“Most American automobile horns beep in the key of F. Did you know that?
Singer-songwriter Tom Waits has long been known as one of our great raconteurs. His comic timing is nigh unto perfect. And that voice. The one that was described in Rolling Stone as sounding “like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.” Tom Waits telling stories? I’m so there. Tom Waits is a truly great bullshit artist! The best.
I love Tom Waits, so how the hell did I not know he did a VH1 Storytellers? Well he did, back in 1999, and it’s as good as you would expect it to be. Better even. It’s a damned shame this has never come out on DVD (or what about Netflix streaming oh Viacom digital overlords?). The quality here is so-so, it was obviously taped off air onto a VHS tape, but I’m not complaining.
At Archive.org, some kind soul has posted the entire unedited set, more stories, more songs, but it’s audio only.
A special highlight, for me, comes at 25:20 when Waits growls “This is about the neighbor we all become…” when he introduces “What’s He Building?” from his then current album, 1999’s Mule Variations.
Bonus clip: Waits sings “The Piano Has Been Drinking” on Fernwood2Night in 1977: