Friday, March 12, 2010

Something Tom Waits Said

I don't remember where it was I read it, but somewhere, in some interview, Tom Waits said that he likes songs that give specific details. As in, "Chestnut Street" as opposed to "the street." Or "Senators" instead of "politicians." Or, I dunno, "Ramones records" instead of punk rock records? In any event, I completely agree with Mr. Waits. I'll try and provide more specifics from here on out. Not just for my band, but other people's bands too!

1. "Went to my university" - Descendents (My World)


"Went to the University of Wisconsin in Madison"

2. "I wanted to go by the river/keeping warm with something bitter" - Bent Outta Shape (Stick Around)


"I wanted to pee by the East River/keeping warm with any one or more of the following: coffee, unsweetened cocoa, South American "mate", marmalade, bitter melon, beer, bitters, olives, citrus peel, many plants in the Brassicaceae family, dandelion greens and escarole."

3. "Read about your band in some local page/didn't mention the name" - the Replacements (Left Of The Dial)


"Read about Zuzu's Petals in the City Pages/didn't mention the name" - then how did you know, Paul? HOW DID YOU KNOW, PAUL?!?

4. "She grew up in an Indiana town/had a good lookin' mama who never was around" - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Last Dance With Mary Jane)


"She grew up in a shitty town/had a MILF who was smart enough to not stay in said shitty town"

I'm sure I could think of more if I took the time.


  1. Sometimes there's something to be said for re-generalizing, thought...Party at the Bushwick Hotel = party anywhere any of us are wasting our lives away in the best/worst way possible.

  2. Agreed, Jay, except the Bushwick Hotel is a real place! So it becomes a symbol. Re-generalizing is fine. I think what Mr Waits was advising is the avoidance of generalizing (pre-generalizing?) when possible.