What makes a Tom Waits Wednesday? Well, album after album of music by this incomparable musician… dimmed lights… a general feeling of unsettled restlessness… abundant drinks… basically, we provide the scene, you fill it with your own tortured thoughts.
For the uninitiated, Tom Waits can be a little overwhelming, given that he has 28 albums released relatively consistently over the past five decades, including soundtracks and a Faustian black opera .
Not to mention the fact that he also has several books of poetry and has appeared in over two dozen films.
So, where does one start? Answer: Probably not with Swordfishtrombones.
What we present is not the definitive technique to become a Tom Waits nut, but it’s worked for many acolytes:
- Start with Closing Time, Mule Variations, and Small Change. Learn them by heart.
- Next, watch Coffee and Cigarettes and Wristcutters: A Love Story. They’re mostly not about Tom Waits, but they give you a good idea of the kind of movies he’s in. While you’re at it, watch Dead Man. He’s not in it at all, but you’re going down the Rabbit Hole. You’ll understand later.
- Now it’s time for Rain Dogs, The Black Rider, and Nighthawks at the Diner.
- You’re eventually going to watch The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, so get that out of the way.
From here on in, it’s up to you. But don’t worry, we’re here for you.
That’s what Tom Waits Wednesday is really about: just a bunch of Tom Waits nerds listening to a man gargle lava while his band plays like they’re falling down the steps of hell and trying to convince the world they should listen, too.