Tom Waits’ 1970’s Elektra Asylum Catalog Re-Released

Tom Waits’ entire 1970s Elektra Asylum catalog, re-released by Anti-, is now available digitally and on CD. You can purchase a copy and pre-order vinyl here:

Tom Waits has also curated a 76 song, career-spanning playlist, that you can listen to here:


Red Beans and Weiss – Bohemia Blues

Maybe you’re like me (or maybe you’re not, lucky you haha!). Perhaps you have searched around this weekend for some music that will stick to your ribs. My yen started yesterday at Barnes & Noble‘s magazine rack. I had picked out a pile of music and technical magazines to leaf through when I stumbled upon an article about Chuck E. Weiss. It turned out to be an Exclusive article for Mojo The World’s Best Music Magazine, “Johnny Depp Interviews His Hero”.

Watch Chuck E. Weiss’s reaction when he sees Johnny Depp step onstage to play with the G-d Liars on the Jimmy Kimmel Live Show.

Los Angeles-based bluesman Chuck E. Weiss left the production of Red Beans and Weiss, his first album since 2006, in very capable hands: Tom Waits and Johnny Depp teamed up to serve as  the album’s executive producers, and both say it’s Weiss’ best work yet.


Explain the album cover of “Red Beans and Weiss,” please, with all the faces. . .I could only name about seven, I guess.

Nate Merritt did it. The concept was mine. It took a couple of months to go over the whole thing with him. Wanted to do a mock Sgt. Pepper but with my own guys. There are almost sixty. Rimsky-Korsakov: cause I love everything he’s ever done. He’s one of my heroes, man. Scheherazade, It’s like Don Ray. Don Ray. He wrote “This is My Country,” but he also wrote “Down the Road Apiece” and “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar,” and the “Icabod Crane Song,” and the Jabberwock song for the Cheshire Cat. I loved all these songs as a kid, and then found out he wrote them all. Lord Buckley. Harry the Hipster Gibson. Lester Young. Jimmy Durante Sandy Koufax, Slim Gaillard, Slam Stewart, Lee Allen (lot of the solos in the Fats Domino and Little Richard songs and Dr. John—tenor sax.) Marshall McLuhan’s on there, of course. Just somebody that has been overlooked. Every time somebody says “fifteen minutes of fame,” they attribute to Andy Warhol, but that was McLuhan’s quote, and it was five minutes. Hank Williams, Anita O’ Day, Bessie Smith. – Copyright 20i4 American Songwriter Magazine

Zany, unrepentantly retro, and drenched in an era that revivalists can’t touch, Red Beans and Weiss is a greasy, gritty report from one of L.A.’s last original rock & roll street denizens. It has a grimy charm all its own.

Nate Merritt also hand drew this cartoon for the “Boston Blackie” track.

Here are the songs on the “Red Beans and Weiss” album that Johnny Depp plays and/or sings on:

Boston Blackie
Drums:  Johnny Depp, Bill “Beano” Hanti
Guitar: J. J. Holiday, Johnny Depp
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Background Vocals: Johnny Depp, Jack Depp, Bruce Witkin, Joey Malone, Bill “Beano” Hanti, Starling Jenkins

Bomb the Tracks
Background Vocals: Johnny Depp, Bruce Witkin

Kokomo (Boy Bruce)
Guitar: Tony Gilkyson, J. J. Holiday, Johnny Depp

The Hink-A-Dink
Drums: Johnny Depp
Percussion: Don Heffington
Guitar: Tony Gilkyson
Bass:  Johnny Depp, Will MacGregor

Willy’s in the Pee Pee House
Background Vocals:  Johnny Depp, Don Heffington, Nathan Holmes, Rachel Hathaway, Boo, Bruce Witkin


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For The Pirate In All Of Us

Don that pirate hat, wave your sword and Grrrrrrrrrr with all your might matey.  There is a new album coming out next month for the pirate in each  of us.

Project: Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys

Record Label: ANTI

Produced: By Hal Willner

Executive Produced and Curated: By Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski

The producer, star, and director of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Release Date: February 19, 2013

Son of Rogue's Gallery

This two-CD recording compilation is a follow up to the 2006 Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys (Anti-).

It features Tom Waits, Keith Richards, Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Patti Smith, Sean Lennon, Michael Stipe, and Broken Social Scene, among others.

Give a watch and listen me hearties to the first two multimedia videos associated with the project.

Track Listing
Disc 1:

1. Leaving of Liverpool (Shane MacGowan w/Johnny Depp & Gore Verbinski)
1. Sam’s Gone Away (Robyn Hitchcock)
3. River Come Down (Beth Orton)
4. Row Bullies Row (Sean Lennon w/Jack Shit)
5. Shenandoah (Tom Waits w/Keith Richards)
6. Mr. Stormalong (Ivan Neville)
7. Asshole Rules the Navy (Iggy Pop w/A Hawk and a Hacksaw)
8. Off to Sea Once More (Macy Gray)
9. The Ol’ OG (Ed Harcourt)
10. Pirate Jenny (Shilpa Ray w/Nick Cave & Warren Ellis)
11. The Mermaid (Patti Smith & Johnny Depp)
12. Anthem for Old Souls (Chuck E. Weiss)
13. Orange Claw Hammer (Ed Pastorini)
14. Sweet and Low (The Americans)
15. Ye Mariners All (Robin Holcomb & Jessica Kenny)
16. Tom’s Gone to Hilo (Gavin Friday and Shannon McNally)
17. Bear Away (Kenny Wollesen & The Himalayas Marching Band)

Disc 2:

1. Handsome Cabin Boy (Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention)
2. Rio Grande (Michael Stipe & Courtney Love)
3. Ship in Distress (Marc Almond)
4. In Lure of the Tropics (Dr. John)
5. Rolling Down to Old Maui (Todd Rundgren)
6. Jack Tar on Shore (Dan Zanes w/Broken Social Scene)
7. Sally Racket (Sissy Bounce (Katey Red & Big Freedia) with Akron/Family)
8. Wild Goose (Broken Social Scene)
9. Flandyke Shore (Marianne Faithfull w/Kate & Anna McGarrigle)
10. The Chantey of Noah and his Ark (Old School Song) (Ricky Jay)
11. Whiskey Johnny (Michael Gira)
12. Sunshine Life for Me (Petra Haden w/Lenny Pickett)
13. Row the Boat Child (Jenni Muldaur)
14. General Taylor (Richard Thompson w/Jack Shit)
15. Marianne (Tim Robbins w/Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs)
16. Barnacle Bill the Sailor (Kembra Phaler w/Antony/Joseph Arthur/Foetus)
17. Missus McGraw (Angelica Huston w/The Weisberg Strings)
18. The Dreadnought (Iggy Pop & Elegant Too)
19. Then Said the Captain to Me (Two Poems of the Sea) (Mary Margaret O’Hara)


What’s Up With Tom Waits?

Permission to Come Aboard?

A very mysterious press release from Tom Waits landed in inboxes this morning at exactly 10 a.m. The subject line read: “Tom Waits: Permission to Come Aboard,” and attached is a photo of the songwriter dressed as a pirate, complete with an eyepatch and a sword. The only words are “Coming August 7th.”

Is Waits announcing a tour? He did perform on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and The Late Show with David Letterman in early July, and he has yet to tour beyond his 2011 LP, Bad As Me.

Waits could actually be announcing a Tom Waits cruise next week?

July 9th, 2012,  The Late Show with David Letterman

Interview segment

Performance segment

July 10th, 2012, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Joining Waits on stage to perform were his son Casey on drums, long time bassist Larry Taylor, guitarist David Hidalgo (Los Lobos), keyboardist Augie Myers and guitarist Big Bill Morganfield (son of Muddy Waters). Amazing players and another genius Tom Waits performance.

Tom Waits – Bad As Me

I’ve met my fair share of famous musicians these past 40+ years at concerts. One of the most unique meetings I ever had was with Tom Waits. I was writing for a free music paper in the early 80’s. I made arrangements with Tom Wait’s manager to interview Tom Waits before his appearance at Toad’s Place in New Haven. I was good friends with the owner of Toad’s Place in those days. I was allowed to interview Tom Waits in the club before his sound check.

I found Tom Waits, initially to be a foreboding figure. I subsequently learned he was charming, gruff, articulate and quite a kick to hang out with. I recall he wore rumpled clothes and smoked Chesterfield filterless cigarettes. His hands, particularly his fingernails were stained brown from chain smoking. He smoked throughout the interview but the second hand smoke didn’t bother me.

The first thing he said to me when he exhaled smoke rings was, “So, you work for one of those street rags?.”

I said proudly, “Yes. I do.”

He just growled. I don’t recall the rest of our conversation, unfortunately. He had several stage props that he used for dramatic effect that night. One song, Ol 55 was set against the backdrop of a PepsiCo gas pump. Tom Waits wore a leather bomber jacket while he leaned against the gas pump, crooning . He had this cool stage trick where someone dropped green metalic flakes from above him while he twirled an umbrella under them that sent the sparks streaming through the night. Simple props but a dimensional, dramatic result.

I noticed that Tom Waits has a a brand new recording, Bad As Me. I picked up a digital edition and have just started listening to it. Once I got past that gravel voice of his I find the songs, humorous and filled with pathos.

Give Bad As Me a listen and let me know your thoughts about one of our most prolific and revered singer/songwriters.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony 2011

One of the aspects I love about New York City is that it is the entertainment capital of the world and its closeby. I keep meaning to hop a train to Grand Central Terminal on 42nd Street and walk over to witness as a star-gazer the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony. Its held every year at the Waldorf Astoria, Wouldn’t you just love to have been invited to this gala?

The performer Inductees are:
·    Alice Cooper was inducted by Rob Zombie (White Zombie)
·    Neil Diamond was inducted by Paul Simon
·    Dr. John was inducted by John Legend
·    Darlene Love was inducted byBette Midler
·    Tom Waits was inducted by Neil Young

Ahmet Ertegun Award recipients (nonperformers):

·    Jac Holzman was inducted by John Densmore (the Doors)
·    Art Rupe was inducted by Lloyd Price

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Award for Musical Excellence (previously the Sidemen category):

·    Leon Russell was inducted by Elton John

Rolling Stone Magazine had great reportage of the event, which includes photographs and video of the evening (provided by Fuse TV who will broadcast the event on Sunday March 20th). This is my favorite photo of the night.

Paul Simon, Neil Young and Tom Waits backstage at the 26th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York City, March 14, 2011.

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