians and artists who could not or would not afford a more expensive place to stay. One could meet Jim Morrison , Sam Shepard , Alice Cooper and Warren Zevon there early in their careers . The Top Trop , as it was sometimes affectionately called, was to become the center of life for Waits for the next few years - and this time shaped his image as a rowdy and drunkard. He was constantly on the move now, refining his stage show and giving guest appearances in places like Ebbet's Field in Denver . There he met Chuck E. Weiss know, a bird of paradise in Chinchilla coat and platform boots , who knew many blue heroes, and had already played with some. They became friends and Weiss became some sort of advisor to Waits, although he wasn't able to release his first album of his own until 1981 with Waits' help.

On April 23, 1974, the recording of Waits' second studio album The Heart of Saturday Night began in Wally Heider's Studio 3 on Cahuenga Boulevard . The producer Bones Howe , whom David Geffen brokered and who had worked for artists as diverse as The Fifth Dimension , Elvis Presley , Frank Sinatra and the free jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman , played a key role in this. Like Howe, the other musicians also came from the fields between jazz and pop, which clearly led the recordings in the direction Waits wanted. Musicians like Mike Melvoin on piano and Jim Hughart on bass had a lasting effect on the style of the album, which was even less in line with the pop mainstream of the time than his first. On the cover of the album you can see a drawing of the singer in his typical outfit: a tattered jacket over a dirty shirt, a badly tied tie around his neck and a flat cap on his head .

After The Heart of Saturday Night appeared in October 1974, Waits reluctantly went on tour with Frank Zappa again at the instigation of his manager Herb Cohen, but this time solo. Audience reactions were similar to the first tour, but Waits had the support of the eccentric Zappa. In the eyes of his colleagues in the industry, this gave him the “Zappa seal of approval”, so to speak, which was definitely helpful for the course of his further career. The Rolling Stone led the 2008 album in its list of the 500 best albums of all time ranked 339th

Nighthawks at the Diner

Herb Cohen's suggestions made a major contribution to the way Waits presented himself, and the artist also needed this help for his performance . In March 1975, Cohen announced plans to release a live double album. The format had become popular with the rock bands of the 1970s, but it was not to be another Live at the Fillmore East ; The idea was rather of an ideal Waits location , a disreputable dive bar or a smoky night club . Since no suitable venue could be found - the Troubadour was out of the question - it was decided to completely empty the back part of the Record Plant Studio , where Barbra Streisand had recorded some tracks from her last album, and to set up a nightclub with tables set up in front of a selected audience -Create atmosphere. The backing band had largely the same line-up as on The Heart of Saturday Night . In addition to Mike Melvoin and Jim Hughart, these were Pete Christlieb on tenor saxophone and Bill Goodwin , who had previously drums with Mose Allison and now replaced Jim Gordon on drums.

Jim Hughart said, “The room was a good size. It was decorated like a nightclub: large tables with checked tablecloths, peanuts, pretzels, wine and beer. We played four shows every night and swapped audiences after each show. We teased the thing like in a real night club. "

The icing on the cake was the stripper Dewanna , at the suggestion of Herb Cohen, while the band Night Train or the Pink Panther Theme played.

The now legendary recordings of July 30 and 31, 1975 for Nighthawks at the Diner were a triumph. “A seemingly authentic trip into the depths of a hipster life that was also hilarious. Waits' gesture and timing […] had stand-up comedy qualities. ”During the last notes on the album, Waits thanks his band with the words:“ They all come from good family backgrounds. But over the years they have acquired a few unpleasant habits. ”That was how he had already characterized himself shortly before.

Small change

David Geffen didn't like Nighthawks at the Diner . It was too jazzy for him and he had been hoping for a West Coast counterpart to Bruce Springsteen's hit album Born to Run . The sales figures were disappointing.

For a week-long guest performance in New York City , at the insistence of Herb Cohen, Bill Goodwin put together a jazz trio with saxophonist Al Cohn , with whom Waits got along right away. But the appearances at Reno Sweeney’s were a nightmare. Waits drank too much, looked sick, was thin-skinned and misanthropic . The following tour in the opening act for Bonnie Raitt did not do his drinking habits well either.

In March 1976 Waits formed a trio with the New York musicians Frank Vicari (tenor saxophone), Chip White (drums) and Fitzgerald Huntington Jenkins III (bass), who had just finished his medical studies. Among other things, this cast played as the opening act for Charles Bukowski in Pittsburgh . Waits got worse and worse as the tour progressed. A crucial moment for his growing aversion to American rock music was a completely botched concert in New Orleans in conjunction with the Rolling Thunder Revue . “I wasn't even asked. Before I knew what was happening to me, shitty Roger McGuinn was playing guitar up there and Joan Baez and Kinky Friedman were singing. When I finally got on stage, the audience was completely beside the cap. [...] I can't use that shit, after all, that was my show. "

Herb Cohen organized Waits' first European trip with Vicari, White and "Fizz". In London he met a number of music journalists, but the London taste in music of the time with the rise of punk was not exactly suitable for the music of Tom Waits, and so they mainly got to know the irritable side of the artist. But London was also the place where Waits got a creative boost again. In his hotel room he wrote the eleven songs for his album Small Change in a very short time , which should finally bring the financial breakthrough. A short trip to Copenhagen brought him the inspiration for one of his most famous songs, Tom Traubert's Blues , in which he worked with the "unofficial national anthem" of Australia , the song Waltzing Matilda . At his concerts he often plays this song as the final number.

The recordings were made within five studio days between July 15 and 30, 1976. Bones Howe suggested the 30-year-old veteran of bebop and West Coast jazz , Shelly Manne , as the drummer . Manne immediately liked Waits and his presence had a positive effect on the atmosphere in the studio. After the first session he asked the other musicians: “Who is this guy? He's the oldest young guy, or the youngest old guy I've ever met. ”Waits' voice had changed and from then on was as rough and scratchy as it is so typical of him to this day. He had also found confidence in his piano style and he played instead of Mike Melvoin. The album received critical acclaim and was the first of his albums to hit the Billboard 200 .

A three-month tour followed, the climax of which was a homecoming show in San Diego. To Waits' homesickness and depression counteract organized the promoter of Asylum , Fred Toedtmann first time in Cleveland the surprise appearance of a stripper during the intro the band Pasties and a G-string . Since Waits was very happy about it, the road manager John Forscha made sure that a stripper came on stage for the song at every show, if possible.

With the success of Small Change , Waits became increasingly interesting for music magazines and talk shows, and he almost developed paranoia about interviews, fearing that lies might be published about him. "During an interview [...] he spoke out on a tape recorder for fear of being misquoted - and announced in the same breath that he would deliberately tell the reporter the untruth from time to time," writes Cath Carroll in her Tom -Waits biography about its peculiarity.

He lost himself more and more in his role as "Tom Waits" and the line between the person and the art product gradually began to blur, even if he was not an original beatnik from the 1950s. In retrospect, he argued that he was doing this "to survive". He became "a figure in [his] own history". His alcohol consumption increased so much that he finally had to pull the emergency brake. "I started to admonish myself to finally let that shit be" he said later in an interview. Musically he addressed the dangers of drinking with Bad Liver and a Broken Heart on the record Small Change . In this piece, Waits tried to destroy the myth of the real American drinker and musician.

Foreign Affairs

In 1977 Waits went on his first successful tour of Japan. Back at the Tropicana , he increasingly became the driving force behind the hotel, where not only various punk and rockabilly bands rented rooms, but also artists such as Elvis Costello and Blondie . Waits saw punk, which is also emerging in America, as a fresh cell cure for the music business and he welcomed it with open arms. The hipsters from Mink DeVille , whom he met at the CBGB , showed clear parallels to his own preferences with their music and clothing styles.

His next album Foreign Affairs was thematically influenced by the film noir . For the lavish orchestral arrangements, Bones Howe hired Bob Alcivar this time , who recommended Waits for his work for Lord Buckley . The recordings began on July 26th, 1977 and proved difficult and dragged on until August 16th. The completion of the album should take several weeks again. Many tracks were recorded several times because Waits was seldom satisfied with the result and the massive orchestral work threw him into self-doubt. He wrote I Never Talk to Strangers for Bette Midler , with whom he was dating at the time and who can also be heard in a duet with him on the title . The monochrome cover of the album is unmistakably influenced by the film noir, the photographer was Hollywood portrait veteran George Hurrell .

When those in charge at the Elektra record company first heard the tapes from Foreign Affairs in a finished state, no one had any idea how the music would be marketed. Nobody went to great lengths to give Waits extra support, and to his great disappointment, the album failed to hit the Billboard charts.

Waits met Rickie Lee Jones through Chuck E. Weiss . After hearing the singer with her songs, which thematically resembled his, it was over to him. A quick and violent relationship flared up between the two. When they blew up parties as a trio and stumbled drunk arm in arm through Hollywood, it seemed like they wanted to re-enact the famous Ménage a trois between Jack Kerouac and Neal and Carolyn Cassady . After Jones' musical success with the hit Chuck E's in Love , which was unmistakably about Weiss, their relationship became more and more difficult and they separated.

In 1978 Waits first got a taste of the film world. Director and leading actor Sylvester Stallone engaged him for the film Vorhof zum Paradies in the role of the neglected pub pianist "Mumbles" for a short appearance. Waits also wrote two songs for the film's soundtrack, which flopped and was panned by critics.

On a second tour of Japan, Waits experimented on stage by using more props , such as a street lamp for his crooning . He now occupied himself more and more with the areas of film, musicals and writing. A first change of image became apparent when Waits rented a small room on Sunset Boulevard near Van Ness. In 1979 he finally moved out of the Tropicana . The change was even more evident in the style of his following album.

Blue Valentine

The recordings for Blue Valentine began on July 24, 1978. Jim Hughart was the last of the old guard of musicians, because Waits wanted black musicians and, to the surprise of everyone involved, tried his hand at the electric guitar. Waits had previously studied the music from New Orleans extensively and had learned from musicians like Dr. Get inspiration from John and Allen Toussaint . After he learned that several musicians from the "second guard" from New Orleans were now living in Los Angeles, he hired Alvin "Shine" Robinson on guitar, Herb Hardesty on tenor saxophone and Harold Battiste on keyboards, among others . Amazingly, George Duke also came along with his electric piano, which Waits had bad memories of from his tour with Frank Zappa. Due to difficulties with the union, however, Duke called himself Da Willie Gonga on the album cover .

With the new musical orientation towards the blues, Waits' lyrics became tighter and more focused. He now wanted to tell more realistic, contemporary stories and lethal violence became an inevitable subject for him in his texts. Even if Blue Valentine is strongly oriented towards the electric blues, Kentucky Avenue and Somewhere from the West Side Story , which opens the album, are still two tracks with large strings on the record.

1964 Ford Thunderbird

A 24-hour gas station was chosen as the backdrop for the photo shoot for the cover. Waits presses Rickie Lee Jones, styled with a bright red jacket, against a specially painted 1964 Ford Thunderbird , which he had bought instead of his beloved old black Cadillac . Chuck E. Weiss can be seen in the background. Waits also had a complete gas station, including a tire stack and gas pump, built for the stage show on the following tour, which increasingly resembled a small Broadway performance .

Barney Hoskyns writes: "After the last recording session on August 26th, Waits finally felt that he had put his own cliché [as an alcoholic] into eternal rest."

In order to finally get rid of his alcohol problem, Waits moved to New York for a short time at the turn of the year 1980. Soon after his arrival there, joined Francis Ford Coppola up to him to make it for the soundtrack of his film One from the Heart (One from the Heart) to win. For Waits this was a welcome opportunity to move from the cold east coast back to the west coast. Musically, the soundtrack was a step backwards into a genre that he actually wanted to leave behind, but for the first time the songwriter was able to feel like a commissioned writer from Tin Pan Alley , as he had dreamed of at the beginning of his career.

While working in his office, Waits met Kathleen Brennan , who worked as a script assistant for Coppola, and he fell in love with her on the spot. The two married on August 10, 1980 and are still artistic partners to this day. They were married at the 24-hour Always Forever Yours Wedding Chapel in Watts after a brief midnight phone call to Reverend Donald W. Washington, pastor of the Church. Brennan became the support the artist had always sought, and after moving to the quieter Union Avenue , which was far enough away from his previous life, Waits' life was now on an orderly basis. His first child, Kellesimone, was born in 1983, followed two years later by Casey Xavier and, in 1993, by Sullivan. His son Casey Xavier Waits now accompanies him to concerts with percussion and the turntables and can also be found as a musician on the albums Orphans and Real Gone . Sullivan Waits was also involved in a play on Orphans .

The 1980s

Heartattack And Vine

Since the work on One with a Heart was not going quickly enough, Waits temporarily moved out of his office and not only wrote the songs for the following album Heartattack And Vine within a short time, but also recorded it immediately afterwards. With the first chords it becomes clear that he was no longer looking for the Heart of Saturday Night . “The instrumentation was pure South Side minimalism: In the raw guitar sound, Howlin 'Wolf's man on guitar, Willie Johnson , connected with a crazy Keith Richards , the bass tones hard and short, the snare clanking brutally.” - “On none On another album, Waits' musical personality appears as schizophrenic as on Heartattack And Vine . ”The album includes the track Jersey Girl , a ballad in which Waits unexpectedly simply sings a“ Sha-la-la-chorus ”and the later one Springsteen should also include in his repertoire. The fact that Kathleen Brennan had lived in Morristown (New Jersey) for a while as a teenager certainly played a role .

On the album cover, which is modeled on a dirty newspaper sheet, the name David "Doc" Feuer can be found in the upper right corner behind a false Manhattan telephone number. It is the name of the psychiatrist whom Waits had seen several times during his short stay in New York.

Swordfish trombones

With Swordfishtrombones , Waits released the first album in 1983, which he not only wrote himself, but also produced (together with Kathleen Brennan, even if she was not mentioned on the cover). The sound of the finished album caused horror among those in charge of his previous record company Asylum Records , and they put him in front of the door. But when Chris Blackwell , the owner of Island Records (he recognized Swordfishtrombones as "a stroke of genius [and] totally original") heard about it, he immediately offered Waits a contract. In addition, with Brennan's support in the dispute over financial matters, Waits split from longtime manager Herb Cohen. With that, Waits had cut the last link to his previous life.

Above all, Swordfishtrombones is a turning point in his musical oeuvre: He moved further away from conventional arrangements and forced the use of noise. You can clearly see influences from Captain Beefheart , as well as from Harry Partch , an eccentric composer, inventor of bizarre instruments and a 43-note notation system, who spent the last years of his life in San Diego. Other important sources of inspiration for the sound of the album were Victor Feldman and Francis Thumm . Waits no longer relies on guitar chords or piano harmonies in his songs, but on steam engines, hammers, scrap materials and marimbas . The conscious use of noise and noise became more and more an important part of his records. Since then, the music has often provided a sonic backdrop for his singing, which is accompanied by exotic rhythms and sounds. Waits said of the new songs that he tailored the music and the arrangements to suit the specifics of each piece. Before, all of his songs had an individual voice, but the clothes were always the same. The cover of the album was designed by the German-American photo artist Michael A. Russ and shows Tom and the actors Lee Kolima and Angelo Rossitto .

Start of the film career

In 1981 he played a short role in Wolfen . In 1983, Coppola signed Waits for several films. In Rumble Fish , a film about teenage violence in a small Midwestern town , he plays self- talked diner owner Tom Benny . Waits wrote the text for this role on his own. He also appeared in The Outsiders , and played manager Irving Stark in the big budget Cotton Club .

Jim Jarmusch 2003 in the CBGB , New York

In 1984 Waits and his family finally moved to New York in the Little Spain neighborhood . An important reason was the work on his musical Frank's Wild Years , which he wanted to bring out as an off-Broadway production. He soon became friends with John Lurie , the head of the avant-garde jazz band The Lounge Lizards . He shared a rehearsal room with Lurie in the artists' commune Westbeth . Lurie introduced Waits to the Greenwich Village art scene with Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat . Waits also met Jim Jarmusch there , with whom he also made friends very quickly. Waits wrote the script for Down by Law together with Jarmusch and Lurie . In his first leading role he played the radio DJ Zack , who breaks out of prison with Roberto Benigni and Lurie. On Down by Law further projects followed with Jarmusch. Among other things, he played with Iggy Pop in an episode of Coffee and Cigarettes in which the two ponder how coffee and cigarettes are mutually dependent, and criticize the poor selection in the jukebox.

Hal Willner began producing unusual tribute albums in 1981 . The first two projects were dedicated to Nino Rota and Thelonious Monk . For his album with works by Kurt Weill he won Waits, who had already dealt extensively with the music of the German composer and is represented on the album Lost in the Stars with his adaptation of What Keeps Mankind Alive from the Threepenny Opera . In 1988 Waits also contributed a song to the Disney tribute album Stay Awake . It was his interpretation of Heigh Ho , the song of the dwarfs from Snow White .

In addition, Waits continued to work on the compositions for his musical. In a two-month writing frenzy, he also composed the music for a new album in 1984, which was originally supposed to be entitled Evening Train Wrecks .

Rain Dogs

Rain Dogs , as the final title of the album was, are " Hobos , prostitutes, people in need, this dark menagerie that I create to motivate myself". The cover shows Rose and Lily from the book Café Lehmitz by Swedish photographer Anders Petersen about the Reeperbahn . Waits joked that it was about him "and Liza Minnelli after she wasdischargedfrom Betty Ford Clinic ".

Musicians such as tenor saxophonist Ralph Carney , Marc Ribot and Michael Blair were involved in the marimba and percussions during the two and a half month recording sessions . That Keith Richards might find himself willing to collaborate was more of a joke. But since you had nothing to lose when you called him, and Waits had always been a fool of the Rolling Stones , the surprise was all the greater when the guitarist actually appeared in the studio and participated in several songs.

The album is far more rhythmic than Swordfishtrombones and Waits became more and more of a technology enemy. The piano is now often replaced by the harmonium , instead of the drums, Michael Blair hammers old pieces of furniture or slams doors and the occasional whine of a singing saw can be heard.

With Hang Down Your Head the album contains the first published Waits / Brennan composition. For Barney Hoskyns the album is a "milestone of the eighties". The Rolling Stone led the 2008 album in its list of the 500 best albums of all time ranked 397th

Frank's Wild Years

In 1985 Rolling Stone voted Waits Songwriter of the Year, but he wanted to be more than a songwriter - he thought of novels, films and opera. When David Letterman asked Waits on his show in February 1986 what his new play was about, he explained in his usual ironic way that it was a kind of cross between the novel The Love Machine by Jacqueline Susann and the New Testament . But Waits did not succeed in getting his play Frank's Wild Years into the New York theater scene as planned. The musical was performed from June 22, 1986 for three months at the Briar St. Theater in Chicago by the Steppenwolf Theater Company , which was the springboard for famous names such as John Malkovich , Joan Allen and Laurie Metcalf . Waits also worked as Frank in the ensemble. In an interview, he admitted that in order to survive as an actor, he first had to learn "to be as sincere as possible". The protagonist Frank is a failed accordionist who first appeared on the album Swordfishtrombones and was inspired by Waits' father.

Many of the dialogues in the piece are from Kathleen Brennan. The musicians involved were almost identical to those on Rain Dogs , with the exception of Ribot, who didn't want to leave New York. The Juilliard School graduate Bill Schimmel , who had already accompanied Waits on the Letterman Show and was addressed directly by Steppenwolf, took part on the accordion and various keyboard instruments . Waits urged the musicians to incorporate mistakes so that the music would not stagnate due to the repetition every evening. The reviews were benevolent but not euphoric.

The recordings were scheduled right at the end of the season. The songs have been changed a lot and there is no publication of the original version of the piece. Waits demanded that the musicians change their instruments over and over again, regardless of whether they really mastered them. The influence of Brecht / Weill can be clearly felt. On the album Waits first used a megaphone to amplify his singing , as he still uses it to this day in live performances. The album bears the subtitle Un Operachi Romantico in two acts , a play on words from opera and mariachi - in this case David Hidalgo from the band Los Lobos from East LA contributed the Mexican element.

A tour followed, during which the filming of the 1988 film and live album Big Time took place. The film is a mixture of concert and play scenes that show the dreams of an usher of a career of his own in the theater. Without exception, the album contains well-known tracks. Waits was only to release his own album with the soundtrack of the film Night on Earth in 1992, otherwise he devoted himself to film and theater during these years.

After one of the reasons for the move to New York no longer existed with the bursting of the dreams of an off-Broadway play, the family moved back to their native Los Angeles. The city gave him Tourette syndrome , he joked. "In the middle of Eighth Avenue I suddenly shouted profanity."

Lawsuits against copyright infringement

From September 1988, the Frito-Lay company promoted their corn chips SalsaRio Doritos with Waits 'song Step Right Up , in which the singer Stephen Carter imitated Waits' voice. Waits had already advertised dog food in 1981, but afterwards repeatedly stated that he was now generally against the use of artistic products for commercial purposes. Actually, the song Step Right Up mocks the boisterous sales behavior of the Americans, but that probably escaped the company. After Waits had first phoned his entire circle of friends for days to make it clear that the singer in the commercial was not him, he sued Frito-Lay and Tracy-Locke in November 1988 . The lawsuit went to court in Los Angeles in April 1990, and in the verdict, the composer was awarded $ 2.6 million after an objection from defense attorneys. This was more than he had earned by selling all of the albums. In another lawsuit, he sued his former manager Herb Cohen for licensing Heartattack and Vine to Levi's jeans company in a version of Screamin 'Jay Hawkins . He also sued Cohen because he wanted to bring out a compilation of old demo recordings from 1971 against his wishes. The album was released in 1991 under the title The Early Years on Edsel Records . Since Waits now consistently resisted the commercialization of his music, he later also took action against some car manufacturers, for example. In May 2001, he along with Randy Newman and siblings Nancy and Ann Wilson of Heart in Los Angeles also filed a copyright lawsuit against .

Theater work with Robert Wilson

Thalia Theater in Hamburg

From the late 1980s, Waits devoted himself increasingly to the theater. In 1989 he not only took part in the world premiere of Thomas Babe's play Demon Wine in Los Angeles, he also began a collaboration with Robert Wilson . During his work in Germany, Wilson came across the legendary material that Carl Maria von Weber had used for his opera Der Freischütz . He staged his version of the story of the huntsman 's pact with the devil under the title The Black Rider : The Casting of the Magic Bullets at the Hamburg Thalia Theater . From May 1989 Waits spent several weeks with Greg Cohen in Hamburg and composed the music for the opera in Gerd Bessler's Music Factory Studio . The libretto was written by William S. Burroughs , who was able to fall back on his own experience, as he had once accidentally shot his wife. Wolfgang Wiens worked as a dramaturge .

This time Waits' music was based entirely on the organic sound of a theater orchestra and almost completely dispensed with percussion. The album for the piece was released in 1993.

Despite their different ways, Waits and Wilson got along very well from the start, and years later Waits said of the avant-garde director: "There is no one who has influenced me so much as an artist."

In the early 1990s, Waits tirelessly took on a wide variety of film roles. For many, the drinker Earl Piggot in Robert Altman's episode film Short Cuts is his best portrayal. For Altman, “Tom [...] is unique, a personality all of his own. He's completely wrong, but in a good way. "

Another collaboration with Wilson, also at the Thalia Theater, was the performance of Alice in late 1992 . The play processes the book Alice in Wonderland and the real relationship between its author Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell . Musically, Waits not only contributed his music, but also a number of experimental musical instruments designed and built by a group of artists from the San Francisco Bay Area . The premiere of the piece, which was not nearly as successful as The Black Rider , took place on December 19, 1992.

In 2000 there was another collaboration with Wilson, who asked Waits for the music for his adaptation of Georg Büchner's Woyzeck . The work premiered at the Betty Nansen Theater in Copenhagen .

In 2002 Waits published the music of Alice and Woyzeck in a revised form as an album. The two albums were not only released at the same time, the recordings also took place at the same time with the same musicians. Two unusual percussionists were represented: on the one hand Stewart Copeland can be heard on some tracks , on the other hand Waits' son Casey played for the first time on the track Knife Chase . Instead of the title Woyzeck , however, Blood Money was chosen because the piece does not enjoy the same popularity in the United States as it does in Europe. The two albums reached number 32 and 33 in the Billboard Top 200.

From the 1990s to the present

Bone machine

In the early 1990s, the Waits / Brennan family moved to the property they still live in today. Journalists are not allowed near him. When a journalist asked where he lived, Waits replied provocatively: “Are you a police officer? Or from the census office? Is this an affidavit? Do you do in real estate ? I don't say anything more! "

After the soundtrack album for Night on Earth and between various engagements in film and theater, Waits found the time in August 1992 to record a regular album again after several years. Bone Machine is shaped by blues and gospel and “It's really about nothing but bones, cemeteries and spilled blood.” This time Larry Taylor was an important contributor on bass. Some of the recordings took place in an old warehouse without any noise protection, so that, for example , a helicopter flying past can be heard in the song Jesus Gonna Be Here . This time Waits practically no longer used real drums and instead played rudimentary percussion. His friend Serge Etienne built a huge frame called a Conundrum in order to hang up various metal parts and hit them. In the tender ballad Whistle Down the Wind , which is dedicated to the songwriter Tom Jans, who recently died under unexplained circumstances, Waits plays a Chamberlin , an electromechanical keyboard instrument developed by Harry Chamberlin from 1946 to 1956.

The cover photo and design of the album are by photographer Jesse Dylan , a son of the famous Bob Dylan. Recordings went fast and were only interrupted for the recording of Francis Ford Coppola's film Bram Stoker's Dracula , in which Waits played the bug-eating realtor RM Renfield. The album received the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album .

Break in the 1990s

It would be seven years before Waits recorded another album. His enormous workload in 1992 made itself felt and he urgently needed a break. For almost the entire 1990s, he devoted himself first and foremost to his family. He practically gave no concerts and did not appear in films. The severance payment from the Frito Lay trial, numerous songs that were used in films, and the royalties from various cover versions secured his livelihood. There were recordings with Waits titles during these years by Rod Stewart , Johnny Cash and Holly Cole , among others . The 1995 Waits tribute album, Step Right Up , which consisted mostly of titles from the Asylum era, did not find the composer's favor, although all the artists and indie bands involved went out of their way to earn a serious homage . The album, which was created on the initiative of Evan Cohen, Herb Cohen's son, worked with artists such as the Tindersticks , the Violent Femmes and Jeffrey Lee Pierce . Dave Alvin wrote in the Liner Notes : “When I was working in a Whittier store when I was 18, I heard Tom Waits on the radio. That inspired me to become a songwriter. "

Occasionally Waits gave guest appearances on publications of artist friends. In 1993 he worked on the reissue of the album Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet by Gavin Bryars . He was also involved as a singer in the publication of the Gatmo Sessions . These are recordings with experimental musical instruments by the artist group around Bart Hopkin and Richard Waters , who made their instruments available to Alice . The AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Blue marked the beginning of various appearances on benefit albums and festivals .

Mule variations

After moving from Iceland to ANTI Records , an offshoot of the independent punk label Epitaph , Waits' first studio album was released in March 1999 after a seven-year break. At ANTI-Records there are mainly bands like Rancid or Offspring under contract, but "they are artist-friendly, they are progressive and I like their taste in music, barbecues and cars" (Waits said after his move).

Prior to this, he had dealt with the field recordings of the music researcher Alan Lomax and his historical recordings of blues musicians from the American South. The influence can be clearly heard, the sound is rural and in between you can hear a dog or a rooster. The recording was made in the Prairie Sun Studio with its numerous rooms with a wide variety of sound properties, some recordings were made with directional microphones outdoors. Waits / Brennan described the sound they developed as "surrural", which should give the impression of something familiar and yet disturbing. Numerous musicians from all creative periods of Tom Waits were involved, such as Larry Taylor , Marc Ribot , Greg Cohen and Ralph Carney . There were also newcomers like Smokey Hormel von Beck on guitars and DJ Ill Media on turntables , but also veterans like Charlie Musselwhite and John Hammond on harmonica . The entire Primus band was also involved. Kathleen Brennan proved to be an extremely important force for the production. Often it was the first takes that were chosen for publication.

The title Mule Variations refers to the song Get Behind the Mule , which was recorded in several arrangements. The expression is attributed to the father of the blues musician Robert Johnson , who said this about his son and is said to denote someone who does not get out of bed in time and therefore “runs after the mule”.

The album reached number 30 in the Billboard Top 200 (and thus the highest ranking of all Waits albums to date) and received the Grammy for best contemporary folk album. The Rolling Stone led the album in 2008 in its list of 500 albums of all time at number 416. Waits went with his new album on a major American and European tour. After that he made himself even rarer than before, live performances became a rarity.

In 1999 Waits worked as a producer for the first time. What began as a friendship for Chuck E. Weiss' album Extremely Cool , culminated in the same year in the engagement of John Hammond for the album Wicked Grin , which, however, consisted of numerous Waits cover pieces in blues guise. Waits also played the rhythm guitar on it .

Real Gone

Real Gone was recorded in the “ghost town” of Locke

After Alice and Blood Money in 2002, the next album, Real Gone , which was released in October 2004, again represented an abrupt change. After guitars had practically been absent from the two plays, Waits now put them back to power. But surprisingly, the piano was completely missing. Waits had previously announced: "I want to use my voice like a drum kit."

Musically influenced by both blues and hip-hop , this album was the most political release of his career after the experiences of the 9/11 attacks , the Iraq conflict and the “unscrupulous practices” of the Bush administration . Hoist that Rag is “a thunderous cry of rage against Rumsfeld ” and Day after Tomorrow , the letter from a soldier on the war front to those who stayed at home, is reminiscent of the protest songs of Woody Guthrie or the young Bob Dylan. “The government regards the 18-year-old children as cannon fodder. What, we don't have enough guns? Let's send a few soldiers out. We're up to our necks in shit, but the big boss tells us to go ahead and sacrifice our children. "

For the recording sessions, an old school in the former Chinese-founded and inhabited museum village Locke , a National Historic Landmark , was converted.


Tom Waits 2007

Immediately after Real Gone , Waits and Brennan started putting together the three-CD anthology Orphans . The album was released in November 2006 and is presented as a book with an extensive booklet with texts and numerous photographs - in response to the five-CD bootleg series Tales from the Underground . The album combines older material from the mid-1980s with new recordings. In order to bring the 54 different songs under one roof, they were distributed on the individual CDs under the keywords Brawlers (Krakeeler), Bawlers (Howling buoys) and Bastards ( bastards ). The sound engineer Karl Derfler, who worked as a "front-line medic", played an important role. The compilation includes songs from films, compilations, outtakes and spoken word rarities. The selection of cover versions ranges from Leadbelly and Frank Sinatra to the Ramones and Scottish madrigals from the 18th century. The CD Bastards also contains the English version of an excerpt from Georg Büchner's drama Woyzeck .

In 2008 the Glitter and Doom tour took Tom Waits through the USA and Europe. In November 2009, the double album of the same name was released. In addition to a CD with the songs, it also contains a second CD entitled Tom Tales . Stories, jokes and anecdotes by the artist can be heard in great detail.

The critic Simon Schama judged the late work of Tom Waits in 2006: "Sometimes Waits exaggerates his consistent refusal to give the amiable singer to the limit of self- parody ."

Bad As Me

On August 22, 2011 Waits' official website announced his 17th studio album entitled Bad As Me . The theme song was released as the first single on iTunes that same day and can also be heard for free on Waits' website. Between October 17 and 22, 2011, the complete album was available as a free audio stream for registered users on its own website. The long-awaited album after a seven-year break in the studio reached number 6 on the Billboard charts immediately after its release , making it the album that has sold the fastest in Waits' career. For the first time Kathleen Brennan was not only co-author of all the tracks, she also produced the album. In addition to numerous well-known companions such as Keith Richards and Marc Ribot, Casey Waits and Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Les Claypool also took part. Bad As Me covers a much wider musical range than most previous releases. The spectrum ranges from the angry anti-war song Hell Broke Luce with mixed in machine gun volleys to the soulful, ambiguous drunkard ballad with folk song borrowings New Year's Eve , with which the album ends in a conciliatory way.

The critics were largely exuberant. Wolfgang Schneider from the FAZ wrote: “'Bad As Me' is (in a good sense) the most pleasing music that has been heard by him for thirty years. The first pieces of the record rock and roll, swing and stomp that it's a joy. "

In 2013, Tom Waits and the Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn published a large-format photo book with the title Waits / Corbijn '77 –'11, limited to 6600 copies worldwide, at Schirmer / Mosel Verlag . In addition to Corbijn's 35 years of work portraying Waits, it also contains 56 pages of photographs and texts by Waits that were published for the first time. Jim Jarmusch wrote the introduction . The critic Robert Christgau wrote a short text. Karl Bruckmaier provided the German translation .

The fictional character Tom Waits

Waits has hardly given any information about his private life "in a family idyll in the country" since he got married; his conversation partners from the media have to accept this. The "... image as a melancholy drunkard ..." with the voice marked by whiskey and cigarettes , which he created himself, has no longer been true of the abstainer and non-smoker since the early 1990s. “It doesn't hurt me. [...] After all, you need one. Almost all images are invented and cultivated, and most of them are hot air. ”His play with the media has now gone so far that he (in a semi- ironic tone) conducts and publishes interviews with himself. The composer, musician and poet "Tom Waits" has largely become his own " art figure ". He himself “... admits that he has created such an overwhelming legend about himself that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish fact and fiction - to distinguish things that really happened from those he thought they would make a good story at some point. "

Robert Christgau writes in the introduction to Waits / Corbijn '77 –'11 :

“Because Waits is a rampage when he sees a microphone. He likes to tell tales from his life, and because of all the laughter and giggles, the questioner often doesn't know afterwards what the story about the horse was, a metaphor maybe or a stun grenade , a diversionary maneuver, a joke for his own sake, an outrageous one Lie, a fool, a wrong track : These interviews are part of Waits' public image, which are deliberately how and what they are (namely art), and something like the truth about Tom Waits is found - well hidden - rather on the record he has just made than in or between the lines of these many interviews. "

On the occasion of his 69th birthday, Rolling Stone wrote about his interviews:

“Soon every sentence oozes with creativity and inspiration that seems to run out of Waits as if it had fallen into a pot of magic potion as a child. The wonderful lies - Brezhnev and Reagan negotiated the Cold War in his garden , he can hypnotize chickens and swallowed scissors as a child (hence the scratched voice) - are among the interviews, a good part of which are stand-up performances in which the questioner has to play his part as well as possible. You want to hear the absurd anecdotes because they are funny and because Waits makes his strangely weird world recognizable through them. The artist says the truth is largely overestimated. "

Musical style, influences and effect on other artists

Captain Beefheart's music had a strong influence on Waits (1974)

The musical influences on the work of Tom Waits are manifold. In his early years it was mainly the classic American genres like blues, rhythm and blues, jazz, folk and the songwriters . American vaudeville and theater music represent an essential aspect of his art . He has often been compared to Kurt Weill , but he said: “When I heard this comparison for the first time, I didn't even know Weill's music. [...] He takes a nice melody and tells you terrible things. I hope I succeed. ”In later years he himself took on influences from avant-garde jazz , rap and industrial rock . His music is occasionally assigned to alternative rock or indie rock .

The music critic Daniel Durchholz wrote that his voice sounded "... as if it had been soaked in a barrel of bourbon , hung in the smokehouse for a few months , then taken outside and run over in the car several times." Because he always consistently met the expectations of a wide audience refused, he is also referred to as the media's most popular musician outside the mainstream .

Waits' lyrics - strongly influenced by the lyrics of the Beat Generation of the 1950s - are often laconic stories about stranded people, drunkards or whores. They seem to come from Edward Hopper's picture Nighthawks . They "... offer American cinema made of hardship and heartbreak: hobo romance, highway melancholy, bar tragedies, wistful losers stories, but also gentle conjurations of love among 'bad' people."

In his “self-interview”, he mentions essential influences in an intuitive series: “ Kerouac , Dylan, Bukowski, Rod Serling , Don Van Vliet , Cantinflas , James Brown , Harry Belafonte , Ma Rainey , Big Mama Thornton , Howlin 'Wolf, Lead Belly , Lord Buckley , Mabel Mercer , Lee Marvin , Thelonious Monk, John Ford , Fellini , Weegee , Jagger , Richards, Willie Dixon , John McCormick , Johnny Cash , Hank Williams , Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong , Robert Johnson , Hoagy Carmichael , Enrico Caruso . "

In the same "self-interview" he lists titles as important to himself as Louie Louie , Strange Fruit , Georgia on My Mind , Moon River , Danny Boy , Waltzing Mathilda , Nessun dorma , Greensleeves , the subject from Rawhide and Hava Nagila . He describes the musician and painter Don Van Vliet alias Captain Beefheart , with whom he was close friends until his death in 2010, as a teacher and greatest role model.

The number of artists who have interpreted compositions by Waits - often over and over again over decades - runs into the hundreds. The best known include, in chronological order, Tim Buckley , Lee Hazlewood , Eagles , Bette Midler , Rickie Lee Jones , Marianne Faithfull , Bruce Springsteen , Rod Stewart , Bob Seger , Elvis Costello , Johnny Cash , Holly Cole , Bon Jovi , Ramones , Meat Loaf , Tindersticks , Blind Boys Of Alabama , Tori Amos , Neko Case , Jennifer Warnes , Solomon Burke , Lucinda Williams , Lambchop , Diana Krall , Norah Jones , Queens of the Stone Age , Pearl Jam , Linda Thompson , Steve Earle , Alison Krauss & Robert Plant , Scarlett Johansson , Joan Baez , James Taylor , MIA , The Pogues , Bat for Lashes , Primus , Melissa Etheridge , St. Vincent , Jon Lord , Elbow , Joe Bonamassa , Beth Hart , Peter Gabriel , Brad Mehldau , Tom Jones , Willie Nelson , Sheryl Crow , Bettye LaVette , Rebekka Bakken , Ron Sexsmith , The Avett Brothers , Gerd Köster , Ed Sheeran , Chris Cornell , The Gaslight Anthem , Coldplay , Red Hot Chili Peppers , Rosanne Cash , Phoebe Bridgers , Aimee Mann and Jamie Cul lum .

In 1990 the Cologne group The Piano Has Been Drinking around the Cologne musicians Matthias Keul and Gerd Köster released an album with versions of Waits' songs in Kölsch . Her later releases and those of other bands around Gerd Köster together with Frank Hocker or Dirk Raulf also contain adaptations of Waits.

In 2000, Wolfgang Ambros recorded an album with 12 Waits songs, which he himself translated into Viennese, under the title Nach mir die Sintflut - Ambros sings Waits .

Since the album Rain Dogs (1985), wife Kathleen Brennan has been named as the co-author of almost all texts and compositions on all releases. She also played a key role in the production of the albums.


Regular albums

  • 1973: Closing time
  • 1974: The Heart of Saturday Night
  • 1975: Nighthawks at the Diner (Live)
  • 1976: Small Change
  • 1977: Foreign Affairs
  • 1978: Blue Valentine
  • 1980: Heartattack and Vine
  • 1982: One from the Heart (soundtrack)
  • 1983: Swordfishtrombones
  • 1985: Rain Dogs
  • 1987: Franks Wild Years
  • 1988: Big Time (Live)
  • 1992: Night on Earth (soundtrack)
  • 1992: Bone Machine
  • 1993: The Black Rider
  • 1999: Mule Variations
  • 2002: Alice
  • 2002: Blood Money
  • 2004: One from the Heart (film music, 2-CD reissue)
  • 2004: Real Gone
  • 2006: Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards (3CD box set with 56 tracks, 30 of which are first releases)
  • 2009: Glitter and Doom (Live)
  • 2011: Bad As Me


  • 1981: Bounced Checks
  • 1984: Anthology of Tom Waits
  • 1984: Asylum Years
  • 1991: The Early Years
  • 1992: The Early Years Vol. 2
  • 1998: Beautiful Maladies: The Island Years 1983-1993
  • 2001: Used Songs: 1973–1980

Film music

Soundtracks by Tom Waits

Selection of songs in films

Anthologies (excerpt)


Waits with Lily Cole at the premiere of Das Kabinett des Dr. Parnassus

Book publications

  • 2011: Seeds on Hard Ground. X-Ray Book Co., San Francisco 2011 (Limited edition collection of Waits' seals).
  • 2013: WAITS / CORBIJN '77 –'11. Schirmer / Mosel Verlag, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-8296-0555-7 (together with Anton Corbijn ).



  • Patrick Humphries: Stolen Memories. Sonnentanz, Augsburg 1990, ISBN 3-926794-08-9 .
  • du Nr. 9, Tom Waits - The Ballad from Another America , TA-Media AG, Zurich 1997.
  • Cath Carroll: Tom Waits. Hannibal, Höfen 2001, ISBN 3-85445-190-3 .
  • Patrick Humphries: The Many Lives of Tom Wait. Bosworth Edition, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-86543-233-9 .
  • Jay S. Jacobs: Tom Waits: Music & Myth. Stagecraft Entertainment, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-00-026953-0 .
  • Barney Hoskyns: Tom Waits: A Life on the Roadside. Heyne, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-453-26633-9 ( unauthorized biography ).
  • Gregor Herzfeld : On the romance reception in "The Black Rider" by William Burroughs, Robert Wilson and Tom Waits. In: Ulrich Müller et al. (Ed.): The Schaubühne in the epoch of Freischütz: Theater and music theater of the romanticism, lectures at the Salzburg Symposium 2007. Müller-Speiser, Salzburg / Anif 2009, ISBN 978-3-902537-14-0 , Pp. 330-343.
  • Mac Montandon (Ed.): Tom Waits. The storyteller. Conversations - interviews - documents. Kartaus, Regensburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-936054-10-1 .

Web links

Commons : Tom Waits  - collection of images, videos and audio files
encyclopedia. relevant portals
Interviews, biographical information

Individual evidence

  1. List of songs on
  2. Number 1 title on the Billboardcharts
  3. (accessed November 8, 2011)
  4. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Barney Hoskyns: Tom Waits: A Life on the Roadside.
  5. ^ Waits to Adam Sweeting, Guardian , Sept. 15, 1992
  6. a b 500 best albums ( Memento from June 19, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  7. ^ Hughart in Joseph Scott, Bassics , July 2000
  8. Barney Hoskyns: Tom Waits: A Life on the Roadside. Page 178
  9. ^ Waits to David McGee, Rolling Stone , Jan. 27, 1977
  10. ^ Waits to Mick Brown, Telegraph Magazine , April 11, 1999
  11. ^ Waits to Dave Zimmer, BAM February 26, 1982
  12. Barney Hoskyns: Tom Waits: A Life on the Roadside. Page 249
  13. Barney Hoskyns: Tom Waits: A Life on the Roadside. Page 267
  14. Barney Hoskyns: Tom Waits: A Life on the Roadside. Page 317
  15. Barney Hoskyns: Tom Waits: A Life on the Roadside. Pages 311 and 313
  16. Barney Hoskyns: Tom Waits: A Life on the Roadside. Page 316
  17. Barney Hoskyns: Tom Waits: A Life on the Roadside. Page 362
  18. Waits Robert Scabbag, Los Angeles Times , February 22, 1987
  19. ^ Radio interview from April 24, 1985
  20. Barney Hoskyns: Tom Waits: A Life on the Roadside. Page 384
  21. Barney Hoskyns: Tom Waits: A Life on the Roadside . Page 390
  22. Barney Hoskyns: Tom Waits: A Life on the Roadside. Page 404
  23. Waits to Steve Oney, Playboy , March 1988
  24. Waits Tom Laneam, paste , December 2004
  25. Altman on Mick Brown, Telegraph Magazine , April 11, 1999
  26. ^ Waits on Michael Barclay, Exclaim , April – May 1999
  27. ^ Waits on Michael Fuchs-Gamböck, Rock World , October 1992
  28. a b Waits on Rip Rense, Performing Songwriter , July-August 1999
  29. Barney Hoskyns: Tom Waits: A Life on the Roadside. Page 507
  30. 500 best albums ( Memento from June 19, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  31. ^ Waits to James Nicholas Joyce, Impress , May 1, 2002
  32. Barney Hoskyns: Tom Waits: A Life on the Roadside. Page 559
  33. ^ Waits to Richard Grant, Telegraph Magazine , October 2, 2004
  34. , May 20, 2008
  35. Georg Büchner: Woyzeck. Reclam's Universal Library, Stuttgart 2005, pages 32–33, scene 19, ISBN 978-3-15-018420-2 (Ed. Burghard Dedner)
  36. Simon Schama in the Guardian , December 9, 2006
  37. (accessed on August 22, 2011)
  38. (accessed October 17, 2011)
  39. (accessed on May 24, 2018)
  40. a b (accessed on November 13, 2011)
  41. ( Memento of the original from May 15, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (accessed on May 29, 2013) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  42. a b Interview at (accessed on November 10, 2011)
  43. a b Interview with yourself on (accessed November 10, 2011)
  44. Jay S. Jacobs: Tom Waits: Music & Myth. Page 15
  45. WAITS / CORBIJN '77 –'11. Schirmer / Mosel Verlag, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-8296-0555-7
  46. On Tom Waits' Birthday: The Romantic Howler Rolling Stone on December 7, 2018
  47. Daniel Durchholz: Musichound Rock. The Essential Album Guide. Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-8256-7256-2 ("... like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.")
  48. ^ Southwest Airlines Spirit. March 2007
  49. Interview in the German Rolling Stone from November 2011
  50. Gerd Köster's website with translations in Kölsch
  51. ^ Discography on
  52. MARC RIBOT RELEASES NEW ANTI-TRUMP ALBUM 'SONGS OF RESISTANCE 1942 - 2018 at (accessed September 19, 2018)
  53. 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Rolling Stone , December 2, 2010, accessed August 7, 2017 .
  54. The 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. Rolling Stone , August 2015, accessed August 7, 2017 .