Innovative troubadour Tom Waits will follow-up his acclaimed 1999 debut for Epitaph's Anti- imprint, "Mule Variations," with a pair of albums, "Alice" and "Red Drum." Due in spring 2002, the releases
Innovative troubadour Tom Waits will follow-up his acclaimed 1999 debut for Epitaph's Anti- imprint, "Mule Variations," with a pair of albums, "Alice" and "Red Drum." Due in spring 2002, the releases are described by the label as "startlingly different in landscape, sound, emotion, and composition."
Perhaps most typical of the material fans have come to expect from Waits, "Alice" is said to be comprised of "dark tunes from an adult fairytale." Waits and his wife and collaborator Kathleen Brennan composed the music and lyrics for a Robert Wilson-directed play of the same name that was staged in Hamburg in 1992.
The songs on "Red Drum" were inspired by the true story of Woyzeck, a poor soldier driven mad by medical experiments and an unfaithful wife in Leipzig in 1821. "Drum" also explores more esoteric musical landscapes such as "tarantellas, lullabies, and dissonant calliope waltzes," according to the label.
Several of the songs on "Red Drum" were no doubt written for Wilson's production of the Georg Bruchner drama "Woyzeck," on which Waits and Brennan also collaborated. The play premiered last November in Denmark as part of the Culture Bridge Celebration. Waits and Wilson previously worked together on the play "The Black Rider," staged in Germany in 1990.
Each album was produced and written by Waits and Brennan, and recorded using only acoustic instruments. The couple is said to be in the studio putting the finishing touches on the releases.
It is not known if Waits is planning to tour behind the new albums. His sold-out U.S. and European Get Behind the Mule theater tours in support of "Mule Variations" were his first extended runs since those supporting "Big Time" in the late 1980s. Through the '90s, he made only sporadic appearances, most during multi-artist benefit concerts.
"Mule Variations" debuted at No. 30 on The Billboard 200 and won the Grammy for best contemporary folk album. Since releasing the album, Waits contributed two songs to Atlantic's "Liberty Heights" soundtrack, "Putting on the Dog" and "It's Over." The artist also produced John Hammond's "Wicked Grin", an album largely comprised of covers of Waits material.