LA – The Tom Waits Bus Tour is Coming Back this April

For the second year running, we’re pleased to let our LA friends know about a very cool Tom Waits bus tour co-hosted by authors of two of our 33 1/3 titles, Tom Waits’ Swordfishtrombones and Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. April 20 is not as far away as you think, so get your tickets now!


WHAT: 2013 edition of “Crawling Down Cahuenga: Tom Waits’ Los Angeles” bus tour
WHEN: Saturday, April 20, noon-4pm
WHERE: Bus tour departs from The Daily Dose, 1820 Industrial St., Los Angeles, CA 90021
COST: $63/person
MORE INFO: visit or call 213-373-1947

LOS ANGELES – Fans of the legendary musician Tom Waits just don’t get a lot of chances to get together. Last time he toured, fans in his old hometown of L.A. were out of luck—the closest show was in Phoenix, Arizona. So once each year, Esotouric, the bus adventure company whose offbeat tours expose LA’s secret history, offers a bus tour celebrating the life and work of Waits, a rare opportunity for fans to scratch that gravelly voiced itch in good company.

CRAWLING DOWN CAHUENGA: TOM WAITS’ LOS ANGELES  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 acclaimed 33 1/3 series book on Tom Waits’ Swordfishtrombones album) and Esotouric’s Kim Cooper (a Zoetrope Studios intern who’ll tell how she used teenage subterfuge to arrange a private concert by the man) lead you on a scrupulously researched ride through Waits’ 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 Waits’ legendary performances at the Wiltern and elsewhere. Before departing for points rural, Tom Waits 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 he 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 in a famously cluttered room in 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, Waits 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 30-year creative and personal partnership, beginning with the revolutionary album Swordfishtrombones, the subject of tour host David Smay’s latest book.

Passengers gather in the historic Arts District, the neighborhood that best evokes the gritty 1970s-era downtown where Waits found inspiration, 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 with plenty of time to get the night started right.

ABOUT THE HOSTS: Longtime collaborators David Smay and Kim Cooper co-edited the books Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth (“quite simply the most fun music book I have ever read.” – Bucketfull of Brains) and Lost in the Grooves: Scram’s Capricious Guide to the Music You Missed (“the perfect book for the advanced record collector” – Ear Candy) before penning their solo 33 1/3 series books on Tom Waits and Neutral Milk Hotel. Kim hosts Esotouric’s true crime and occasional rock and roll history tours. David Smay lives in San Francisco, where he is working on a history of the Beats.

For more info on Esotouric, visit

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