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Tom Waits – “Just the Right Bullets”

USA, 1993

Tom Waits in a box office, wearing sunglasses, multiple wristwatches, smoking a cigarette, and grinning like a maniac

One of these days I’ll be able to actually see one of Tom Waits‘ theatrical creations. I came on board with Waits after hearing “Frank’s Wild Years,” the name of which would become the play (and the album) Franks Wild Years. In fact, that was my first Tom Waits album purchased, because I thought the song was the title track. I was such a young and naive fool, as opposed to the old and naive fool I am today.

Anyway, this song is from The Black Rider, an album version of the show Waits collaborated on with William S. Burroughs and director Robert Wilson. This is the song where the devil sells some magical bullets to a doomed clerk. I think you’ll get the gist. First, the album version. Then a staged version. Because we can.

The full album is available from Amazon.