Imagination and Reality: 14 Quotes from the Brilliant Mind of Tom Waits

Imagination and Reality: 14 Quotes from the Brilliant Mind of Tom Waits

Let’s go ahead and assume that you’re not a music nut like me, and you have no idea who Tom Waits is. Waits is a musician, writer, composer and actor that has been changing the landscape of American music and film for decades. His vocal style was once described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding like “it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.” When he appears in movies, he is often a mysterious and eccentric character, because in real life he is a mysterious and eccentric character. Waits is one of those guys who comes along and says something profound in a way that just makes sense. His insight into music, art, and life is second to none. This is a collection of some of my favorite quips from the brilliant mind of Tom Waits.
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“We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness.”

“Songs really are like a form of time travel because they really have moved forward in a bubble. Everyone who’s connected with it, the studio’s gone, the musicians are gone, and the only thing that’s left is this recording which was only about a three-minute period maybe 70 years ago.”

“Writing songs is like capturing birds without killing them. Sometimes you end up with nothing but a mouthful of feathers.”

“You know what I really love? The CD players in a car. How when you put the CD right up by the slot, it actually takes it out of your hand, like it’s hungry. It pulls it in, and you feel like it wants more silver discs.”
Read: A Letter from Hunter S. Thompson that Changed My Life

“If you’re in the middle of the ocean with no flippers and no life preserver and you hear a helicopter, this is music. You have to adjust to your needs at the moment.”

“I’m one of those guys that is still a bit afraid of the telephone, its implications for conversation. I still wonder if the jukebox might be the death of live music.”

“Mostly, I straddle reality and the imagination. My reality needs imagination like a bulb needs a socket. My imagination needs reality like a blind man needs a cane.”

“I have an audio stigmatism whereby I hear things wrong – I have audio illusions.”

“Most people don’t care if you’re telling them the truth or if you’re telling them a lie, as long as they’re entertained by it.”

“The big print giveth and the small print taketh away.”

“I saw a crow building a nest, I was watching him very carefully, I was kind of stalking him and he was aware of it. And you know what they do when they become aware of someone stalking them when they build a nest, which is a very vulnerable place to be? They build a decoy nest. It’s just for you.”

“I hate Disneyland. It primes our kids for Las Vegas.”

“Don’t look back, because someone might be gaining on you.”
Read: 20 Quotes from Jack Kerouac that Speak to The Creative Minds and the Wandering Souls

“I don’t know if any genuine, meaningful change could ever result from a song. It’s kind of like throwing peanuts at a gorilla.”

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