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KSCA, Los Angeles (US, radio)
FM 101.9 Music Hall
February 9, 1996
Tori Amos interview and live performance
songs: Putting the Damage On, Doughnut Song, Leather, This Old Man/Samurai
Terry Gladstone is Tori's longtime girlfriend from her days in Los Angeles.
[This radio show was broadcast around noon, so Tori was eating her lunch. There's some friendly bantering going on between the two.]
Terry Gladstone: Let her sit behind the piano. Get situated, right? And she's eating chips! I had no idea you were such a junk-food addict. I read that you eat french fries. Girlfriend, we gotta get some good food on you!
Tori Amos: I eat pommes frites.
Terry: Oh, I'm sorry. I'm not classy enough.
Tori: It's different, Terry.
Terry: What do you mean it's different?
Tori: We've only known each other for 10 years.
Terry: I know we've known each other for 10 years.
Tori: It doesn't have the grease, the pommes frites.
Terry: What is pommes frites?
Tori: It's the little fries.
Terry: You mean the criss-cross fries they sell with chicken fillets?
Tori: No! It's real potatoes. None of this sugar sponge.
Terry: Do they sell it in this country?
Tori: Yeah, sometimes you can get it. You can get them at the Beverly Wilshire [in L.A.]. You can get 'em. You gotta cruise around.
Terry: And they're not greasy?
Tori: No, they're fantastic. [If in L.A., check out Benito's at Third Street Promenade.]
Terry: Okay, we'll try it, but now you're eating chips and guacamole. Okay, Tori is gearing up. We'll go to the Music Hall in a few minutes.
Terry: Live, in our FM 101.9 Music Hall, with your friend and mine, Tori Amos.
Tori: Hi Terry.
Terry: How are you?!
Tori: I'm very well.
Terry: So how does it feel to be in L.A.? Do you have good energy with L.A.?
Tori: I love coming here.
Terry: Oh, you do?
Tori: It brings back lots of memories because I lived here for almost seven years.
Terry: I know. That's when I met you. See, I haven't known you for 10 years. It's 7 years.
Tori: Terry, I think it's more than 10 years. I'm sorry to break your heart.
Terry: So where's home base? Are you still this gypsy spirit, floating around? Do you have a home base?
Tori: I toodle around. I mean, I'm in London a lot of the time.
Terry: Like if I wanted to call you on the phone, would it be London?
Tori: No, you'd have to call Arthur.
Terry: Good ol' Arthur.
Tori: He's my manager, and then he would find me cos usually we're in different cities all the time. I don't like to stay in one place. You know me. I like cruisin'.
Terry: So Tori, can we jump immediately into a song, please?
Tori: Yeah, yeah. This is off the new record.
[Tori plays Putting the Damage On]
Terry: Tori Amos, live in our FM 101.9 Music Hall. Beautiful. Thanks. So Tori since we have known each other, I won't keep things on the surface, okay?
Terry: When we met many years ago, I remember we sat over coffee. We had a conversation about music and soulmates, and Eric was there. A lot of the articles about this album, they've mentioned that these songs evolved, or chronicled, what happened or how you felt after you and Eric split up. I was thinking about that cos you know that I went through a major breakup in a long-term relationship which ended up salvaging itself, and you were a big supporter in that. I was sitting here thinking, "How is it that two people who are soulmates aren't together?" That broke my heart. What happened?
Tori: Truthfully, I think we became one person. It's interesting. I would lean on him for many things that I should have leaned on myself for, I needed to lean on myself for. I looked to him for so many things to a point where it wasn't really healthy, so I began to find these fragments. These songs became a fragment to find, to find my own fire.
Terry: Obviously, we're not the only people who have gone through the end of a long-term relationship. How did you get through? Did you read books? Did you meditate? I mean, for people who are going through stuff like that, maybe something you did could help other people.
Tori: Well, it becomes a quest, doesn't it? It's no different than when somebody says, "I'm gonna go hike this mountain." They're gonna find their own entrance into it and their own pathway, and maybe they don't want to follow the path that everybody else has marked on their little tourist map. I read a lot. I went to the medicine women. There were many choices I made to try and find out what was hidden. It gets back to what was I hiding from myself. What pieces? What fragments? So when I walked out from behind the piano, I just kind of walked into the life of whoever was there at the time, so I needed to find my own fire.
Terry: Do you feel that when that quest is over, or when you feel whole, that you can go back to that relationship?
Tori: I can't speak about what the future holds. Naturally, Eric is a soulmate, and I have such respect for him. Once you start a quest, you can never go back. You can only move forward. Who knows who you meet when you go around a stream and over a bend and in the ocean. You go,"Oh, who's got popcorn? I know you." Who knows?
Terry: Right. So do another song from the album that is maybe tied into that.
Tori: This is one of my favs. I'm playing it a lot lately. It's the one that was written last. She just snuck right on in there before that door was closed and said, "The party ain't over yet!"
Terry: Tori Amos in our FM 101.9 Music Hall.
[Tori plays Doughnut Song]
Terry: Tori Amos, live, in our FM 101.9 Music Hall. Thank you. We're gonna go to a lighter subject now.
Terry: So people who know you or who have read anything about you or who have seen any of your shows, you talk a lot about how you listened to Led Zeppelin a lot growing up. You were definitely goo-goo-gaa-gaa over Robert Plant. You said that singing to Robert Plant definitely taught you a lot about singing. So, the past year, you got to do a duet with Robert for the Encomium tribute. How was that? Did sparks fly? What was that like for you?
Tori: Well, Robert is delicious. He walks into a room. He's like 6'7". He's like this giant with blond hair. I mean, he doesn't need hair extensions - the concept of fake hair. Robert is like this goddess who walks into a room. I just kind of sat there and chuckled to myself and said, "Man, if this was twenty years ago, baby. That's when I was ready for him! I got into nerds. I got into techies. I'm into techies now. I'm not into rock stars.
Terry: So you didn't kiss him?
Tori: No! I mean, we had a huggle and normal stuff. He asked me to marry him, but you gotta know Robert asks many girls to marry him in one day.
Terry: Is that true?
Tori: One must keep it in perspective.
Terry: So we were talking about your voice. I know it talks about how you were a child prodigy. You played the piano at what age? Three or something ungodly? Five?
Tori: My mother says that I was playing when I was 2 1/2.
Tori: That's what my mother says.
Terry: So when was it that you or your parents discovered that you also had this gift in your voice? How did you discover that?
Tori: Oh, much much later, believe me.
Terry: How did you discover your singing voice?
Tori: You know, I just liked to sing. I think like a lot of people I just liked singing, and people would make fun of me and they'd say,"You just play the piano and we'll get somebody to sing for you." So I wouldn't sing. I'd sing only to myself for a long, long time.
Terry: You mean, even after hearing your voice, people would say that comment to you?
Tori: Oh yeah!
Terry: That makes no sense to me cos your voice is as pure as the piano playing.
Tori: No, but it took...
Terry: It took Robert Plant.
Tori: It took time. I developed my voice, so that when I was like 11 or 12, they stopped laughing. But they laughed at my singing until I was about 11 or 12.
Terry: No kidding? Hmm, interesting. How about a song from either "Little Earthquakes" or "Under the Pink"?
[Tori plays around with this version of Leather]
Terry: I love that song. That's so great. I didn't know how much longer you were gonna count on that song, Tori.
Tori: Well, I had to have some fun.
Terry: We have to have fun. Tori, in our Music Hall. So when you were playing, we got the word that we could do four songs. Would you please?
Terry: Not yet. I wanted to ask you something that's been on my mind. I'm assuming you were brought up in a religious house. Your dad was a minister, right?
Tori: Yeah, that's a good way of putting it.
Terry: I'm curious as a friend about your spiritual/philosophical view. Do you believe in organized religion?
Tori: No. Why? There has to be a hierarchy. I'm not interested in hierarchy. I'm not interested in being a part of it on either level - the controlling side or being controlled. It's about no control.
Terry: Do you believe there's a higher power somewhere? What's your spiritual belief?
Tori: I believe in life force and that we can all tap into it. It's there for anybody and everybody. We're all a part of it.
Terry: Now, this is a question. I don't know if it's going to aggravate you, but I am dying to ask you this question. Knowing your background, what was your parent's reaction when they opened up the CD booklet, and I thought Jay was going to ask you this question last night on "The Tonight Show," and they see Tori breastfeeding a piglet?
Tori: He asked me when they cut to a break.
Terry: He did?
Tori: He said, "How's your father with this shot?" You know, the things that people think would bug my parents might not as much, and other things bug them more. They're great. They tell me what they think all the time. When they saw the shot, they had to sit down, and then after they sat down, they stood up again (laughs).
Terry: What is the meaning behind that shot?
Tori: It's about what is hidden, what we hide from ourselves. What is not kosher. What is wrong! I have a really hard time with all this shame, especially coming from a serious Christian upbringing. Shame of your feelings, of just what you're feeling. But if you bring those out in the open, it's like, "Okay, you can speak your truth if it's the truth that we feel you should have." Next player. Wrong! That's not okay.
Terry: Okay, I get it now. I really wanted you to explain that. It's about speaking your truth.
Tori: Yeah, whatever it is. I mean, there are a lot of things we hide. There are a lot of things I hide from myself. There are so many things I wouldn't admit to myself because I judged them so harshly, and then they became these daemons. Then they became cities and huge condos instead of just being this little thought.
Terry: Right, so your tour, are you gonna be with just your piano, or are you gonna have the configuration that you had on the Leno show with bass and drums?
Tori: No, I'll have the harpsichord and the Bosendorfer with me. I say that because it's just a different piano, the Bosies. They're alive and they're real and I have such respect for the people who make them. They just make me hear the piano differently when I play them. There will be guest musicians showing up, popping up, all the time. They'll cruise through. They'll take off. Then others will show up. So it will change.
Terry: Okay, one more song?!
Tori: One more song.
Terry: Tori, in our FM 101.9 Music Hall.
[Tori plays a medley of This Old Man and Samurai]
Terry: So people are wondering, since you're in L.A., when are the L.A. dates going to be announced?
Tori: Sometime in June. We start at the U.K. side February 23, and we make our way to North America April 8. We start in Florida and the trucks move North and then West.
Terry: So we'll see you in June?
Terry: Maybe you'll come back and visit?
Tori: I'll come back and visit.
Terry: Okay, thank you so much, Tori. It's wonderful to see you.
Tori: Thank you, Terry.
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