Tom Waits On … Kids, Religion And How To Play The Piano

Your kids are not your fans, they’re your kids. The trick is to have a career and have a family. It’s like having two dogs that hate each other and you have to take them for a walk every night.

Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.361)

I always thought religion should be more visceral and that you should get beat up a little by it, you know?

Interviews And Encounters (p.432)

Jim Jarmusch once told me “Fast, cheap, and good . . . pick two. If it’s fast and cheap, it won’t be good. If it’s cheap and good, it won’t be fast. If it’s fast and good, it won’t be cheap.” Fast, cheap, and good . . . pick (two) words to live by.

Interviews And Encounters (p.446)

The recipe for making an album? You write two songs, you put ’em in a room and they have kids. Songs travel along the same line that jokes and stories do. They get written down, forgotten, and resurrected. You tear the wings off them for a while and they grow new ones. Songs are kind of like your memory of something, your homeland, or what you had for dinner last night; something for your kids. We all do it naturally, and kids do it better than any of us. So in a sense, it’s kind of like children’s work.

Interviews And Encounters (p.252)

Never have your wallet with you onstage. It’s bad luck. You shouldn’t play the piano with money in your pocket. Play like you need the money.

More Tom Waits wisdom here

(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).

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Tom Waits On … Wasting Your Time Writing Songs

Do you feel writing songs, making music, is an honourable calling?

Tom Waits: Gee, I don’t know. There are times when it seems very . . . trifling and trivial. Making these little songs up, I feel like I’m gluing macaroni onto a piece of cardboard and painting it gold. And then other times . . . when Johnny Cash wants to sing one of your songs, you think, “Oh man. . . .” Because there’s a hierarchy in music, and there’s certain indications that you’re doing better, you’re getting closer to the source.

I hate to sound cynical, but it seems to me that protest songs are like throwing peanuts at a gorilla. It’s hard to believe that a song like that is gonna make any difference in the course we’re on.

Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.436, 384)

More Tom Waits wisdom here

(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).

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Amazing Child Musicians

One of the terrible things about the internet is it brings you face to face with your own inadequacies and failures. No matter what you excel at, there’s someone out there who’s way better than you, even though they’re not old enough to shave yet. Here are a few mutants wonderfully talented young people.

8 yr old banjo player Jonny Mizzone plays Earl Scruggs’s Flint Hill Special with the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys (aka his brothers Robbie (12) and Tommy (13) on fiddle and guitar). FB

The Mini Band play Enter Sandman by Metallica. These metalheads are all 8 to 10 years old. FB

Elder statesman Brazilian bassist Michael Pipoquinha was 13 yr old when filmed here. Notice the other players watching him closely? That’s cos he’s leading the band!

Finally let’s not beat around the bush. The North Korean Children’s Guitar Ensemble performance of “Our Kindergarten Teacher” is creepy. Someone get them some half size guitars, Stat!

Got any favourite young players to share?

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Tom Waits On … Finishing Songs

Making a record, you don’t really finish, you just stop. You just keep painting it and doing things to it and eventually, you have to stop.

Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.224)

You don’t always know when a song is finished and I’m not sure if a song is ever finished to be honest with you. You know they’re constantly evolving. It’s like jump-rope songs you know. When are they done? They are never done. You know people are always changing them, changing the tempo, adding new verses, getting rid of old verses. So I mean, when you are ready to record there is a certain finality to that. . . a lot of people say, “You really captured something on that.” There’s something alive in a song and the trick to recording them is to capture something and have it be taken alive. So there’s always a trick in the studio.

Interviews And Encounters (p.337)

Somebody told me if you’re stuck in a song and you can’t move, take out the best lines. Get rid of them. Now finish it. That’s good advice.

Interviews And Encounters (p.439)

More Tom Waits wisdom here

(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).

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Tom Waits On … Protest Songs

I hate to sound cynical, but it seems to me that protest songs are like throwing peanuts at a gorilla. It’s hard to believe that a song like that is gonna make any difference in the course we’re on. I don’t want to contribute to the rhetoric, or even assume I have the ability to speak about these things on an intelligent level. I know my own limitations

I read an article in the New York Times…it haunted me, and that’s why I write many of my songs, because something’s haunting me and I need to get it outta my head. What else could I do? Nobody in Washington is calling me up to discuss our foreign policy.

Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.384, 414)

More Tom Waits wisdom here

(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).

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