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Tom Waits update: Oh, so it was a video for 'Hell Broke Luce'

August 07, 2012|By Chris Barton
  • A still from Tom Waits' new video for "Hell Broke Luce," released online Tuesday morning.
A still from Tom Waits' new video for "Hell Broke Luce,"… (YouTube )

With a Facebook post that landed Tuesday morning pledging to deliver "us from suspense," Tom Waits finally revealed what he had been cooking during a mysterious email campaign over the last week: A new music video for "Hell Broke Luce," a growling guitar-march from Waits' 2011 album "Bad as Me."

"Oh," many tour-anticipating Waits fans surely replied. "That's nice, I guess."

And, frankly, the four-minute clip is a bit more than that -- once any disappointment that there's apparently no album or tour on the way wears off. The piece is a hauntingly surrealist illustration of the song and its subject, a PTSD-ravaged war veteran (rumored to be inspired by Iraq war vet Jeff Lucey, who committed suicide in 2004 at age 23).

Directed by Santa Cruz-based photographer Matt Mahurin, the video is full of leering vultures, chunky battleships (there are those boxy shark heads), marching skeletons and a body bag-bound choir as Waits barks the song's lyrics while towing a house through a battlefield. Granted, it's not quite the same thrill as a date at the Orpheum, but it's genuinely haunting stuff and a riveting piece of protest art.

All things considered, however, if a seven-day ramp-up constitutes the marketing plan for a video release, just what can we expect if a tour or album announcement really does come along? Watch the clip below.

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