Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Tom Waits: Second-Stage Advanced Weirdo

I haven't talked about Tom Waits yet because I think it's important that people understand the theory before we enter into the category that he fits into: second-stage advanced weirdo. Britt and I have considered his case carefully, and our conclusion is that he must have started out advanced and became overt. How can this be? Well, he must have been overt before he released any music. That is the only way I can see his going from singing duets with Crystal Gayle to "Bone Machine." I like Crystal Gayle fine, but I think you know what I'm talking about. How does he go from "Looks like I'm up shit creek again" to

A murder of silhouette crows I saw
And the tears on my face
And the skates on the pond
They spell Alice

I watched an old (very old) SNL recently, and Bette Midler performed one of his songs. She introduced it as a song written by her very good friend, Tom Waits. At that stage in their careers, they were pretty much the same (though she had her mermaids and he his lampposts) but she took the traditional route of advancement and he didn't. Of course, she was much more overt than he was, so she had to become less overt as she advanced. He had already advanced so the only path left was to become overt. If we're lucky, he'll stick around enough to be a third-stage advanced weirdo. I don't what that would sound like, but I'm guessing it probably would be something like "Likes Like I'm Up Shit Creek Again (Again)."

Talking about Tom Waits is a lot like discussing those tiny invisible dimensions that are wrapped around our three detectable dimensions. In other words, I may be right, I may be crazy, but it just may be a lunatic you're looking for.

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