The gravel-voiced, avant-garde king of indescribable booze-jazz/art rock/blues-folk/dissident cabaret is making his first appearance in the Valley in 30 years. Waits' song characters — whether it's a hooker in Minneapolis sending a postcard or a lonely kid sitting after hours in Napoleone's Pizza House — have endured with as much emblematic clarity for his fans as any major movie or television characters. Waits' body of bluesy, piano-driven work stands alone as that of an artist's artist, and he's managed to maintain his integrity in an age where licensing deals have become one of the most lucrative avenues a musician can take. Adamantly opposed to having his music used in advertisements, Waits has filed lawsuits (and won) against companies like Frito-Lay, Audi, and Levi's, for using his music (or something too similar to it) in their commercials. Waits isn't opposed to sharing — his songs have been covered by everybody from The Eagles to Rod Stewart to Scarlett Johansson — but he's opposed to selling products, and he's made sure that no matter what critics say about this eccentric artist, they can never rightfully call him a "sellout."
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