Pitchfork: You sing Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski on this record. To what extent has literature influenced your music?
Tom Waits: I'm usually more concerned with how things sound than how they look on the page. Some people write for the page and that's a whole other thing. I'm going for what it sounds like right away, so it may not even look good on the page. But I'm still a word guy. I'm drawn to people who use a certain vernacular and communicate with words. Words are music, really. I mean, people ask me, "Do you write music or do you write words?" But you don't really, it's all one thing at its best. Sometimes when you're making songs you just make sounds, and the sounds slowly mutate and evolve into actual words that have meaning. But to begin with, most people who make songs just start out with [Waits makes noises].
(via Critical Mass)