In 1979 Tom Waits made his first trip to Australia to perform a string of shows and complete a bunch of interviews following the success of his first album ‘Closing Time’ in 1973. Don Lane the hotshot talk show host of the hour in Australia decided to take on Tom and wound up with an 11 minute interview that ended up being somewhere between bizarre, hilarious and awkward.
Lane had obviously been prepped before the interview – maybe something along the lines of “he’s a real odd-ball” and it shows in the first 5 minutes with Lane pointing out Waits’ strange nuances like lowering his head when he talks or putting a burnt out match in his top pocket from his never ending chain of cigarettes. Lane clearly not knowing what to expect comes across condescending or patronising at times but let’s be honest – Tom Wait’s is not going to be the easiest person in the world to interview. Getting a legitimate answer from Waits’ is like drawing blood from a stone especially when his responses are given in a jittery but slow American drawl that drifts off mid sentence. Lane’s uneasiness is pointed out by Waits in the 6th minute of the interview and Lane tries to save himself by making jokes about him not having a job next week. The back and forth between the two continues, and Waits’ is obviously entertained by Lane’s uncomfortableness and bored by his questions. Lane, obviously running out of time in the 9th minute humorously announces that Waits’ can just answer the questions he wants to and with that Tom Wait’s has single handedly turned the interview completely in his favour by saying as few words as possible and making Don Lane squirm like a worm. He also ends the interview with one of his best quotes :
“I don’t worry about achievement, i worry about if there are night clubs in heaven.”