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Thread: Tom Waits

  1. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    Is it just me, or is there something ironic about prog fans, of all people, criticizing an artist for his perceived lack of "authenticity"? I mean, that's historically been the death stroke given to prog by the Hipster Rock Critics - that it wasn't "authentic". That it didn't come from the artists' "real" experiences, didn't consist of "real", true-to-roots music - that it was an artistic construct, full of made-up stories and made-up musical forms, and was therefore "not the real deal" and invalid.
    Indeed, the accusations about the "contrived", "artificial" or even "superficial".

    Tom Waits' artistic agenda always bore something disalarmingly post-modern about it, in that the 'act' was not only part of his aesthetic (as with an Alice Cooper or a Dr. John or a Shane MacGowan) - it was the very condition for it. In the bottom end this concept rests on the assessment that every stage performer is basically presenting *some* level of acting, as in literally stageing a personae which may or may not correspond to the individual underneath. In actual acting Peter Sellers was claimed to possess no discernable identity outside of such personaes, Bowie would often insinuate equally as a musician.

    The only thing I'm certain of, is the untouchable conviction with which an artist exposes his or her craft - and in the case of Waits it DOES take an emotionally integral mind to communicate 3-4 minute short stories with arrangements like "Kentucky Avenue" or "San Diego Serenade".
    Last edited by Scrotum Scissor; 02-15-2016 at 09:39 AM.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  2. #52
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob_32_116 View Post
    My dislike of Tom Waits has nothing to do with any so-called posturing. I have no idea whether his real persona matches his public one. I just don't enjoy listening to his voice, that's all.

    I am the same with Dylan. I have no problems with his beliefs or his sincerity, I just don't think he can sing to save his life.
    I don't like Waits' singing voice either, but I like Dylan's the same way I like Neil Young's or Woody Guthrie's.

    Are there any musicians with whom it's generally acknowledged their voice isn't conventionally "good" but you like them? (Sorry for the awkward sentence!)

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    I don't like Waits' singing voice either, but I like Dylan's the same way I like Neil Young's or Woody Guthrie's.

    Are there any musicians with whom it's generally acknowledged their voice isn't conventionally "good" but you like them? (Sorry for the awkward sentence!)
    I assume this question was direected specifically to me:

    Yes, a few.

    Kate Bush (though it took a while)
    Tim Buckley
    Michael Stipe
    Szymon (Australian artist, deceased, he sounded a little like Sufjan Stevens)
    Fred Neil

  4. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    Is it just me, or is there something ironic about prog fans, of all people, criticizing an artist for his perceived lack of "authenticity"? I mean, that's historically been the death stroke given to prog by the Hipster Rock Critics - that it wasn't "authentic". That it didn't come from the artists' "real" experiences, didn't consist of "real", true-to-roots music - that it was an artistic construct, full of made-up stories and made-up musical forms, and was therefore "not the real deal" and invalid. Is it that most of those same Hipster Rock Critics love Waits, even though his bluesman/derelict/Beat Poet act was always pretty clearly just that, an act, and has become even more of one as he's gradually straightened his life out over the last thirty years?
    It's just you - that isn't true at all.

  5. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    I never liked Tom Waits. I've always found his style to be affected, which I wouldn't necessarily mind if I didn't also find it and him boring. My mother liked him.

    To me, he's like a much less interesting version of someone like John Cale or Warren Zevon. This is going to bother some people, but I lump him in with people like David Johansen when he's doing his irritating as hell Buster Poindexter shtick. I get it - you're like an old-timey, honkey-tonk singer. But that's boring to me.
    You are correct. I'm kind of surprised that anybody gives his tired schtick the time of day any more.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Tom Waits' artistic agenda always bore something disalarmingly post-modern about it, in that the 'act' was not only part of his aesthetic (as with an Alice Cooper or a Dr. John or a Shane MacGowan) - it was the very condition for it....
    From what I understand, the real Waits may have once been like the "Tom Waits" from his public persona. Although even then, it was something of an act - for example, on tour he stayed in fleabag hotels in search of ambiance, and sought out stories and characters from among the down-and-outs populating such places. But he hasn't been like that for many years. These days, he's essentially a suburban dad with a more interesting and unusual job than most, and fairly reclusive when it comes to his public. Much of that change has to do with Kathleen Brennan, his wife and occasional lyricist.

  7. #57
    I think a lot of the issues with him are with his approach to making music. Listening to his material from the 80's onward, yes all albums have some excellent cuts, and each album sounds different enough/has a differing subject matter, but his approach to writing the music seems more or less the same. He has the pissed off old man/carny/shaman/derelict thing down well, but he inhabits those in every album. I definitely can't call myself an expert on the man, but that's what I'm getting from listening to him.
    A vie, a mort, et apres...

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    I can only think of one song of his that I have heard and like: Downtown Train. In that he keeps his voice relatively under control.

  9. #59
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazz2896 View Post
    he has the angry man/carny/shaman/derelict thing down well,
    LOL. The beloved angry, alcoholic, vindictive, carny, shaman character. Like Chaplin's little tramp.

  10. #60
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Sorry haters, but I find this to be absolutely incredible. He's no Meal Norse, though.

  11. #61
    Traversing The Dream 100423's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post


    Sorry haters, but I find this to be absolutely incredible. He's no Meal Norse, though.
    Yeah, you probably like that Cardboard Amanda band too.
    My introduction to him was hanging out with a couple of friends, drinking shots of Tres Generaciones tequila, and listening to Frank's Wild Years. Still my favorite album of his.

  12. #62
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Misery is the River of the World just figured prominently in this season's X Files finale.



    I was misinformed... Next week is the finale.
    Last edited by Dave (in MA); 02-16-2016 at 02:21 AM.

  13. #63
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    I have to say I am not a fan of Tom Waits. That doesn't mean that those of you who like him are crazy. I just don't care for his music and his singing. His posturing or point of view doesn't matter to me.

    And now I have just listened to Table Top Joe. Does anybody remember the African American comedienne who was popular in the 1960s and 70s named Moms Mabley? On this song he sounds just like her.

  14. #64
    Artists are what they are and the audience is welcome to like it or not. No other measuring stick is needed.

  15. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Splicer View Post
    Artists are what they are and the audience is welcome to like it or not. No other measuring stick is needed.
    Hit that nail on the head. But that also doesn't mean that someone who doesn't enjoy his music can't understand why others do enjoy his music.
    A vie, a mort, et apres...

  16. #66
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Tough crowd. I personally rank Tom Waits alongside Elvis Costello, Leonard Cohen, and Richard Thompson as one of the most brilliant currently active songwriters we have.

  17. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    Tough crowd.
    Not really. Except for the odd voice in here who argues analytically and along the course of subjective logics as in "I get it, I just don't like it!", the general stance at play follows the prejudicial "prog" standard of shunning everything fundamentally different, other and 'out'.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  18. #68
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    Ron Perlman to portray Waits in biopic, directed by David Lynch.

    http://thestudioexec.com/ron-perlman...-waits-biopic/
    No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious and charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful. - Kurt Vonnegut

  19. #69
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by headcrash View Post
    Ron Perlman to portray Waits in biopic, directed by David Lynch.

    http://thestudioexec.com/ron-perlman...-waits-biopic/
    Amazing! Thanks for the news

  20. #70
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    It's a joke. And two years old.

  21. #71
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morpheus View Post
    It's a joke. And two years old.

    Rats.

  22. #72
    Not to hijack, but Waits fans may also enjoy this artist: one Sherwin Sleeves. Sean Hurley is a musician, performance artist, playwright and NPR radio broadcaster. Sleeves is a character of his; he's an old man with a gravelly voice who leads a simple, rustic life in the wilds of New Hampshire. He likes to take hikes frequently.

    I know in this thread people have debated about Waits playing a character and questioned whether his music was really genuine as a result. I believe it is. Actors portray characters, but evoke real emotions. There's no reason musicians can't do the same. Sleeves is definitely a character, yet his music is heartfelt and really touches a chord with me.

    You might be aware that Sleeves has been associated with the comedy radio show Ron & Fez. Here's a song he wrote for their last show in 2015.



    A Christmas song:



    Sleeves being Sleeves (The Shepherd of Leaves):



    His music is available on Spotify and iTunes (search Sherwin Sleeves). Here's his website:

    http://radioghost.com/

  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Rats.
    Rats, indeed. Damn Facebook.
    No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious and charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful. - Kurt Vonnegut

  24. #74
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    Well, I heard Closing Time this afternoon at my library system, and TBH, I thought of Dylan before Beefheart

    on other albums, he's a cross of Beefheart (vocals) and Leonard Cohen (songwriting)
    All three were the inspirations confirmed by Tom Waits himself:

    3 Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart (Straight) 1969

    The roughest diamond in the mine, his musical inventions are made of bone and mud. Enter the strange matrix of his mind and lose yours. This is indispensable for the serious listener. An expedition into the centre of the earth, this is the high jump record that'll never be beat, it's a merlot reduction sauce. He takes da bait. Dante doing the buck and wing at a Skip James suku jump. Drink once and thirst no more.

    6 The Basement Tapes by Bob Dylan (Columbia) 1975

    With Dylan, so much has been said about him, it's difficult so say anything about him that hasn't already been said, and say it better. Suffice it to say Dylan is a planet to be explored. For a songwriter, Dylan is as essential as a hammer and nails and a saw are to a carpenter. I like my music with the rinds and the seeds and pulp left in - so the bootlegs I obtained in the Sixties and Seventies, where the noise and grit of the tapes became inseparable from the music, are essential to me. His journey as a songwriter is the stuff of myth, because he lives within the ether of the songs. Hail, hail The Basement Tapes. I heard most of these songs on bootlegs first. There is a joy and an abandon to this record; it's also a history lesson.

    9 I'm Your Man by Leonard Cohen (Columbia) 1988

    Euro, klezmer, chansons, apocalyptic, revelations, with that mellifluous voice. A shipwrecked Aznovar, washed up on shore. Important songs, meditative, authoritative, and Leonard is a poet, an Extra Large one.
    http://www.theguardian.com/music/200...20/popandrock1

  25. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay.Dee View Post
    Just like Genesis or the Moody Blues were themselves on their first albums?
    Inapplicable analogies, to the point I was making. Tom Waits was himself on his first album. The others were built around a persona. Hell, if you want to make the argument that the first one's a persona too, then I'm quite comfortable settling on there being zero Tom Waits albums where he is Tom Waits.

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