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up a turd.” Keith Richards rips power chords to the sound of, once again, organically recorded sounds of marching feet and drums on this one. The effect is a hard rocking anthem a la Street Fighting Man, but much more chilling. Waits has always had the ability to effectively switch gears with the skill of a trucker guiding an over packed rig down a steep hill without grinding them. You can almost see him as he does this, cigarette in his mouth and a confident smile and nod as he slows the pace and rhythm of the collection as he eases into Last Leaf, a lament on maturity: “They flutter to the ground cause they can’t hang on… there’s nothing in this world that I ain’t seen, I greet all the new ones that are coming in green… the autumn took the rest but they won’t take me.” Delivered in classic Waits style with pump organ and no percussion; delicate thoughtfulness delivered by a gentle, caring hand.
His career, which is now closing in on fifty years, shows no signs of slowing up. Bad As Me will be counted among his best, most important work. On Satisfied, Waits tips his hat reverently to his boys, Mick and Keith: “Now Mr. Jagger, Mr. Richards, I will scratch where I’ve been itching, before I’m gone. I said I will have satisfaction, let the bullet go back into the barrel.” Keith Richards is, of course, present again on this one and one can see him smiling away on this unmistakable Chicago blues number. It would be a powerful experience to see this unit out on the road, but no such plans for a full tour exist. Currently, Tom Waits is working with Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, and writer/director Martin McDonough on a film entitled
*Excerpt from Tom Waits on Tom Waits, Paul Maher, Chicago Review Press, 2011
Seven Psychopaths. The movie going public’s appetite for Tom Waits on the big screen has never abated. His credits through the years include over one hundred credits, which include acting and soundtrack credits. His career, which is now closing in on fifty years, shows no signs of slowing up. Bad As Me will be counted among his best, most important work. Not compromising any of the qualities that are present on his previous works is what makes him Tom Waits. He was once asked: Do you have a favorite sound? “Bacon. In a frying pan. If you record the sound of bacon in a frying pan and play it back it sounds
like the pops and cracks on an old 33 1/3 recording. Almost exactly like that.” On his favorite instrument? “I have a Stroh violin. Stroh is the guy who created the violin with the horn attached to the bridge. This was around when orchestras played primarily in pits. In old theaters, the string players would complain that they couldn’t be heard in the balcony. So this guy created the Stroh violin, which was a way of amplifying the sound before electricity. It sounds like the violin is coming out of the horn of a 78 record player. He made Stroh basses, Stroh cellos. He even has a one-string Stroh violin. Those are interesting. I used one on a record called Alice.”* On the landscape of overproduced music with artificial sounds and artificial themes, it is always great to know that you can go home to Tom Waits. As with every album he has ever created, Bad As Me never lets you down. It will be counted among his best works.
Published on Jul 1, 2012
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