What the hell should MixMo Tom Waits be?

MixMo Tom Waits:  What the hell should MixMo Tom Waits be about?


I was 20, in college in the morning, remodeling the no water no heat apartment that I got to stay in for free in the afternoon, and I was a doorman/underage bartender at a jazz club.  I would get home at 3am, warm up 2 shots of Jack Daniels in an iron skillet, and sip it while inside a sleeping bag atop a 2 foot high stack of drywall.  I had an extension cord coming up from the meat cutting business downstairs that powered a lamp and a boombox that only played the album, “Small Change,” by Tom Waits, every night, for the coldest winter of my life.


Pasties and a g-string, beer and a shot

Listening to the Closing Time and Small Change by Tom Waits during this young and stupid part of my life made me feel like my decisions were not completely insane.


He Describes his early work as: “a comprehensive study of a number of aspects of this search for the center of Saturday night, which Jack Kerouac relentlessly chased from one end of this country to the other, and I’ve attempted to scoop up a few diamonds of this magic that I see.”


His body of work spans 40 years of songs that take place in bars, like his duet with Bette Midler in “I never talk to strangers,” a song about a drunk trying to make way with a lady out of his league.  Waits has songs about drinking like “I got a bad liver, and a broken heart,” which is self explanatory title about having some tough times that you can fix in the bars.  He writes about love on late night mass transit in “Downtown train,” the cultural equivalent of cream cheese hotdogs in, “Nighthawks at the diner,” and what it is like to work the closing shift is, “I can’t wait to get off work and see my baby.”


The album, “Closing time,” his first, released when Waits was 23, is a brilliant distillation of everything that drinking culture is, sad and hopeful, pathetic and beautiful, confusing and comforting.  Every bartender has a love and a mind to switch over the tunes to Waits the late night closing hours.  Most drinkers have a tale or two that can be summed up in the key of c by Tom Waits as well.


Let the bawdy, lovely, peculiar and obvious late night life inspire you to tell a favorite drinking tale while listening to, or being inspired by Tom Waits. Waits 40 years of drinking tunes to choose from.

This entry was posted in MixMo and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to What the hell should MixMo Tom Waits be?

  1. My question is, When the hell will MxMo Tom Waits be? Love the theme, want to know the deadline.

  2. Pingback: MxMo Tom Waits — wait, this’ll be interesting

  3. Pingback: The Cocktail Chronicles » MxMo Tom Waits — hold on, this’ll be interesting

  4. Ron Diggity says:

    SWEET. I’ll definitely be part of this. (Small Change and Closing Time are so perfect after 1am.)

  5. London Cocktail Guide says:

    The tentative deadline was the 17th so already have my post online:

    Great theme btw and my favourite so far (although only my second time actually participating). Can’t wait to see what people come up with.

    • caskstrength says:

      This is a post of great insight that hits every point I was jabbering about and warms my cold black heart. And the blinker is one of my favorite cocktails, a bourbon grapefruit combo. Sincere thanks

      • London Cocktail Guide says:

        Aw, thanks for the kind words.. I’m new to all of this so any encouragement warms the cockles of my (very possible black) heart.

  6. Pingback: mXmO: Bedlam and Squalor — A Dash of Bitters

  7. Pingback: Spiked Punch » Blog Archive » MxMo, Tom Waits, & The Hounds They Start to Roar

  8. A.J. says:

    Amazing choice for MxMo. My post, with a lot of Waits rambling and a drink called The Hounds They Start to Roar, is here:


    Thanks for letting me join along in the Waits-drink-a-thon Andrew-


  9. Devin says:

    First time caller, long time listener. Couldn’t resist this month’s theme. Thanks!


  10. Pingback: The line is a little blurry here « Ganymeda

  11. Carly says:

    My post is up. Thanks for hosting! Can’t wait to read the round up.


  12. Pingback: The Cocktail Chronicles » Grapefruit Moon

  13. Paul says:

    I’ll see your Red Label and I’ll raise you one more / and you can pour me a cab, I just can’t drink no more / because it don’t douse the flames……


  14. Chris W. says:

    Totally late to the party, but i lost track of time. Here’s my MxMo entry, “Frank’s Wild Years Cocktail.”

  15. Chris says:

    Andrew, thanks. This theme had me listening to Tom Waits quite a bit…Here’s our contribution: http://marginaliawalker.blogspot.com/2010/05/tom-waits-mxmo.html

  16. Hope I’m not too late. I got caught up reminiscing about Boones Farms. Here’s my entry:

  17. omg says:

    I like your blog. It was very nice to read.
    I wonder why I didn’t know about this blog earlier.
    Sharing is said to be a virtue, and more people should read this blog.
    I will go and spread the word. Many of my Facebook friends will love this.

    Thank you and keep’em coming!

  18. Pingback: Mixology Monday XLIX: Tom Waits Theme | HouseCocktail

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s