Bookmarked How “Downtown Train” Ruined Rod Stewart’s Friendship With Bob Seger (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

Pondering how Tom Waits seemingly created the perfect tune for other people to sing. Major rock stars were fighting with one another to cover “Downtown Train.”

Ernie Smith on the song that paid for Tom Waits’ pool.

“‘Downtown Train’ bought Tom Waits a swimming pool,” Stewart told Ultimate Classic Rock in 2013 as he was about to release a new album. “And ‘Picture in a Frame’ will pay for a new roof on his house. Really, I can’t say enough about Tom—he has such great imagery, which is an area in which I could do a bit better.”

Replied to Some seeds have already sprouted – Austin Kleon (Austin Kleon)

How many things that blossom and bear fruit in one year were planted as seeds years before…

Austin, your discussion of seeds reminds me of something Tom Waits said on the Take 5 podcast I was listening to:

That’s really what we hope for … plant a few seeds and then we go. We are all just drawing in the dirt with a stick.

Listened Tom Waits on finding his voice: ‘I don’t really think there is anything genuinely new under the sun’ from Double J

Tom Waits opens up about the mystery of songwriting and the melting pot of influences he draws from.

Zan Rowe speaks with Tom Waits about the songs that inspired his album ‘Bad As Me’. It is one of those interviews that carries you away and leaves you seeing the world in a different light. Some of the notable thoughts were music as captured air:

Tunes are in the air … writing them down is like letter air out of a balloon and then naming it.

Songs living within us after we hear then:

Songs kind of live within you once you hear them, there is nothing new, we are all just doing bad impersonations of each other.

Life as planting seeds:

That’s really what we hope for … plant a few seeds and then we go. We are all just drawing in the dirt with a stick.

Songs in songs and voices in voices:

I think inside every song there are other songs. But I also think, inside your voice, there are other voices that you have yet to discover and that’s kind of why you are here.

Completeness of recorded music:

Until a song’s recorded it isn’t really finished. Regardless of what your plan is, the song itself has a plan of its own. You need to be sensitive to that. Sometimes you need to get out of the way. You need to know when to duck.

After listening for a second time, I was left thinking about the episode with Damian Cowell and how the truth was not what was important, instead it was about a world seen with fresh eyes.

Bookmarked Interviews: 2002 (

GQ magazine (USA) June, 2002 by Elizabeth Gilbert.

This is a fascinating insight into the music and the mind of Tom Waits. There is something mesmerising about the myths that he spins. It is a reminder of our tendency towards narrative.


“Children make up the best songs, anyway,” he says. “Better than grown-ups. Kids are always working on songs and throwing them away, like little origami things or paper airplanes. They don’t care if they lose it; they’ll just make another one.” This openness is what every artist needs. Be ready to receive the inspiration when it comes; be ready to let it go when it vanishes. He believes that if a song “really wants to be written down, it’ll stick in my head. If it wasn’t interesting enough for me to remember it, well, it can just move along and go get in someone else’s song.” “Some songs,” he has learned, “don’t want to be recorded.” You can’t wrestle with them or you’ll only scare them off more. Trying to capture them sometimes “is trying to trap birds.” Fortunately, he says, other songs come easy, like “digging potatoes out of the ground.” Others are sticky and weird, like “gum found under an old table.” Clumsy and uncooperative songs may only be useful “to cut up as bait and use ’em to catch other songs.” Of course, the best songs of all are those that enter you “like dreams taken through a straw.’ In those moments, all you can be, Waits says, is grateful. Like a clever kid with a new toy, Waits is always willing to play with a new song, to see what else it can become. He’ll play with it forever in and out of the studio, in ways a real grown-up would never imagine. He’ll pick it apart, turn it inside out, drag it backward through the mud, ride a bicycle over it- anything he can imagine to make it sound thicker, rougher, deeper, different. “I like my music,” he says, “with the pulp and skin and seeds.” He’s always fighting for new ways to hear or perform things. (“Play it like your hair’s on fire,”(8) he has instructed musicians in the studio, when he can’t explain his vision any other way. “Play it like a midget’s Bar Mitzvah.”)

I like it when you come home at the end of the day from recording and someone says, “What happened to your hand?” And you don’t even know. When you’re in that place, you can dance on a broken ankle.” That’s a good day of work. A bad day is when the right sound won’t reveal itself. Then Waits will pace in tight circles, rock back and forth, rub his hand over his neck, tug out his hair. He and Kathleen have a code for this troublesome moment. They say to each other, “Doctor, our flamingo is sick.” Because how do you heal a sick flamingo? Why are its feathers falling out? Why are its eyes runny? Why is it so depressed? Who the hell knows? It’s a fucking flamingo- a weird pink foreign bird. And music is just that weird, just that foreign.

via Austin Kleon

Bookmarked Radiohead on Tom Waits (

“We could go and do it tomorrow if you’re talking about the extra material, but that’s not really it, that’s not really the point. It’s more about what sticks with us, and what takes on a significance. Like erm… like you have a song, like, erm… there’s a Tom Waits quote about songwriting, he says he’ll have loads of little ideas and stuff, he’ll leave them in his shed at the bottom of the garden, which is his studio, and he shuts the door, and it’s like they’re little kids and they all breed and when he comes back there’s loads of them… certain things have really flourished and certain things have died. You know, we could go and do it all tomorrow, but… when you write a song, certain songs you just forget about and certain songs increasingly take on a significance and just don’t go away, and I think that’s the most important stage, really, because I think anyone can just rattle ’em off. But it’s what ends up meaning something to you.”

A quote from Thom Yorke taken from Triple J ‘The J-Files’, february 2nd 1998