This autobiographical portrait of Tom Waits takes shape through a selection of more than 50 interviews. Starting with the first interview—on KPFK-FM’s Folkscene in 1973—Waits speaks out on a variety of topics and shares something truly unique with his readers. In a rap that is a synthesis of inflections—Louis Armstrong, Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain, hobo, pool hall attendant, vaudevillian huckster, musicologist par excellence, and a fresh slathering of the organic word-ooze of William S. Burroughs—Waits comes across as well read, informed, and lucidly aware of current pop culture. He delivers prose as crafted, poetic, potent, brilliant, and haunting as the lyrics of his best songs.
By Paul Maher Jr.