‘Tom Waits- In The Studio’
It’s often been said that the Tom Waits fan can be fairly obsessive, maybe not quite as obsessive as the dustbin trawling Bob Dylan fan but not too far off. Maybe this is down to the smokescreen put in place by Waits himself who gives away little in his interviews and songs and presents a barrage of weird stories and shaggy dog stories to separate him from the inquisitive.
His music that has got stranger and clankier instead of smoother and more boring as he has advanced into middle age defies convention. Where most of his contemporaries have long since left the creative coal face Waits is still there covered in soot, his craggy features positively celebrating the weird and wonderful.
Quite how he made these changes and what he was doing there in the studio is a source of fascination that this book picks up on. Grappling with each album in chronological order an attempt is made to establish some sort of creative lineage. It’s a brave attempt without Waits himself to spill the beans but the press clipping quotes from ancient interviews and other scraps of evidence serve to document this fascinating journey without ever getting to the heart of the matter who has long left the building.
Recommended to any Waits fan who just wants to pour over the minutiae of this life time’s work as long as they don’t expect to find out exactly what went on there. It won’t explain the songs and it won’t explain the recording process like Mark Lewisholm’s fantastically authoritative Beatles books but as a companion to a clanking and strange trip this is invaluable.