The Critical Masses Podcast – Episode 009: Down by Law / Tom Waits – Frank's Wild Years


The Critical Masses Podcast logo by John Newcomer (Twitter: @thejohnisjohn)

Episode 009: Down by Law / Tom Waits – Frank’s Wild Years


So this is pretty much a Tom Waits double feature. You’ve got Down By Law, his lead acting turn opposite John Lurie and Roberto Benigni for director Jim Jarmusch, and you’ve got his 1987 album Frank’s Wild Years, essentially the soundtrack to the stage play of the same name. But I’m not gonna really beat any of that to death, because, you know… Tom Waits.

He’s the man.

So John couldn’t make it this time because he was battling a sinus infection, which he admitted made him sound somewhat like Mr. Waits, albeit on Robitussin and antibiotics. (Does anyone still take Robitussin anymore for anything other than getting high? Just wondering.) So of course, with his voice perfectly modified to participate in this discussion, John decided to bail. “I’m not feeling well, you guys. I’m gonna go to bed after lunch.” Sure John. We’ll believe that … maybe.

Evan kept going on and on about bourbon and cigarettes too. It all made perfect sense.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen any episodes of Fishing with John, John Lurie’s 6-part (well, 5-part since one of the eps is a 2-parter) fishing show from the early 1990s, search for it online and watch it. It’s weird. I like it.

Also, his band was The Lounge Lizards – early 1980s NYC jazz/punk. Lovely.

And finally, even though we don’t mention it (because they suck – and this is Ryan, not Matt, or else Matt would get really mad at this without the disclaimer), there’s a band called Down By Law. Who cares, right?

But Tom Waits though. We’re all about Tom Waits here.



8 responses to “The Critical Masses Podcast – Episode 009: Down by Law / Tom Waits – Frank's Wild Years

  1. In my defense, I’m only familiar with one Down By Law album and really only one song off of said album. But, yeah … sure … you really got me! Zing!


  2. we should mention that we are NOT watching dogtooth or listening to that dog’s self-titled album for the next podcast – these will be for the podcast FOLLOWING the next podcast. got that? (oh, and can you figure out the connection between the two?) scheduling conflicts.

    we WILL be watching graphic-novel-turned-film the watchmen. (who watches the watchmen? WE DO.) we will be listening to captain ahab’s album the end of irony. so do your homework, listeners!


  3. I was about to edit the podcast to censor the word DOGTOOTH but realized it was futile since we say the name of it over and over. So, yes folks, the Dogtooth / that dog episode is postponed. Our next episode will be WATCHMEN and something about Moby Dick. I won’t be there, so that’s all I can tell you.


  4. Fun fact: Roberto Benigni actually spoke about as much English in real life at the time they made this as he did in the movie.
    But yeah dude, such a great movie. My favorite Jarmusch.
    And Tom Waits is just the best. His album “Alice” is my favorite.


  5. I’d be interested to learn the story about how Jarmusch and Benigni met/began collaborating. I wonder if he was pretty much established as an actor in Italy when Down By Law came out. Likely not.


  6. This was a fun podcast, thanks! Franks Wild Years is one of my favorite albums of his. The play is about a failed Vegas Style lounge singer, hence the style of the songs on it. Guess you do have to listen to it with that in mind. I like the theatricality of it all. And with like I mean love.


  7. thanks for the feedback, cableclair! it’s a great album. like i mentioned on the podcast, i’m pretty much just an unadulterated tom waits fan. he’s good people. and thanks for notation on the stage performance!

    keep on listenin’…


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