Filipino Box Spring Hog (1999) – Tom Waits

This is a lot of fun to listen to a bit dishevelled and frivolous. I find with Tom Waits you have to be in the mood and if not, he will soon put you in the mood. When listening to multiple songs I get swept up in the charm of his music. Right now hearing Filipino Box Spring Hog in the state I’m in, suits me just fine. This is the second song to appear after Big in Japan from his 1999 record Mule Variations which received a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

Even for Tom Waits, Filipino Box Spring Hog is a truly weird song:

Well I hung on to Mary’s stump
I danced with a soldier’s glee
With a rum-soaked crook and a big fat laugh
I spent my last dollar on thee
I saw Bill Bones, I gave him a yell
Kehoe spiked the nog
With a chainlink fence
And a scrap-iron jaw

Cookin’ up a Filipino Box Spring Hog

From Songfacts:

It seems to be about a bunch of wild characters cooking up a dinner in a junkyard, with a hog cooked over a box spring as the main course. We even get some instructions on how to prepare such a feast:

Gotta roll em over twice
Baste him with a sweeping broom
You gotta swat them flies
And chain up the dogs

The funny thing is, for all the weirdness, there’s actually a lot in the song that was taken from the real world. For one, this is the first song where Waits ever mentions his wife Kathleen by name:

Kathleen was sittin’ down
In Little Red’s Recovery Room
In her criminal underwear bra

We know Waits’ wife and collaborator Kathleen actually was the reference in the song, too, because in a 1999 interview with Exclaim, he was asked if it was indeed the first time he used her name in a song. Waits answered, “Yeah. She said, ‘Gee, thanks a lot! You finally stick me in a song, and I’m sitting in a bar in my bra. And you’re there with the dog tied to the stool.’ It’s a nice family portrait. I had to do some explaining, but she got a kick out of it.”

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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One comment on “Filipino Box Spring Hog (1999) – Tom Waits
  1. Dishevelled and frivolous indeed!

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