Tom Waits, A Map, and Big Data

Tom Waits and the Devil
Hot damn I love the internet. While “researching” for this blog last night I stumbled across a simple website: It basically is just a google map with pins marking the location of every place mentioned in a Tom Waits song. It’s a great way to visually qualify what we already knew about Mr. Waits: that he LOVES traveling, and more specifically, singing about traveling. I found myself spending tons of time clicking on each pin, singing the lyrics in my head, and thinking about what all these places could mean to Tom Waits.
As a Milwaukee transplant I drive through Waukegan, Illinois fairly often. I always hum Gun Street Girl as I rattle by. The amount of joy (just raw emotion really) that Tom Waits’ music has brought me in my life is gigantic. Here is Gun Street Girl for your enjoyment. Note the minimalist lead claw-hammer banjo. As for his record Rain Dogs is quite possibly my favorite Tom Waits record. If you have yet to hear it, get on Spotify and listen RIGHT NOW.

I’ll leave you with a Tom Waits quote from Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits.

My kids are starting to notice I’m a little different from the other dads.”Why don’t you have a straight job like everyone else?” they asked me the other day. I told them this story:
“In the forest, there was a crooked tree and a straight tree. Every day, the straight tree would say to the crooked tree, “Look at me…I’m tall, and I’m straight, and I’m handsome. Look at you…you’re all crooked and bent over. No one wants to look at you.” And they grew up in that forest together. And then one day the loggers came, and they saw the crooked tree and the straight tree, and they said, “Just cut the straight trees and leave the rest.” So the loggers turned all the straight trees into lumber and toothpicks and paper. And the crooked tree is still there, growing stronger and stranger every day.” –Tom Waits

Leave it to Tom Waits to give me a quote to smile about. Happy digging everyone.