Kathleen [Brennan – Tom’s wife] was the first person who convinced me that you can take James White and the Blacks, and Elmer Bernstein and Leadbelly—folks that could never be on the bill together—and that they could be on the bill together in you. You take your dad’s army uniform and your mom’s Easter hat and your brother’s motorcycle and your sister’s purse and stitch them all together and try to make something meaningful out of it.
You know when you throw a party, you think people will show up and no one will like each other. It’s like that with music – parts of your musical psyche have never met other parts. You wonder if you should get them together.
I have a kind of miscellaneous quality to myself
Interviews And Encounters (p.287)
(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).