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Boston Globe (US)
June 10, 1994

TORI AMOS OPENS HEART ONSTAGE AND OFF

by Steve Morse, Globe Staff
Edition: THIRD Section: ARTS AND FILM Page: 63
THE MUSIC SECTION / Rock Notes


A rape crisis center teaming up with a record company? It may seem unlikely, but singer Tori Amos is making it happen. Onstage, she continues to sing about the rape she once suffered. Offstage, she's bringing together the Washington, D.C., Rape Crisis Center and her label, Atlantic Records, to finance an 800 number to provide counsel to rape victims.

It will be known as RAINN -- Rape Abuse and Incest National Network. "We're trying to get the phone number now. There's a lot involved. The D.C. Crisis Center is putting the help side together and Atlantic is putting the business side together," says Amos, who will bring her classical-and rock-influenced, intensely therapeutic piano ballads to the Orpheum Theater tomorrow night.

"I got so many letters, not just from women, saying if they could have just had somebody to talk to . . . and not just somebody who talks on the phone and goes, 'Oh God, I know what you mean. I'm so sorry this happened to you.' But someone who can give you steps toward healing, not just commiserating. And that's what this number will do. Wherever you are in the country, you can call the 800 number and be put directly in contact with [a professional] who lives close to you.

"I had to do something, because you wouldn't believe how many letters come in. It would blow your mind how many," Amos adds during a recent phone interview.

Meanwhile, Amos, a prodigy who came out of the D.C. club scene, is not quite halfway through a marathon tour of pouring her own heart out onstage. "I'm hanging in there - 50 (shows) down, 120 to go," she says. "I think I'm Metallica, but don't tell anybody. I'm a one-woman Metallica. Acoustic, at that."

She continues to perform alone, though a band plays on most of her records. "I always say that a band is good for after the show. I can't improvise if they're onstage. What am I going to do? Break into 16 bars out of the blue? Just jamming on the spot is usually a train wreck."

She's also learned to put this tour into better perspective than the 250-date tour that left her a caffeine-addled mess (she's since quit caffeine) two years ago. That was after her stunning debut disc, "Little Earthquakes," had become a sensation. Her latest album, "Under the Pink," has furthered her image as a genius of confessional pop.

Still, she's had to learn to take herself less seriously. "I change my show every night to give me a different place to work from. And I also had a talk with Polly Harvey," she says, referring to a peer with seemingly equal intensity. "To be honest, Polly said, 'Tori, you've got to lighten up.' Polly is telling me this! Funny that, huh? She said: 'You've got to get a sense of humor about (touring) and stop taking this so personally.'And you know what? She was right."

A final Amos note: When she played at Harvard's Sanders Theatre last winter, she taped the show for a live CD now available only overseas. "It came out in the UK recently -- and most of the songs were from that Sanders show," she says. "I had a great time and the sound as really good there."


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