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The Best of Marcel Marceau

Waits3 As if you needed more evidence that Tom Waits has big ears, excellent interview (“True Confessions,” actually) with He Who Fears Giant Squid at the Anti-label blog. Excerpts:

Q: What’s the most curious record in your collection?
A: In the seventies a record company in LA issued a record called “The best of Marcel Marceau.” It had forty minutes of silence followed by applause and it sold really well. I like to put it on for company. It really bothers me, though, when people talk through it.

Q: Most interesting recording you own?
A: It’s a mysteriously beautiful recording from, I am told, Robbie Robertson’s label. It’s of crickets. That’s right, crickets, the first time I heard it… I swore I was listening to the Vienna Boys Choir, or the Mormon Tabernacle choir. It has a four-part harmony it is a swaying choral panorama. Then a voice comes in on the tape and says, “What you are listening to is the sound of crickets. The only thing that has been manipulated is that they slowed down the tape.” No effects have been added of any kind except that they changed the speed of the tape. The sound is so haunting. I played it for Charlie Musselwhite and he looked at me as if I pulled a Leprechaun out of my pocket.

Q: What’s wrong with the world?
A: We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness. Leona Helmsley’s dog made 12 million last year… and Dean McLaine, a farmer in Ohio made $30,000. It’s just a gigantic version of the madness that grows in every one of our brains. We are monkeys with money and guns.

From → Quick Shots

One Comment
  1. Roger permalink

    Classic Tom; loved the line about Leona Helmsley’s dog. Back in the day, the wise guys at Stiff Records put out a record called The Wit and Wisdom of Ronald Reagan that was just like the Marcel Marceau one: totally blank. A record store owner once told me that he got several irate complaints from customers who were expecting actual wit and wisdom from Reagan.

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