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Being Tom Waits

This is not only one of my favorite pictures of Tom Waits , it's one of my favorite images of a celeb ever. It was taken by photographer Anton Corbijn , who also directed Control , last year's great movie about the band Joy Division . I look at a framed poster from Control every day as it hangs in my office, right above my desk, and was generously given to me by KPBS film critic Beth Accomando . In the image above, I think Corbijn captures Waits perfectly. It looks like something Tim Burton or Edward Gorey would dream up.

Since the release of Being John Malkovich many years ago, I've occasionally wondered whose head I'd want to live in for twenty-four hours. If, for example, I found a portal in my KPBS office (I really should look under my desk), who'd make me venture down the rabbit hole to spend time in his or her head? By the way, I REALLY wish I had said portal in my KPBS office. Anyway, Edward Gorey would definitely be on the list. Evelyn Glennie would be another - to live in a deaf musician's head would be amazing. Prince is on the list, so is Edward Albee , Michel Gondry , Dave Chappell, and this guy popped up on my list yesterday (before he got busted, of course, and just to live the thrill of transgression for 24 hours). But always, always close to the top of my list is Tom Waits. This fantastic interview with Waits, where he interviews himself, just solidifies that ranking. & Reading the interview feels like being in his head for a moment - maybe not a full-on portal, but close. &

To whet your appetite, here's what Waits wrote introducing his interview with himself:


I must admit, before meeting Tom, I had heard so many rumors and so much gossip that I was afraid. Frankly, his gambling debts, his animal magnetism, coupled with his disregard for the feelings of others & hellip; His elaborate gun collection, his mad shopping sprees, the face lifts, the ski trips, the drug busts and the hundreds of rooms in his home. The tax shelters, the public urination & hellip;I was nervous to meet the real man himself. Baggage and all. But I found him to be gentle, intelligent, open, bright, helpful, humorous, brave, audacious, loquacious, clean, and reverent. A Boy Scout, really (and a giant of a man). Join me now for a rare glimpse into the heart of Tom Waits. Remove your shoes and no smoking, please.