Sharing a conversation with Mitch on the Artist: Tom Waits.
are influenced by all kinds of elements God puts in their path.
I knew it would be interesting to find out from Mitch what it was
about Tom Waits that caused him to be one of his favorite artists.
He graciously shared and agreed to publish the email conversation. As always,
he amazes me with his writing. Enjoy.
Questions.. and I DON'T publish every word you write.. but now I'm curious about Tom Waits.. and if you answer it doesn't have to at all be beyond satisfying my why's.. on him being a favorite artist for you.
When did you first hear his music?
I was able to buy through a club a couple of Tom Waits recordings and I'm looking forward to hearing them and seeing if this artist has influenced your own music at all. ~ suzan.
Tom Waits is a huge influence. He has influenced me, in a musical sense, more than anyone other than Rich Mullins. Probably, in the live performance more than anything else. The live thing has really morphed and changed into something different in the last few months.
Tom Waits' guts appeal to me more than anything. The nerve he has to just be himself, especially when he was first starting out, back in the early seventies. That has really inspired me to be faithful to what Jesus is doing in me and say come what may. And Tom Waits is constantly reinventing himself. Which has made me realize that Jesus is most likely moving me in different directions with my art and my music.
So, it is Tom Waits, the whole, that appeals to me. It is impossible to pick a song or project that would be a favorite. He has done over twenty albums, and the albums he did in the early years are so different than the stuff he did fifteen years ago, or is doing today.
I first heard Tom Waits in 1996 when Rich and I were in Chicago. I listened to it at a record store, hated it and wrote it off. That is a lot of peoples reaction, because they can't get passed his "terrible" voice. But it is just something we are not accustomed to. He is the best singer I know of (when you talk of singing as being what it truly is: communicating a lyric, emotion, passion, believing what you are saying). And his songwriting is unapproachable. He is one of the three best writers in the last hundred years. I would put Him there along with with Bob Dylan and Rich Mullins.
Then in 1999, when I was preparing to record Chasing The Horizon, Mark Roberton said I should listen to Tom Waits. I got his latest album called Mule Variations. It was, at the same time, the most alarming and beautiful thing I had ever heard. Definitely unlike anything I had listened to before. His creativity and guts hooked me. It is one of those times when you find yourself wondering where it has been your whole life. I went back and listened to his early records and they were something altogether different, and every bit as good.
writing is sometimes skewed, to put it mildly, he is the most thought provoking
artist I have ever (though at a distance) become familiar with, along with
For a taste of Tom Waits music, check out these songs available at amazon.com
obtained from mitch for sound/picture files used