Great Tom Waits Song: Goin’ Out West

I’m goin’ out west where the wind blows tall
‘Cause Tony Franciosa used to date my ma
They got some money out there, they’re givin’ it away
I’m gonna do what I want and I’m gonna get paid
Do what I want and I’m gonna get paid

Bone Machine’s standout track was “Goin’ out West,” a throwback to the demonic R&B of “Heartattack and Vine” and “16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six.” Over possibly the greatest drum sound ever—Waits whacking what sounds like a metal door— Joe Gore and Larry Taylor created an infernal Cramps-ish racket that put the likes of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion utterly in the shade. Waits raged away in the guise of a wannabe actor en route to California, a deluded ex-con who claimed he looked good with his shirt off and planned to call himself Hannibal or Rex. The song was Elmore Leonard’s Be Cool distilled into three frenzied minutes, a capsule snapshot of a dumb Everglades hunk with a head full of celluloid fantasies. Waits had seen dolts like this swarming into LA for years.
-Barney Hoskyns (Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits)

Facts

Studio album by Tom Waits
Released September 8, 1992
Recorded Prairie Sun Recording, Cotati, California
Genre Rock, experimental
Length 53:30
Label Island
Producer Tom Waits; Associate producer: Kathleen Brennan

 

The song was released on Bone Machine , a critically acclaimed and award-winning album released in 1992 on Island Records. It won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album, and features guest appearances by Los Lobos‘ David HidalgoPrimus‘ Les Claypool and Brain, and The Rolling Stones‘ Keith Richards.

Perhaps Tom Waits’ most cohesive album, Bone Machine is a morbid, sinister nightmare, one that applied the quirks of his experimental ’80s classics to stunningly evocative — and often harrowing — effect. In keeping with the title’s grotesque image of the human body, Bone Machine is obsessed with decay and mortality, the ease with which earthly existence can be destroyed. The arrangements are accordingly stripped of all excess flesh; the very few, often non-traditional instruments float in distinct separation over the clanking junkyard percussion that dominates the record. It’s a chilling, primal sound made all the more otherworldly (or, perhaps, underworldly) by Waits’ raspy falsetto and often-distorted roars and growls.
-Steve Huey (allmusic.com)

Lyrics

Well I’m goin’ out west
Where the wind blows tall
‘Cause Tony Franciosa
Used to date my ma
They got some money out there
They’re giving it away
I’m gonna do what I want
Do what I want
And I’m gonna get paid

Little brown sausages
Lying in the sand
I ain’t no extra baby
I’m a leading man
Well my parole officer
Will be proud of me
With my Olds 88
And the devil on a leash
My Olds 88
And the devil on a leash

Well I know karate, Voodoo too
I’m gonna make myself available to you
I don’t need no make up
I got real scars
I got hair on my chest
I look good without a shirt

Well I don’t lose my composure
In a high speed chase
Well my friends think I’m ugly
I got a masculine face
I got some dragstrip courage
I can really drive a bed
I’m gonna change my name
To Hannibal or maybe
Just Rex
Change my name to Hannibal
Or maybe just Rex

I’m gonna drive all night
Take some speed
I’m gonna wait for the sun
To shine down on me
I cut a hole in my roof
In the shape of a heart

And I’m goin’ out west
Where they’ll appreciate me
Goin’ out west
Goin’ out west




Live versions

Live 1992 + interview

Austin 20-03-1999

From the Glitter And Doom live album (recorded live in 2008)

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