The darkness of Tom Waits' lyrics is accentuated by the rumble and rasp of his voice, which sounded old even when he was young. On Bad As Me, Waits reflects on loneliness, life, death and heartbreak. Here, he talks to Terry Gross about performing, being a father and writing his haunting melodies.
Since the 1973 release of his first album, Closing Time, Tom Waits has won fans over with his original songwriting and distinctive, gravelly vocal style. Musicians including Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart have recorded covers of his songs. He has also acted in films, including Sylvester Stallone's Paradise Alley, Jim Jarmusch's Down By Law and Robert Altman's Short Cuts. Waits has two new CDs out this month: Alice and Blood Money.