Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives


Tom Waits – Frank’s Wild Years

Tom Waits really brings a lot of showbiz into his records. It’s in there in the actual songwriting. He knows how to strip things down and get to some skeletal place that’s really strong. He’s trying to be true to his Jazz and his Blues. That is to be admired. There’s a lot of the textures you don’t hear so much. All that vocabulary is really seductive.

I think that he’s a good songwriter whatever record you talk about of his. It’s not because there’s some fucking guy playing a saw. It’s like the Bruce Springsteen thing. It’s stripped down, universal, folky bluesy stuff. He’s trying to say: “You guys think you can change things overnight. Forget the new thing. What about Django Reinhart? Son House?”

It’s like the Grand Duchy thing. People get obsessed with our production like, “What’s the new story?” It’s admirable when people say: “What about 1949, man?!” At first, I heard a cool White Stripes record and thought: “Who do you think you are, Robert Johnson?” And I get jealous. Fucking A! man. It’s like primal Led Zeppelin or something. But at the end of the day, I always end up respecting Jack White. [Black does an impression of the ‘Seven Nation Army’ riff.] Jack White has some believability.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Lord Spikeheart, Tom Ravenscroft
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