TOM WAITS latest 3 CD set—Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards—has been certified gold by the RIAA® and will be released on vinyl in the not-too-distant future. He has also collaborated with Kool Keith on N.A.S.A.’s recently released The Spirit of Apollo, which also features such diverse artists as David Byrne, Karen O and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. As for new material, Waits and his long time collaborator and wife, Kathleen Brennan, have begun writing new songs, which they plan to record this summer for an upcoming CD. (No release date at this time.)
Of Orphans, Bill Flanagan stated on CBS SUNDAY MORNING: “No contemporary musician embodies the twin virtues of elegance and piracy better than Tom Waits. He is a gravel-voiced poet, the Edward Hopper of rock n’ roll.” Elsewhere in MOJO, the preeminent music magazine of the UK, declared: “Mojo Instant Classic..Masterpiece isn’t the right word for such a profusion of profound delights…exhibition is better…With his unfussy brushstrokes, umber hues, and humanely honest delight in warts and all, he is the Rembrandt of modern music.”
Currently, Tom Waits is in the midst of filming The Book of Eli, directed by Albert and Allen Hughes (From Hell, Dead Presidents, Menace II Society, among others). Eli is a post-apocalyptic Western, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving mankind. The film stars Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman with Tom Waits in a small role as “Engineer.” This will mark Waits’ second teaming with Oldman as Waits’ played Renfeld to Oldman’s Count Dracula in the Francis Ford Coppola version of the classic vampire film.
In other film news, Waits stars as Mr. Nick (the devil) opposite Christopher Plummer in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which is also Heath Ledger’s last film. Due to Heath’s premature death, his unfinished roll was taken on by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. The fantastical morality tale set in the present day also features Lily Cole and Verne Troyner. The film looks to premiere at Cannes and open worldwide later this year.