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POP EYE

February 14, 1988|PATRICK GOLDSTEIN

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: If you want to read an interview that takes you on a roller-coaster tour of modern culture--from tales of hobo folkster Harry Partch to slang etymology (the New Orleans patois for coffin is wooden kimono) to the ultimate definition of Disneyland ("Vegas for kids")--get the March issue of Playboy. It features a 20 Questions feature with Tom Waits, pop's one-of-a-kind saloon bard, conversing with writer Steve Oney.

No one has Waits' supple, syncopated command of the English language. When asked if you have to sell out to create a marketable pop song, he replies: "Popular music is like a big party, and it's a thrill sneaking in rather than being invited. Every once in a while, a guy with his shirt on inside out, wearing lipstick and a pillbox hat, gets a chance to speak. I've always been afraid I was going to tap the world on the shoulder for 20 years and when it finally turned around, I was going to forget what I had to say. I was afraid I was going to do something in the studio and hate it, put it out and it was going to become a hit. So I'm neurotic about it."

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