Tom Waits Makes A Rare Public Appearance To Back Up Mavis Staples With His Signature Growl

The public hasn’t seen Tom Waits on stage howling his way through a song since he sent off David Letterman over two years ago, but this weekend, Waits was brought up to the stage where he shared a mic at the behest of Mavis Staples. Waits, on fan-shot footage, claps his way to the mic as Mavis Staples’ band kicked off the Staples Sisters… staple… “Respect Yourself.”

Waits, normally wearing a pork pie hat, was looking like his usual, jangly self, just with some ghostly white hair that fits him well. The 67-year-old hasn’t toured since 2008’s Glitter and Doom tour, which visited off the beaten path locations in southern states and Europe, and his most recent album, Bad as Me, was released in 2011. So this is special, and here he is, grooving with Staples like it’s no big deal, at Lagunitas brewing in California of all places.

Waits is normally someone who stays far away from brands and is famously litigious whenever someone uses anything closely resembling his music to hock a car or nacho snack.

It’s nice to see Waits, who probably woke up in that suit, out in front of an audience. But even if he’s sticking to the shadows, his music is still on the minds of just about everyone who appreciates a gravelly tune. The Game of Thrones cast covered him just last month, and we all know the Cookie Monster considers his work a huge influence. Mostly Swordfishtrombones.

(Via Consequence of Sound)