I still don’t understand what’s so damned difficult about serving French food in a mall restaurant, but I know this: Waiting tables is a tough job.
To this day I remain convinced that my short tenure as a waiter taught me everything I need to know about the job market. Each table is an immediate performance review–do your job well, get a tip; do it poorly, that’s an hour out of your day you’ll never get back.
Waiters have to learn how to read people at a glance. Do you want me to be a part of your evening, or do you want me to be invisible? Is that dude at table 4 open to an up sell? How do I politely tell the asshole at the deuce that my salary depends on turnover, so he needs to put away his notebook, stop writing about “waiting songs,” whatever that means, and get the hell out of my section?
Everybody should wait tables at some point in his or her life. Anyway, a few deep cuts about waiting:
“Waiting for the End of the World,” Elvis Costello. Elvis Costello is one of those artists whose complete catalogs are a must have, but if you have to pick just one make it My Aim is True, home of this tasty cut.
“Waiting Room,” Fugazi. Speaking of tough comprises, if you can’t bring yourself to love Fugazi’s music at least give front man Ian Mackaye some love. That dude is a model of integrity.
“Dumb Waiters,” The Psychedelic Furs. I got into the Psychedelic Furs for the same reason that some others snubbed them: Lead singer Richard Butler was the next best thing to Bowie.
“Waitress,” Live. And here’s another Bowie crossover: I read somewhere that Ed Kowalcyk thought that The Dame’s “Let Me Sleep Beside You” was one of his greatest lost songs, which I agree with, so I gave Live a shot. I’ve never found that reference again, so maybe I dreamed it.
“The Wait Around,” Thenewno2. Beatle George’s son’s band. They are well worth your music dollar.
“Wait,” The Beatles. I sometimes forget that the entire world doesn’t know every Beatles track, but it’s true. This cut is from Rubber Soul, the first album I remember really resonating with me.
“The Wait,” The Pretenders. The early Pretenders were magic. Chrissie Hynde sang like sex, Martin Chambers and Pete Farndon held down the bottom end, and the long departed James Honeyman-Scott laid down legendary riffs. Music doesn’t get much better than this:
“Memories Can’t Wait,” Living Colour. Here is a great example of a cover overshadowing the original. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Talking Heads version of this song, but once Living Colour recorded “Memories Can’t Wait” it was theirs.
“Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round to be a Millionaire),” AC/DC. My all-time favorite song from the Aussie menace with one of my all-time favorite lyrics: “I’ve got patches on the patches / on my old blue jeans / well they used to be blue / when they used to be new / and when they used to be clean.”
All right, what else should we toss on the list? Don’t make me wait: I’m listening.