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Tom Waits

Tom Waits

Photo: Robert Frank


Tom Waits: Ronnie Scott's, London

Live Review by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, June 1976

HE TAKES the stage with what he describes as his don't care-a-shit shuffle. Very apt ...

The Backpages Interview: Tom Waits

Interview by Barney Hoskyns, Rock's Backpages, April 2002

Thomas Alan Waits is about to release two albums simultaneously – Alice and Blood Money. In this previously unpublished interview from the spring of 1985, ...


Tom Waits (1988)

Interview by Chris Roberts, Rock's Backpages Audio, September 1988

Moles at Stonehenge? Umbrellas? Showbiz Shirts? Yes, it's another leap into the surrealistic world of Tom Waits

File format: mp3; in 2 parts, total file sizes: 49.7meg, total interview length: 54' 14" sound quality: ***

Tom Waits part 2 (1999)

Interview by Barney Hoskyns, Rock's Backpages Audio, January 1999

Beatniks, recording, songwriting, Frank Zappa and L.A.... and his first tattoos!

File format: mp3 File size: 24.3mb Interview length: 35 minutes 29 seconds Sound quality: **

Tom Waits, part 1 (1999)

Interview by Barney Hoskyns, Rock's Backpages Audio, January 1999

On his new album, Mule Variations; on changing labels; on his formative influences... and on edible slugs!

File format: mp3 File size: 26.6mb Interview length: 38 minutes 52 seconds Sound quality: **

Tom Waits (2002)

Interview by Gavin Martin, Rock's Backpages Audio, May 2002

On Charley Patton and James Brown, encounters with William Burroughs and Keith Richards, and being a 'rectal thermometer' for Frank Zappa...

File format: mp3; file size: 61.8mb, interview length: 1h 07' 29" sound quality: ****

Tom Waits (2006)

Interview by Joel Selvin, Selvin On The City, KSAN 107.7, 2006

Tom Waits talks about some of his favourite artists - William Burroughs, Daniel Johnston, Johnny Cash, and being the adult when working with Keith Richards!

File format: mp3 File size: 24.7mb Interview length: 26' 56"; Sound quality: *****


Tom Waits: Thursday Afternoon, Sober as a Judge

Profile and Interview by Jeff Walker, Music World, June 1973

IT IS SOMETIMES extremely difficult to separate an artist from the trend he's involved in; even if there's only a single element that makes him ...

Tom Waits, Garland Jeffreys: The Cellar Door, Washington DC

Live Review by Howard Wuelfing, Unicorn Times, October 1975


Tom Waits: Reno Sweeney's, New York City NY

Live Review by Dave Marsh, Rolling Stone, October 1975

AS A PERFORMER, Tom Waits seems closer to Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen than to anyone else currently working in rock; unlike them, however, Waits ...

Tom Waits: Not So Much a Poet, More a Purveyor of Improvisational Travelogue

Profile and Interview by Todd Everett, New Musical Express, November 1975

Could TOM WAITS really be The Next Big Thing? TODD EVERETT, in Los Angeles, finds out. ...

Tom Waits: Nighthawks At The Diner (Asylum Import) *****

Review by Mick Brown, Sounds, December 1975

Waits: poet of the streets and bars ...

Tom Waits: A Seventies Storyteller With Fifties Beat Style

Profile and Interview by Mick Houghton, Time Out, 1976

"I WAS BORN at a very young age in the back seat of a yellow cab in Murphy Hospital parking lot. I had to pay ...

Tom Waits: Personality Without Pretension

Interview by Richard Cromelin, Los Angeles Times, March 1976

THERE'S NO PLACE like Tom Waits' home. There's no home, at any rate, quite like Tom Waits' place. The Silver Lake court cottage looks like ...

Tom Waits: Waits Going On

Interview by Karl Dallas, Melody Maker, June 1976

TOM WAITS, currently appearing at London's Ronnie Scott Club, talks to Karl Dallas ...

Tom Waits: Would you say this man was attempting to convey an impression of sordid Bohemianism?

Interview by Fred Dellar, New Musical Express, June 1976

I CAME IN on the southbound flyer, then hoofed it halfway across town to see Tom. From a nearby window drifted the sound of Billie ...

Tom Waits: Warm Beer, Cold Women

Interview by Mick Brown, Sounds, June 1976

TOM WAITS rocks backwards and forwards in his chair, pulls at a cigarette, draws deep, then turns his face out of the smoke, back into ...

Tom Waits: Small Change

Review by Richard Cromelin, Phonograph Record, October 1976

CHARACTERS, REAL honest-to-goodness characters, are hard to come by these days, so right off the bat Tom Waits, with his wino outfits and broken-soul slouch, ...

Rock Stars Talk Back

Comment by Susan Whitall, Creem, May 1977

Dozens listen. ...

Tom Waits: Sound Circus, London

Live Review by Paul Rambali, New Musical Express, May 1977

APTLY ENOUGH, since he lives in hotels for ten months of every year, Tom Waits was born in the back of a taxi. His description ...

Tom Waits: Small Change

Review by Mick Brown, Sounds, May 1977

ANOTHER ALBUM From Tom Waits, his fourth, belatedly released here to tie in with a recent one-off performance in London. ...

Tom Waits: Guess You're Waits

Interview by Colin Irwin, Melody Maker, April 1978

FORGIVE the blasphemy, but I reckon God must have been way out of his little box when he deposited Tom Waits among us. Mr. Waits ...

Tom Waits: Blue Valentine

Review by Paul Rambali, New Musical Express, November 1978

Waits and measures ...

Tom Waits: Wry & Danish To Go

Interview by Brian Case, Melody Maker, May 1979


The Skid Row Drunk Goes Legit: Tom Waits live in New York

Live Review by Mick Farren, New Musical Express, December 1979

BECAUSE of circumstances too dumb to relate here and now, I had never seen Tom Waits doing a live show, unless, of course you count ...

Tom Waits Does New York Shuffle

Report and Interview by Richard Cromelin, Los Angeles Times, January 1980

IF NEIL SIMON can relocate from New York to Los Angeles, it's only fair that one of our local fixtures should return the favour. Tom ...

He's a Coppola Swell: Tom Waits

Interview by Mick Brown, Guardian, The, March 1981

THE FIRST TIME Tom Waits visited London, in 1976, he earned the dubious distinction of being thrown out of the club were he had been ...

Tom Waits: Waits And Double Measures

Interview by Johnny Black, Smash Hits, March 1981

PUT YOURSELF in my place. Scant hours earlier I'd been regaled with the tale of how, in an interview the previous day, Tom had turned ...

Tom Waits: London, Victoria Apollo

Live Review by Andy Gill, New Musical Express, March 1981

TOM WAITS, sad to say, has now joined the illustrious pantheon of artistes whose performances have driven me to sleep. Sad, because this is the ...

Tom Waits: The Beat Buff Speed Poet Home Booze Hayseed

Interview by Ian Penman, New Musical Express, March 1981

Or: the ten piece Tom Waits jigsaw puzzle As manufactured by Ian Penman ...

Tom Waits Undercover

Interview by Dave Zimmer, BAM, February 1982

Everybody looked like a broken-down movie extra; a withered starlet, disenchanted stuntmen, midget auto racers, poignant California characters with their end-of-the-continent sadness, handsome, decadent, Casanova-ish ...

Tom Waits: Hollywood Confidential

Interview by Dave Zimmer, BAM, February 1982

LA's Hobo Laureate Creates the Score for Coppola's One From the Heart. ...

Tom Waits: Swordfishtrombones (Island)

Review by Ian Penman, New Musical Express, September 1983

NOW, BEFORE I step before you again to review some music, and then have to face an old familiar tune (videlicet: guilty of obscurantism), I ...

Swordfish Out of Water: Tom Waits

Interview by Edwin Pouncey, Sounds, November 1983

"WHEN YOU drive from Los Angeles to Northern California... Leaving Los Angeles is like you’re being put upon and then it gets simpler and simpler, ...

Tom Waits: Rain Dogs

Review by Edwin Pouncey, Sounds, 1985

With my head full of violent thoughts, swirling with the alcohol I've poured down myself to accomplish the task at hand, I'm just in the ...

Tom Waits: The Sultan Of Sleaze

Interview by Peter Silverton, You, 1985

Well I got a bad liver and a broken heart,yea I drunk me a river since you tore me apart,and I don't have a drinking ...

Tom Waits: Marlowe Of The Ivories

Interview by Barney Hoskyns, New Musical Express, May 1985

DID HIS wife die in the fire? ...

Tom Waits: Rain Dogs (Island)

Review by Biba Kopf, New Musical Express, October 1985

NICE PEOPLE wear their hearts on their sleeves. The soiled souls peopling Tom Waits' songs have theirs tattooed on their arms. His cast of characters ...

Tom Waits: Hard Rain

Interview by Gavin Martin, New Musical Express, October 1985

"I told you I was sick" ...

Tom Waits: Subterranean Low-Life Blues

Interview by Chris Roberts, Sounds, October 1985

"THE COOLEST PERSON I ever met was definitely Shaw. It was a bleak autumn afternoon when Shaw thumped me in the 12-years-old ribcage and said, ...

Reigning Hats And Dogs: Tom Waits at the Dominion, London

Live Review by Don Watson, New Musical Express, October 1985

COME INSIDE, the finger beckons and the man with the stubble breaks out a grin and leans in your direction... ...

Tom Waits for No Man

Interview by Glenn O'Brien, Spin, November 1985

How to act. How to watch Mr. Rogers. How to pick a road manager. How to live in the big city. And more solid information. ...

Waits Happening

Interview by Peter Silverton, Beat, March 1986

TOM WAITS CHOSE to meet in the heart of his own territory, in a cheap restaurant just down the road from what he said was ...

Tom Waits: Frank's Wild Years

Review by Barney Hoskyns, New Musical Express, 1987

SUBTITLED "Un Operachi Romantico In Two Acts", Frank's Wild Years is effectively the final part of a trilogy that began in 1983 with the extraordinary ...

Tom Waits: Franks Wild Years (Island) *****

Review by Mat Snow, Sounds, August 1987


I Just Tell Stories For Money: Tom Waits

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, November 1987

SOMETIMES YOU CAN get a pretty good idea about someone's music just by checking out their appearance. If clothes maketh the man, they also speak ...

Tom Waits: Town Crier

Interview by Bill Holdship, Creem, January 1988

I'M A LITTLE nervous – and I don't get this way often these days. But I've heard that Tom Waits can be a difficult interview. ...

Tom Waits: The Early Years Volume I (Edsel)

Review by Max Bell, Vox, September 1991

LONG BEFORE he became the rather self-conscious Harry Dean Stanton type he is today, Tom Waits used to intone straight-to-the-heart-of-the matter barroom blues, most of ...

Tom Waits: The Early Years

Review by Andy Gill, Q, September 1991

THIS, THE FIRST of two volumes of previously unissued Tom Waits tracks, is the latest fruit of the deal with Herb Cohen and Frank Zappa's ...

A conversation with Tom Waits

Interview by Peter Silverton, Observer, The, 1992

To converse with Tom Waits is to be lied to, consistently, determinedly, entertainingly. ‘I’ll tell you all my secrets but I’ll lie about my past,’ ...

Tom Waits: A Mellower Prince Of Melancholy

Interview by Adam Sweeting, Guardian, The, September 1992

HE MIGHT STILL dress as though he staggers around sniffing under dustbin lids, but now the self styled Oddball Kid refuses to play his old ...

Tom Waits: Bone Machine

Review by Andy Gill, Q, October 1992

ON HIS EARLIEST albums, piano was the definitive Tom Waits instrument, its chords illuminated only by the dimmest of nightclub spotlights, filtered through a tumbler ...

Tom Waits: The Lie In Waits

Interview by Peter Silverton, Vox, October 1992

TOM WAITS is in Paris wrestling with the truth. As usual the truth is losing, but that's what happens when you're promoting your first album ...

Tom Waits Benefits Friend, Audience

Live Review by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, February 1996

IT TOOK A friend in trouble to get Tom Waits back on stage. ...

Tom Waits: Bourbon, Bullets And Blues

Retrospective by Gavin Martin, Uncut, April 1998

Gavin Martin heads downtown on the trail of Tom Waits' Swordfishtrombones ...

Tom Waits, Hobo Sapiens

Profile and Interview by Mick Brown, Telegraph Magazine, April 1999

TOM WAITS FIRST made his name by singing songs about that area of town marked out by the pawnbroker, the tattoo-parlour and the Greyhound bus ...

What's He Building In There? An Interview with Tom Waits

Interview by Barney Hoskyns, MOJO, April 1999

TOM WAITS squats down on the fender of his blue Coupe de Ville and tells a joke. ...

Tom Waits: Mule Variations (Epitaph)

Review by Tom Cox, Guardian, The, April 1999

I'D HATE TO be the neighbourhood psycho on Tom Waits's street. You'd never quite feel safe, terrorised by those all-seeing, scarecrow eyes, observing your every ...

Variations on Tom Waits

Interview by Barney Hoskyns, Independent, The, May 1999

FEW OF the patrons of the China Light diner in Santa Rosa look up when Tom Waits shuffles through the door. Attired in coarse indigo ...

Tom Waits: The Long Waits: Return Of An Ageless Artist

Interview by Jim Sullivan, Boston Globe, The, September 1999

THERE ARE artists — like, say, Cher — who manage to appear forever young. And then there is Tom Waits, who always seemed old before ...

Tom Waits: The Rex, Paris

Live Review by Gavin Martin, Uncut, August 2000

WAITS JUNKIES are everywhere — filling the bars, and brasseries around the venue, queuing up around the block in the rain-drenched Parisian streets. ...

Tom Waits: Alice; Blood Money

Review by Sylvie Simmons, MOJO, May 2002

NOT A DOUBLE but two individual albums, released at the same time. Your choice. There's Alice, skewed and drowsy, with wonky percussion and soft, smudged, ...

With Morbidity On His Mind, Tom Waits Makes A Double Play

Interview by Jim Sullivan, Boston Globe, The, May 2002

Tom Waits — the raspy-voiced singer-songwriter and occasional actor and playwright — has released 14 albums in nearly 30 years. But he has a habit ...

Tom Waits: Everything Goes To Hell

Interview by Gavin Martin, Uncut, June 2002

ON A SUNNY Californian morning, Tom Waits pulls his family-size Suburban Chevrolet into the car park of Santa Rosa's Flamingo Hotel and begins to unpack ...

Long Gone: Tom Waits Talks

Interview by Barney Hoskyns, Rock's Backpages, September 2004

RBP: Is it true you cut Real Gone in an old schoolhouse in the Mississippi delta? ...

Tom Waits: A Cluttered Harmony

Interview by Richard Cromelin, Los Angeles Times, September 2004

THE LITTLE AMSTERDAM sits incongruously in the rolling expanse of Sonoma County farmland, a low white building adorned with a Dutch windmill - a "fake" ...

Tom Waits Speaks

Interview by Sylvie Simmons, MOJO, October 2004

"HE COMES IN for coffee sometimes. Reads some poetry. They told me he was a musician. Tom Wait. Never heard of Tom Wait." Little Amsterdam's ...

Tom Waits: Barroom Bard's Next Round

Interview by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, October 2004

TOM WAITS SIPS coffee at the Formica counter of the Chinese takeout and doughnut shop, looking out on the intersection of Mission and 24th streets. ...

Tom Waits: Well Worth the Waits

Report and Interview by David Sinclair, Times, The, October 2004

NEXT MONTH Tom Waits will make his first British concert appearance for 17 years. And if the word filtering back from Vancouver and Seattle, where ...

Tom Waits: Real Gone (Anti/Epitaph)

Review and Interview by Barney Hoskyns, Uncut, November 2004

SINCE IT’S HARD and possibly verboten to say a bad word about Tom Waits, unholy shaman of whacked-out Americana, I’ll content myself with expressing a ...

Tom Waits: Real Gone (Anti-)

Review by Eric Weisbard, Village Voice, The, November 2004

The eternal hustler works his gloomy-gus shtick and leaves the hipsters wanting more ...

Tom Waits: Hammersmith Apollo, London

Live Review by Barney Hoskyns, Uncut, February 2005

SO MANY desperate, disappointed people loitered without hope outside the Apollo for this show that one felt vaguely ashamed being in possession of a ticket. ...

Tom Waits: Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville, NC

Report and Interview by Fred Mills, Harp, August 2006

HE CAME, he saw, he conquered. Meanwhile, he hoisted that rag, he got behind the mule, and he tangoed until we were just about sore. ...

Sean O'Hagan Meets Tom Waits, The Little Amsterdam Oyster Bar, near Petaluma, California, 21 September 2006

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Rock's Backpages, November 2006

An edited version of this interview appeared in The Observer, October 29, 2006 ...

Tom Waits: Weird Science

Interview by Mark Kemp, Harp, December 2006 To strike (someone or something) with a sharp blow; slap.2. Slang: To kill deliberately; murder.n.1. A sharp, swift blow.2. The sound made by a ...

Scarlett Johansson: Anywhere I Lay My Head (Atco)

Review by Barney Hoskyns, Observer Music Monthly, May 2008

WHEN TOM WAITS started his musical apprenticeship in the LA of the early 1970s, he harbored secret Tin Pan Alley fantasies of having his work ...

The Piano Has Been Drinking: Tom Waits in London Town

Book Excerpt by Barney Hoskyns, Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits (Faber), March 2009

In this excerpt from Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits, the barfly bard of the Hollywood sidewalks visits London for the first ...

Take It With Me When I Go: Tom Waits Turns 60

Book Excerpt by Barney Hoskyns, 'Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits' (Faber), December 2009

To celebrate Tom Waits' 60th birthday (December 9), I hereby offer the coda to my biography Lowside of the Road. An account of seeing the ...

Frank Zappa's Manager: A Smile On His Lips, And A Pistol Under The Bar

Obituary by Mick Brown, Daily Telegraph, March 2010

Mick Brown pays tribute to Herb Cohen, who managed Frank Zappa while maintaining an enthusiasm for music, cheese, confectionery and armaments. ...

Herb Cohen: Combative label boss and manager of Frank Zappa and Tom Waits

Obituary by Rob Hughes, Guardian, The, April 2010

HERB COHEN, who has died aged 77 of complications from cancer, did not elicit much affection from the artists he managed, but he played a ...

Tom Waits: Bad as Me

Review by Barney Hoskyns, Word, The, November 2011

IT SHOULDN'T NEED to be said but I'll say it anyway: Tom Waits' career is one of the more extraordinary examples of mutation in the ...

Tom's Wild Year: The Story of Swordfishtrombones

Retrospective by Barney Hoskyns, Classic Rock, June 2013

HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU it was not. Tom Waits did, however, have news for fellow guest Ian Hislop, rounding on the latter after ...

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