Tom Waits on Bette Midler

Mister D: This is from an interview with Francis Thumm in Interview Magazine, 1989

FT: Bette Midler attended some of your earliest New York concerts(7). What was that like?

TW: Well, she came in with all the feathers and ermine and red hair on fire, trailing ten or twelve people behind her. She was moving turbulence. She was in the audience, and I think we became friends right away.

FT: What did she say about your performance?

TW: She said. “You need some feathers, girls, hula skirls, and beaded curtains, and then you might have something.” I wrote some songs for her. like “I Never Talk to Strangers” and “Rainbow Sleeves.”(8) As soon as I met her, I felt like I had already known her she can do an hour on your hair. We can talk about anything. I love her musical impulses; she has a great sense of history in terms of her involvement in show business. She wanted to open a lounge act together, featuring us as Edie and Edie Wednesday. We’ve been friends for a long time, you know, since ’74.

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