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The "victim energy" of Tori Amos.
Is Under The Pink a very sexual image to you?
Well, there is that angle I guess. There's the other one of it just being the internal part of the self. If you rip everybody's skin off then I see it that we're all pink, more or less. And I'm interested in what's underneath, and it's about the inner world. Yeah, pink was girls, blue was boys, so if you want to talk about underneath the concept of 'girl', which was something that I was working through on this record -- my idea of what girls were. Idealism, maybe.
Have you inherited any characteristics from the Cherokee Indian side of your family?
I think so. I think I'm beginning to develop a reverence for life, a reverence for other people. My grandfather, whose grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee, would spend a lot of time with me as a little kid, trying to explain to me about not needing to change another person to fit my own needs, and how that was breaking a deep spiritual law. The Cherokees' was a very advanced civilisation demolished within a very short period of time. The Europeans were afraid of them. They humiliated them because of their fear.
Presumably the Cherokees know nothing about pop music nor care?
You'd be surprised. On the reservation, you know, you hear Nirvana. Sure. And the older ones love country.
Do you tend to steer clear of drugs?
Yes, I mean, I like a mushroom or two. I've had some auyahascha experiences. That's a vine in the Amazon. It's a long journey, like fifteen hours or something and you fast before it because you'll get violently, violently ill if you don't. That's much more of an emotional ride than a mental ride. It takes you into parts of your personality. You can ask for what you want to see and it will be shown to you. One time I said, I want to see how harsh my judgement is. I ended up in a hedgerow somewhere on a hillside where these flowers were talking to me, just going, So where are your friends? They're not even looking for you.
Was Me And A Gun based on a personal experience?
You were raped?
More than that. Yes I was, but I was also held hostage for hours. And beyond the sexual violation, beyond the rape itself, it was feeling such hatred and believing that I was going to be cut up and never live. When you feel that you're going to be tortured and mutilated. And all the hate this guy has on women, his whole life, is being directed at you. It's more than you ever knew how to cope with. I'm still just being able to cope with that. And I think that I'm doing a pretty good job now. A lot of my songs are based around working through that -- the victim energy -- and working through the Christian energy that also carried the heavy victim thing too. Baker Baker, for example, that's a dear song to me because it's where I'm finally able to admit that I've been the one that's been emotionally unavailable for intimate relationships with men, and yet I have a lot of freedom in admitting it. And to be able to admit that to the man in my life has been a huge step, because now we're getting somewhere.
On the song Icicle there are lines in it that are clearly about you masturbating. In pop's history masturbation has always been the 'loser's option', while sex is equated with success and having a brilliant life. Would you care to redress that balance?
Ohh . . . it's kept me alive! It's where I practice my piano licks.
Trent Reznor (from Nine Inch Nails), the guy who rents the house where Charles Manson's people killed Sharon Tate, is on your album. Is he as heavy company as we might expect?
Yes. He's very heavy company. He's a very deep person; I felt that there was a lot there.
What was it like walking around that house?
Well, I tried to bake them some chicken because they're so anorexic but I could not make any food in that house. I only tried once but it didn't happen. It's like there's a curse. He took me on the tour and showed me where everything happened. I was curious, I did want to know. I said, Come on Trent, when you first came in the house, could you sleep? And he was like, I had nightmares for weeks, are you kidding? How could you not? This is a butcher house. And I'm like, Well, why are you here?
Look, let's leave it on a joke, if we possibly can. What's your favourite British TV show?
Reeves and Mortimer! I don't understand it all but that's OK. I'm still back on 'cakey pig'. I was thinking, God, if they were on in America, what would happen? I think people would just be going, (stunned) Marge, Marge. Just totally over the head.
[transcribed by jason/yessaid]
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the World of Tori Amos