I’ve never met Tom Waits, though I know folks who have recorded with him. I knew at some point that I would have a good reason to reference the Waits song “Chocolate Jesus” on here (especially since Madonna of the Toast includes a chocolate Virgin Mary). Looking at email today, Garth Risk Hallberg provided me with a Waits-related tidbit of information pertaining to Orphans, the recent Waits box set. Three discs containing all sorts of outtakes and other rare material comprise the release (and feature my pals Colin Stetson, Ara Anderson and Eric Perney, among many, many others), and apparently there is also a little book that details the process of excavating many of these tracks from basements and Russian plumbers. Hallberg notified me of the fact that the book includes this photograph of a horse-like shape on a barn door.
Another example of pareidolia. More than just a random image of a horse formed by peeling paint, this horse picture was “gummed” by an actual horse over many years! So maybe the form is intentional. Apparently, Waits discussed all of this during his last appearance on Letterman, but I can’t find it on Youtube, so instead, enjoy this performance of “Chocolate Jesus” from another Waits appearance on the Late Show.
And Tom, if you’re reading this, we should swap stories. Doesn't seem like too much of a stretch imagining you penning a song called "Cat-Ear Rasputin." I’ll actually be in your neck of the woods on March 10 at Hotel Utah in San Francisco for a book launch party (more details to follow). Come on by and say hello!