WHAT: “Crawling Down Cahuenga: Tom Waits’ Los Angeles” bus tour
WHEN: Saturday February 28, noon-4pm
WHERE: Bus tour departs from The King Edward Saloon, 131 E 5th Street
MORE INFO: visit http://www.esotouric.com or call 323-223-2767
LOS ANGELES- Legendary musician Tom Waits toured recently, but fans in his old hometown were out of luck–all the dates were in the South. So Esotouric, the bus adventure company whose offbeat tours expose LA’s secret history, launched a new tour just to scratch that gravelly voiced itch.
CRAWLING DOWN CAHUENGA: TOM WAITS’ LOS ANGELES debuted in August 2008 with a sold out tour, and repeats on February 28. It is the definitive tour of Tom Waits’ formative creative life and the people, places and late night pastries that shaped it.
Calling all rain dogs, gin-soaked boys and Gun Street girls! Climb aboard as your hosts David Smay (author of the new 33 1/3 series book on “Swordfishtrombones”) and Esotouric’s Kim Cooper (a Zoetrope Studios intern who’ll tell how she used teenage subterfuge to arrange a private concert by Tom) lead you on a scrupulously researched ride through Tom’s epic misdeeds and shenanigans, from the Trashing of the Troubadour to epic nights at the Tropicana.
And oh, there are such tales to tell, from food fights with L.A. Punks and smackdowns with L.A. Police. We’ll crawl through the Sewers of Paris, tattle on the Ivar Theater, and get the lowdown on Tom’s legendary performances at the Wiltern and elsewhere. Before departing for points rural, Tom left his mark all over L.A., from Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope Studios to Sunset Sound to Skid Row. We’ll show you where Tom found his true love and collaborator, Kathleen Brennan, and how all the pieces came together to transform a drunken, desperate singer into the multi-faceted, multi-media artist he’d become.
Raised near San Diego, Tom Waits launched his musical career in L.A., signing with David Geffen’s Asylum Records in 1972, living at the raunchy Tropicana Hotel (where he sawed off the kitchen drain board so his piano would fit), and building a reputation as a songwriter willing to risk his own health and sanity to get inside the sad sack characters that peopled songs like “The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me),” “On The Nickel” and “Pasties And A G-string (At The Two O’clock Club).”
By 1980, Tom was 31 and starting to feel the effects of his hard living. While scoring the music to Francis Ford Coppola’s “One From The Heart,” he met Kathleen Brennan, whose influence would completely transform his life and his art. After a whirlwind courtship the pair married and began a 28-year creative and personal partnership, beginning with the revolutionary album “Swordfishtrombones,” the subject of tour host David Smay’s new book.
As a symbolic passage from lonesome bar hopping to family joys and sobriety, the tour starts and ends at two important downtown sites. Passengers gather in the King Edward Saloon, the last surviving Skid Row bar with the Christmas 2007 loss of Craby Joe’s, before boarding Esotouric’s luxury coach class bus, where the mood is set with vintage photos and live footage. CRAWLING DOWN CAHUENGA spans Tom’s personal city, from The Nickel (aka Skid Row) to once-ratty West Hollywood, favorite strip clubs and midnight diners, recording studios, night clubs, record labels and film studios, before rolling back downtown for a communal snack at Clifton’s Cafeteria.