Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Innocent When You Dream - the Tom Waits Reader - Edited by Mac Montandon

This book is a compilation of articles, interviews and assorted writing on Tom Waits and his career. Set is relatively chronological order, we get press releases and scribbles from the outlying press such as Creem and Zig Zag when many of the "normal" press was ignoring the man. Though before long Rolling Stone shows up, as does NME, the Washington Post and even the New Yorker. Interestingly enough, since Waits often cited him as an influence, there are even a couple of Charles Bukowski poems here, which I find fitting as I would often have Waits in the background as I read Buk in the early days.

The book is split into three section - the "Early Years", of his beat phase, followed by the "Middle Years", as he starts his change into the noise-meister and actor that began to receive real acclaim. Here everyone from the LA Times to Playboy gets involved, along with odd tangents like Thrasher and conversations with Jim Jarmusch and Elvis Costello. Oddly, I didn't care for the piece with Costello, I guess cuz Elvis talked so much about himself, though I'm sure that's how it was meant to be.

In "These Days" we catch up to the 2005 printing of the book with many tales of Waits' disappearances and long breaks between records, which garner the same (or similar) responses in many of the articles. In a way, it's interesting to see that he really did have stock (silly) answers that he continued to give, but it does get a bit repetitive, as you know what he's going to say.

Overall, though, a quite enjoyable read which does gives some insight to and information on this man who likes to avoid the limelight. Definitely a good one for fans.