I first encounter Tom Waits around age 12. It was a Saturday night, and I had just finished [secretly] watching my newest obsession, Saturday Night Live. I flipped the channel to what I now understand was Austin City Limits, and saw this single dude at the piano, telling some story about rum and making the audience laugh and laugh.
And then, he began singing.
I wish I could say I was some savant, and got what he was doing right away. But, I did not. I wasn’t repelled by it, but I most certainly did not continue to watch beyond an additional minute or two, and even considered that it might be a joke, another late night comedy farce, a character he was playing.Since, Tom Waits has continue to cross my radar, and I’ve gone through every stage of musical grief with him. As someone who grew up on the arrangements of Phil Spector and the harmonies of the Beach Boys, I’ll admit, he didn’t appeal to me at first. But, neither did some of life’s best things, like beer, or exercise, or, to be honest, editing and managing DIY blogs and websites. And part of being a grown up is admitting you don’t know why other people dig something so much, and you engage it anyway. To at least learn more.
From now through the end of next week, you can stream Tom Waits’ new record, Bad As Me, through its website. You have to enter a code, and they gave me these:
If it doesn’t work, just enter your email, and they’ll give you one within minutes. It works – I just tried it.
Give it a listen, then come back and let us know what you think. I’m on play number five, and I think I love it.