Tom Waits wanders a strange path between all musical genres: blues, Jazz, rock, Vaudeville, burlesque and, um, well, his own thing.

The path leads over steaming sewer grates, through underground cities, to religious confections with a bite. It moves through dust and dirt and pokes its grubby finger into the flared nostril of redemption.

He's been around a long time, but moves in and out of the public eye like a spangle of dark spots ringed with gold when you turn your head too quickly and haven't been breathing quite right.

About fame, Waits has said:

"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."