Lowside of the Road

Lowside of the Road

A Life of Tom Waits

Book - 2009
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With his trademark growl, carnival-madman persona, haunting music, and unforgettable lyrics, Tom Waits is one of the most revered and critically acclaimed singer-songwriters alive today. After beginning his career on the margins of the 1970s Los Angeles rock scene, Waits has spent the last thirty years carving out a place for himself among such greats as Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Like them, he is a chameleonic survivor who has achieved long-term success while retaining cult credibility and outsider mystique. But although his songs can seem deeply personal and somewhat autobiographical, fans still know very little about the man himself. Notoriously private, Waits has consistently and deliberately blurred the line between fact and fiction, public and private personas, until it has become impossible to delineate between truth and self-fabricated legend. Lowside of the Roadis the first serious biography to cut through the myths and make sense of the life and career of this beloved icon. Barney Hoskyns has gained unprecedented access to Waits's inner circle and also draws on interviews he has done with Waits over the years. Spanning his extraordinary forty-year career fromClosing TimetoOrphans, from his perilous "jazzbo" years in 1970s LA to such shape-shifting albums asSwordfishtrombonesandRain Dogsto the Grammy Award winners of recent years, this definitive biography charts Waits's life and art step by step, album by album. Barney Hoskyns has written a rock biography--much like the subject himself--unlike any other. It is a unique take on one of rock's great enigmas.
Publisher: New York : Broadway Books, c2009
ISBN: 9780767927086
Branch Call Number: 782.42166 W135h 2009
Characteristics: xxix, 609 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: Life of Tom Waits


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Dec 03, 2016

Ok, you want to read a book about Tom Waits this probably the best out there. A recluse when it comes to the press this is an unauthorized bio.
Hoskins is very careful to make sure you know how protective Waits innner circle is of the artist.
That said it seems to be a combination of biography and the authors memoir of being a Waits fan. I enjoyed the flow of the book and the authors detailed analysis and history of Waits recordings up to the point of publication.
Unfortunately I question some of the validity of Hoskins research. On page 432 he calls Branson Missouri, Branford? You wonder how did that get through and what else is weak? Exactly the kind of thing Waits is wary of validating his mistrust of the press, the irony is hilarious.

Consequently I give it a 2 1/2. If you are a fan read it with skepticism.

Jun 19, 2012

This book was sort of a guilty pleasure for me. The author - British music critic Barney Hoskyns - attempts to pry into the determinedly private life of his subject. We ask & expect so much from our heroes and artists.// The story within the story is kind of funny - Hoskyns' frustrating attempts to get first-person perspectives, info & stories - when he himself appears to be such a great fan. It's amazing how loyal and protective others were of Waits. I think that says a lot about the man - and more power to him.// Nevertheless, it's a valuable reference source to Waits' work, for those not familiar with the breadth of his oeuvre. It is quite broad and prodigious, at that. // Music critics have contributed so much to my own understanding and appreciation of music. I love hearing what people like about songs; their emotional response; an insight or background. I hope ol' Tom is comfortable, after all, with the book...


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