When I listen to old field recordings, maybe you’ll hear a dog barking way off in the background. You realize the house it was recorded in is torn down, the dog is dead, the tape recorder is broken, the guy who made the recording died in Texas, the car out front has four flat tires, even the dirt that the house sat on is gone—probably a parking lot—but we still have this song. Takes me out when I listen to those old recordings.
Recording for me is like photographing ghosts.
Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.359-60, 354)
(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).