TOM & KEEF!
Tom Waits on Keith Richards:
"Everybody loves music. What you really want is for music to love you. And that's the way I saw it was with Keith. It takes a certain amount of respect for the process. You're not writing it, it's writing you. You're its flute or its trumpet; you're its strings. That's real obvious around Keith. He's like a frying pan made from one piece of metal. He can heat it up really high and it won't crack, it just changes color.
You have your own preconceived ideas about people that you already know from their records, but the real experience, ideally, hopefully, is better. That certainly was the case with Keith. We kind of circled each other like a couple of hyenas, looked at the ground, laughed and then we just put something on, put some water in the swimming pool.
He has impeccable instincts, like a predator. He played on three songs on that record: "Union Square," we sang on "Blind Love" together, and on "Big Black Mariah" he played a great rhythm part. It really lifted the record up for me. I didn't care how it sold at all. As far as I was concerned it had already sold.
One of my favorite things that he did is Wingless Angels. That completely slayed me. Because the first thing you hear is the crickets, and you realize you're outside. And his contribution to capturing the sounds on that record just feels a lot like Keith. Maybe more like Keith than I had contact with when we got together.
He's like a common labourer in a lot of ways. He's like a swabby. Like a sailor. I found some things they say about music that seemed to apply to Keith. You know, in the old days they said that the sound of the guitar could cure gout and epilepsy, sciatica and migraines.
I think that nowadays there seems to be a deficit of wonder. And Keith seems to still wonder about this stuff. He will stop and hold his guitar up and just stare at it for a while. Just be rather mystified by it. Like all the great things in the world, women and religion and the sky... you wonder about it, and you don't stop wondering about it."