Anti-Conformity – Tom Waits
Intended to be a home for recording artists with a punk sensibility that isn’t necessarily punk, anti-records (a division of punk-label epitaph) plays host to a seriously stellar collection of artists intent on making music on their own terms. Movmnt invites you to get to know three legendary artists releasing vital material through Anti- right now: First, Tom Waits.
You may know his voice, rooted in gravel, whiskey, and nicotine. It is as distinctive as the sonic landscapes its possessor contrives. He’s taken us through carnivals, world wars, literary tales, crime scenes, jailhouses, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To know the music of Tom Waits is to experience inner enrichment, much like reading the works of Dostoyevsky or Hemingway, or experiencing theater via Shakespeare or Ibsen. A man of many talents, from songwriter to actor, player to performer, Waits is perhaps best described as a master storyteller. Dive into the streetwise, junkyard dirges and dins of Rain Dogs, where prisoners are transported in paddy wagons dubbed “Big Black Mariahs,” and dogs lose their scent of home in the rain and drink rum and dance aboard shipwrecked trains. Or venture off to “Alice,” where Waits vividly narrates Lewis Carroll’s obsession for the girl he immortalized in his books. Or hear the tale of poor Edward Mandrake, the man with the woman’s face on the back of his head that would whisper things to him in the night.
Born in 1949, Waits landed a record deal by the ripe age of 21, and had released his first album, Closing time, by 1973. Since then, he has amassed a cult audience rivaled by few, and is a key source of inspiration for notable recording artists like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, The Eagles, and Rod Stewart. Uncompromising in his vision, Waits also has a history of dropping labels that grew too steeped in big business. Waits left his first label Asylum when Elektra and Warner Brothers bought them out. In 1999, Waits ditched Island Records and joined forces with ANTI-, releasing his first album through them, Mule Variations, that year. The move proved successful when Waits won his second Grammy for Best Contemporary folk Album. His most recent release through ANTI- is a three-disc collection of b-sides, rarities, and unreleased tracks titled Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards. As good work should be acknowledged, it was the highest rated album of 2006, according to metacritic.com.
NEXT: Marianne Faithfull