Hell Broke Luce – Tom Waits

Watch/Listen here:

Thanks to Alan Cross for pointing this one out.

This unbelievable 62 year-old is a complete wonder. As distinct as they come. That gravel and growl that makes him so distinct also defines him. And still, he has that fire in the belly. A fire that burned those vocal chords to a crisp. His passion is something that inspires and calls us to act. Every award well deserved. We should all carry that much passion for truth and demand it from every part of our lives, from ourselves to our politicians.

Lyrics here, more below:

I had a good home but I left
I had a good home but I left, right, left
That big fucking bomb made me deaf, deaf
A Humvee mechanic put his Kevlar on wrong
I guarantee you’ll meet up with a suicide bomb
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce

Big fucking ditches in the middle of the road
You pay a hundred dollars just for fillin’ in the hole
Listen to the general every goddamn word
How many ways can you polish up a turd
Left, right, left, left, right
Left, right
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce

How is it that the only ones responsible for making this mess
Got their sorry asses stapled to a goddamn desk
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce
Left, right, left

What did you do before the war?
I was a chef, I was a chef
What was your name?
It was Geoff, Geoff
I lost my buddy and I wept, wept
I come down from the meth
So I slept, slept
I had a good home but I left, left
Pantsed at the wind for a joke
I pranced right in with the dope
Glanced at her shin she said nope
Left, right, left

Nimrod Bodfish have you any wool
Get me another body bag the body bag’s full
My face was scorched, scorched
I miss my home I miss my porch, porch
Left, right, left

Can I go home in March? March
My stanch was a chin full of soap
That rancid dinner with the pope
Left, right, left

Kelly Presutto got his thumbs blown off
Sergio’s developing a real bad cough
Sergio’s developing a real bad cough
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce
Hell broke luce

Boom went his head away
And boom went Valerie
What the hell was it that the president said?
Give him a beautiful parade instead
Left, right, left

When I was over here I never got to vote
I left my arm in my coat
My mom she died and never wrote
We sat by the fire and ate a goat
Just before he died he had a toke
Now I’m home and I’m blind
And I’m broke
What is next

What can I say about the endless Tom Waits that hasn’t been said already. Here again we see how this insanely talented man can make a very timely statement in a very modern way. There’s much discussion around the ‘Luce’ part of the title but I believe it refers to Iraq vet Jeff Lucey (I can’t fully confirm that) who committed suicide.

The music here is a battering ram to the brain. Clear lines to war. The pounding is reminiscent of both marching and relentless shelling.

Overall this is a statement that war breaks people. War doesn’t resolve anything. War is wrong. The best line in the song for me was “What the hell was it that the president said? Give him a beautiful parade instead”. There is no clearer statement of the madness than sending someone to die in a pointless war and then throwing him a parade. Tom Waits is a hero too. I hope everyone knows that.

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5 Responses to Hell Broke Luce – Tom Waits

  1. Carol Fong says:

    LOL! You’re right. Passion is all we ask for – and a new album.

  2. Carol Fong says:

    Larry, this was amazing! Thank you for sharing this. Very stirring, hypnotic and relevant. You’re right in that Tom Waits is one of a kind. Very few can do it the way Tom can.

    • larrylootsteen says:

      It is always great to see someone who follows their own path, sticks to it and manages to continue to show everyone the right path. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate it!

      • Carol Fong says:

        I totally agree! And I agree in that I wish U2 would show some of this anger/passion again. I think it’s what drew me to them in the first place. But it would have to be honest, which I think is why this song and Tom hit the mark so well. There is integrity here and if U2 are so “fat” off of their success that they don’t feel it anymore, I’d rather they hang it up. I never thought I would say it, but there you go. I just said it.

      • larrylootsteen says:

        It may be harder to write ‘joyous’ songs, so go easy U2. You’re old! Get mad!! Curmudgeons. New U2 album title!! I love it! If only…

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