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Great Guitarists Quotes

Wes

I never practice my guitar. From time to time I just open the case & throw in a piece of raw meat. - Wes Montgomery

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Quotes Songwriting

Tom Waits On … Kids, Religion And How To Play The Piano

Your kids are not your fans, they’re your kids. 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 on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.361)

I always thought religion should be more visceral and that you should get beat up a little by it, you know?

Interviews And Encounters (p.432)

Jim Jarmusch once told me “Fast, cheap, and good . . . pick two. If it’s fast and cheap, it won’t be good. If it’s cheap and good, it won’t be fast. If it’s fast and good, it won’t be cheap.” Fast, cheap, and good . . . pick (two) words to live by.

Interviews And Encounters (p.446)

The recipe for making an album? You write two songs, you put ’em in a room and they have kids. Songs travel along the same line that jokes and stories do. They get written down, forgotten, and resurrected. You tear the wings off them for a while and they grow new ones. Songs are kind of like your memory of something, your homeland, or what you had for dinner last night; something for your kids. We all do it naturally, and kids do it better than any of us. So in a sense, it’s kind of like children’s work.

Interviews And Encounters (p.252)

Never have your wallet with you onstage. It’s bad luck. You shouldn’t play the piano with money in your pocket. Play like you need the money.

More Tom Waits wisdom here

(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).

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Quotes Songwriting

Tom Waits On … Wasting Your Time Writing Songs

Do you feel writing songs, making music, is an honourable calling?

Tom Waits: Gee, I don’t know. There are times when it seems very . . . trifling and trivial. Making these little songs up, I feel like I’m gluing macaroni onto a piece of cardboard and painting it gold. And then other times . . . when Johnny Cash wants to sing one of your songs, you think, “Oh man. . . .” Because there’s a hierarchy in music, and there’s certain indications that you’re doing better, you’re getting closer to the source.

I hate to sound cynical, but it seems to me that protest songs are like throwing peanuts at a gorilla. It’s hard to believe that a song like that is gonna make any difference in the course we’re on.

Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.436, 384)

More Tom Waits wisdom here

(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).

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Quotes Songwriting

Tom Waits On … Finishing Songs

Making a record, you don’t really finish, you just stop. You just keep painting it and doing things to it and eventually, you have to stop.

Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.224)

You don’t always know when a song is finished and I’m not sure if a song is ever finished to be honest with you. You know they’re constantly evolving. It’s like jump-rope songs you know. When are they done? They are never done. You know people are always changing them, changing the tempo, adding new verses, getting rid of old verses. So I mean, when you are ready to record there is a certain finality to that. . . a lot of people say, “You really captured something on that.” There’s something alive in a song and the trick to recording them is to capture something and have it be taken alive. So there’s always a trick in the studio.

Interviews And Encounters (p.337)

Somebody told me if you’re stuck in a song and you can’t move, take out the best lines. Get rid of them. Now finish it. That’s good advice.

Interviews And Encounters (p.439)

More Tom Waits wisdom here

(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).

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Quotes Songwriting

Tom Waits On … Protest Songs

I hate to sound cynical, but it seems to me that protest songs are like throwing peanuts at a gorilla. It’s hard to believe that a song like that is gonna make any difference in the course we’re on. I don’t want to contribute to the rhetoric, or even assume I have the ability to speak about these things on an intelligent level. I know my own limitations

I read an article in the New York Times…it haunted me, and that’s why I write many of my songs, because something’s haunting me and I need to get it outta my head. What else could I do? Nobody in Washington is calling me up to discuss our foreign policy.

Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.384, 414)

More Tom Waits wisdom here

(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).

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Quotes Songwriting

Tom Waits On … Ghosts

When I listen to old field recordings, maybe you’ll hear a dog barking way off in the background. You realize the house it was recorded in is torn down, the dog is dead, the tape recorder is broken, the guy who made the recording died in Texas, the car out front has four flat tires, even the dirt that the house sat on is gone—probably a parking lot—but we still have this song. Takes me out when I listen to those old recordings.

Recording for me is like photographing ghosts.

Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.359-60, 354)

More Tom Waits wisdom here

(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).

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Quotes Songwriting

Tom Waits On … The Music Business

I think you should fight for your independence and freedom at all costs. I mean, it’s a plantation system. All a record company is is a bank, and they loan you a little money to make a record and then they own you for the rest of your life. You don’t even own your own work. Most people only have a small piece of their publishing. Most people are so happy to be recording, which I was—you like the way your name looks on the contract, so you start signing. I got myself tied up in a lot of knots when I was a kid.

Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.275)

The big print giveth and the small print taketh away.

The record companies are like cartels. It’s a nightmare to be trapped in one. I’m on a good label now that’s not part of the plantation system…Most people are so anxious to record, they’ll sign anything, it’s like going across the river on the back of an alligator.

Tom Waits in Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits p.456

My label [Anti/Epitaph] a bit of an asylum for damaged artists. It’s also very just and sane and fair. You know, you take your suit to the cleaner’s and you actually get your suit back.

Interviews And Encounters (p.302)

Showbiz is the only place where you can actually make money after you’re dead.

Interviews And Encounters (p.359-60)

More Tom Waits wisdom here

(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).

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Quotes Songwriting

Tom Waits On … Having Multiple Influences

Kathleen [Brennan – Tom’s wife] was the first person who convinced me that you can take James White and the Blacks, and Elmer Bernstein and Leadbelly—folks that could never be on the bill together—and that they could be on the bill together in you. You take your dad’s army uniform and your mom’s Easter hat and your brother’s motorcycle and your sister’s purse and stitch them all together and try to make something meaningful out of it.

Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.256)

You know when you throw a party, you think people will show up and no one will like each other. It’s like that with music – parts of your musical psyche have never met other parts. You wonder if you should get them together.

Brainy Quotes

I have a kind of miscellaneous quality to myself

Interviews And Encounters (p.287)

More Tom Waits wisdom here

(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).

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Quotes Songwriting

Tom Waits On … Finding Your Voice

For a songwriter, you don’t really go to songwriting school; you learn by listening to tunes. And you try to understand them and take them apart and see what they’re made of and wonder if you can make one too.

Brainy Quote

I listen to things and break a piece off of this, and a piece off of this, and I tie this to that, put these two together and then I take them out to meet the pieces coming down from the top and wrap it all in newspaper and set it on fire.

I’m not totally original. I draw from all kinds of sources and I listen to a lot of things … I would recommend that when you are starting out that you stay with your own stuff and find out who you are. And stay with you minding your own unique qualities and rather than trying to sound like somebody else . . . I mean you do start like somebody else and slowly you become [you] so it’s kinda like life, you know?

I think you have to work on yourself more than you work on the music. Then whatever you’re aiming at you’ll be able to hit between the eyes.

Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters (p.224, 284, 193)

You have to protect yourself. Most of us expect artists to do irresponsible things, to be out of control. Somehow we believe that if you’re way down there, you’re going to bring something back up for us, and we won’t have to make the trip. Go to hell with gasoline drawers on and bring me back some chicken chow mein while you’re at it.

Interviews And Encounters (p.249)

More Tom Waits wisdom here

(you can find a lot of the interviews online at www.tomwaitsfan.com).

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Quotes Songwriting

Tom Waits On … Limitations

I like limitations. If I don’t have limitations I’ll impose them on myself naturally, just to narrow it down. Time is always an element. If we were going to write a song right here now, and we had only a half an hour to do it it would take on certain characteristics.

Jim Jarmusch.net

More Tom Waits wisdom here