Innocent When You Dream: Tom Waits - The Collected Interviews - Mac Montadon (ed)

[I] think it's either Baltimore Negro or turn-of-the-century railroadese.

Book Review by Sean Michaels | 16 May 2006
Don't fuck with me, I'm passing out wolf tickets. These are the words of Tom Waits. Don't worry, he explains them: "[Wolf tickets mean] bad news," he tells Playboy. "[I] think it's either Baltimore Negro or turn-of-the-century railroadese." The most marvellous thing in this is that you have learned a new piece of slang, straight from Waits's cellar of a mouth. "Wolf tickets." And the second most marvellous thing is that it could well be a lie. If one thing is clear in this anthology of interviews with Thomas Alan Waits (7/12/1949 - ), it is that the century's finest carnie poet is also a liar of the highest degree. In interviews that span the length of his career – from the down-and-out torch songs of the 1970s to the boogieman serenades of the 2000s (not to mention the advent of husbandhood, fatherhood, and cheap imitators) - Waits spins strange, wise and delicious yarns. While The Pixies' Frank Black offers up a particularly banal introduction, many of the other pieces here – particularly a 1987 interview with Musician magazine and a 2002 profile in GQ – sparkle with both Waits's own wit and the insight of the journalists who join him for a chat. There's so much to love that it's hard not to get a little suspicious – just what is it that I've fallen for, hook, line and sinker? [Sean Michaels]
Published by Orion Books. Out now. Cover Price £14.99