On the day we were scheduled to film this video, I received a text from Adam Krier, frontman of Chicago rock ’n’ roll band AM Taxi that said:
“We are bringing a gong, a toaster, a helmet, and some whiskey. You got anything to bring?”
Thinking he was just having fun and riffing on Waits mythology and the junkyard persona of many of his song’s characters, I replied:
“A jar of smoke, an alligator tongue, two gold coins, and a locket I found on the train tracks.”
Turns out Adam wasn’t riffing at all. When I arrived, there in front of me was a gong, a toaster and a loaf of white bread on a stool, a red helmet, and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s on the floor. With that, we even went as far as to time the toast so that it would pop out right when we switched keys in the song. Don’t ask me why but I have to believe that Waits would approve.
AM Taxi remain one of my favorite Chicago bands. Their Clash and E-Street Band sensibilities paired with lyrics that all-too-well illustrate the dreams, trappings and characters of my hometown, inhabit a very specific place in my heart. It’s what I imagine someone from Jersey feels when they hear “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.” With that energy fully intact, we had a blast covering this tune in all of its joy and rebellion.
Song: "I Don’t Wanna Grow Up"
Written by: Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, Jalma Music (ASCAP)
Filmed, Directed and Edited by: Mike Neerhof
Intro Animation by: Nicholas Wenzel