Tom Waits' first new album in seven years, Bad As Me, comes out on Oct. 25th. This morning, the idiosyncratic California songwriter and bandleader conducted what was billed as a "Private Listening Party" on YouTube to give fans a sneak preview. After playing bits of a couple of songs, though, Waits pretended to take a phone call, and then addressed the camera on the topic of Internet-induced artistic privacy.
"We have a situation here," the carny barker / singer said. "I'm sorry we had to cut it. Apparently, there's no such thing as private anymore. It's an Internet thing. I thought this was a private party, a sneak preview for you, for me. Apparently not." He then asked a few pointed questions: "If you were having a birthday and I came early and started eating your cake and opened your presents and started playing with your toys ... Would you be okay with that? What if you had a root canal, and I asked you to gargle with raw sewage" - ironically, choosing words that have often been used to describe the sound of Waits' own voice - "Would you be okay with that?"
He then acted as if he was calling the whole off, took a seat in his car, and played a little more music. Watch below. Thanks to my glory-seeking editor Sam Wood for this.