Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tom Waits on my mind

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I'm still reading Paul Maher's Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters. It was tempting to rush through it last night for the sake of getting the full review out by the release date. Maybe I was absorbing all the "we need to get this done" stress from DC as politicians slaved away on the most public pissing contest in world history.
(Okay, maybe not the most, but I'm sure it's up there.) Sadly, it's impossible to finish this book in one sitting. Why? I love Tom Waits. Yes, I went into reading this with a strong bias in favor of Tom Waits, so if you're looking for someone to tell you whether or not this book will convert the doubters, this probably isn't the place to look. I will say that some of the interviews are a bit repetitive. Maher organized them in order of Waits's album releases and while that makes sense, Waits ends up talking about a lot of the same songs and same tours in different interviews.

While the raw quality of the interviews can be annoying, like Waits's music, the book has an unvarnished charm about it that keeps pulling me back in. It's clear that Maher is genuinely fascinated by Waits by his commentary on what was going on in the artist's life at the time, and how he built his career as well as small details about how Waits tended to interact with the press and anyone else who showed an interest in him.