"Tom's Square, NYC"

June 26, 2015

Andy Warhol's Interview magazine asked me to shoot Tom Waits. When I spoke to Tom about arranging the shoot and asked him if he had any ideas, he said he wanted to go to Times Square.

Great, I thought, you and every other out-of-town musician.

I asked him if he would wear a big shiny chain around his torso, leaving one hand to hold a cigarette.

"I don't smoke." he replied.

I knew a traffic island between Broadway and Seventh Avenue where I had taken other bands and if we had something to feed the pigeons, they would fly down from their nearby perch on the castiron facade of an old building. If someone made a noise or dropped some keys, the pigeons would fly up, making a dramatic photo.

This particular day, it was so cold that the pigeons were just hanging out on the subway grating, keeping warm from the air rising out of the subway station. We couldn't get the pigeons to fly for anything.

I even have shots of Tom kicking at the birds.

We won't be seeing those shots here. Thank you, PETA.

My second opportunity to photograph Mr. Waits came when I was the photo editor of Spin magazine.

This time it was summer and Tom wanted to go to Chinatown. At the end of this shoot, we walked past the San Genero street festival.

Tom grabbed a folding chair and put it in the street to take a little rest after the big lunch.

Note the famous alligator shoes featured in the 1986 Jim Jarmusch film Down By Law.

- George DuBose




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