31 January 2008

3. Tom Waits: The Piano Has Been Drinking

So this one shouldn't need an explaination, yet I feel compelled to offer one.

This is a clip of just the song from a longer interview/skit. I used to really be into early Waits; not so much anymore. I find his whole presentation too focused at that point in his career. He knows it's a gag, but I am unsure of whether he realizes that we realize it's a gag.

But, like Charlie Chaplin said: " In the end, everything is a gag."

That said, I think his work from Swordfishtrombones on up to the present -- especially his collaborations with Robert Wilson -- comprise the best American (pop?) music of the late-20th / early 21st century. The Black Rider alone is -- along with Robert Ashley's later work -- the most inspired opera of our time.

And that said, I look back on this video and I see a guy who was more idea than anything else -- not yet near his prime; but from whom often very beautiful things came. And the lyrics to this little ditty -- in all their obvious Bukowski homage -- are word by word things of beauty.

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