87 Inspirational Tom Waits Quotes for Budding Musicians

Tom Waits is an American singer-songwriter and actor.

Inspired by Beat literature, he chose a bohemian lifestyle, often performing in smoky clubs in the late 1960s.

His music mixes jazz, blues, pop and avant-garde rock. His lyrics show the influence of writers like Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski.

While more successful in Britain, some of his songs became hits for stars like the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart.


Waits has won Grammy Awards and collaborated on stage musicals and film scores. He started acting in the 1980s and appeared in movies like “Down by Law” and “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

Here is an amazing collection of quotes by Tom Waits.

Inspirational Tom Waits Quotes


The Universe is making music all the time. ~ Tom Waits.


I sold a quart of blood and bought a half a pint of scotch. ~ Tom Waits.


A mental midget with the IQ of a fence post. ~ Tom Waits.

I hate Disneyland. It primes our kids for Las Vegas. ~ Tom Waits.

The Music was like Electric Sugar. ~ Tom Waits.

I’ve seen it all through the yellow windows of the evening train… ~ Tom Waits.

She’s got the whole dark forest living inside of her. ~ Tom Waits.


And the earth died screaming, while I lay dreaming… ~ Tom Waits.

A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, but doesn’t. ~ Tom Waits.

Using parking meters as walking sticks. ~ Tom Waits.

Hell is boiling over. And heaven is full. We’re chained to the world. And we all gotta pull. And we’re all gonna be …just dirt in the ground. ~ Tom Waits.

There ain’t no devil, only God when he’s drunk. ~ Tom Waits.

Top Tom Waits Quotes

I walked 500 miles just to see a halo, when I opened my eyes I was blind as can be. ~ Tom Waits.


You’re innocent when you dream. ~ Tom Waits.

I started out with nothing and I still got most of it left. ~ Tom Waits.

Bringing up children was like living with a bunch of drunks…you really have to be on your toes all the time. ~ Tom Waits.

Writing songs is like capturing birds without killing them. Sometimes you end up with nothing but a mouthful of feathers. ~ Tom Waits.


Don’t you know there ain’t no devil; there’s just God when he’s drunk. ~ Tom Waits.

They say that I have no hits and that I’m difficult to work with. And they say that like it’s a bad thing. ~ Tom Waits.

Champagne for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends. ~ Tom Waits.

Well you say that it’s gospel, But I know that it’s only church. ~ Tom Waits.

We are all just monkeys with money and guns. ~ Tom Waits.

Oh I don’t mind going to weddings, just as long as it’s not my own… ~ Tom Waits.


Well, it’s either kiss me or kill me, that’s how I see it. ~ Tom Waits.

Slept all night in the cedar grove, i was born to ramble, born to rove, some men are searchin’ for the holy grail, but there ain’t nothin’ sweeter than ridin’ the rails. ~ Tom Waits.

Sing me a rainbow. Steal me a dream. ~ Tom Waits.

It’s very hard to stop doing things you’re used to doing. You almost have to dismantle yourself and scatter it all around and then put a blindfold on and put it back together so that you avoid old habits. ~ Tom Waits.


Time is just memory Mixed in with Desire. ~ Tom Waits.

Never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you’re dead. ~ Tom Waits.

Famous Tom Waits Quotes

When you’re down on your luck and you’ve lost all your dreams there’s nothing like a campfire and a can of beans. ~ Tom Waits.

My reality needs imagination like a bulb needs a socket. My imagination needs reality like a blind man needs a cane. ~ Tom Waits.


Most of the things you absorb you will ultimately secrete. ~ Tom Waits.

We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness. We are monkeys with money and guns. ~ Tom Waits.

I put food on the table and roof overhead. But I’d trade it all tomorrow for the highway instead. ~ Tom Waits.

The large print giveth and the small print taketh away. ~ Tom Waits.


Not the kind of wheel you fall asleep at. ~ Tom Waits.

Got a head full of lightning, a hat full of rain. ~ Tom Waits.

There’s always free cheddar in the mousetrap, baby. ~ Tom Waits.

The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering. ~ Tom Waits.

There is no such thing as nonfiction. ~ Tom Waits.


We have a deficit of wonder right now. ~ Tom Waits.

I don’t go to church on Sunday, don’t get on my knees to pray, or memorize the books of the Bible, I got my own special way. ~ Tom Waits.

There ain’t no devil, just God when he’s drunk. ~ Tom Waits.

Don’t plant your bad days. They grow into weeks. The weeks grow into months. Before you know it, you got yourself a bad year. Take it from me – choke those little bad days. Choke ’em down to nothing. ~ Tom Waits.


I’ve lost my equilibrium, my car keys, and my pride. ~ Tom Waits.

I worry about a lot of things, but I don’t worry about achievements. I worry primarily about whether there are nightclubs in Heaven. ~ Tom Waits.

If there’s one thing you can say about mankind, there’s nothing kind about man. ~ Tom Waits.

You can learn a lot about a woman by getting smashed with her. ~ Tom Waits.


Come down off the cross, we could use the wood. ~ Tom Waits.

And when they pulled her from the wreck, you know, she still had on her shades. ~ Tom Waits.

I made a wish on a sliver of moonlight A sly grin and a bowl full of stars. ~ Tom Waits.

But it’s so hard to dance that way when it’s cold and there’s no music. ~ Tom Waits.


All that you’ve loved is all you own. ~ Tom Waits.

Songs are really just very interesting things to be doing with the air. ~ Tom Waits.

The earth is not my home, I’m just passing by. ~ Tom Waits.

The beginning of it starts at the end. ~ Tom Waits.

And I remember quiet evenings trembling close to you… ~ Tom Waits.


If you get far enough away you’ll be on your way back home. ~ Tom Waits.

I’ve been riding on the crest of a slump lately. ~ Tom Waits.

The way you do anything is the way you do everything. ~ Tom Waits.

I think I have an adrenaline addiction, no question about that. ~ Tom Waits.

Ultimate Tom Waits Quotes

You don’t meet nice girls in coffee shops. ~ Tom Waits.


There’s no prayer like desire. ~ Tom Waits.

Most of the people I admire, they usually smell funny and don’t get out much. It’s true. Most of them are either dead or not feeling well. ~ Tom Waits.

It’s hard to win when you always lose. ~ Tom Waits.

Misery’s the river of the world. Everybody row! ~ Tom Waits.

I’m not fighting for justice. I am not fighting for freedom. I am fighting for my life and another day in the world here. ~ Tom Waits.


The piano has been drinking, not me. ~ Tom Waits.

Well I got a bad liver and broken heart, yeah, I drunk me a river since you tore me apart. ~ Tom Waits.

I never told the truth so I can never tell a lie… ~ Tom Waits.

Picture in a frame. ~ Tom Waits.

Wise Tom Waits Quotes

When you are writing, you’re conjuring. It’s a ritual, and you need to be brave and respectful and sometimes get out of the way of whatever it is that you’re inviting into the room. ~ Tom Waits.


The big print giveth and the small print taketh away. ~ Tom Waits.

It’s the same with men as with horses and dogs, nothing wants to die. ~ Tom Waits.


There ain’t no devil there’s just god when he’s drunk. ~ Tom Waits.

I don’t have a drinking problem ‘Cept when I can’t get a drink. ~ Tom Waits.

And the things you can’t remember tell the things you can’t forget that history puts a saint in every dream. ~ Tom Waits.

When the weather’s rough and it’s whiskey in the rain it’s best to wrap your savior up in cellophane. ~ Tom Waits.


I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy. ~ Tom Waits.

God’s away, God’s away, God’s away on business. Business! ~ Tom Waits.

You’re my North Star when I’m lost and feeling blue. ~ Tom Waits.

I’m so goddamn horny, the crack of dawn better be careful around me! ~ Tom Waits.

I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things. ~ Tom Waits.


It ain’t no sin, to take off your skin and dance around in your bones. ~ Tom Waits.

I’d rather have a free bottle in front of me than a prefrontal lobotomy. ~ Tom Waits.

Oh, I’m not a percussionist, I just like to hit things. ~ Tom Waits.

Here is a song (Downtown Train) from Tom Waits for you to enjoy.

So these were the 87 top Tom Waits quotes on life, music, love and success.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Patti Smith quotes and John Prine quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar