Originally released in 1992 on Island Records, Bone Machine is Tom Waits’ 11th studio album. 5 years after Franks Wild Years, Bone Machine is a return to studio albums for Tom Waits. The album features David Hidalgo, Les Claypool, Brain and Keith Richards and won a GRAMMY for Best Alternative Music Album.
Bone Machine is rather pointedly otherworldly… another edge pusher – his most poetically and sonically daring work yet. Writing again with his longtime collaborator and wife, Kathleen Brennan, Waits acknowledges writing ‘darker’ material saying “A great many songs live there, so that’s where I’ve been digging lately.”
Waits calls the songs on Bone Machine “little movies for the ears.” He sometimes wrote them entirely from a percussion pattern—which he played on array of largely homemade instruments. One, the “conundrum,” was rusted pieces of farm equipment hung from a large iron crucifix. As Waits explained at the time, “I have a lot of very strong rhythmic impulses, but this is not my world. I just pick something up and I hit it, and if I like the sound, it goes on. Sometimes my idiot approach serves the music.”
Mortality is a recurrent theme, from “Dirt In The Ground” (“We’re all gonna be. . .”) to “All Stripped Down,” “The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me” (a tale of contemplated suicide), “Jesus Gonna Be Here,” the rambunctious paean to childhood, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up,” and certainly the broken-hearted, confessional classic Waits ballad, “Whistle Down The Wind.” Waits explained at the time: “Yeah, ultimately, it will be a subject that you deal with. Some deal with it earlier than others, but it will be dealt with. Eventually we’ll all have to line up and kiss the devil’s arse.” Yet the album actually ends upliftingly, with “That Feel” co-written with Keith Richards.
Newly remastered for the first time ever from the original ½” flat master tape and personally overseen by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan. Mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering under the guidance of Waits’ longtime audio engineer, Karl Derfler. The album packaging has also been restored. Bone Machine includes tracks such as “Goin’ Out West,” “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” and “Jesus Gonna Be Here.” Available on 180g black vinyl.