While recording the album, we slipped away one evening to see Tom Waits perform at the Palace Theater in Louisville.The song can be found on The Trumpet child.
The next morning I sat down (basking in the afterglow I suppose), picked up a pen and began scribbling words that came before I could talk myself out of them:He’s got the hands of a blind piano player
He’s got a feel for the dark like a soothsayer
He takes a little bow and tips his fedora
Shouts like he’s gonna save Sodom and Gomorrah
Workin’ for the circus X railroad bum
Carnival barker for kingdom dot come
Dusty old Gibson, opposable thumb
Bangs out the rhythm on a 50 gallon drum
Don’t wait for Tom
Tom’s long gone he’s already moved on...
Sittin’ in a corner with his pet muskrat
Tossin’ his cards into an old man’s hat
He grins at the girls and they always grin back
He bets an old waltz he could get ’em in the sack
He wears a tuxedo made of sackcloth and ashes
Has a tattoo of a girl who can bat her eyelashes
Down on the river he was ﬁshin’ with a sword
He knocked off John the Baptist for a word from the Lord
And so on. It was a private aside, a little memento of a great night, but when I read the words to my wife and bandmate Karin later, she said, “We have to do something with these.” When we got back to the recording studio, I sat down at Brad Jones’ tack piano and started playing a little ragtime riff. Karin grabbed her pocket recorder, and it wasn’t long before we’d accidentally recorded a song about Tom Waits.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Over the Rhine inspiration
Over the Rhine have written a song inspired by the Tom Waits show in Louisville called Don’t Wait For Tom. Paste Magazine has more info: