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Thoughts on Tom Waits on Tom Waits Edited by Paul Maher Jr.

August 1, 2011
Tom Waits on Tom Waits (Goodreads)

Tom Waits happens to be one of my favorite musicians, so when the opportunity to read Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters came along I jumped at the chance to read the book.  This is a collection of interviews and encounters interspersed with bits of biography divided up by albums published starting in 1973 and ending in 2006.

The book mostly contains articles and interviews collected from smaller independent sources.  Reading each part of Tom Waits on Tom Waits was rather like having intimate conversations with the man spanning over the decades.  It is a unique way to learn about this very diverse artist.  The reader is fully immersed in each interview and is able to garner the varying impressions of the journalists who encounter Tom Waits.

Many of the articles include descriptions of where the meetings occurred, the mood of the artist, and even small details like what he orders to eat, the car he drives, and the clothes he wears.  These descriptions allow for a unique perspective of how the artist grows and changes over the decades.  We are able to see with each album released how he progresses.

The bits of biography are extremely useful and provide a  some narrative for each section.  They offer another method of learning about Tom Waits.

This book provides a unique way of getting to know Tom Waits as both author and man.  Waits is a unique subject for interviewers.  His discussions with journalists are often full of anecdotes and lies.  This makes for a very amusing read.  Waits is also an eloquent speaker and wordsmith and this shines through in all his interviews.

Instead of a traditional biography, Tom Waits on Tom Waits allows the reader to get to know the subject in an intimate way.  We are not told about him but instead get to experience him through first hand encounters.  To have an opportunity to learn about Waits not strictly through facts but through the man himself makes the book much more hands on and allows the reader to draw their own opinions.

Tom Waits is a very diverse artist and has a singular presence.  This book allows his presence and creativity to shine through.  To get to know Waits through his own words spanning his decades long career is a highly gratifying experience.  Tom Waits on Tom Waits can be read in parts or in one sitting.

Fans of Waits will enjoy this book tremendously.  Much of the time it feels as though you are sitting in the room with the man himself.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Tom Waits as it is a unique approach to exploring this artist.

I received this book from NetGalley.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2012 12:08 am

    i will always remember this quote from Tom Waits. “Better a bottle in front of you than a frontal lobotomy’-I know you have not blogged in a while but if you can and your schedule permits I would like to personally invite you to participate in Irish Short Story Week Year Two-It starts March 12 and will run actually for the rest of the month-I would love to have join in again but in case I hope you are well and will begin blogging soon.

    Mel u


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