Thursday, September 6, 2012

bone machine

Tom Waits created one of his most affecting albums with the growling electric blues, bittersweet balladry, and playful percussive pandemonium of this harrowing dystopian nightmare.  'Bone Machine' was recorded and produced at the Prairie Sun Recording studios in Cotati, California.  The basement room that he used in Studio C became known as "the Waits Room".  Waits says:  "I found a great room to work in, it's just a cement floor and a hot water heater. Okay, we'll do it here. It's got some good echo...Well, the bones are usually the 'nothing' of it. And I thought, that what it is, is usually... If you find a good room, the room is kind of an instrument in itself. It's kind of... uhm, it's what you don't play that gives it a bony quality."  The sessions included Waits on vocals, chamberlin, percussion, guitar, sticks, piano, upright bass, conundrum, drums, and acoustic guitar; Bryan "Brain" Mantia on drums; Kathleen Brennan on sticks; Ralph Carney - alto sax, tenor sax, and bass clarinet; Les Claypool on electric bass; Joe Gore on guitar; David Hidalgo on violin and accordion; Joe Marquez on sticks and banjo; David Phillips on pedal steel guitar and steel guitar; Keith Richards on guitar and vocals; Larry Taylor on upright bass and guitar; and Waddy Wachtel on guitar.  Waits was the producer and Brennan was associate producer.  

Waits considers: "Well, 'Bone Machine' started out as a, just a title. Let's make something that sounds like it could be part of a group of songs that were entitled 'Bone Machine'. Let's come up with songs that...ya know. Now, I guess the first thing that you'd think of is, maybe, this is like Halloween music or this is this?...kind of skeleton music, this is like horror, like music from a horror movie...Is that what it is? Well... Maybe see a little bit. There's a little bit of that in there. Umm. That gets ya thinking about bones, ya start thinking about, Oh God. We have to die and all that. I hate to break it to's a little joke there. Umm. So I guess 'Bone Machine' deals sometimes with, also with, not only does it have a particular sound because of 'Bone Machine', it kind of conjures up an image of, ya know, wood then...Well, I don't know. Different for everybody, but for me kinda like wet leaves in your hair and ya know autumn. I don't know. Anyway, 'Bone Machine'. So it's...some of the songs deal with dying and, ya know, with the fact that were all hurling through space here and eventually the earth will probably open up and swallow us all...some day real soon."

'Bone Machine' went to one hundred and seventy six in the US, forty-two in Germany, forty-one in Australia, thirty-eight in Sweden, thirty-one in the Netherlands, twenty-two in Austria, and fifteen in Norway.  It won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album

"Earth Died Screaming"   

"Who Are You"     

They're lining up
To mad dog your tilta-whirl
Three shots for a dollar
Win a real live doll
All the lies that you tell
I believed them so well. Take them back
Take them back to your red house
For that fearful leap into the dark
I did my time
In the jail of your arms
Now Ophelia wants to know
Where she should turn
Tell me... what did you do?
What did you do the last time?
Why don't you do that?
Go on ahead take this the wrong way
Time's not your friend
Do you cry, do you pray?
Do you wish them away?
Do you still leave nothing
But bones in the way?
Did you bury the carnival?
Lions and all
Excuse me while I sharpen my nails
And just who are you this time?
You look rather tired
(Who drinks from your shoe)
Are you pretending to love
Well I hear that it pays well
How do your pistol and your Bible and your
Sleeping pills go?
Are you still jumping out of windows in expensive clothes?
Well I fell in love
With your sailor's mouth and your wounded eyes
You better get down on the floor
Don't you know this is war?
Tell me who are you this time?
Tell me who are you this time?

"Jesus Gonna Be Here"   

Well, Jesus will be here
Be here soon
he's gonna cover us up with leaves
With a blanket from the moon
With a promise and a vow
And a lullaby for my brow
Jesus gonna be here
Be here soon
Well I'm just gonna wait here
I don't have to shout
I have no reason and
I have no doubt
I'm gonna get myself
Unfurled from this mortal coiled up world
Because Jesus gonna be here
Be here soon

"Goin' Out West"     

Well I'm goin' out west
Where the wind blows tall
'Cause Tony Franciosa
Used to date my ma
They got some money out there
They're giving it away
I'm gonna do what I want
Do what I want
And I'm gonna get paid
Little brown sausages
Lying in the sand
I ain't no extra baby
I'm a leading man
Well my parole officer
WIll be proud of me
With my Olds 88
And the devil on a leash
My Olds 88
And the devil on a leash
Well I know karate, Voodoo too
I'm gonna make myself available to you
I don't need no make up
I got real scars
I got hair on my chest
I look good without a shirt

"Black Wings"     

Well take an eye for an eye
A tooth for a tooth
Just like they say in the Bible
Well never leave a trace
Or forget a face
Of any man at the table
Any man at the table
When the moon is a cold chisel dagger
And it's sharp enough to draw blood from a stone
He rides through your dreams on a coach and horses
And the fence posts in the moonlight
Look like bones
Well they stopped trying to hold him
With mortar, stone and chain
He broke out of every prison
Well the boots mount the staircase
The door is flung back open
He's not there for he has risen
He's not there for he has risen
Some say he once killed a man with a guitar string
He's been seen at the table with kings
Well he once saved a baby from drowndin'
There are those that say beneath his coat there are wings
Well some say they fear him
Well some say they fear him
Others admire him
Because his steel's his promise
But one look in his eye
And everyone denies
Ever having met him
Ever having met him
He can turn himself into a stranger
Well they broke a lot of canes on his hide
He was born away in a cornfield
A fever beats in his head just like a drum inside
Some say they fear him
Others admire him
Because he steals his promise
One look in his eye
Everyone denies
Ever having met him

"I Don't Wanna Grow Up"  was inspired by parenthood:  "I think I'm more of a kid now. My kids are growing up and I'm getting smaller. I'm getting like, you know... I don't know it's uh.. Yeah it's happening." 

When I'm lyin' in my bed at night
I don't wanna grow up
Nothin' ever seems to turn out right
I don't wanna grow up
How do you move in a world of fog
That's always changing things
Makes me wish that I could be a dog
When I see the price that you pay
I don't wanna grow up
I don't ever wanna be that way
I don't wanna grow up
Seems like folks turn into things
That they'd never want
The only thing to live for
Is today
I'm gonna put a hole in my TV set
I don't wanna grow up
Open up the medicine chest
And I don't wanna grow up
I don't wnna have to shout it out
I don't want my hair to fall out
I don't wanna be filled with doubt
I don't wanna be a good boy scout
I don't wanna have to learn to count
I don't wanna have the biggest amount
I don't wanna grow up

"That Feel"   was co-written by Waits and Keith Richards, who also played guitar and did vocals.  Waits says:  "He's great, he's made of mud and blood and bone and hair - he's really a natural musician, music follows him around - his arms are like a fisherman - he's physically very strong and really - he can go up 20 flights of stairs like that."

Well there's one thing you can't lose
It's that feel
Your pants, your shirt, your shoes
But not that feel.
You can throw it out in the rain
You can whip it like a dog
You can chop it down like an old dead tree
You can always see it
When you're coming into town
Once you hang it on the wall
You can never take it down

'Bone Machine' 
full album:

Songs written by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, except where noted.

1. "Earth Died Screaming"   Waits 3:39
2. "Dirt in the Ground"   4:08
3. "Such a Scream"   Waits 2:07
4. "All Stripped Down"   Waits 3:04
5. "Who Are You"   3:58
6. "The Ocean Doesn't Want Me"   Waits 1:51
7. "Jesus Gonna Be Here"   Waits 3:21
8. "A Little Rain (for Clyde)"   2:58
9. "In the Colosseum"   4:50
10. "Goin' Out West"   3:19
11. "Murder in the Red Barn"   4:29
12. "Black Wings"   4:37
13. "Whistle Down the Wind (for Tom Jans)"   Waits 4:36
14. "I Don't Wanna Grow Up"   2:31
15. "Let Me Get Up on It"   Waits 0:55

16. "That Feel"   Waits, Keith Richards 3:11

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