Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tom Waits - Bad As Me, Highest Debut Of Career

"Artist" is a term that we continually feel unsettled about as it implies someone who is just "creative". This notion goes right back to Shooter Jenning's article about "Rockstars". As soon as someone says they are an artist, all I can think of is the amateur painter or musician that is internally tortured by not having a real sense of work ethic or unique ideas and has yet to prove their ability, to the level of an "Artisan". ( Artisan are persons having superior skill or ability, or who are capable of producing superior work. An artist is a person engaged in some type of fine art. An artisan is engaged in a craft or applied art. - from Dictionary.com)

Not to directly knock anyone for using the creative process, but the word "artist" has just lost its meaning, same as "rockstar". Anyone can claim it, but are they really that creative and risk taking? It is a razor thin line and the charming aspect of fine art is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Take for example Jackson Pollack, he was a painter that I failed to understand until I dug much deeper into his ideas, or his drunken melee's to really come to a rational mindset of his work. Basically, his work runs parallel with Miles Davis in the sense of its movement. Its the unique signature rhythm of the drips he created on canvas, that plays visually right next to Jazz and its ability to morph on a whim, while still maintaining it's true character.

Jackson Pollack aka Jack the Dripper painting

Miles Davis creating Jazz magic

Artisans come in many forms and knowing Tom Waits personally makes it easier to see all aspects of him as a dyed in the wool creative individual. It could be his photos, the custom music instruments he makes or the sense of wonder when it comes to other "Artisans" that push him to constantly revisit the well of ideas and reformulate his own concepts.

We are damn proud to have had the opportunity to work with Tom Waits on his album Alice, photographer Matt Mahurin and the amazing Anti Records a few years back. After our long diatribes and too many cups of coffee chatting on the randomness of art, music and film, hearing about the biggest debut of his career just gives us one hell of a smile. Congrats Tom, you deserve it!

Link to Tom Waits site

"Tom Waits debuted on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart at #6, making this the highest debut and the fastest selling (63K+) of his long and storied career—not only in the US, but around the globe. Bad As Me, his 20th album to date, is currently top #10 Europe including the UK, Italy, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Austria and Germany; #6 in Canada and #11 in Australia.

Critics are making a racket with rave reviews including the Los Angeles Times: “The singer with the lowdown Howlin’ Wolf yowl, which is richer and more elastic than ever on Bad As Me…his first new studio album in seven years, and one of the best of his wildly fruitful creative life…The record…swirls with adventure and includes the instant classic ballad ‘Back in the Crowd,’ the stomping march ‘Hell Broke Luce’ and the transcendent closer ‘New Year’s Eve,’ a quiet yarn of a waltz” and Rolling Stone: “It doesn’t get much better than this.”

Meanwhile, 2011 is looking like a pretty good year for Waits…he started it off by being inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and may wind down the clock with his best-selling album to date, no mean task for an artist in these tough times."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

As a side note, for the album design of Alice, Tom really wanted the text to feel like a water mark on the cover. Went through many iterations and concepts but what finally worked is cutting his name out of a piece of balsa wood to create a stamp. This gave us the loose texture and by adding more water to the ink I was able to get exactly what he was after on paper and then transferred that to the final design.