“Poverty accounted for many of my choices – I had this knockoff, fake Tele I used on Rain Dogs… It was awful but also beautiful”: Marc Ribot on recording Tom Waits classics with cheap gear, and why ‘How can I destroy it?’ is one of his session mantras

Marc Ribot
(Image credit: Ebru Yildiz)

Though he doesn’t think of himself as such, Marc Ribot is a session ace. He’s played sideman to Tom Waits on records such as Rain Dogs (1985) and Franks Wild Years (1987), lent a hand to Elvis Costello on Spike (1989), and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss on Raising Sand (2007), and even appears on the Black Keys’ Attack & Release (2008), just to name a few among the hundreds.

Most recently, Marc has injected his angular riffage and jagged yet buttery solos into Ceramic Dog’s mix, with whom he’s been recording since 2008’s Party Intellectuals. As for the latest, 2023’s Connection, released on Knockwurst Records, it’s a bit of Ribot-driven bliss, which runs the gamut of free jazz improvisation, off-the-wall, tribal rhythms, and straight-up rock and blues jams.

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Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.