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.
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
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 SawyersCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved