Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits by Barney Hoskyns

Well this is about as comprehensive as it gets. All my Tom Waits loving life I’ve been looking for a book which gave a detailed account of his life as a musician, actor and general hero…..well the first 2 anyways! Barney Hoskyns apparently has a background writing for various music publications including NME and Uncut magazine. I have to be honest and admit I’ve never stumbled across his work but then I barely ever read music magazines these days nor have I ever really. I might have a flick through other people’s mags or get something if I’m on a train or plane, but in general I steer clear of mags. I much prefer blogs these days anyways. Far more interesting. 😉

Anyways, this book is about as comprehensive a review of Tom Waits as we are ever likely to get, simply because of the nature of the beast. It’s clear from the book, particularly appendix 2, which contains numerous e-mails between the author and Waits friends, associates etc, that Tom Waits has no time for anyone digging into his personal life or that of his family. It’s actually one of the things I respect most about the man. He is undoubtedly a hero to many, myself included, and is about as famous now as many of his contemporaries, yet he shuns the lifestyle of a star in favour of a family oriented, peaceful existance. I have and never will understand media whores. Why would you want to be chased by the paps, have them sit outside your house etc? I find it all rather sad. So that insight into the man is fascinating. But all in all this is a fabulous book detailing the career of one of the most important musicians of all time. Probably the most important musician to me. Herein lies the conundrum though. Despite my respect for his desire for privacy, I still want to read about his life and career. We are a strange bunch us humans. However, I guess for me the main thing is that I respect his desire for privacy, and I don’t want to know about the size of his cock, or who he punched on Friday night or how many bananas he can fit in his mouth blah blah blah. I just want to read about his albums, his music, his inspirations. Everything else is his to keep. And this book does exactly what I wanted. A fascinting read and insight into his career, from the very beginning up until his shows at the Edinburgh Playhouse last July. If you are a fan, it is essential reading, and it’s probably about as definitive an account of this man as we’re ever likely to get, unless it’s from the horses mouth. Which, as you will discover as you read the book, is never likely to happen! Enjoy.


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