The last few years, I’ve got in the habit of going on a Tom Waits kick in the fall, and for a few weeks while the leaves turn and the mornings tighten and everything else sort of begins to huddle in on itself, I don’t listen to anything else. Catapulting through Closing Time and Bad As Me, you can almost trace the outline of some deep and crumbling truth in Waits’ torn-out voice.
I’d give just about anything to interview Tom Waits, but I think I’d settle for seeing him in concert at least once.
Around this time of year, though, I always get all keyed up for a tour—maybe this’ll be the year. Maybe!—and I’m always disappointed (even if I’m not surprised) when he doesn’t.
Anyway, here’s a few of Waits’ best appearances from across the web I’ve been able to dig up.
1. Of course, we need to lead off with the brilliant interview he did with noted dreamboat Jian Ghomeshi on CBC’s Q.
2. Next, Open Source Music posted this gem a little while ago where Tom goes on a show called Selvin on the City and shares some of his favorite records.
I have no idea if this was ever broadcast—the “Selvin and the City” audio callback is appropriately hilarious—but it’s recent enough to feel current (maybe 2005?) and it doesn’t seem to be censored, as one would expect if it was going to be played… well, anywhere, really.
Highlights include Waits’ cover of Daniel Johnston in part 3 and a great discussion of the Stones in part 4, culminating in the revelation that Waits and Keith Richards are BUDDIES.
Because, I mean, of course they’re buddies.
3. At last, music. NPR recorded a session for 2008’s Glitter and Doom – check it out here.
4. Lastly, NPR also did a Fresh Air interview with him in 2011. An actual quote: “IF you hold a microphone up to your barbecue, it’s the same sound.”
As much as I can find, though, every time I look for something specific on the internet I’m reminded just how mind-numbingly big it is, and I wonder about what great appearances I’ve missed. Because I’m sure there’s many.