Tom Waits On Tom Waits: Interviews And Encounters
by Paul Maher Jr (Ed)

Wild years and mule variations from the horse’s mouth

Tom Waits On Tom
Waits: Interviews
And Encounters

In the years since 1973’s
Closing Time, a folk-/country-tinged
debut that fit on the
Asylum roster better than
anything Waits has recorded
since – and which its creator
has spent the ensuing 39 years
distancing himself from – Tom Waits’ reputation as a
curveball-throwing, question-evading
interviewee has
gathered more moss than even
Dylan’s. A 1976 comment to
Rich Trenbeth of Country
Rambler seems, on the face of
it, particularly prescient: “If I
had a lot of money, I’d probably
get even more eccentric than
I am now.”

This collection of 52
interviews up to and including
the years 2008, however,
proves that there’s far more to
Waits than legend tells.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
Sure, the early years are full of
the famed boozy puns of a man
hiding in plain sight. Following
the artistic about-turn of his
early 80s Island work, however,
Waits becomes a manifold
artist: a true entertainer gifted
enough to make 466 pages’
worth of transcript a zippy read
is a rare beast indeed. He’s
frequently hilarious and, on the
subjects of his art, songwriting
and what it means to be
human, offers many more truths
than you’d find in any other
carefully PR’ed “tell-all” self-promotion
fest.

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

Aurumn | ISBN 9781845137472, 466 pages

Reviewed by Jason Draper
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