S3E15 Bone Machine

Recorded in the cellar of Prairie Sun Recording Studios, in an area described as “just a cement floor and a water heater,” Bone Machine is Tom Waits‘ eleventh studio album. It was released in September of 1992.

Bone Machine was recorded and produced entirely at the Prairie Sun Recording studios in Cotati, California, in a room of Studio C known as “the Waits Room”, located in the old cement hatchery rooms of the cellar of the buildings. Prairie Sun’s studio head Mark “Mooka” Rennick said, “[Waits] gravitated toward these ‘echo’ rooms and created the Bone Machine aural landscape. […] What we like about Tom is that he is a musicologist. And he has a tremendous ear. His talent is a national treasure.”

Waits said of the bare-bones studio, “I found a great room to work in, it’s just a cement floor and a hot water heater. Okay, we’ll do it here. It’s got some good echo.” 

Bone Machine was the first Waits album on which he played drums and percussion extensively. In 1992, Waits stated: “I like to play drums when I’m angry. At home I have a metal instrument called a conundrum with a lot of things hanging off it that I’ve found – metal objects – and I like playing it with a hammer. I love it. Drumming is therapeutic. I wish I’d found it when I was younger.”

If you’re not familiar with Waits, this is as good as any place to remedy that. Enjoy!


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