Tom Waits has not put out a studio album since 2011's Bad As Me. If you love Waits' music as much as you should, that is far too long to not have new music from Tom Waits. He has not disappeared, though. He has focused his artistic far more on acting and has been in a number of projects in the last decade.
But Waits hasn't been one to be in the public eye very often in the last decade either. Sure, he makes movies and TV shows, but he hasn't been performing concerts or making public appearances. Until recently, that is. Maybe - and this is likely much more of a hope than anything else - that means Waits is about to put out some huge new project.
Since September, Tom Waits has appeared at public functions twice and made a public statement about the passing of a music legend once. He began by auctioning off a fedora where the proceeds went toward supporting film crew members during the recent actor's and writer's strikes. Waits has always been a giving person, unless you happen to be a member of the Eagles.
Tom Waits has been making more public appearances recently
In early December, Waits and his wife, songwriter Kathleen Brennan, produced a statement about the passing of Shane MacGowan. It was wonderfully written in classic Waits-Brennan style and a testament to how much MacGowan influenced other great songwriters.
This week, though, Tom Waits made his biggest public appearance in years. He presented Nicolas Cage with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the SFFilm Awards in San Francisco. Waits has known Cage since at least 1983 when they both were in the film Rumble Fish. Said Waits of Cage at the ceremony, "It was troublesome for his family and other people around him. He needed some kind of a swimming pool to put that (talent) all in, and I’m sure glad that he has that now."
Cage had previously said that Tom Waits was his musical hero. So, whatever you think of Cage as an actor, he clearly has immaculate taste in music. Maybe - just maybe - Waits is making more public appearances because he getting ready to put out new music and him being in the news keeps his face fresh in the eyes of the public. (One can hope!)