Inspire stuff

Jim Jarmusch (1996) on visiting Waits in New York in 1985: “If you don’t know Tom Waits’ work, you’re missing a lot. I don’t know how to describe Tom Waits, because to me he’s like some strange, very rare mushroom or something, growing out in the forest and there’s no other species like him. You know, he is a kind of poet, troubadour musician and there’s almost something like, carny about him too. I don’t know; it’s very hard to describe Tom Waits. I could tell you an anecdote that sort of explains…When he was living in New York in, I guess, 1985, he was living in a kind of burnt-out loft on 14th Street and I went up to visit him. He had a black suit laid out on newspapers on the floor and a spray can of yellow paint and he was spraypainting yellow stripes on the suit. And while he was doing that, his little daughter Kelly Simone was drawing all over the walls. So all around the loft, whatever her height was at that time, there were drawings up to that height. And I remember walking in and Tom spraypainting yellow stripes on a black suit that he bought on 14th Street, and his daughter saying, “Look, Daddy, I made a horse,” or a dog or something, and “Oh, that’s good, Honey. I’m making stripes on the suit.” He can use storytelling in a very beautifully simple, poetic way. In one of his songs, a line is: “I bought a second-hand Nova from a Cuban-Chinese and dyed my hair in the bathroom of a Texaco.” And that’s like, oh wow, that’s the start of movie, you know, or a whole little movie right there, in just a couple lines. I don’t know how to describe him. You have to just listen to him and it becomes very apparent that it’s a very rare kind of perspective on the world.” (Source: Sundance Channel Jim Jarmuschfilmmaker profile (1996). As sent to Raindogs Listserv discussionlist by Larry Da Silveira. February 12, 2000)

Photo by Deborah Feingold (1985)

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