The Associated Press' "Overlooked Albums" of 2004 includes a review of Tom Waits's Real Gone which says the one-time local nightclub doorman "has thrown dice in the back alleys of music before and found perfection in its gutters. The gravel-throated hipster knows you've got to be real gone to have gone far enough at all."
In 1975, on WAMU radio in Washington, D.C., Waits said, "They gave me, like, the leg of a chair to defend myself with," describing his time, from 1969 to 1971, when Waits was the doorman and bouncer for the long-gone Mission Beach coffeehouse the Heritage.
In an August 4, 1996, interview with the San Francisco Examiner, Waits said, "I think I made more as a doorman than I did playing. Eight dollars a night on the door, six dollars a night onstage."
Before that, when he was attending Hilltop High in Chula Vista, Waits worked at Napoleone's Pizza in National City, which is still there and owned by Waits's former employer, Sal Crivello.