Filipino Box Spring Hog

Album: Mule Variations (1999)

Songfacts®:

  • Even for Tom Waits, "Filipino Box Spring Hog" is a truly weird song. It seems to be about a bunch of wild characters cooking up a dinner in a junkyard, with a hog cooked over a box spring as the main course. We even get some instructions on how to prepare such a feast:

    Gotta roll em over twice
    Baste him with a sweeping broom
    You gotta swat them flies
    And chain up the dogs


    The funny thing is, for all the weirdness, there's actually a lot in the song that was taken from the real world. For one, this is the first song where Waits ever mentions his wife Kathleen by name:

    Kathleen was sittin' down
    In Little Red's Recovery Room
    In her criminal underwear bra


    We know Waits' wife and collaborator Kathleen actually was the reference in the song, too, because in a 1999 interview with Exclaim, he was asked if it was indeed the first time he used her name in a song. Waits answered, "Yeah. She said, 'Gee, thanks a lot! You finally stick me in a song, and I'm sitting in a bar in my bra. And you're there with the dog tied to the stool.' It's a nice family portrait. I had to do some explaining, but she got a kick out of it."
  • Little Red's Recovery Room was also a real place. It was a beloved, semi-(in)famous dive bar in Cotati, California, operating from 1976 to 2009.

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