Monday, November 3, 2008

The Evolution of Modern American Music*

Tennessee Flat-Top Box

Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat

Filipino Box Spring Hog

*I realize I'm looking on the bright side.


Greg said...

Tom Waits is responsible for more title posts of mine than any other songwriter. I adore him. There should be a statue erected to him somewhere. I imagine when Altman was making Short Cuts and he wasn't working on the Waits/Lily Tomlin story he was thinking, "I wish the whole movie was Tom and Lily."

bill r. said...

Well, I love pretty much all of Short Cuts, but they are both great. And I generally don't like Tomlin at all, but when she worked with Altman she was extraordinary.

And I do remember reading somewhere that Altman filmed their stuff first, and while shooting thought that everyone who came after them had a lot to live up to.

As a musician, Waits has done more to shape my musical tastes than anybody outside of my family. Listening to him for the first time was a revelation.

Greg said...

I liked Short Cuts too, didn't love it, but I do like it. I've heard a lot of "it's dreary" criticisms of it but if the film's well made, and I think Short Cuts is well made, then how is it dreary. As Roger Ebert said, a great movie is never depressing, a bad movie is always depressing.

And I think Waits is a natural actor who has a style and voice so outside the norm that no one knows what to do with him. Kind of like his music, which no one knows what to make of because they don't get two verses, a refrain and a guitar solo. And the lyrics don't even rhyme in half of them. I mean, stop confusing everyone Tom and give us a jingle why don't you.

bill r. said...

Yeah, but my favorite Waits album is actually Mule Variations, which is pretty damn accessible, as far as his stuff goes.

I remember when I worked at Borders years ago, I had a nice little moment of bonding with a customer with whom I otherwise probably had nothing in common. I was working the cash register, and he was an older guy, probably late 50s (I would have been in my mid-20s, probably), looked pretty well-off, and he was buying a Racing Form and a copy of either Mojo or Uncut (British music magazines). The previous issue had a big article on Waits, and I asked him if he'd read it. I think he said no, but he was a Waits fan. I said, "Yeah, Mule Variations (which at the time would've been Waits's most recent album) was just..." I trailed off, and the guy said, "Magnificent."

So, anyway, not much of a story, but I still remember it, for some reason.

Fox said...

Bill did you see Waits on his most recent tour? I ask b/c I saw him in Dallas and that set looks like the one he was touring with.

I should say that I like Waits, but not like you guys, nor my friend that I went with. She just called me up and said "I have a free ticket to see Tom Waits. Wanna meet me in Dallas to see him?"... "Uh, duh!"

bill r. said...

No, Fox, I got that picture off the internet -- the very same internet we're chatting on right now!

I've never seen Waits in concert. I'd love to, but no dice so far, even though we have a venue down here that would be perfect for him.

He rarely tours, though. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

My daughter saw Bob Dylan at Mississippi State University, of all places ... someone threw up a beer all over her.

Also, Starkville, MS, where I lived for ten years and the afore-mentioned incident took place, is where Johnny Cash was arrested for pissing in public, and wrote the immortal Oktibbeha County Jail.

And -- wait for it, wait for it -- Tom Waits has never been to Starkville.

Coincidence? I think not ...

bill r. said...

Rick, I'll be honest: that is fucking spooky.