Monday, November 27, 2006

Just a reminder...

Tom Waits is one of the finest American songwriters ever. Orphans is out now. Awesome interview in P4K today:
Pitchfork: You have a fine reputation for haunting California's salvage yards and pawn shops. What attracts you to certain objects?

Tom Waits: I'm interested in things when I don't know what they are. Like "Hey, Ray, what the hell is this?" Oh, that's lipstick from the 1700s, that's dog food from the turn of the century, that's a hat from World War II. I'm interested in the minutiae of things. Oddities.

Pitchfork: Do you collect anything?

Tom Waits: Like little ceramic dogs? I collect instruments. It's ongoing.

Pitchfork: There's a blues singer in Clarksdale, Mississippi named Super Chikan who makes the most beautiful-looking guitars out of oil cans and other bits of hardware that he paints and strings. He has a guitar made out of a toilet seat that he calls the Shit-tar. Do you ever make your own instruments?

Tom Waits: I have friends who are builders who make instruments. "Alternative sound sources" is the technical way of saying it, which could really be anything-- maybe something you found along the side of the road. I think hardware stores can be fascinating if you go in there with a mallet! I look for things that are left of center, something you've only seen your whole life, but never heard. Hit it! With a stick! I have a guitar made out of a 2x4 that I bought in Cleveland. 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.

Pitchfork: Do you keep a notebook?

Tom Waits: Oh yeah, everybody does! Life is too confusing. Monkey wrenches, pocket knives, dog food, instant coffee, lipstick. You gotta get it organized somehow.

Pitchfork: Thanks so much for talking with me.

Tom Waits: Oh! OK. Alright. I'll leave you with a few little things out of my book here. In Los Angeles, it's illegal for a man to beat his wife unless he's on the courthouse steps. In Tulsa, it's against the law to open a soda bottle without the supervision of a licensed engineer. In Texas, the Encyclopedia Britannica is banned because it contains the formula for making home brew. In Claradon, Texas, it's illegal to dust any public building with a feather duster. In Washington, it's illegal to paint polka dots on the American flag. There are only two things you can throw out the window of a moving car, legally. Do you know what they are?

Pitchfork: Um…

Tom Waits: Water. And feathers. Everything else you can get in trouble for.

Tom Waits- Bottom Of The World from Orphans.

If I could sit down and have beers with anyone on this planet - or others - it would be Tom Waits.


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