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Tom Waits Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (27) | Personal Quotes (13)

Overview (3)

Born in Pomona, California, USA
Birth NameThomas Alan Waits
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Thomas Alan Waits was born in Pomona, California, to schoolteachers Alma Fern (Johnson) and Jesse Frank Waits. Described as one of the last beatniks of the contemporary music, Waits in fact has two separate careers. From 1973 (LP "Closing Time") to 1983 ("One From The Heart" soundtrack), he recorded nine LPs for Asylum Records, writing songs mainly in the manner of Tin Pan Alley, mixing them with jazz and blues. Extraordinarily, he never produced a hit, but he earned a cult following all over the world. In 1983 he signed with Island Records, and released a series of albums that stunned the music world. Beginning with "Swordfishtrombones", he introduced a whole new orchestration, which included some of the instruments invented by Harry Partch. He found a new ground for his innovations, searching in sound fields that never before were searched. This second part of his career coincided with his marriage to Kathleen Brennan, a former writer for Francis Ford Coppola (Zoetrope (1999)). His LPs "Rain Dogs" (1985), "Big Time" (soundtrack) and "The Black Rider" are today what Kurt Weill's music was once. "The Black Rider" brings music written for the show directed by Bob Wilson and staged in Germany.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Dragan Todorovic

Spouse (1)

Kathleen Brennan (10 August 1980 - present) (3 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Raspy, gravelly singing voice

Trivia (27)

Close friend of Chuck E. Weiss, a fellow L.A. scenester and co-founder of The Viper Room with Johnny Depp, and frequently mentions him in lyrics and liner notes on his records.
Close friends with the Coppola family including Nicolas Cage; often cast in Francis Ford Coppola movies.
Frito-Lay used an unauthorized sample of his song "Step Right Up" in one of their commercials. He successfully sued for an undisclosed amount of money. Frito-Lay unsuccessfully counter-sued.
Children: Kellesimone (b. 1983), Casey Xavier (b. 1985), Sullivan (b. 1993).
Uses a large collection of electric megaphones to create unusual tonal effects on his recordings. One of his favorites is a 1944 vintage issued by the US Navy Bureau of Ships, manufactured by Guided Radio Corp. of New York.
Shops at hardware stores for items to be used as percussion instruments.
Owns obscure and custom made instruments such as a Chamberlin Music Master 600 (an analog synthesizer manufactured in the 1960s) and a photon clarinet ("[It] sounds like a keyboard lobster dying on a campfire.").
He converted a 4 cubic yard metal box (intended as a debris dumpster) into a musical instrument called a "Strata Dumpster" (aka "Dumpstalele"). He cut a 2 foot hole into one side, and streched seven piano strings across it, fastening them with two welded bridges. The strings can be plucked, strummed or bowed. He describes the sound as "trainlike and huge, like trash day with a purpose."
The photo on the cover of his album "Rain Dogs" includes a man who many believe to be him. It was one of a series of photos taken at the Cafe Lehmitz in Hamburg by the Swedish photographer Anders Petersen. Waits reportedly saw the photo at an exhibition, was taken by the similarity of him and the man in the photo, and asked permission from the photographer to use it as an album cover.
His maternal grandmother, Olga Regina Olsen, was the daughter of Norwegian parents (her family was from Oslo). Tom's other ancestry is English, Scottish, Scots-Irish (Northern Irish), German, Swiss-German, and Welsh.
He has said that Bob Dylan is his favorite songwriter and his main influence for initially getting into music. He contributes his shift to more experimental, eccentric music starting with the album "Swordfishtrombones" to the influence of Don Van Vliet. Ironically, Dylan's more recent work has been said to be comparable to Waits' music.
Is a good friend of Keith Richards who makes frequent appearances as a guitarist on his records.
A big Baz Luhrmann fan.
Bears such a striking resemblance to actor Ron Perlman that he was once credited under the name "Ron Perlman" on a movie poster.
Being a family friend of the Coppolas, he performed at the wedding of Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze.
Originally slated to play Lefty, one of the singing cowboys in A Prairie Home Companion (2006).
His album "Rain Dogs" is mentioned in the script for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004).
All of his recent original songs are credited as being written by both Waits and his wife Kathleen Brennan, although some of them are written solely by Waits.
His role in Domino (2006) is immediately preceded by his own song "Jesus Gonna Be Here," from his 1992 album "Bone Machine".
Lives in Sonoma County, California.
Member of the "Sons of Lee Marvin". Along with Jim Jarmusch (Founder). A private and humorous group consisting of invited members whom could plausibly be Lee Marvin's son.
Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on March 14, 2011. The other inductees were Darlene Love, Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Leon Russell and Dr. John.
His father, Frank, was a teacher at the largest high school in Los Angeles, Belmont High School.
Beyond the aforementioned Bob Dylan and Captain Beefheart, Waits is a big fan of Frank Sinatra, Thelonious Monk, the Rolling Stones, Gavin Bryars, the Lounge Lizards, The Pogues, Leonard Cohen, Little Richard, James Brown, Frank Zappa, Elvis Costello, Paul Simon and Prince. His number one favorite album of all time "In the Wee Small Hours" by Sinatra.
Member of the "Sons of Lee Marvin". Along with Jim Jarmusch (Founder). A private and clandestine organisation consisting of invited members whom could plausibly be Lee Marvin's son.
Lives in California. [August 2001]
Before she was an established actress Winona Ryder once babysat for Tom's children.

Personal Quotes (13)

Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends.
No, I don't have a drinking problem except when I can't get a drink.
I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.
I like to walk out of a restaurant with enough gas to open a Mobil station.
I hate Disneyland. It primes our kids for Las Vegas.
If Michael Jackson wants to work for Pepsi, why doesn't he just get himself a suit and an office in their headquarters and be done with it?
All hardware items must be admired for their sonic properties: pitchforks, egg beaters, crowbars, fireplace grates, shovels, anvils, rebars [the structural reinforcement rods used in poured concrete], trash cans - the list goes on and on and they're all waiting to be played.
Commercials are an unnatural use of my work ... it's like having a cow's udder sewn to the side of my face. Painful and humiliating.
I knelt at the altar of Ray Charles for years. I worked at a restaurant, and that's all there was on the jukebox.
The blues is like a planet. It's an enormous topic. You can't ignore the impact that it has had and continues to have on the whole musical culture. It's a tree that everyone is swinging from. Without it, I don't know where I would be. It's indelible and indispensable.
I love Burroughs (William S. Burroughs). He's like a metal desk. He's like a still, and everything that comes out of him is already whiskey.
He is one of the standards by which I measure all singers. (On Harry Belafonte)
"Blind Love" is one of my first country songs. I like Merle Haggard. Most of those other guys, though, sound like they're all just drinking tea and watching their waist and talking to their accountant. This one I think subscribes to some of that roadhouse feel.

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