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Just Passin' Through (US, radio)
WHFS, Baltimore/D.C. (99.1 FM)
February 2, 1996

broadcast on February 11, 1996

[listen/download]

Tori Amos interview and live performance

Announcer: From Omega Studios in Rockville, it's Just Passing Through. Thirty minutes with HFS artists, performing live for a select group of HFS listeners...

Pat Ferrise: Alright, welcome everyone to a very special Just Passin' Through. Our guest tonight has just released an album of eighteen songs, I think everybody here probably knows it, titles Boys for Pele. The album entered the Billboard album chart at # 2 and of course she's an old friend of HFS. She's right here behind the piano, would you please welcome Tori Amos.

[applause from audience]

[Tori performs Little Amsterdam, with this intro:

Thought that I knew
I knew you well
thought that I knew every
bend of your curves, said
thought that I knew you
knew you well
thought that I knew you
mmmm... ]


Pat: Tori Amos is with us on Just Passin' Through. Hey, it's Pat Ferrise and we're live at Omega Studios in Rockville, Maryland. And Tori, let me start by saying first - it's really nice to see you. Thanks for coming by. It's become somewhat of a tradition - you release an album and you stop by HFS, and we're just really glad to see you. I can't tell you how many people wanted to hear this on the radio tonight, too. So it's just good to see you. How are you?

Tori Amos: I'm good. I haven't been able to talk to some of my friends that live here for awhile so, they know who they are, Hi. First I want to do that. And then I'll tell you, I'm good.

Pat: You read my mind. I was just about to ask you if there was anyone you wanted to say hello to. So there you go. The new album, Boys for Pele, in listening to it um, it seems like a departure for you in a couple ways, for me. Instrument-wise, harpsichord seems to have entered in there in a major way. Instrumentation-wise and lyrically it almost seems a little more aggressive. Is that, was that your intention with this record?

Tori: [pause] Well, I was kinda pissed off.

Pat: [laughs] Okay.

Tori: And also, though, my heart was really not in a good place because um, I'd just had a separation. And then I got involved, just I threw myself into some strange situations to try and fill this space. So this is the whole kinda journey into the hidden parts of my womanhood that I never let live until um... I had to get my heart kind of hurt first.

Pat: You mentioned earlier about being from this part of the country, as well from the Washington area, and you hear that sometimes on your albums. There's a song on there called Marianne, if you'd like to talk about that.

Tori: Um... Maryanne came to visit me. The spirit of Maryanne. And Maryanne Curtis was a girl that I went to school with. And some say she killed herself, some say she died over an OD. I choose to believe that Maryanne just um... to me she was kinda like a young Mary Magdalene. She, it just wasn't, the world couldn't hold her anymore. They couldn't um, understand her energy. I think anybody who knew Maryanne would tell you that she reflected the best parts of you back. So when you'd look into Maryanne's eyes - yes, of course she was beautiful, but you felt beautiful because Maryanne never hated anything, anybody. And so when she died, you felt like this thing that reflected the best part of you had died. So for Maryanne to come back again was um... It was like the second coming, for me, really. I should do that song. That's, I'll do that, then.

Tori: [Tori starts playing the piano...] I don't know this song very well because it was written as you hear it on the record and I have to learn it, so if I mess up, I'll learn it better.

[Tori performs Marianne]

Pat: You're listening to Just Passin' Through on 99.1 HFS. It's Pat Ferrise and Tori Amos is our guest tonight. And Tori, that sounded great. It's Marianne from the new album, Boys for Pele. You'd mentioned earlier when we were talking about the album, this being a way for you to find your own womanhood. And that makes me think about something that I read in the Washington Post earlier this week. Alanis Morissette was quoted as saying, and I'm paraphrasing loosely, but when she heard Little Earthquakes that um, it just blew her mind and it was just sort of a landmark album for her. So I'm wondering how it feels for you, after having several album out, to hear that reflected back from other artists, comments like that.

Tori: I think um, it's funny because time keeps moving and it's exciting to see all the new music out there. There was a time, you know, when it was pretty stagnant. About five, six years ago things were just, from the women's side of things, you know, there wasn't the breaking of the dam, so to speak. There's so many out there with so much to say, and somebody said to me once, um - don't take this wrong guys but it was a guy DJ - and he said, "What do you think about this woman thing, I mean, what do you think?" And I said, "What I think is, for a very long time, right, women were the Mona Lisas, and guess what - we're the da Vincis, now." And the truth is, and there are guys that are da Vincis, and I actually really got mad because I couldn't be a Mona Lisa for somebody. [laughs] I really wanted to go, you know, I like switching back and forth - being the muse and writing about muses nd maybe being both at the same time. And I think that that's what's exciting, this whole role thing is getting completely turned upside down, it's not what your sex is anymore. Some of the guys are much more sensitive and some of the girls, some of the girls are like, "I wanna drag their balls to Antarctica." It's like, oh Jesus. [audience laughter] And sometimes you have to go, you know, everybody just need, they're just having recess. Working this thing out. And I don't think it's about a sex. But I will say, until, I don't know, very recently, you didn't have the permission, the arena, for women to really kind of have mm, the volume, the amount - you guys remember. A few years ago it was like, "Well, we're playing two women, I mean isn't that enough?" [audience laughter] So it's very exciting that it's much more of a balance now, that's the thing. I mean, I'm not into a Matriarchy. I'm into, you gotta have the mix of both. I mean, you know, pickles and cream cheese. Hey. [audience laughter]

Pat: Exactly, and... [more audience laughter] Like I'm gonna disagree. I'm gonna change the subject for a second here. Something else that you said that always interests me with songwriters - you talked about Marianne being a song that just kind of came to you. Well some people that are songwriters think they work very hard at it and it's a craft that they chisel out a song. And some people think, well songs just kinda come to me, as if they were already written, and they just come. Do you subscribe to one of those primarily for you?

Tori: Um, it's both. And it's really about, I don't know how to sit down and write a song. So those people have a real gift, to be able to sit down and say, "I'm going to craft this." I don't know what it is, and it's not that something tragic happens, I mean, I could just be sitting there watching the way a woman crosses her leg and you know how that line in the back of the hose comes down into that heel? And I don't know, I'm just writing about something that, a car race. Don't ask me how the two correlate, but then you think of the curve and I think of Formula One racing and how that line goes down there just like the car could go around that calf. And maybe I'm [laughs], I don't know, it's the Viking in me. But I sit there and they're usually many layers that are happening at the same time. I think in a metaphorical sense. I never, well I try not to think linear. Because usually when somebody says, "You know, my girlfriend um, she left me today." Well, all I'm thinking is, could you move over cause I want to see what Cindy Crawford's wearing on the catwalk. I mean, the way that somebody sometimes tells a story - I need to taste it, I need to smell it. And they could be telling me about, "There's a lady down the street. It's really strange how she gets up every morning and she washes her hands with coconut soap." And I'm like, "Well why does she do that?" "Well because she bakes bread. And the whole thing is, she wants you," and I'm, you know, just about bread-baking. And I'm sitting there interested because a writer has the ability to kinda take me from this three-dimensional world and think metaphorically. And sometimes people go, "What are you talking about?" And I'm like, "Get out of your head. Go get a bottle of red." And then you know who Ratatouille Strychnine is, and sometimes she's a friend of mine. And then you begin to understand that you better like, get out of the back door before your girlfriend finishes the dinner. [audience laughter]

Pat: Is there anything um, on that thought, is there anything that comes to your mind from this record that was one of those really freely flowing songs, besides Marianne, that you'd like to do for us right now.

Tori: Um, this I started writing in Australia. Um, during the end of the tour. And I couldn't finish it. This is one of those ones that, she just came and I had to like, keep getting to know her, every day, a little bit more. She would come and visit me every day, but sometimes no music would come. I mean, I'd just take a walk with her, I would sit around with her, I'd see movies with her, and she forced me to see things from a different perspective. And that's how I finally understood, "oh my god, that's the only way that I can write this, if I start seeing him as beautiful. That he's beautiful after all that happened. He's still beautiful, even after no matter what he does." Now that can say a lot about me, or that can say a lot about him.

[Tori performs Putting the Damage On]

[applause from audience]

Pat: Tori Amos on Just Passin' Through on HFS. Hey, it's Pat Ferrise and Tori, I wanted to thank you very, very much for dropping by and it's always great to see you again and to hear you on HFS and hanging out with all the HFS listeners that are here tonight. But I have to ask you when you're gonna be coming back because so many people have asked me to ask you that, so everyone else will have a chance to see you.

Tori: Well our tour starts February 23rd in the U.K. and we make out way to the states around April 8th, and we start in Florida and the trucks move north. And we're doing about 200 shows worldwide, so if you're bored, well, you know where to find us. I mean, we always like company. The thing is, you can ask me what I'm doing on August 8th and I can tell you. [laughs] So there you go.

Pat: Well we'll look forward to seeing you on tour, and thanks again for being on Just Passin' Through. The new album is Boys for Pele, please everybody give Tori a very big hand. Thank you for joining us.

[applause from audience]

Tori: Thanks guys, thank you.


[transcribed by Allison Bushnell]


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