Tom Waits’ Anti-War Video: ‘Hell Broke Luce’ – What is next?

Published on Aug 6, 2012
Directed By Matt Mahurin

“Hell Broke Luce” from the album ‘Bad As Me’, Anti Records 2011, is one of the best anti-war song/video:

Hell Broke Luce by Tom Waits

 

Tom explained the title of this nightmarish song in a Slate interview: Tom Waits Discusses His New Album Bad as Me:

Slate: The spelling of the new song, “Hell Broke Luce,” where’d that come from?

Waits: There was a prisoner in Alcatraz during a prison riot—this goes back to the ’40s. And during the riot, of course, everyone was nervous, and he scratched on the wall with a knife. And he wrote “hell broke luce,” and that’s how he spelled it.  Alcatraz—they have an amazing bookstore. But I got separated from everyone else on the tour. After a while something happened with my headset, and I was out of step and I didn’t know where the rest of the people were, so I just sat in one of the cells for a while.

Slate: It seems like a more pointed war song than you’ve recorded previously.

Waits: Loaded. Anyway. … I’ve been hearing that line a whole lot: “You had a good home but you left.” And so I somehow … ahhh. Keith [Richards] said that [Army] officers will hate that song, but enlisted men will love it. The army’s interested in it, as an ad for, you know, their commercials. It’s an answer to “Be all you can be.”  It’s a cautionary tale. Obviously.

Obviously, indeed.

Song lyrics:

I had a good home but I left
I had a good home but I left, right, left
That big fuckin bomb made me deaf, deaf
A Humvee mechanic put his Kevlar on wrong
I guarantee you’ll meet up with a suicide bomb
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce

Big fuckin ditches in the middle of the road
You pay a hundred dollars just for fillin in the hole
Listen to the general every goddamn word
How many ways can you polish up a turd
Left, right, left, left, right
Left, right
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce

How is it that the only ones responsible for making this mess
Got their sorry asses stapled to a goddamn desk
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce
Left, right, left

What did you do before the war?
I was a chef, I was a chef
What was your name?
It was Geoff, Geoff
I lost my buddy and I wept, wept
I come down from the meth
So I slept, slept
I had a good home but I left, left
Pantsed at the wind for a joke
I pranced right in with the dope
Glanced at her shin she said nope
Left, right, left

Nimrod Bodfish have you any wool
Get me another body bag the body bag’s full
My face was scorched, scorched
I miss my home I miss my porch, porch
Left, right, left

Can I go home in March? March
My stanch was a chin full of soap
That rancid dinner with the pope
Left, right, left

Kelly Presutto got his thumbs blown off
Sergio’s developing a real bad cough
Sergio’s developing a real bad cough
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce

Boom went his head away
And boom went Valerie
What the hell was it that the president said?
Give ‘em all a beautiful parade instead
Left, right, left

When I was over here I never got to vote
I left my arm in my coat
My mom she died and never wrote
We sat by the fire and ate a goat
Just before he died he had a toke
Now I’m home and I’m blind
And I’m broke
What is next?

Tom Waits – ‘Lie to Me’ [video]

Tom Waits -‘ Lie to Me’  (Live, Atlanta 2008)

“Lie To Me,” the opening track on a three-disc mother lode of rarities Tom Waits calls Orphans, is two minutes and 10 seconds of pure, unfiltered rock ‘n’ roll bliss. It’s not an ironic comment on rock hooliganism, or some sort of elliptical Waitsian postdoctoral thesis on the music’s history, but a handclapped backbeat twitching like it did in Memphis. And a guitar melody running cool and steady like the 8:40 local into town. And vocals, bathed in old-school reverb, that lift Waits out of the gutter long enough for him to channel the ghost of some long-dead early rock idol. Or a composite of ten of them.

Waits is a child of rock, of course. On his records he’s been cagey about it, employing discreet rockisms behind his carefully desiccated and determinedly pre-rock voice. Here, though, as he begs his baby to keep feeding his head with lies, he sounds like he’s living out the teen fantasies proffered by Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers. He’s wild, she’s wild, the band’s crazy gone — we all want to be lied to like this.

“Lie To Me” isn’t the single best song on this overstuffed set, but it’s one of the most disarming ones, with a roar that can knock listeners sideways. That makes it a perfect tone-setter for the immense, thematically arranged outpouring that follows. By starting in this way, Waits signals that maybe we don’t know him as well as we thought — and suggests, in the most gracious way imaginable, that we ought to check all assumptions about him at the door.

Tom Waits’ unique vocal style and devoted following has such appeal to advertisers that they have resorted to using sound-alikes when Waits turns down requests to use his original music. That has led the artist to take legal action.

Tom Waits’ Saddest Song: Kentucky Avenue, live at the BBC in 1978.

tom-waits-blue-valentine

Ross Bennett is right:  Only a heart of stone could resist Tom Waits’s Kentucky Avenue, live at the BBC in 1978.

“This is a song about growing up,” says Asylum Records’ barfly raconteur Tom Waits at the start of his BBC performance of this devastating ballad from 1978’s Blue Valentine.

A trip down memory lane that mixes the wide-eyed abandon of childhood (“Let’s fill our pockets with macadamia nuts / Then go over to Bobby Goodmanson’s and jump off the roof”) with a harsh reality (“I’ll steal a hacksaw from my dad / And cut the braces off your legs”), it is, in true Waits-ian fashion, a beautiful dream frayed at the edges, all captured in a four-and-a-half minute MGM lullaby that might just be one of the saddest songs ever.

“My best friend, when I was a kid, had polio,” recalled Waits in 1981. “I didn’t understand what polio was. I just knew it took him longer to get to the bus stop than me. I dunno. Sometimes I think kids know more than anybody. I rode a train once to Santa Barbara with this kid and it almost seemed like he lived a life somewhere before he was born and he brought what he knew with him into this world and so… it’s what you don’t know that’s usually more interesting.”

Check out Waits’ extraordinary performance right now. Watch video below.

Watch Tom Waits Perform @ Bridge School Benefit Concert over the weekend – the musician’s first live outing in all of five years.

Tom Waits

Tom Waits

Along with the likes of Arcade Fire and more, Tom Waits performed at Neil Young‘s annual Bridge School Benefit concert over the weekend, what was the musician’s first live outing in all of five years.

Waits, clad in his signature suit and hat, ran through some tracks from his most recent LP, Bad As Me, as well as some classic cuts (“Singapore”, “Tom Traubert’s Blues” et al).

On a bill which also included Queens Of The Stone Age, My Morning Jacket and CSNY, Waits played a 10 song set, marking his first onstage performance since he sang ‘Little Red Rooster’ alongside The Rolling Stones at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California in May of this year. Prior to that, Waits’ last headline show was at Dublin’s Phoenix Park in August 2008.

Waits played with Les Claypool on the upright bass and David Hidalgo on guitar and accordion. He performed classic tracks ‘Singapore’ and ‘Cemetery Polka’ from ‘Rain Dogs’ as well as ‘Tom Traubert’s Blues’, and a number of songs from his most recent album, 2011’s ‘Bad As Me’, including ‘Chicago’, ‘Last Leaf’ and ‘Raised Right Men’.

Arcade Fire performed on the first night (October 26) of the weekend event, during which they played a track with Neil Young. Introducing the track, singer Win Butler said he had a dream in which he wrote a new song and realised it sounded like a Neil Young song. Butler then declared that the song was called ‘I Dreamed A Neil Young Song’, before inviting the legendary singer, who curated the weekend of music onto the stage. Arcade Fire played a full acoustic set at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.

Check out the full performance below, via CoS:

Video: Tom Waits “Raised Right Men” Live Acoustic @ Bridge School Benefit, Shoreline 10-27-2013

Published on Oct 27, 2013

Tom Waits played:

Raised Right Men
Singapore
Talking at the Same Time
Chicago
Lucky Day
Tom Traubert’s Blues
Lucinda
Last Leaf
Cemetery Polka
Come On Up to the House

Alert! Tom Waits Joins Bridge School Benefit Line Up Sunday Oct 27th. Get Tickets Before It’s Announced to General Public!

Tom Waits

Tom Waits

We just received this announcement:

Dear Ainhoa,

Last Minute Tom will perform a full acoustic set featuring songs from his album BAD AS ME with his band (David Hidalgo guitar; Les Claypool bass; Casey Waits, drums; and more).

Waits, who has not toured since 2008 and has no plans to tour, says “I had every good intention to stay home and work on my JD Salinger Halloween mask, but when Neil told me yesterday he was serving burnt cow’s eyes on a flat tire and it’s all gluten free, I invited myself!”

For tickets and line up information, click here.

For More information on the Bridge School:
http://www.bridgeschool.org/