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Innocent When You Dream: The Tom Waits Reader Paperback


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Innocent When You Dream: The Tom Waits Reader + Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (Musicians in Their Own Words) + Wild Years: The Music and Myth of Tom Waits
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Press (June 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560256672
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560256670
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Covering 30 years in 40 chapters, Montandon's anthology of reviews and interviews stretches from a Waits-penned press release (1974) through an interview that the singer-cum-cult-figure did for Magnet in November 2004. In between, readers can follow Waits and Elvis Costello through some absurd leaps of logic in a conversation they recorded at a Chinese restaurant in 1989, hear Waits tell Terry Gross "I couldn't wait to be an old man," and peruse a 1987 Toronto Star review of a gritty, mood-shifting concert. "Waits was forever turning the show into something new," the critic says, "revealing another nook in his low-rent pantry." Despite the conspicuous gap between 1993 and 1999, the volume gives a vivid portrait of Waits as a person, with glimpses into the life of a composer and performer who has referred to his songs as "travelogues." Word-for-word transcriptions of some interviews make for difficult reading, but the book will nonetheless be welcomed by Waits's many fans.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The first thing most people notice about Tom Waits is that voice, that raspy croak that somehow conveys a wide range of emotions. Many entries in this entertaining volume comment on Waits' greatest musical distinction; Gene Santoro's, for instance, aptly describes it as a "smashed foghorn." Other pieces include the hilarious transcript of an Australian TV talk show with Waits as a mumbling, drunken guest; profiles from the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Village Voice; interviews from the Onion and Musician magazine; rambling conversations with Elvis Costello and independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch; poems by Charles Bukowski (Waits is a longtime admirer); and a revealing interview by NPR's Terry Gross. As Geoffrey Himes notes in an article that appeared in the Washington Post, Waits' cast of characters in his songs includes drunks, hookers, petty thieves, and other assorted misfits who haunt all-night diners and used-car lots. "Bruce Springsteen likes to sing about these characters," Himes says, "but Waits sings as one." The fans surely will love this collection. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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It's a supremely entertaining and fulfilling read.
Darkness_
Once in a while a book comes along so good in idea and execution you wonder that it didn't exist before.
Nora Greer
I didn't know much about Tom Waits but I found the book to be absolutely engaging . . . a great read!
Maria Benetos

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Rudaigh Coyle on June 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
I grabbed this book on the way to the emergency room -- something to hold onto while waiting and freaking. Four hours later, a guy with a very bloody face whacks my foot, "Hey, is that you they've been calling?" It was.

Wonderfully edited and organized, this is a fascinating book from start to finish. Anybody who's ever thought of getting into the interview/feature article writing business would be wise to read through these pieces to see how it's done. Anybody who wants to be thoroughly distracted from a miserable here and now should grab this book. And of course anybody interested in Tom Waits should read it for pure pleasure.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME on June 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
In the absence of an autobiography, this collection of 38 interviews and profiles is essential for the Tom Waits fan. It opens with a foreword by Frank Black and an introduction by Mac Montandon.

Part One: Early Years, contains the following amongst many others: The 1974 press release for Heart Of Saturday Night by Waits himself; A short interview with Clark Peterson of Creem magazine from 1978 titled The Slime Who Came In From The Cold; from 1976, there is an article from Sweet & Sour, a long Zig Zag interview and a New Yorker article.

The 1977 Rolling Stone piece by David McGee is very informative and from 1979 there is a short Washington Post article. This section also contains a poem by Charles Bukowski with a short introduction noting that it captures the entire Waitsian world.

In Part Two: The Middle Years, I found the following to be the most compelling: Peter Sabbag's in-depth 1987 article from the Los Angeles Times Magazine, a long formal question and answer interview by Glen O'Brien in a 1985 Spin magazine, 20 Questions from a 1988 Playboy and another question and answer interview from 1989 with Elvis Costello in Option.

Part Three: These Days, offers inter alia the following informative pieces: A 1999 Billboard review of Mule Variations and a short 1999 live review by Jon Pareles from the New York Times. From the same year there is a short review by Luc Sante in The Village Voice and an engaging conversational piece by David Fricke in Rolling Stone. There is also a short question and answer session from a 2004 Vanity Fair.

This section concludes with Nirvana, a 1992 poem by Charles Bukowski. It was included because in an interview with Soma magazine in 2002, Waits referred to this as his favorite poem.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kar on August 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
I bought this book on Amazon thinking it would be a hip birthday gift bound to please a huge Tom Waits fan. I browsed through it before wrapping it and the next day I went to a book store to buy myself a copy. Turns out this book has essays and stories from some of my favorite artists and writers like Frank Black, Jim Jarmusch, Terry Gross (npr!), Charles Bukowski and Elvis Costello. It's been on my nightstand for a few months now. Indeed, this book was a nice surprise.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By D. Sean Brickell on June 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
Talk about a can't-miss formula for success.

A. Take one of the foremost artists of the past 30 years.

B. Gather together interviews, reviews and just-plain-ol'- features done by the leading journalists of the period.

C. Compile into book format.

I'll tell you this! Don't pick it up at 11 p.m. before turning off the light to go to sleep. You'll stay awake all night reading -- and enjoying every word.

Wish I'd've thought of this book myself.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By fluffy, the human being. on February 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
this is a thoroughly enjoyable book consisting of all things tom waits: interviews, reviews, articles, and such. mr waits comments on his approach to songwriting were the most consistently interesting aspect of the book for me and should be of great interest (for freshness of/and or off-kilter approach to song building) to all aspiring songsters. lacking a biography or autobiography, the world, for now, will have to make do with this well done book for an insight into this amazing artist.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Plato Hieronimus on June 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you love Tom Waits and his harder than Chinese Algebra lifestyle, then this book will be a delight. Reading it is like sitting down with a family member and hearing new stories about his life. It helps to fill out our perspective on this talented and quixotic man who lives by his gut and sings with his heart. Those of us who follow the scene are looking forward to seeing what Mr. Montandon has in store for us next.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Deighton on September 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Forget the usual boring music interviews. Tom is absurd. This book is a load of fun. Makes me feel now like I did when I read Vonnegut in high school. Very little on the creative process, as Waits is no less creative in talking to interviewers as he is with his music.

Only downside is that a great bit of the NPR interview is left out when Tom grumbles at Terry Gross' suggestion that the song "God's Away On Business" is atheistic. "No. He's away on business. God's a busy guy. He'll be back." or something like that. See I wouldn't have to misquote it if it was in the book. I'm done nit picking now!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Monkeysan on June 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you're a Tom Waits fan, this is the book you've been looking for . It's engrossing, entertaining and enlightening. Editor Mac Montandon has done an excellent job of editing this volume, bringing together a collection of essays, interviews and other Waits-ian writings that accomplishes the seemingly impossible--rekindling that exhilirating feeling of discovery nearly every person who's ever listened to Tom Waits for the first time has come away with. No small feat. The Frank Black piece is the icing on a rum-soaked cake of a book that is a delight from start to end.
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