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Veronica (the Netherlands)
May 7-13, 1994 (no. 19)
(Veronica is a magazine publishing TV program schedules, from the
Dutch broadcasting company of the same name. They publish an article with a pop
artist every week, and Tori made it into this magazine, thanks to her recent
Dutch tour dates.)
Tori Amos Spits Fire
by Eugene Buitenhuis
"My music is sex, emotion, aggression. It's a
way to deal with those emotions." She's already being called the new
Kate Bush, this sultry piano virtuoso. But: "Comparisons
are unfair," she says, banging her fist on the table. Even fiercer than
her red hair: Tori Amos.
Tori is indeed a case on herself. She
likes classical piano, but also rock-guitars, is friendly and fierce at
the same time, writes poetical lyrics with themes like masturbation and can
reach all thinkable highs (and lows) with her voice. During an interview in an
Amsterdam hotel she varies her mood as much as her singing. One moment she's
smiling sweetly, giving your reporter a lecture on feminism ("Most men are guilty of the suppression of women, but the
most important thing is that women stop cheating on each other"), and
the next she can burst out fiercely, yelling: "Aggression
starts where people suppress their feelings. At some point those emotions force
their way out and that results in all sorts of trouble. That is one of the
themes in my songs."
"A lot of young people think you can best let
out that aggression by stagediving." Laughing: "At
my concerts you can also get a good feeling without breaking your arms."
A comforting thoughts for those who will visit the already sold out concerts
she'll be giving this week in Maastricht, Nijmegen and Scheveningen. Tori will
present herself in the already well known way. She sits with spread legs on a
piano bench, tells a story with each song, improvises heavily, and calls on a
serene atmosphere in which the audience sit and listen in deadly silence, like
in a church service. This urge to mission she might have gotten from her
father, a Methodist minister from North Carolina.
"I could play the piano at 3, and my father
wanted me to go and play classical concerts, preferably all my life with the
same orchestra..." She laughs mockingly. "Then
I would have been a musical civil servant by now. I've had to fight dreadfully
to also be allowed to do popular music and my parents have only just started to
acknowledge the fact that I made the choice that was right for me."
She immediately experienced a massive break-through with her first cd: from Little
Earthquakes a host of singles were drawn, like "Silent All These Years",
and the music press cheered on this selfconscious singer-songwriter. Her new
CD, Under the Pink, which brought forth the hit "Cornflake Girl", was
received even more enthusiastically. Is it true that she is such a success
because she forms the ‘voice of a generation' with her songs? She grins. "Nonsense. I don't believe in the necessary ties between
age and a way of seeing life. You have dull young people and wild elderly. The
niceness of my work is that it attracts people of all ages; you can see that at
Tori is accustomed to playing before different audiences. "I have earned my livings before by playing in cafes,
like a bar-girl. Yes, that was just after being kicked off the conservatory.
They thought I was good technically, but I didn't want to play the same things
over and over again. I like Brecht and Gershwin, but I'd think it boring to
play their music always and only their music. When a band would keep on playing
Beatles-songs, at some point the audiences would say, ‘Hey, we don't come for
imitation.' Wouldn't they?"
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