Thirty-two years ago today (11/17/73), Tom Waits played at Folk Arts Rare Records, then located in Hillcrest at 3743 Fifth Avenue.
"He did our open-mike nights back when he was still at Hilltop High," says Folk Arts owner Lou Curtiss. "In '73, he was a doorman at the Heritage but, when they closed, I started doing concerts at the store, and I asked him to do one of the first ones. We didn't have much space, so we were crammed to the rooftops; he was just starting to get real well known.... Bob Webb, who owned the Heritage, played guitar, and Tom played guitar and piano."
Waits, who had one album under his belt, performed songs from his upcoming LP The Heart of Saturday Night, including "Shiver Me Timbers" and "San Diego Serenade."
"I still have a tape of the show," says Curtiss. Admission was "no more than $4" and Waits was paid from proceeds of around 150 ticket sales. "He got most of the money," says Curtiss, "we weren't getting rich off these things."