Tom Waits

Tom Waits

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Tom Waits (born 7.12.1949)
Tom Waits is an American singer and songwriter as well as a composer and actor.

Childhood & Early Music Career: Tom Waits was born in Pomona, California. His mother was Alma Johnson McMurray and his father was Jesse Frank Waits and both parents were school teachers. They divorced in 1960 and Tom went to live with his mother in Whittier, California, then later to National City, San Diego County. Waits would often take trips to Mexico with his father (a Spanish teacher) and he taught himself to play music on a neighbour's piano.

Tom Waits attended Hilltop High School and during that time played in a soul band named The System. He later worked as a doorman at the Heritage nightclub (now the Liar's Club). This was where he performed his first gig, for $25. He was a fan of artists such as Bob Dylan, Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Sinatra but soon learned to develop his own style.

Music & Film Career: Tom Waits moved to Echo Park, Los Angeles in 1971. The neighbourhood was home to Frank Zappa and Jackson Browne. He would queue with other musicians to play at The Troubadour club. At the age of 21, he signed with Herb Cohen and recorded a string of demo tapes for Herb's Bizarre/Straight label.

The following year, he signed to Asylum Records and his debut album Closing Time was released in 1973. It was produced by Jerry Yester of Lovin' Spoonful. It was not until Tim Buckley covered 'Martha', on his Sefronia album that Closing Time garnered any serious attention. Similarly, the Eagles covered 'Ol' 55' on On the Border.

Waits toured with the likes of Martha and the Vandellas and Charlie Rich and released his second album The Heart of Saturday Night. This was followed by the double album Nighthawks at the Diner in 1975. He also sang backing vocals on Bonnie Raitt's 'Sweet and Shiny Eyes'.

In 1976, Tom Waits released Small Change, which had a far more downbeat edge to his previous albums. He performed 'The Piano Has Been Drinking' on The Old Grey Whistle Test. This was followed on stylistically with 1977's Foreign Affairs, which featured a duet with Bette Midler and 1978's Blue Valentine, which opens with a Leonard Bernstein song - 'Somewhere' - from West Side Story.

Two years later, Waits made his film debut in Paradise Alley, which starred Sylvester Stallone. He played a pianist, Mumbles and performed two original compositions.

1980's Heartattack and Vine was Waits' last release for Asylum Records. That year, he also worked with Crystal Gayle on the soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola's One From The Heart.

When he left Asylum, Tom Waits had a number of small film roles, in films such as Wolfen (a 1981 horror film starring Albert Finney). He also had a string of roles in Francis Ford Coppola's films, such as The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, The Cotton Club and Bram Stoker's Dracula.

1983 saw Waits release Swordfishtrombones, on which he played a number of instruments that were new to him, such as the waterphone and the bassoon. His new musical style was compared to Kurt Weill as well as Dr. John and Captain Beefheart. Two years later he released Rain Dogs, which featured Robert Quine (of Richard Hell's band The Voidoids) and Keith Richards on guitar. The album contained 'Downtown Train' which later became a hit for Rod Stewart. The video for Waits' version featured a cameo from Jake La Motta. Waits followed this with a lead role in the Jim Jarmusch film Down By Law, as well as an appearance on The Rolling Stones' 'Sleep Tonight'.

Wait's acting career developed further when he landed a supporting role alongside Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep in Ironweed.

The 1990s continued to be a prolific time for Tom Waits. He collaborated with William S. Burroughs and Robert Wilson on the theatrical show The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets. Waits then worked with the photographer Sylvia Plachy, supplying a short album to accompany her book Sylvia Plachy's Unguided Tour. He also started a lengthy period of collaboration with the band Primus, especially the singer Les Claypool.

Waits supplied the soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch's 1991 movie Night on Earth. His film work continued when he had a cameo in Terry Gilliam's The Fisher King, followed by a role in Hector Babenco's At Play in the Fields of the Lord, which also featured John Malkovich, Kathy Bates and Kevin Bacon.

1992's Bone Machine broke the five year wait for a Tom Waits studio album. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album. The following year, he released The Black Rider as well as appearing in Robert Altman's Short Cuts and Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes: Somewhere in California as well as composing the music for the animated feature Bunny with Kathleen Brennan.

In 1998, Tom Waits left Island Records and signed to Epitaph. The next year, he released Mule Variations, earning himself another Grammy in the process.

2002 saw Tom Waits release two albums; Alice, followed by Blood Money. Then, in 2004, he released Real Gone, which featured the singer beatboxing for the first time. He then contributed a cover of Daniel Johnston's 'King Kong' to the tribute compilation The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered. November 2006 was marked by the release of the three disc compilation set, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards. Waits' song 'Way Down In The Hole' was used as the theme tune for the HBO series The Wire. In 2008, Waits appeared on Robert Plant and Alison Krauss's album Raising Sand. It was covered by Steve Earl and The Blind Boys of Alabama. Scarlett Johansson's debut 2008 album, Anywhere I Lay My Head contained 10 Tom Waits covers.

Personal Life: Tom Waits had a relationship with the musician Rickie Lee Jones in the late 1970s.

Waits went on to marry Kathleen Brennan in 1980.

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'Late Show with David Letterman'

Tom Waits - A variety of stars were photographed as they arrived to Ed Sullivan Theater ahead of their interviews on the 'Late Show with David Letterman' in New York City, New York, United States - Thursday 14th May 2015

Tom Waits

SFJAZZ Historic Opening Night Concert

Tom Waits and Les Claypool - SFJAZZ Historic Opening Night Concert San Francisco CA United States Wednesday 23rd January 2013

Tom Waits and Les Claypool
Tom Waits, Robert Mailer Anderson and Les Claypool

Seven Psychopaths Review


Martin McDonagh gleefully plays with both the gang thriller genre and the moviemaking process with this enjoyably absurd action comedy. It's a little self-indulgent, acknowledging how difficult he found it to follow up his acclaimed film In Bruges. But a continual stream of hilariously clever gags make it thoroughly entertaining, and the seriously great actors are so playful that it's infectious.

At the centre, naturally, is an Irish writer named Marty (Farrell), living in Hollywood and struggling to write his next screenplay. He settles on the title Seven Psychopaths, and decides that his lead character will be a nonviolent Buddhist killer. Otherwise he's stuck. Then he discovers that his hyperactive pal Billy (Rockwell) is running a scam with Hans (Walken), kidnapping dogs and claiming the rewards from their owners. This all goes terribly wrong when they grab the beloved shitzu of the mercurial thug Charlie (Harrelson), sending him into a murderous rampage. And as Marty finds himself in the middle of it, his script starts to take shape.

McDonagh is adept at combining freewheeling wackiness with more astute observational comedy. This film isn't as emotionally resonant as In Bruges, but it crackles with the same sharp dialog and offhanded violent silliness. Most of this plays up the amusing shock value of sudden death, although there are moments that are surprisingly touching, mainly due to a wonderfully textured turn from Walken. Rockwell is the other standout as the manic, unpredictable Billy, an enthusiastic mischief-maker. And Harrelson has a great presence as the funny-terrifying Charlie.

Continue reading: Seven Psychopaths Review

Picture - Tom Waits , Monday 1st October 2012

Tom Waits Monday 1st October 2012 "Seven Psychopaths" - Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals at the Mann Bruin Theatre

Tom Waits

Seven Psychopaths Trailer

Marty is a budding screenwriter in LA with hopes of completing his major screenplay 'Seven Psychopaths' but involuntarily gets mixed up in his friends Hans and Billy's career of dog kidnapping; a way of earning money that involves stealing people's pet pooches and returning them some days later to claim the reward. Billy is an actor and Marty's best friend who tries desperately to keep him safe when he is almost killed after Billy and Hans steal the much-loved Shih Tzu of unhinged gangster, Charlie; a man whose fury and devastation at losing his dog is enough drive to execute whoever he thinks is involved. Hans is religious with a violent past but now recognises non-violence as a better way to live. However, he, Billy and Marty will struggle avoiding violence at the hands of Charlie especially as they choose to ignore their worried and annoyed girlfriends' suggestions to return the dog.

'Seven Psychopaths' is a wonderful crime comedy that spoofs the trend of all the serious gangster movies that have been released this year. Directed, written and produced by the Oscar winning Martin Mcdonagh ('In Bruges', 'Six Shooter'), this star-studded flick is definitely one for dog lovers and gangster film lovers alike. It is scheduled for release in the UK this winter on December 7th 2012.

Starring: Sam Rockwell, Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Zeljko Ivanek, Tom Waits, Helena Mattsson, Gabourey Sidibe, Kevin Corrigan, Brendan Sexton III, Sandy Martin and Ronnie Gene Blevins.

Picture - American singer Tom Waits , Monday 9th July 2012

Tom Waits - American singer Tom Waits Monday 9th July 2012 'The Late Show with David Letterman' at the Ed Sullivan Theater - Arrivals

Tom Waits
Tom Waits
Tom Waits

The Book Of Eli Trailer

Watch the trailer for The Book Of Eli

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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Trailer

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Tom Waits, Orphans (3 CD set), Album Review

Tom Waits
Orphans (3 CD set)
Album Review

Continue reading: Tom Waits, Orphans (3 CD set), Album Review

Tom Waits

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