Caught by the River

Should I Put It In My Pants?

21st May 2009

Gone Fishin’ With John Lurie, Tom Waits & Pals

by Nigel Smith. Originally published on Nigel’s blog Carnival Saloon a passionate and knowledgeable site devoted to country, soul & rock ‘n’ roll.


Some TV channels seem to devote the majority of their airtime to the “Fifty Greatest/Funniest/Daftest/Inspiring/Etc Moments of All Time” but I don’t recall this scene of Tom Waits putting a freshly caught red snapper down his shorts ever making one of those countdown clip shows.

This is from the second episode of Fishing With John, John Lurie‘s surreal take on outward bound entertainment first broadcast in the States in 1991. I don’t think it was ever shown on UK television but I have a well-worn set of VHS tapes that was probably my first ever transatlantic Amazon order. It’s one of my most prized possessions.

Thankfully, at long last, the six-part series has been released on DVD over here. As well as Tom in Jamaica you can also enjoy Jim Jarmusch shark fishing in upstate New York, Matt Dillon in Costa Rica, Willem Dafoe on the ice in Maine and a double episode with Dennis Hopper in search of the giant squid in Thailand.

It is unlike any television programme you’ve ever seen. The hi-jinks on screen are matched by deadpan narration and as well as putting his pals in ludicrous situations Lurie also scored the series with a particularly peculiar soundtrack.

This is one of the two Tom Waits ‘field recordings’ from the series as well as the mysterious fish dance Lurie and Dillon perform before their adventure.

MP3: Tom Waits & John Lurie – River of Men

MP3: John Lurie – Fish Dance

The YouTube clip above is merely the tip of the iceberg. Do yourself a favour and get your hands on the DVD. You’ll thank me for it.

Related Links
Amazon: Fishing With John DVD
Amazon: Fishing With John Soundtrack CD
City Paper: John Lurie Interview – talking trout

Carnival Saloon