After seven years of gathering
material and doing research (this was before the Internet, even before computers — at least in my corner of the world), this book was finally printed in
1991, when the war in Yugoslavia had already started.
first stumbled upon a Tom Waits record — in Amsterdam,
thirteen years before — I discovered a very masochistic
side of me: every time I played his songs they would hit
a painful spot, yet I had to repeat the experience. Very
soon I knew I had to do a book about him, but there was always
another, more urgent project.
The American media largely ignored Waits’ early
years, and it was difficult finding even the most basic details
about his life. Letters to his publishers
were never answered, and even his agents played deaf. So
I told practically everyone I knew that I was
collecting everything related to Waits, and people started
sending articles, interviews, reviews, news, and records.
On two occasions I tried to send a copy of the
book to Tom Waits. Once, Jim Jarmusch was
in Belgrade for the Film Festival. His host was Emir Kusturica,
and through him I arranged a short meeting. I gave him
two copies of the book and a short letter for Waits, but
I doubt it ever got to him – Jarmusch had a glass
full of vodka in his hand at all times. Second time it
was after Waits’
concert in Toronto, and I prepared a neat little package,
but they thought I was a groupie, and the furthest I
got was the third assistant of the second stage manager
in the night shift.
Published in 1991, this is — for the record — the first biography of Tom Waits ever done, in any language. Books about him are still very rare, mostly due to his rather relaxed treatment of his interviewers and his preference to purposefully distort the facts from his private life.
I never got around to translating this book into English and offering it to the publishers in the West. I can't remember why.