Tom Waits For No One Scrapbook

Like this film, the Scrapbook was completed 35 years ago. It was John Lamb's collection of just about everything related to the film, all the way back to the very beginning - the ticket stub for first time Lamb saw Tom Waits perform in person, at The Roxy in 1977.

The book was never intended to be published, it was simply one artist's method of understanding, documenting and honoring a work he loved. But the Tom Waits For No One Scrapbook is much more than just Lamb's work - the hundreds of drawings, doodles, riffs, character studies, turnarounds and pop culture goofs is a look through the mind's eye of talented young artists in the process of making an experimental film on a brand new technology: the video rotoscope.

This one of a kind documentation about the making of a film, originally intended as a personal record of the director,  is a compelling work in its own right. The drawings, the art, are alternately raw and elegant. The humor is crass and riotously funny. Personal drawings by Keith Newton on the "joy" of working on the Lyon Lamb video rotoscope; a birthday card for Lamb of the animators, all naked, drawn by the animators - prankster kitsch among beautiful renderings of the film itself. 

But how do you explain a book like this - off beat, irreverent, unconventional, and probably barely readable to anyone beyond a microcosm of a niche audience that has seen Tom Waits For No One? 

Well, John Lamb has written the introduction to talk about the book and include insight on the individual contents. Keep in mind, Lamb collected every piece - hand pasted each onto every page. He can tell you who drew each piece and why... hundreds of drawings and he knows the story of each one. Like the small drawing of John Lennon playing a guitar, looking down, not happy, but not troubled - "that was drawn by Keith the day after Lennon was killed," Lamb said. 

In the introduction, Lamb speaks to the contents, the why, and what it's like to open that book 35 years later - and imagine everyone, the artists, when they were basically kids - working their first job in animation on Tom Waits For No One.

To frame the film from the perspective of rotoscope, animation and music video history, the Foreword has been written by Gunnar Strom, professor at Volda University College in Norway and author of "The Two Golden Ages of Animated Music Video". Strom brings his superb knowledge on the crossroads of animation and music video, framing the film at a nexus of technology, music and animation history, identifying its unique place among the history of rotoscoping and music videos.

To complete the book, it will conclude with a photograph and a brief biography of each animator and artist who worked on Tom Waits For No One, with photography by Zach Cordner,

If you like Tom Waits For No One, we think you'll love the scrapbook. It's still in the making, but early release images can be seen at:

Kickstarter Campaign

Our Kickstarter campaign has been announced, and it's successful funding will rescue the original "Tom Waits For No One" live action footage (and pencil tests!) from a decaying medium and recover them into a viewable format. The campaign will also fund showcasing the newly recovered film, along with the original artwork and animation cels at a 35th Anniversary Celebration!

The location? None other than the original filming location - the old La Brea Stage in Hollywood. We're rebuilding the original stage and set - we'll project the never-before-seen live action Tom Waits and pencil test footage throughout the gallery, and the restored, framed animation cels will be on display for the first time!

The Kickstarter will begin on Friday, Sept. 19 - and the 35th Anniversary Celebration will kick-off on March 20 & 21, 2015.

And there's a book... a Tom Waits For No One Scrapbook will feature the work of the artists and animators of this nearly forgotten film, also funded by the Kickstarter... Isn't that enough for two remarkable nights?

Well, there's one more thing... the evenings wouldn't be complete without an unmatched and fantastic music experience. To fit the bill, all the way from New Orleans, the amazingly talented Meschiya Lake and Tom McDermott will play both nights. Dig that!

With all this goodness, you'll never want to leave, so catering will be provided by the legendary TOI on Sunset restaurant, and the after party will be hosted at their rockin' thai restaurant, up the street.

More to come in the next few days... in the mean time, dig this from the amazing Tom McDermott and Meschiya:

Articles all the way to Ankara, Turkey

Day 2 after the "Tom Waits For No One" Kickstarter press release, an article was published on - and it was like pouring fuel on flame. At least a dozen radio stations ran a story, many reblogs from NME, FactMag, Eyeball Kid, and many variations on the theme - even one article published in Turkish. Yow-za!

Here's a non-comprehensive list:


Consequences of Sound:

Fact TV:


Ultimate Classic Rock:

Music Times:



Classic Rock:

The 405:

Mike McBeasty:

Grolsh Film Works:


92.3 Bob FM:

The Planet of Sound:



Kickstarter Campaign announced

Today, Jeremy Farrance sent out the press releases for the Tom Waits For No One Kickstarter campaign - and man did the fun begin.  By day's end, at least seven different stories were  posted! Our thanks to the following blogs:

The Eyeball Kid
Consequence of Sound
The 405
Paste Magazine
Planet of Sound

Here's the Eyeball Kid's post - featuring drawings from the Scrapbook:

A book, a wha?!

What could be better than a Tom Waits For No One Scrapbook, featuring all the art, drawings, doodles, goofs, newspaper clippings, ticket stubs of concerts attended by the artists DURING the making of the film? 

A Kickstarter campaign to lift the book off the ground - and to fund a 35th Anniversary Celebration of the film's release! 

Oh yeah - there's lots more coming - though you heard it here first! 

More to come over the next 72 hours...

Entry #3 at The Mule

There's a new post up on The Mule, #3 by John - telling the story of the live action shoot. Have a read, friends:

"Tom Waits For No One" on Facebook

The TWFNO Facebook page is now live -

Thanks to many of our friends "Liking" the new page, it's off to a roaring start - and Jeremy Farrance of "The Mule", the first person to locate this site and feature an article by JL on the web, has brought his entourage to our page as well. Visit our FB page for greater history on rotoscoping and unique posts available only in the FB-sphere.

The Mule

The "Tom Waits For No One" story is now featured on Jeremy Farrance's UK-based blog, "The Mule". Take a gander on over folks:


© John Lamb 2014