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New York Post (US)
Friday, January 12, 1996
MEN NO LONGER GOD TO AMOS
by Lisa Robinson
"I like stirring things up" says
singer-songwriter Tori Amos, whose sexually provocative work has produced some
of the most powerful and innovative songs of the last five years.
Amos, 32, the daughter of a Southern Methodist preacher, was born in North Carolina
and started out as a child- prodigy classical pianist; as a teenagers
chaperoned by her father, she sang in gay bars. She has inspired a comic book
character named Delirium, believes in fairies and goddesses, and is considered
Her songs about men and God and work and femininity all blend together in a big
bubbly cauldron that sent her first two albums (Little Earthquakes and Under
the Pink) to platinum status (Pink was No. 1 in England, Amos' adopted home.)
Her live concerts are love fests for her mass "cult" following who worship at
the altar of her black Bosendorfer piano, which Amos plays with the same
physicality some rock gods play guitar.
Amos, whose eagerly anticipated third album ("Boys for Pele") is scheduled to
be released Jan. 23, will tour the United States starting in April.
Lisa Robinson: You broke up a
very long relationship [with engineer-producer Eric Rosse] prior to this album;
is that what the songs are about?
Tori Amos: Well, an emotional work like this is inspired from an
emotional place; it's about stealing fire from the men in my life. [Laughs.] I
guess I didn't realize how much confidence I have in certain areas of my life, and
just so little in other areas. It seemed as though everywhere I turned was to
male mentors or emotional involvements. I became a vampire needing to feed,
needing their energy and I didn't know how to access it. When I was onstage I
could, but when I walked off that stage I began to see that the woman was
completely divided and segregated from the work.
Lisa: Was there ever a long
period of time that you weren't involved in a relationship?
Tori: Not really. As I recall,
for the most part there was usually a changing of the guard [Laughs] ...
Probably the guy walking out gave the guy walking in a cigarette [Laughs], and
said, 'Good luck with her.' Half the time I was obsessed, and half the time I
was bored. It was always extremes. But still, someone was there, it was
important to have someone there, and male, definitely.
Lisa: Didn't all the recognition
and success help give you strength and a sense of self-worth, whether you were
with a man or not?
Tori: Let's be real honest, when
somebody says, 'Couldn't you just accept yourself ? Lisa, you're speaking
Chinese. When I'm on my knees in Oklahoma City, even though logically, 'love
and let go' seems really beautiful ...
Lisa: Oklahoma City?
Tori: That's where I was
literally at the bottom. I was on tour when all this happened and I remember
Oklahoma City being totally rock-bottom. 'It was like I was thinking, 'Just you
wait, Henry Higgins,' and as I sat there on my knees in Oklahoma City, waiting
for the phone to ring needing to feed, I'd reached the end of my rope.
Lisa: Had you felt this despair
in other relationships?
Tori: Never like this. You get to
a certain point where you can't keep the game up. I guess on some level I've
grown as a person. What I used to do was have this way of working; sometimes
being absolutely in love and then at the same time just not being an individual
anymore, just fusing with one person. And I've hear Marianne Williamson say, "Love
and let go,' and I'd say, 'Give me a map to love and let go.' To me, it was
just rhetoric that didn't mean anything. I wanted tools; all I knew was I
needed blood and I needed boy blood, and I needed to feed.
Lisa: And now?
Tori: There are places I would
not put myself in again with men. I'm beginning to feel that I can go certain
places I haven't been to before without feeling inept, without making me feel
like I'm nothing.
Lisa: When you talk about the men
in your life, does that include [Nine Inch Nails'] Trent Reznor?
Tori: Trent's a friend, and
sometimes friends affect you. I have a lot of respect for the men who've taught
me things, whoever they are, from [writer-artist] Neil Gaiman to Michael Stipe
to [former boyfriend] Eric Rosse to Trent to my father. They're different
people who've taught me a lot of different things and they all wave hello and wave
goodbye. Some people will read whatever they want to into the songs, but there
are many layers and levels. I've felt deep things for the men who've taught me
about life, and there's a place in my heart for all of them.
Lisa: What about Michael Stipe?
Tori: We wrote a song together
called It Might Hurt, but it kind of took a vacation. Maybe I'll resurrect it
sometime, I don't know. We were put together by one of the film guys at
Atlantic Records, and we got along like a house afire. He's very special.
Lisa: What do you say to people
who think your work is so shocking, so sexually revealing.
Tori: Well, I think it challenges
people. Some people see it as shock, but I see it as just stirring things up.
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