Tom Waits and Charles Bukowski are cut from the same cloth. The Californian men are keen on a few home truths, authenticity, artistry and enjoying themselves. The pair are a natural fit. That’s why listening to Waits read his idols work feels some entirely natural.

When Tom Waits first met the man he would call a “father figure” the enigmatic and utterly destructive poet and writer Charles Bukowski, he spoke candidly of trying to match the “roaring pirate” drink for drink. Describing their meeting and trying to match Buk drink for drink he said: “you’re a novice, you’re a child. You’re drinking with a roaring pirate”.

Bukowski himself describing to Sean Penn in Andy Warhol’s magazine Interview he was quoted as saying: “Alcohol is probably one of the greatest things to arrive upon the earth – alongside of me. Yes…these are two of the greatest arrivals upon the surface of the earth. So…we get along.”

Waits was first aware of Bukowski following reading his LA Free Press column ‘Notes of A Dirty Old Man’, which actually earned Bukowski an F.B.I investigation to go on his mantel, leaving Waits to think of him as a “writer of the common people and street people, looking in the dark corners where no one seems to want to go.”

Waits tries to emulate this feeling within his work and attitude but see it, and his admiration for Bukowski and his work, when he reads aloud Buk’s poems ‘The Laughing Heart’ and ‘Nirvana’. Listen to it below.



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