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Lowside of the Road

By Barney Hoskyns
Lowside of the Road by Barney Hoskyns digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

With his trademark growl, carnival-madman persona, haunting music, and unforgettable lyrics, Tom Waits is one of the most revered and critically acclaimed singer-songwriters alive today. After beginning his career on the margins of the 1970s Los Angeles rock scene, Waits has spent the last thirty years carving out a place for himself among such greats as Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Like them, he is a chameleonic survivor who has achieved long-term success while retaining cult credibility and outsider mystique. But although his songs can seem deeply personal and somewhat autobiographical, fans still know very little about the man himself. Notoriously private, Waits has consistently and deliberately blurred the line between fact and fiction, public and private personas, until it has become impossible to delineate between truth and self-fabricated legend.

Lowside of the Road is the first serious biography to cut through the myths and make sense of the life and career of this beloved icon. Barney Hoskyns has gained unprecedented access to Waits’s inner circle and also draws on interviews he has done with Waits over the years. Spanning his extraordinary forty-year career from Closing Time to Orphans, from his perilous “jazzbo” years in 1970s LA to such shape-shifting albums as Swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs to the Grammy Award winners of recent years, this definitive biography charts Waits’s life and art step by step, album by album.

Barney Hoskyns has written a rock biography—much like the subject himself—unlike any other. It is a unique take on one of rock’s great enigmas.

2 Reviews

“2.5 stars - LOVE Tom Waits... not this book.”
“An extremely unauthorized bio of Tom Waits, this book leads us from Waits' beginnings at the Troubador up until the Glitter and Doom tour this past year. Honestly, I mostly never really want to know the person behind my favorite music and Waits has become one of my top favorites. I don't know, I guess I always figure that I'll be really disappointed if the person turns out to be a jackass and kicks puppies or something. I'm still a huge fan of Waits, probably even more so now. This took forever to read because I didn't realize (or pay attention to the fact that) I missed almost everything in Waits' early career. I pretty much was introduced around Swordfishtrombone and went from there. The Waits I always liked was the gruff, hoarse, eccentric who pounded on chest of drawers to get percussion (Mule Variations being one of my absolute favorites). Who knew? I ended up downloading virtually everything in the Waits discography and listening to it as I read the book, which accounts for why it took so damn long to finish. Closing Time is a Waits I never knew existed and one that I really like, although it doesn't eclipse the post-swordfish era. Although I disagreed with the author....often...I still think this had a lot of great insight into the making of everything in the Waits vault and is fairly well rounded. Clearly there are issues with Brennan being a songwriting partner that I don't have, but to each their own”

About Barney Hoskyns

Barney Hoskyns is cofounder and editorial director of the online rock-journalism library Rock’s Backpages (www.rocksbackpages.com), and author of several books including Across the Great Divide: The Band and America (1993), Hotel California: Singer-Songwriters and Cocaine Cowboys in the LA Canyons (2005), and the newly reissued Waiting for the Sun: A Rock and Roll History of Los Angeles. A former U.S. correspondent for Mojo, Hoskyns writes for Uncut, the Observer Music Monthly, and other U.K. publications, and has contributed to Vogue, Rolling Stone, and GQ. He lives in southwest London.

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