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B-Side (US)
May/June 1996



A Bottle of Red
Tori Amos

Tea and Sympathy with Sandra A. Garcia
portraits by Sandra C. Davis

Tori Amos sprawls against a beige couch on this cold winter's day.

Here's a day so cold that exposed flesh freezes into awkward crystals. To ward off both chill and dementia Tori has ordered enough tea to float the British navy and the hot water on the side could bath a few fairies. A gentle warning is issued: I may have to bring Tori back into the real world since her exhaustion could induce open-eyed sleep. "Just throw out the fishing line and reel me back in," she jests while offering her world class smile.

If Tori fell asleep she kept talking in coherent tones. Her flowing thoughts danced like dreams of another world, full of rich darkness, vengeance, saving fairies and erupting volcanos as vivid as her flaming hair. What's going on inside that finely sculpted head this time around?

What's the key? Where's the damned door, Tori?

Boys for Pele won't easily provide any lazy answers upon first, second or even third listening. Trust me. Before, we had guidelines: Little Earthquakes: revelatori. Under the Pink: inflammatori. Boys for Pele: the operative word is exploratori, but it's very much Tori's world and unless you have Tori's little black book you feel there's something drastically wrong with your senses.

Interviews are conducted to gain understanding and the flavor of the music's maker. This is one of the first times I've truly needed to have an entire album explained to me. What's going on behind the newly discovered harpsichord and vocal stretches? The vicious Pele loses me in a wicked metaphoric voice slide. I return to Tori's break-up with longtime partner/producer Eric Rosse as the painful focal point to Pele, even if she's insisted that's only part of it.

For now, under her glossy makeup and trademark sensual smile the goddess Tori looks completely drained. Over 400 interviews across the globe and she's still talking. Once she gets on tour she'll go for a year. The protective earth mother in me blurts out "When are you going to scream stop it, I won't do this anymore?"

Tori remains curled on that beige couch and doesn't respond for what seems like hours. With any other artist it'd be unnerving... but with Tori I know to sit back and wait.

She finally murmurs, "Well... if you want to have a record out every other year, and tour for a year, and it takes a year to make a record, that means pulling all the material together, finishing it, deciding where to record it, what's the point of view... I am not about throwing a bunch of songs together. I can't imagine songs from Pele being on Pink or songs from Pink being on Earthquake... they are very much a different story. Even though I feel like they are a trilogy, they follow a quest. This work is more a novel, Earthquakes was more a diary, and Pink was more impressionist painting like short stories, thoughts, that didn't relate to each other.

"So to make these all happen, with the touring, which is so important to what I do; it allows me to live and grow as a musician, I get a very small amount of time to do interviews. There's a window. I spent a lot of time in Europe as well as America. You can't do everything, but if you want to have interviews with countries aside from America and England, you have to make time for it. You're pumping 18 interviews a day."


I'd be pumping a fist into a face. Better her than me! Now Tori offers a confession: even though she's tied to her art, Tori admits there are times she wishes she'd not gotten into certain interviews.

She gives a little grin while lying back, murmuring, "There are moments when I wish I had not gone there, train of thought-wise. That's when you get run-down and you get a little more vulnerable and you let something slip. Then it's out. And it's on the tape. A lot of times, and I will be real honest here, journalists won't pick up on it because I don't say anything. They miss it. Then there have been a couple of times where I will say 'look, this is quite... you've brought something up that you obviously know something inside about so this isn't for print, this is just to clear something up.' And then I'm just," as she grimaces. Yes, it gets into print. "But for the most part the journalists are pretty good."

Tori mentioned other countries. What's the perception of her in more repressed societies? This vermillion force of nature is radical for a traditional place like Greece...

Tori gives a throaty laugh, musing, "They are beginning to get what I'm talking about, and the interviews help that, since they do not speak English. Sometimes they give them a deeper insight, so they aren't just going here's this mellow singer-songwriter, but what's the context? We talk about Professional Widow, Father Lucifer, Muhammad My Friend, and that way people get another dimension to what the work is about. Because they're writing about it in their native tongue. We don't translate the lyrics, since countries would come back and say, 'we don't feel it's translatable! We don't feel like it will read. It won't even be the same lyric anymore."

Aural devotees receive the same intense dynamic from the music on this album, with the music augmented by Tori's thrilling vocal inflections. Even if the lyrics leave you baffled you can understand there's something passionate going on here.

Tori grabs on and describes, "The audiences in Italy, when I play live, they are some of the most interesting audiences that I play to. They really seem to understand the emotions; whether they understand the words, they understand the emotion. I think a lot of that [is due] to their opera. They are brought up with it, the breath, the tone, the phrasing... what's behind the vocal, not necessarily looking at it from..." as she gestures. "Some of the countries, it's not about hitting them over the head. They're looking for hidden meanings, and that's why I am such a big fan of Faulkner. He weaves a tale, and sucks you in, and there is beauty, and many things, then harshness comes when it comes. He uses the cold bucket of water to get you to understand what is going on. Things are very much a soft focus lens that you are watching horror through, and that's why you aren't reacting, because you are numb. You are sitting there surrounded by the smell of honey suckle, surrounded by the South, and the horror... it's hard to hit you when it's 100 degrees and you're drinking iced tea. That's why the North, in America, always respond differently to certain atrocities. Things get very hazy down south in the heat, and it's easy for people... the sweat gets in their eyes," she hypnotically whispers.

Her subtle words reminds me of visiting plantations in Louisiana. We heard a tale regarding one lady of the manor becoming so intoxicated on mint juleps that she careened down the front staircase and impaled herself on her bodice's metal stays. That's an incredibly Southern oddity.

"Yes it is," smiles Tori.

I am leading to something, and it goes beyond piercing stays. That's another facet of Boys for Pele: Tori's selecting Louisiana and Ireland, two diverse yet culturally similar areas, to record it. These settings differ on the surface but underlying it all there's an intense wrongness there: especially towards women. Spirits unspoken scream for release and gratification...

Tori wisely describes, "I am always drawn geographically to a place while I am writing. Which is a dilemma right now because I'd like to build a studio somewhere in the world, in Europe, and I bought all the gear for this record. Because the truth is you never know when it's all going to fall apart. When it does, you don't get budgets anymore. So I invest in gear. You invest in gear so no matter what happens you can always make your records. The studio can be moved where you want, you can rent a house. But geographically a work is so influenced by where you are..."

Tori suddenly halts, pressing her slender fingers to her temples. "Hold on, I want to focus my brain. I want to express something and not be long winded." She realizes she's losing our thread. A few seconds pass then she takes a deep breath. "OK. I was following a lay line. I kept going to the energy of the South when the songs were coming. A lot of times this is not a cut and dried process. It's not like 'OK, I am going to get the wood, now I am going to get the glass and I am going to build this.' It becomes much more like a sculpture. Things keep shifting, and changing, and you bring a lot of materials, not knowing what you might add. But I started feeling a strong pull of the South. So I said 'what is that? What is the resonating frequency here between this work and the South?' It started to come to me that the relationships that I've had with men, it was very much about what was hidden. Even though it would seem very open, the things that they wouldn't admit to and the things that I wouldn't admit to, and everything on the surface would be one thing...and I've been quoted on this before, I would just feel myself reaching over for the rat poison while making oatmeal muffins," she viciously smiles.

"And there is a level of having a deep love for some of these men, and deep resentment at the same time. And not even knowing it, not even being able to tell you why. 'Oh, I am not feeling that! It's just a funny time, they are under pressure, I am under pressure...' I could blow a lot of it off, because deep down I really liked some of the men that influenced this record. Specifically been in love with one of them, absolutely over the moon in love. As we separated, I pulled on other male energies to fill the void. That's when my lessons got learned. I put myself into a lot of degrading situations to try and fill this void. Instead of trying to fill it by myself, I never learned. It wasn't the piano. I walked offstage from the piano to a man. Always."

No. Oh no. I would never have expected that of you, Tori.

"Yeah, I always had a man around. Like a harem!" she laughs with a cat-like stretch. "No, I adore them, I adore them. I love fascinating men. But I am very much a one man woman. I am monogamous. I always have been. When I think about getting ready to cheat I know it's over. I am making a move: it's like Formula 1 racing. I am not content to stay where I was," she grins before attacking a cookie. "I do not just have flings. I have real emotional, full blown... and they are not all physical. Some of them are, but that's not a criteria.

"But this was the end of an era for me. And so I started to dive into why the South? What makes this energy up? Part of it was the church, which came from the old world. Consequently I followed the lay line back to the old world, because the Native Americans didn't bring Christianity over here. So I went to where it came over from.

"And the reason I chose Ireland: there were many reasons. But it's trying to break free from domination: domination from England, domination from the Church, and the domination they impose on themselves. That's how it's very similar. I went after that. I also went after the idea of claiming my womanhood: I had to do that in the church, because that's where it was really circumcised. Not just the Christian church, but religion in general, honoring the female part of god."


That's why recording this particular album in those places screamed defiance, since both areas still repress women. I thought that might be the case. Give me gold stars.

"Yeah, I was going after a frequency," Tori agrees. "I think you conjure up energy, you go to the vortex. That's why certain events happen in certain places. There are reasons why certain breakthroughs happen in certain countries. There are reasons why certain darkness or evil gets generated over and over again in a certain spot. And so I don't assume to know why that is, but I trust it, and go with it. That's why I went to Taos [for Under the Pink]. Eric made me go to Taos, because he was drawn there, and he kept saying 'you must come, you must come, you must feel this place.' When I went there, the minute I was there I knew it was right for recording Under the Pink.

"Taos to me, it's a tidal wave waiting to happen. But it ain't happening yet. There's the horses, and there's the bridle, and it wants its head. And it's pulsating. but it's not ready to blow yet. There are a lot of people there who are containing the energy instead of letting it blow. So obviously my next step is to go to Pele, who can let it blow. It's not that somebody has got the gold star because they can blow or not, but it's very much like different energies, different vortexes, are holding it back, the frequencies. And Under the Pink was very much about I was not ready to blow open my relationships with the men. I just wasn't ready to go there yet. I mean look what happened: it changed my life. I wasn't ready to have my life changed yet. But what I was able to do was to go after other things, the women issue, with each other, and concept of what a woman is, of what a man is. But basically I went under the pink to stay alive. I had to go under because I wasn't ready to blow yet.

"So when I was, I went to the places that were just the blood bath. Ireland, where it's been..."
she makes an explosive noise. "Where the wars have been and the wounds are really open, and running. It's much more hostile, the places I went to record this album, and at the same time it's much more the extremes. You may have that oppression but you also have the other extreme where you have people who are against the oppression. It's polarizing itself. Whereas in Taos they are trying to keep an even keel."

Yep, having been to Taos I could see how all that overly mellow oohhmmm atmosphere contains the natural fierce energy.

Tori gins then stresses, "But that energy is intense in Taos. And you can't hold it back. Some people try and oohhmmm their way through Taos but you can't because it will kick your ass. The Pueblo people will tell you that. And it kicked my butt to the point where it forced me to go and blow."

Tori did blow on Pele, and the result is a fierce album filled with kaleidoscopic shards of multi-hued glass quickly whizzing through the air. For the novice Toriphile Pele is not the place to start. It even has veteran listeners peering around in confusion. Even those short sharp songs that lace the album speak of something jagged, jarring and un-Tori. It's dangerous, disturbing and uncomfortable.

Before she continues Tori sits to sip that invigorating tea. Relaxing back she describes, "I wanted to go into the hidden parts of the feminine; the way I see it, anyway. We all have our own perspective, men and women, about what the hidden parts of the feminine are. I went after what in some cases have become distorted, such as Professional Widow, the black widow, and when I ran into the widow..." she lets out a sick little laugh, "I had to come to terms with the fact that I wanted to be king. And to be this in the patriarchy... I never wanted to be the maiden. I wanted to be the knight that got the castles. I wanted to be the one who got the land. But still I wanted to have babies; I wanted to be a mother, I wanted to feel that ability to do that. So the role of woman, to have babies and do that, you can't be a knight too, you can't do that. And the women who were knights were virgins, the Joan of Arcs... so you are not a sexually active being who wants to be involved and have a baby and a love relationship and be the brains to keep the castle running. And I do not mean the chatelaine... I want to be Patton."

Tori pauses to allow for my sudden laughter. Oh, please, do excuse me. Too much caffeine and chocolate cookies makes me rude.

Tori happily agrees her words are out there. "These are just examples... it could be Newton, but the creative forces have been predominately men. Even when the women... Mozart had a sister but it wasn't encouraged, it wasn't part of the arena. So when you run into a Camille Claude, or a Jane Austen, they are few and far in-between. And they usually didn't have the freedom that the male creative forces had, nor were they ever really accepted into the arena.

"So this century, that happened. In the later part, the women, and not just being the divas, but being the writers, the da Vincis, and I think it's been very confusing. Well, who are the Mona Lisas?"
she giggles.

"And it's like you are, buddy!" She giggles well into rich laughter. "And sometime they have a real hard time with that. Sometimes too I wanted to explore being the Mona Lisa while they were the da Vincis', being able to be all things within a relationship, because it's usually about picking a role. 'Well, if I am the da Vinci, you have to be the muse, because I am the force.' Well, the muse has their needs, and the creative force starts to be dominating if it never has a chance to be vulnerable."

I do wonder how many brave women embraced sacred creativity but were too terrified to make themselves known to the world. No one can tell me that forceful artistic women suddenly appeared in this century. Bullshit. I think not. Tori, dear?

"The dam has been trying to break for a long time," she stresses as she scratches her side vigorously. Tori's in that complete exhaustive state where you don't care what you do. "And it's just breaking... the deluge, whether it's filmmakers or writers or... it's all over the board. It's been there all the time but usually in secret. A lot of women played the harpsichord but you don't hear compositions by them. You don't hear what they were up to! Again, there was not an acceptance that women could be the creative forces..."

We touch on author George Sands taking on the male role to the point of dressing like a man. She even acted like a man (for that century) in her blatant pursuit of composer Chopin. It's the only way she could think to be accepted as a strong woman: to act like a man. Is it any wonder we need to erupt?

Since Tori speaks of this album as the end of a trilogy, what type of cycle did it complete, aside from letting her blow? She admits she didn't know it would end this cycle when she started, but once she was done it she knew. Oh, she knew.

Our redhead describes, "Once I put it on disk, and I flew, and I listened to the disk on the airplane all night and I knew. I knew I had left a part of my life behind. I could begin, now that I have finished this work, to open up to new people in my life. I was living and breathing it all during this record. I breathed and I laughed and I have honored it and bled with it, and accepted that I had to change my programming as far as my relationships with women and everybody else."

We pour more tea and ponder this. Tori, people are going to think you're quite a calculating gal and you had this ultimate destination, this raging capstone, and you had this ultimate destination She shakes her head and offers, "It was actually suggested to me, when it was finished, by Neil Gaiman, who does the Sandman comic books (which features a Tori-like character), he talked to me about it and made me come to realize, this was before I went to master, and he said 'this is how it affects me', because he listened to it back to back, he had an advance before anybody. When I got on that plane, it hit home that it was the end of a story. It doesn't mean that those characters don't move on and become something else, but it was the end of a chapter."

The first two albums were personal, but the universality drew the searchers in. This album is so personal that it's difficult to decipher and much harder to get involved in.

Tori gives me her famous steady stare then smiles. "Well, I've suggested a bottle of red with this one, because it's the heart record. I don't feel like the jokes and the pain are on the inside, it's so worn on the sleeve. Sometimes, it being a metaphorical work, you have to get your head out of it. But you know, when she says 'I think you're a queer, well, I think you're a queer and I've shaved every place where you've been, boy, God knows I know I've thrown away those graces'... it's very clear that the war has begun. You've just walked into the record and the war has begun. The blades are out. And she's become a piece of meat in her mind, she's willing to cut out her voice, she's willing to 'cut out the flute from the throat of the loon, at least when you cry now he can't even hear you"

We've hit the rapids: Tori is quoting lyrics. The priestess is launching into her lesson, and her hapless listener goes along to push past the large rocks that pop up before us. Lifejackets, everyone? Good.

Tori insists, "It doesn't matter who the people are, you know, and if you resonate with letting yourself go that far to be needed or to keep something going, well, do you need another pound of flesh? What do you need, what more do you want? And that's the point when I say 'he likes killing you after you're dead.' So from the beginning of the record on it's really obvious that you're walking into not what is going on on top of the table, the conversation with the rose at the dinner of the couple, but what's really going on in the couple. Sometimes the man changes, but it's her story. It's her, who she pulls in to work this out with, and the men that defecate, the men who can't be enough, the men who aren't ready to embrace themselves so no matter how much you like them you can't go there because..."

They are not really human beings. The bastards are not yet whole.

"Yeah," Tori agrees, leaning forward to fix another cup of tea. You can tell she needs another jolt of English Breakfast when her soothing voice grows slightly haggard and very soft. "The wholeness. The record starts off with the horses from 'Winter' taking us and we ride. Going into that program of the beauty queen. She's a beauty queen, and that's not enough because it never is. The idea that beauty is our answer when we are four years old, 'oh, isn't she pretty...' that's the first thing that you hear. So it's going after those programs of the feminine, going after them, going after them," she stresses. "To visit 'Father Lucifer', to have a moment to dance... to go down in the dark, to visit with the dude! Not these little prince of darkness wannabees... some of them are cute, but to visit the real energy force that has held the darkness: you go there with honor. And that takes a very big heart to hold the place of shadow. When I went to Lucifer I learned many things. But that whole thing of, 'he didn't see me watching from the airplane, he wiped a tear and threw away our appleseed'... there's so much religious reference and metaphor coming back full circle from the myths. A part of her loved Lucifer, a part of her tried to find him in so many men that couldn't carry his energy."

She suddenly leans closer to declare, "And I am not talking about Satanism... that's the distortion of those who can't really claim the dark so they become evil because they are not really claiming their shadow. So we claim our shadow, then we go and meet the 'Widow'. The we pick up pieces as we go. In 'Mr. Zebra' we pick up Ratatouille Strychnine, who we love because she's our little double agent who can poison people and get us out of trouble when they're hurting us!" she grins. "But she's tired, she's tired of the poisoning."

We've been relying on her too much.

"Yeah! And she is tired of it! And part of you has to die, and in 'Marianne' it's the whole Mary Magadelene reference, a young girl who I knew that died. There's the whole idea of that part of woman that has been dormant, who's been dead. 'The quickest girl in the frying pan,' the priestesses who showed her they were one with the knowledge and the passion... man, get rid of them!

"Then we go on to 'Caught A Lite Sneeze' and she's still vampiring, she needs that boy blood. You can say you are beautiful, you are enough; when are you going to claim it? You are on the hunt. He doesn't give fuck about you; he might have cared about some parts of you but this is not about you. He doesn't want to work this out with you, your neediness is disgusting him, and you sit around going 'oh no, no, no, I've gotta have it. It's out there, he has something.' Anything to just keep it going. And then when you are so sure it's with the boys, we both know 'it was a girl back in Bethlehem...' what am I doing? You are beginning to remember the blueprint, you are beginning to remember that this is not just because boys laughed at you when you were 13, this is a program that is going back very far. And the album going into 'Hey Jupiter' and that is the point where she knows it's over with this particular relationship, or ships, and it's not ever gonna be what it was again. It is never going back. That's where the whole record turns on its axis.

"As soon as she knows that, then you do the whole way down thing. Go further into the place of the South, the place of the hidden, with 'Little Amsterdam,' which is all metaphorical, about wanting to kill people, being angry at people that you feel have done something... the whole domination thing, the whole hierarchy, patriarchy...and her way to fight back and they are blaming her but 'it wasn't her bullet' but she still believes it would have been fine if..."
She makes a soft gunshot noise. "They lost him."

"And it keeps moving into the dance of 'Talula,' and her desperately trying to dance, desperately trying to figure out the whole idea of loss: it must be worth losing if it's worth something. So if I feel like I am losing something, at least I valued something enough to lose it in the first place... it's going back into that train of thought. 'Talula' is very much a riddle.

"We just cleared a large rock and I have to speak up. You can delude yourself into worrying about was it really worth losing? Was it really worth anything or did I just want it to be?"


Tori narrows her eyes in thought. She murmurs, "The sense of loss is such a tricky one, because we always feel like our worth can grow with things we are willing to lose. So there's a real letting go: 'Talula' is about letting go and getting the dance. I do not want to lose him."

She abruptly pulls the tiller back to her own personal experience. "The loss of Eric in my life was... it felt like half of me walked out the door. And 'Talula' came as a nursery rhyme, my little dance that I would do when things were so sad. Because I started thinking but 'God, I have these feelings, which means...' we shared so many moments that I value, I really valued that, so what a gift that I can feel this loss, that I am not so numb, that I haven't cut myself off so much, and once I could feel the loss then I started to feel free. I want to dance and go 'yeah, I want to be with Talula.' I want to be able to dance through the people that come in and go out of your life. I want to learn how to dance with the gifts when they come and the gifts when they need to take a different route.

"Then of course in the record we move into a whole other moment. 'Not the Red Baron' is the moment of compassion for all the men on the record. It's where I could see their planes crashing, I could see that they have a side too. And if their planes would crash I started to gain compassion for their side of it. But I'm still acknowledging the war with 'Agent Orange', the idea of the war.

"'Doughnut,' that's so much to me the ache of... I think one of the most important lines in the entire record for me was 'you told me last night you were a sun now with your very own devoted satellite, happy for you and I am sure that I hate you, too sons too many too many able fires...' there's the Cain and Abel reference, there's the idea that you can't have two whole beings together. And I couldn't live like that, and it made me really sad, that whether it's a female relationship or a male relationship, we're not supporting each other to make a while. When I am not happy when you are taking you as far as you can. I can't support that or I withhold from you because the truth is I am afraid you aren't going to need me anymore.

"Which leads us into 'Voodoo,'... the key for me here is he was going to show me spring. Going to... and so much of my life has been about going to. Instead of what is happening now, [it's] what are we going to? Not what are we really giving to each other now. What am I promising him? That whole idea of looking to this, the idea that somebody else carries the voodoo, instead of becoming part of the voodoo and accessing it yourself. That runs through the whole thing.

"And of course 'Damage' speaks for itself. The song, being herself damaged, it's trying to teach myself about graciousness, and I have such a hard time with that. I have a very hard time. 'Damage' was so essential for me to sing, it's one of the most difficult ones for me. I can look and have love and feelings for some of these people but..."


Tori lies back on the couch and takes a blessed moment to stare at the beige ceiling before returning to her whirling thoughts. "Again, all I can say is I still have feelings. A part of me wants to rejoice in their happiness; they've worked hard, but sometimes I feel like... ahhhhh... I am looking at strangers, how they are looking back at me. I am very aware of the things that dawned on me over the past year and a half with people who knew me. I am trying to learn how to be gracious," she admits.

After another rejuvenating pause Tori grows more animated, exclaiming, "You know it's not going to work, you know all these things, but you still have feelings... but it's just not appropriate to acknowledge them. And more than anything I find it interesting what I still find attractive. That's the whole thing that came when I sang that... 'you still look pretty' which... that can mean a lot of things," she sighs.

"Yet the record isn't finished until 'Twinkle;' it just wasn't finished until that song. That level of the flame, feeding the flame, because after all the stars, the fire, I had to go into that place of becoming that instead of trying to find it again," she whispers, hoisting herself up to touch my knee. A winter shock startles us. Whew. The priestess has jingled those forbidden keys at me. She's even graciously pointed out the door they belong to. We take a break to push the tea consumption to new heights. There's going to be a race to the bathroom...

After going through Boys for Pele's intense emotions, Tori bravely chose to take herself back and oversee the final production. Of course she needed to do it this way.

"It was freeing," Tori nods. "I refused to ask anybody something I knew. When I didn't know, I would eventually ask. There were plenty of people around, there were 65 musicians that worked on this record: if you needed an opinion it was five seconds away, believe me!" she laughs.

"But I really wanted to interpret the way I want." Tori Amos taking over the production chores on Boys for Pele signals a different meaning then anyone else doing it: she made a final personal statement while making sure she kept those songs hers.

"It's your ass," she sighs. "You go, 'like it or not, I have to play this one.'"

Tori agrees she would have cheated Pele out of its true meaning if she let anyone else produce it. "It would not have become what it is. Pele's a really pure work, like it or hate it. There are no 'trying to be's' on this record. No one is trying to be anyone. They are all stretching forms, particularly with 'Talula,' where it starts and stops again, and then she finally dances. So everything was a reflection of what was really going on with the characters. I tried to make that happen with the music..."

Once you're beaten your head against the wise volcano the code is suddenly cracked and the hot magma scorches your brain. But, dear Tori, it's still not a user friendly album.

Tori again smiles and stresses, "It is about the heart. So to analyze it, you have to let yourself go. I still recommend a really good bottle of red. Get something good. It is a journey, this record, and when you can dull your brain a bit, you know. What happens is you start to break down the wall, and that's when you don't want to be at dinner with certain business associates when you are drinking, because you don't want certain things revealed. And you don't want to be drinking with someone when your heart is on the line, because you aren't ready to go there if you aren't ready to be received. That's where this record is very much about the heart being on the line, on the table next to the stinky cheese, a knife and some crackers."

She fixes me with her vibrant eyes. "If you are detaching yourself from it and reading the lyrics, you will never arrive at what she is really saying. She's crawling on the floor to a phone that isn't ringing. So to understand her you have to remember when you did that. You have to let yourself go there."

Whimper. You aren't going back there unless you've run with the grape. Who wants to go back to those ugly defacing emotions? Yuck.

Tori offers me her supreme smile and gives this final wise woman advice before our departing hugs. "Don't get the cheap shit."

She knows. Oh, she knows. Make mine a blood red cabernet to ward off that flesh-freezing chill that comes from a mending heart. Cuddle up and blow hard for the goddess. It will do you good. Salute.


[transcribed by jason/yessaid]


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