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

About mattblick

Songwriter/Singer from Nottingham, UK. My 2nd EP, Everything In The World Is Fighting Everything In The Sky, is out now. I'm blogging (& podcasting) through the entire Beatles catalogue at Beatles Songwriting Academy. In my spare time I wish I had some spare time.
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