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Tom Waits Emerges From the Darkness to Honor Nicolas Cage at the SFFILM Awards Night

Waits and Cage go way back, with Cage actually being employed by Waits at one point early on.

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Source: Anti

Tom Waits, as pictured on the cover of his 1999 album, 'Mule Variations'

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It might not be wholly accurate to describe Tom Waits as a hermit, but it would be fair to say that he's not the sort of pop culture figure who goes out of his way to interact with the public at large. He's not much for interviews, he hasn't done a proper tour since 2008, the last concert of note that he did was a performance he did for the 2013 Bridge School Benefit, and although he turned up on The Late Show with David Letterman in 2015, he almost certainly only did so because Dave was on the cusp of shutting the show down and leaving CBS.

All of this is a way of saying that it was kind of a big deal that Waits managed to find his way to the SFFILM Awards on December 4 in order to present Nicolas Cage with a lifetime achievement honor.

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Source: MEGA

Tom Waits in concert in Dublin, Nicolas Cage in the airport in Perth.

Cage has been a devout Waits fan for quite some time - back in 2010, he declared that Waits was his ultimate music hero - but during the course of honoring Cage, Waits divulged a bit of trivia which was almost certainly unknown to the majority of the crowd: Cage spent a bit of time as Waits' driver. "He was the same as a teenager," said Waits, per the San Francisco Chronicle. "It was troublesome for his family and other people around him. He needed some kind of a swimming pool to put that (talent) all in, and I’m sure glad that he has that now.”

In addition to briefly having that employer/employee relationship, Cage and Waits actually worked together on the 1983 Francis Ford Coppola film Rumble Fish. And it isn't just a relationship when Cage praises Waits, either. In 1999, Waits remarked to Magnet that he had Cage to thank for re-introducing him to the wonderful world of comic books.

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“I hadn’t thought about comic books since I was a little kid, but [Nic] seemed to carry that mythology with him. It was inspiring to see him keep alive some of those principles that we associate with childhood, to the point where he named himself after Cage, the comic-book hero.”

And Waits wasn't just throwing around the word "inspiring" all willy-neither, either: Cage introduced Waits to the Dark Horse Comics character known as the Eyeball Kid, which in turn led Waits to write a song about the character.

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While there's currently no word on whether or not Waits might have a new album in the pipeline - dare to dream, that's what we say - he has at least been making his presence known more than usual in recent days, having written a farewell to Shane MacGowan and even popping up on an episode of Iggy Pop's radio show. A six-time Grammy winner, Waits was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. His most recent album, Bad as Me, was released in 2011.


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