Tom Waits quotes

  • A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, but doesn't.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Play #Gentleman #Funny Music

  • You've gotta have somebody to trust, that knows a lot.
    -- Tom Waits

  • The folks who know the truth aren't talking.... The ones who don't have a clue, you can't shut them up!
    -- Tom Waits

    #Truth #Talking #Clue

  • Sometimes when you're making songs you just make sounds, and the sounds slowly mutate and evolve into actual words that have meaning.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Song #Sound #Sometimes

  • I made a wish on a sliver of moonlight A sly grin and a bowl full of stars
    -- Tom Waits

    #Stars #Wish #Moonlight

  • I do some acting. And there's a difference between "I do some acting" and "I'm an actor."
    -- Tom Waits

    #Differences #Acting #Actors

  • Don't plant your bad days. They grow into weeks. The weeks grow into months. Before you know it, you got yourself a bad year. Take it from me - choke those little bad days. Choke 'em down to nothing.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Bad Day #Years #Littles

  • With families and music, you're usually looking for something that can make you unique.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Unique

  • She's got the whole dark forest living inside of her.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Dark #Forests

  • I'm interested in things when I don't know what they are. Like "Hey, Ray, what the hell is this?" Oh, that's lipstick from the 1700s, that's dog food from the turn of the century, that's a hat from World War II. I'm interested in the minutiae of things. Oddities.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Dog #War #Oddities

  • When I was younger, I wanted to be older. Now I am older, I am not quite so sure.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Wanted

  • Songs are pretty easy. They are small, they are modular, they are about as big as a bagel. They are easy to build. Films are overwhelming in their magnitude and scope. By comparison, a lot of film directors wish they were writing songs because you can do it while getting your hair cut.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Song #Writing #Cutting

  • Everything is explained now. We live in an age when you say casually to somebody 'What's the story on that?' and they can run to the computer and tell you within five seconds. That's fine, but sometimes I’d just as soon continue wondering. We have a deficit of wonder right now.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Running #Age #Stories

  • If you are recording, you are recording. I don't believe there is such a thing as a demo or a temporary vocal. The drama around even sitting in the car and singing into a tape recorder that's as big as your hand - waiting until it's very quiet, doing your thing, and then playing it back and hoping you like it - is the same basic anatomy as when you're in the recording studio, really. Sometimes it's better that way because some of the pressure is off and you can pretend it's throwaway.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Drama #Believe #Hands

  • You cannot really be too concerned with what people think of you. You're on your own adventure of growth and discovery. So it's not always good to be who people think you are, especially if you subscribe to it as well ... which is easily done, because then you don't have to figure out who you are, you just ask somebody else.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Adventure #Thinking #Discovery

  • It's terrible for the culture of music. Like anything that is purely economic, it ignores the most important component.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Important #Culture #Economic

  • I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Music #Beautiful #Terrible

  • I finally discovered that my life is more important than show business.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Important #Life Is #Shows

  • Most of the people I admire, they usually smell funny and don't get out much. It's true. Most of them are either dead or not feeling well.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Smell #People #Feelings

  • The average person spends two weeks over their lifetime waiting for the traffic light to change.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Light #Average #Two

  • This is about all the bad days in the world. I used to have some little bad days, and I kept them in a little box. And one day, I threw them out into the yard. "Oh, it's just a couple little innocent bad days." Well, we had a big rain. I don't know what it was growing in but I think we used to put eggshells out there and coffee grounds, too. Don't plant your bad days. They grow into weeks. The weeks grow into months. Before you know it you got yourself a bad year. Take it from me. Choke those little bad days. Choke 'em down to nothin'. They're your days. Choke 'em!
    -- Tom Waits

    #Couple #Rain #Coffee

  • All medical procedures require two hands, so in a sense it's like when you play an instrument. That's what they call things that they use in their work: They call them instruments. A lot of people start out majoring in medicine and drop it and change their major to music.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Hands #Play #Two

  • I just don't like the word 'fun'--it's like Volkswagen, or bell-bottoms, or patchouli-oil or bean-sprouts...it rubs me up the wrong way.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Fun #Oil #Bells

  • bringing up children was]like living with a bunch of drunks...you really have to be on your toes all the time.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Children #Toes #Bunch

  • The big print giveth and the small print taketh away.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Money #Bigs #Print

  • You can learn a lot about a woman by getting smashed with her.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Party

  • There's a certain fast-food approach to the whole music thing that's changed the role it plays for us all. You are doing it while you are doing other things. Not that that is new - people have had music on in the background as long as there has been music.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Play #Long #People

  • Most of us have the residue of thousands of songs in our ears, that if you end up songwriting, I think you're mostly smoking the residue of all that material you absorbed over time.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Song #Thinking #Smoking

  • I'm not one of those people the tabloids chase around.
    -- Tom Waits

    #People #Tabloids

  • It's a battered old suitcase and a hotel someplace and a wound that will never heal.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Journey #Suitcases #Hotel

  • I'm usually more concerned with how things sound than how they look on the page.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Pages #Sound #Looks

  • The sight of the first woman in the minimal two-piece was as explosive as the detonation of the atomic bomb by the U.S. at Bikini Island in the Marshall Isles, hence the naming of the bikini.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Two #Islands #Sight

  • Words are music, really.
    -- Tom Waits

  • The piano has been drinking, not me.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Music #Drinking #Piano

  • You learn as much from your kids as they learn from you.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Kids

  • I don't have a drinking problem 'Cept when I can't get a drink.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Drinking #Alcohol #Problem

  • The blues and gospel stuff seemed to go together.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Together #Stuff

  • You have to keep busy. After all, no dog's ever pissed on a moving car.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Dog #Moving #Car

  • My wife, when I met her, she had a remarkable record collection. And they were all still in their sleeves! I couldn't believe it. She took care of her records. Rachmaninov, Beefheart. For me, most of my records were out of their sleeves and in a drawer somewhere. I married a record collection.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Believe #Wife #Records

  • Oh, I'm not a percussionist, I just like to hit things.
    -- Tom Waits

  • People make songs so that somebody else will hear them and want to do them. I guess it's an indication that the songs aren't so ultra-personal that they can't possibly be interpreted by anyone else.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Song #People #Want

  • I'd rather have a free bottle in front of me than a prefrontal lobotomy.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Drinking #Beer #Bottles

  • I like vocal word stuff. But I don't always write with an instrument, I usually write a capella. It's more like drawing in the air with your fingers. It's closest to the choreography of a bee. You're freer.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Writing #Drawing #Air

  • The Universe is making music all the time.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Universe

  • The fact is most of the things that people know about me are made up. My own life is backstage. So what you "know" about me is only what I allowed you to know about me.
    -- Tom Waits

    #People #Facts #Life Is

  • But then I'm one of those guys that is still a bit afraid of the telephone, its implications for conversation. I still wonder if the jukebox might be the death of live music.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Guy #Might #Telephones

  • I like writing melody without an instrument. It's just so - it's more like the choreography of a bee; you just go.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Writing #Bees #Instruments

  • I hate Disneyland. It primes our kids for Las Vegas.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Hate #Kids #Las Vegas

  • I think all songs should have weather in them. Names of towns and streets, and they should have a couple of sailors. I think those are just song prerequisites.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Song #Couple #Thinking

  • I saw a crow building a nest, I was watching him very carefully, I was kind of stalking him and he was aware of it. And you know what they do when they become aware of someone stalking them when they build a nest, which is a very vulnerable place to be? They build a decoy nest. It's just for you.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Crow #Nests #Saws

  • Writing songs is like capturing birds without killing them. Sometimes you end up with nothing but a mouthful of feathers.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Song #Writing #Bird

  • Arithmetic arithmetock Turn the hands back on the clock How does the ocean rock the boat? How did the razor find my throat? The only strings that hold me here Are tangled up around the pier.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Ocean #Rocks #Hands

  • You got to tell me the brave captain Why are the wicked so strong? How do the angels get to sleep When the devil leaves the porch light on?
    -- Tom Waits

    #Strong #Sleep #Angel

  • The trick is to have a career and have a family. It's like having two dogs that hate each other and you have to take them for a walk every night.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Dog #Hate #Night

  • They say that I have no hits and that I'm difficult to work with. And they say that like it's a bad thing.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Difficult

  • Their memory's like a train: you can see it getting smaller as it pulls away And the things you can't remember Tell the things you can't forget that History puts a saint in every dream.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Dream #Memories #Saint

  • If people are a little nervous about approaching you at the market, it's good. I'm not Chuckles The Clown. Or Bozo. I don't cut the ribbon at the opening of markets. I don't stand next to the mayor. Hit your baseball into my yard, and you'll never see it again.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Baseball #Cutting #People

  • Sing me a rainbow. Steal me a dream.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Dream #Rainbow #Stealing

  • It's the same with men as with horses and dogs, nothing wants to die.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Dog #Horse #Men

  • I'll tell you all my secrets but I lie about my past…
    -- Tom Waits

    #Lying #Past #Secret

  • Children make up the best songs, anyway. Better than grown-ups. Kids are always working on songs and throwing them away, like little origami things or paper airplanes. They don't care if they lose it; they'll just make another one.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Song #Children #Kids

  • I've been riding on the crest of a slump lately.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Slumps #Riding

  • If you get far enough away you'll be on your way back home.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Home #Way #Enough

  • Champagne for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Friends #Pain #Real

  • Sometimes the magnetism of a song is impossible to ignore, and it demands that it be sung in a certain way.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Song #Demand #Way

  • Don't look back, because someone might be gaining on you.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Looks #Might

  • Don't plant your days they turn into weeds
    -- Tom Waits

    #Weed #Plant #Turns

  • I'm so ***** the crack of dawn better watch out.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Horny #Watches #Dawn

  • The blues is like a planet. It's an enormous topic. You can't ignore the impact that it has had and continues to have on the whole musical culture. It's a tree that everyone is swinging from. Without it, I don't know where I would be. It's indelible and indispensable.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Impact #Tree #Musical

  • Songs are really just very interesting things to be doing with the air.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Song #Air #Interesting

  • It was a hubba, hubba, ding dang, baby you are just everythang.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Love #Baby

  • it ain't no sin, to take off your skin and dance around in your bones
    -- Tom Waits

    #Skins #Bones #Sin

  • You know what I really love? The CD players in a car. How when you put the CD right up by the slot, it actually takes it out of your hand, like it's hungry. It pulls it in, and you feel like it wants more silver discs.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Player #Cds #Hands

  • I like my music with the rinds and the seeds and pulp left in.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Pulp

  • We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness. We are monkeys with money and guns.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Confused #Gun #Weight

  • The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Writing #Suffering #Quality

  • Not the kind of wheel you fall asleep at.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Fall #Wheels #Kind

  • Now its raining its pouring the old man is snoring now I lay me down to sleep I hear the sirens in the street all my dreams are made of chrome I have no way to get back home I’d rather die before I wake like Marilyn Monroe and throw my dreams out in the street and the rain make ‘em grow
    -- Tom Waits

    #Dream #Rain #Sleep

  • I'm reliable sources, I'll tell ya anything you want me to know.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Want #Source #You Want Me

  • using parking meters as walking sticks.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Sticks #Meter #Parking

  • I danced along a colored wind/ Dangled from a rope of sand
    -- Tom Waits

    #Wind #Rope #Sand

  • The devil knows the Bible like the back of his hand.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Hands #Devil

  • If I want to walk out in the desert and heat up a can of beans on a fire, I still can. In those movies like Gattaca or whatever, the space age stuff is always all there is. But in the world there is never just one way of living. It's more like a big junkyard. Put it this way: I'm not afraid I'm going to end up on a space station in aluminium-foil underwear.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Space #Fire #Age

  • Let me fall out of the window/ With confetti in my hair
    -- Tom Waits

    #Fall #Hair #Window

  • I did my time in the jail of your arms
    -- Tom Waits

    #Jail #Arms

  • There's a place down the street; Seven Xs. What does that mean? Maybe it's... girls without skin.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Girl #Mean #Skins

  • it seems a stray bullet actually pierced the ***** of a Union soldier and lodged itself in the ovaries of a woman standing approximately 100 ft. away. She's alright, the baby's doing fine...ofcourse the soldier's a little pissed off...
    -- Tom Waits

    #Baby #Soldier #Unions

  • when your down on your luck and you've lost all your dreams theres nothing like a campfire and a can of beans
    -- Tom Waits

    #Dream #Luck #Beans

  • I started out with nothing and I still got most of it left.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Acceptance #Stills

  • A mental midget with the IQ of a fence post.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Sarcastic #Fence #Midget

  • There's no prayer like desire.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Prayer #Desire

  • There’s nothing more embarrassing than a person who tries to guess what the great American public would like, makes a compromise for the first time, and falls flat on his face… I would rather be a failure on my own terms than a success on someone else’s. That’s a difficult statement to live up to, but then I’ve always believed that the way you affect your audience is more important than how many of them are there.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Fall #Important #Trying

  • He likes a day in the studio to end, he says, "when my knees are all skinned up and my pants are wet and my hair's off to one side and I feel like I've been in the foxhole all day. I don't think comfort is good for music. It's good to come out with skinned knuckles after wrestling with something you can't see. I like it when you come home at the end of the day from recording and someone says, "What happened to your hand?" And you don't even know. When you're in that place, you can dance on a broken ankle.
    -- Tom Waits

    #Wrestling #Home #Thinking

  • When I started looking for pointed shoes, I used to go to Fairfax on Orchard Street in New York City, one of those little pushcart guys. I'd say, 'You got any pointy shoes?' They would go way, way in the back and come back with a dusty box, blow the dust off the top, and say, 'What do you want with these things? Give me twenty bucks. Go on, get outta here!' And that was the beginning.
    -- Tom Waits

    #New York #Blow #Dust

  • Misery is the River of the World
    -- Tom Waits

    #Rivers #World #Misery

  • i never told the truth so i can never tell a lie...
    -- Tom Waits

    #Lying

  • I was born in the back seat of a Yellow Cab in a hospital loading zone and with the meter still running. I emerged needing a shave and shouted 'Time Square, and step on it!'
    -- Tom Waits

    #Running #Squares #Yellow

  • All the donuts have names that sound like prostitutes
    -- Tom Waits

    #Names #Sound #Donuts

  • Never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
    -- Tom Waits

    #Men #Blue #Car

  • God's away, God's away, God's away on business. Business!
    -- Tom Waits

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