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University Radio Warwick (UK, radio)
W96.3 Coventry, England
February 25, 1994
Tori Amos interview
I met Tori Amos on February 25th before her concert at the University of Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, England (the second date of her world tour.) Here is a transcript of the interview, carried out for the university radio station, W963.
Steve: Can I start by asking you what your inspirations are?
Tori: Er.. um.. just.. experiences - some of them happened a long time ago, some of them haven't happened yet - um.. but the songs are like babes and they kind of show up and drag me to the piano and say, "Just sit there, we're coming through!"
Steve: Do you ever pick up the newspapers and think, "That'd make a good song"?
Tori: No.. I try not to read the newspapers but I observe other people a lot. I watch what they don't say more than anything - it's what's not said that's way more interesting and it tells the whole story than what is said.
Steve: We've talked about your inspirations; can I ask you what your aspirations are and do you still have any?
Tori: I really wanna be a mother after this tour. Um.. I'm gonna try and do that when the tour's finished. It's a very long tour.
Steve: I believe it's about 250 dates.. is that right?
Tori: Yeah, yes it is.
Steve: What did you think when somebody said to you, "Do a 250-date tour"?
Tori: Well, I thought I was nuts to go along with it 'cause I did it last time, that's what I did on the Little Earthquakes Tour and yet I said, "Yeah, sure," and um.. a part of me's a road-dog. I don't know what to do when I'm not on the road. Friends get tired of me coming around and wanting to hang out and go out. I always want to go out to dinner all the time because I.. I don't like to eat alone and they're tired of going out with me so I needed to go on the road so I could have somebody to eat with.
Steve: What annoys you.. in the world.. or in your own life? Perhaps about yourself.. or about other people?
Tori: It's when friends that I think are friends don't wanna see any side except their own side. I try really hard to see somebody else's side - sometimes, okay, I don't do a good job but I'm really aware of, "Hang on a minute, let's try and see.. what they're saying here, why are they so upset and can I put myself in their shoes for a minute to see how it would feel like, kind of?" And when I don't feel like I get the same courtesy, um.. first I get disappointed and then I get er.. in a rage because I hate this self-righteous vibe that somebody can put off, especially when they're not looking at anybody's point of view but their own. It's like, "Well, how can you possibly say that when you don't know what it would be like to be standing in those shoes? How could you possibly be so closed instead of going 'Well, okay, hang on a minute, I don't necessarily agree with that but uh.. what do I know about what growing up like that would be about or what?'" You know.. that's what really bothers me the most.
Steve: How do you feel about being constantly compared with Kate Bush?
Tori: Um.. well.. if you're going to be compared to somebody, you know.. she's wonderful. She does what she does incredibly well and I've always admired her.
Steve: How do you feel that your upbringing has affected your career? Has it made you more determined to get what you want, or..?
Tori: Mm.. well.. I think that I'm completely the way I am, writing the things I write about, because of having a mother, er.. a grandmother that was a minister and a father that was a minister and um.. they were really disciplinarians. I'm very close to my father now - it's taken, you know, years to develop that but I always say if he was a dentist, I don't know what I'd write about, you know? It'd be completely different.
Steve: I know that you hate being called kooky, and why do you think people call you kooky 'cause it's a very silly word?
Tori: I think they do it because er.. it was easy. After it was done in the beginning then it just got easier to do that than to really listen to what I was saying.
Steve: Lots of people have commented on the strangeness of "Cornflake Girl" - what exactly is a cornflake girl?
Tori: Somebody that you wouldn't have in your boat if the world was ending and we had a seat left, we wouldn't let her in the boat!
Steve: Which of your songs is your personal favourite?
Tori: On the new album, or..?
Steve: Or from the very first album as well.
Tori: "Upside Down", which was a B-side, I think.
Steve: If you could live your life again, which two things would you do and wouldn't you do again?
Tori: Um.. oh, God.. um, I wouldn't have stopped my exercise program and I would have.. learned to drive stick 'cause I can only drive automatic and it really gets me 'cause in certain 4-wheel drives, the jeeps, they're really much more fun if you can do the stick and I have to have an automatic and that's a drag.
Steve: Have you got any future plans at present, sort of from the end of the tour and apart from, perhaps, motherhood? What's going to be the next single from "Under the Pink", for example?
Tori: "Pretty Good Year".
Steve: I had a feeling it might be, actually.
Tori: Mm.. just shot the video, just went through an 18-foot sugar glass window. I still have cuts and scrapes from it but it was.. I had four minutes to jump through it or I was gonna go in overtime with the crew. Overtime for a 40 man/woman crew is kinda massive and um.. they just said, you know, "You have to do this," and I was working with the stuntman who had done one of the 007 movies and he had shown me exactly how to jump through this window for an hour.. and I did it! And it felt like the most unbelievable thing to crash through a window. I really recommend it!
Steve: Does success make you happy?
Tori: Uhhh!.. Success brings a lot of questions and confusion if you don't know why you're doing what you're doing, so it gets back to you have to remember why you're doing what you're doing, and that you're enough for yourself. Because when you start needing other people to agree, it becomes a bottomless pit - it's not just one. I mean, how many people do you need to agree? Ten? Ten thousand? Hundred thousand? A million? 'Cause if you need it, a million isn't enough. It just starts to become an addiction instead of this thing where you share and it's a reciprocal sharing because then the audience shares back.
© 1994, W963 University Radio Warwick.
First broadcast in "Artifacts", 7:00-8:00pm, Thursday 3rd March 1994, W963.
Interviewer: Steve Thomas. Producer: Chris Cooper.
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