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Tom Waits Finds His Mojo

02:01 PM Thursday 5/27/10 | |

For their landmark 200th issue, the good people at Mojo magazine wanted to do something out of left field. So naturally, they handed over the whole shebang to iconic singer/songwriter/actor Tom Waits.

Waits, who took a break from the studio where he’s been working on a new album with his wife and chief partner in crime Kathleen Brennan, admitted he was puzzled by the honor.

“I don’t know how they talked me into doing this,” the singer explained. “All I really wanted to do was drive the forklift.”

During his tenure as Lord of Mojo manor, Waits sat down to chat with Hank Williams III about “reconciling musical personalities, how to create a ‘death metal hillbilly invasion,’ meeting Minnie Pearl, haunted houses, and why Hank Sr. must be reinstated as a member of The Grand Old Opry.”

Other things the singer managed to do while in the driver’s seat include:

Dispatching Joe Henry to interview one of Waits’ lifelong heroes, Harry Belafonte, about being taught by Leadbelly and giving an unknown musician named Bob Dylan a leg up.

Compiling lists of all of his favorite songs, films and books by people like James Brown, William Burroughs, Alex Chilton, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, James Dean and David Lynch, and then divulging his favorite one hit wonders and what he considers the ultimate buried treasures.

Putting together a 15-track CD, packaged in the issue, featuring Dylan, Howlin’ Wolf, Ray Charles, Belafonte, Cliff Edwards, Big Mama Thornton, The Prisonaires, Hank Williams and lots more.

And since Mojo is all about music (and lists), he made sure to put the staff to work amassing the ultimate guide to all things Waits.

The 200th issue of Mojo is available now.


Artists Mentioned in this article