Tom Waits Tom Waits (1949 - )
	Metropolitan area with interchange and connections
	Fly-by-nights from Riverside
	And out of state plates running a little late

	But the sailors jockey for the fast lane
	So 101 don't miss it
	There's rolling hills and concrete fields
	And the broken line's on your mind

	The eights go east and the fives go north
	And the merging nexus back and forth
	You see your sign, cross the line, signalling with a blink

	And the radio's gone off the air
	Gives you time to think
	And you hear the rumble
	As you fumble for a cigarette
	And blazing through this midnight jungle
	Remember someone that you met
	And one more block; the engine talks
	Whispers 'home at last'
	It whispers 'home at last'
	Whispers 'home at last'
	It whispers 'home at last'
	Whispers 'home at last'
	And there are diamonds on my windshield
	And these tears from heaven
	Well I'm pulling into town on the Interstate
	I got me a steel train in the rain
	And the wind bites my cheek through the wing
	Late nights and freeway flying
	Always makes me sing
	It always makes me sing

D I A M O N D S  O N  M Y 
   W I N D S H I E L D

Thomas Alan Waits was born on the eighth anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He was born on December 7, 1949 in Pomona, California. He and his two sisters grew up moving around from city to city in California. His parents who are both school teachers divorced when he was 10. They then moved to National City. Tom's grandfather was christened Jesse Frank Waits and his father Frank Waits. Tom is Scottish and Irish from his father's side of the family and Norwegian from his mother's side.

Tom became interested in music early and began tacking up sheets of Bob Dylan's lyrics in his room and even framed some in the rest of his house. He would keep a pad of paper and pencil by his bed so that he could remember the lyrics that he would think up in the middle of the night. He taught himself how to play the piano at a neighbor's house and then learned the guitar on a Gibson.

As well as creating music at an early age, the persona that Tom is famous for soon appeared. He enjoyed entertaining his classmates and his teachers as soon as his secondary schooling. An art class teacher would let him play his harmonica for the class and sometimes he would be asked to get up on the tables and do his version of a "soft shoe". He also tried as soon as possible to grow a mustache and a goatee. Sal, Tom's employer at "Napoleone's Pizza House", used to joke that he had more hair growing wild on his ass than Tom could cultivate on his face.

During his adolescence, Tom spent quite some time keeping his cars running. He first had problems with his '54 Ford station wagon that he called a "bato wagon". He then worked on his '55 Buick which was to be inspiration for the song "Ole '55" which the Eagles covered. He then progressed to the '61 white volkswagen where he finally learned how to drive a stick shift.

Waits has told at least two different ways of how he got the big break into the music business:
  • Break #1: Herb Cohen is impressed when he sees the doorman of LA's Heritage Club sing a few of his original songs, and then signs him to Asylum Records.
  • Break #2: Herb Cohen falls into conversation with Tom Waits at Ben Frank's on Sunset Strip, and signs him to his management roster on the strength of his shoes.

He began his career living in the famed Tropicana Motel on Santa Monica Blvd. in LA which is somewhat near the corner of Hollywood and Vine. He toured alot where he supposedly opening for such varied acts like C&W superstar Charlie Rich, pianist Billy Preston, John Hammond, Jerry Jeff Walker, and even Buffalo Bob & The Howdy Doody Review?. During this time he was dating Rickie Lee Jones whom was featured on the "Blue Valentine" album cover. After his career was more stable and while on the Zoetrope set of "One From The Heart", directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Tom met his future wife,Kathleen Brennan, who was a script editor at the time.

Kathlen Brennan was born in Johnsburg, Illinois. Waits described their courtship as a little unorthodox: "She can lie down on nails, stick a knitting needle through her lip and still drink coffeee, so I knew she was the girl for me." They were married in August 1980 and honeymooned in Tralee, Co. Kerry. When Patrick Humphries asked Tom Waits about the marriage ceremony, he said: "I found the Marriage Chapel in the Yellow Pages, right next to 'Massage'. The registrar's name was Watermelon and he kept calling me Mr. Watts! My mother likes what I do, I guess she's happier now that I'm married. I think she was a little bit worried about me for a while." Kathleen Brennan has been a major factor in his music and his life ever since.

Tom Waits Digest

16 Shells and 30 Ought Links Newsgroups and Mailing Lists
  • Rain Dogs Mailing List:

    You can subscribe to the raindogs mailing list by e-mailing with the text "subscribe raindogs <your full name>" in the body of the message.
Online Lyrics / Writing Big Time Film Links
  • Complete Filmography - Includes his credits as a writer, musician, and actor within his films. (Internet Movie Database Ltd)
  • A weekend with Tom Waits - An incomplete, yet nicely designed filmography. (Independent Film Channel)
Related Drinks

                    Well Frank settled down in the Valley
                    and hung his wild years
                    on a nail that he drove through
                    his wife's forehead
                    he sold used office furniture
                    out there on San Fernando Road
                    and assumed a $30,000 loan
                    at 15 1/4 % and put down payment
                    on a little two bedroom place
                    his wife was a spent piece of used jet trash
                    made good bloody marys
                    kept her mouth shut most of the time
                    had a little Chihuahua named Carlos
                    that had some kind of skin disease
                    and was totally blind. They had a
                    thoroughly modern kitchen
                    self-cleaning oven (the whole bit)
                    Frank drove a little sedan
                    they were so happy

                    One night Frank was on his way home
                    from work, stopped at the liquor store,
                    picked up a couple Mickey's Big Mouths
                    drank 'em in the car on his way
                    to the Shell station, he got a gallon of
                    gas in a can, drove home, doused
                    everything in the house, torched it,
                    parked across the street, laughing,
                    watching it burn, all Halloween
                    orange and chimney red then
                    Frank put on a top forty station
                    got on the Hollywood Freeway
                    headed north

                    Never could stand that dog

    F R A N K ' S 
W I L D  Y E A R S

Notes from the Ink:
The Ink apologizes to add yet another Tom Wait's page to the 3000 some references already in existance to the man; though the Tom Waits Digest does an excellent job at keeping tidy all the information they have on the man, much more exists and it is the purpose of the Ink to focus more on his talent as a writer and performer rather than his guitar lyrics. Feel free to mail the Ink on any other links that may fit this page.