Waits, Tom - The Piano Has Been Drinking
Type of Spiritual Experience
At the time of the recording of Small Change Waits was drinking more and more heavily, and life on the road was starting to take its toll on him. Waits, looking back at the period said:
I was sick through that whole period [...] It was starting to wear on me, all the touring. I'd been travelling quite a bit, living in hotels, eating bad food, drinking a lot - too much. There's a lifestyle that's there before you arrive and you're introduced to it. It's unavoidable.
In reaction to these hardships Waits recorded Small Change (1976), which finds Waits in much more cynical and pessimistic mood lyrically than his previous albums, with many songs such as "The Piano Has Been Drinking" and "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart" presenting a bare and honest portrayal of alcoholism, while also cementing Waits' hard-living reputation in the eyes of many fans. The album's themes include those of desolation, deprivation, and, above all else, alcoholism. The cast of characters, which includes hookers, strippers and small-time losers, are for the most part, night-owls and drunks; people lost in a cold, urban world.
A description of the experience
"The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)"
The piano has been drinking, my necktie is asleep
And the combo went back to New York, the jukebox has to take a leak
And the carpet needs a haircut, and the spotlight looks like a prison break
And the telephone's out of cigarettes, and the balcony is on the make
And the piano has been drinking, the piano has been drinking...
And the menus are all freezing, and the light man's blind in one eye
And he can't see out of the other
And the piano-tuner's got a hearing aid, and he showed up with his mother
And the piano has been drinking, the piano has been drinking
As the bouncer is a Sumo wrestler cream-puff casper milktoast
And the owner is a mental midget with the I.Q. of a fence post
'Cause the piano has been drinking, the piano has been drinking...
And you can't find your waitress with a Geiger counter
And she hates you and your friends and you just can't get served without her
And the box-office is drooling, and the bar stools are on fire
And the newspapers were fooling, and the ash-trays have retired
'Cause the piano has been drinking, the piano has been drinking
The piano has been drinking, not me, not me, not me, not me, not me