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KITS, San Francisco (US, radio)
July 12, 1996

[listen]

Tori Amos interview

I: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome a favorite of all the women in this audience who are dressed in black and .... Please welcome Tori Amos, right here, Tori! Have a seat, we gave her the throne here. .....

Tori: Yes.

I: Yeah. I'll just sit here like a little kid, just sitting here. You engender such a reaction, did you see this one standing, I went early (shouts from the audience) She'll be spending the money tomorrow.

Tori: No, I hope I make the concert tonight, I have to take a .... for me, Alice. I don't know how you do this.

I: Well, I put a paycheck stub (?) by my bed every morning.

Tori: I'm a night girl.

I: Yeah?

Tori: Yeah, I can stay up all night, but this is, you know...

I: Well, you're either diurnal or nocturnal. And I used to be nocturnal, I mean I used to stay up to 4-5 in the morning, my home I did a nighttime show, I did a show from 2 to 6 in the morning, I loved those hours, you know. Got up about 9 in the morning, sleep to about 6 at night, you know. And my home life was nighttime. And then I moved here and did this job and it took me maybe 3-4 years before I was ever ... to getting up this time in the morning. And now I pass out at like 9 o'clock at night, it's you know, not that long.

Tori: Well, tonight we're doing two shows so if you're bored, one's at 7, one's at 10.

I: Wow, and where is that?

Tori: Where am I playing you guys?

Audience: The Paramount.

Tori: The Paramount.

Some girl from the audience: In Oakland.

I: In Oakland, Yes, good, very good.

Tori: Thank you.

(Some girl from the audience keeps saying something)

Tori: OK.

I: You wanna come up here? You really, come on, oh, here she comes! But no, don't come that way! It's a pit full of snakes, just come around this way. Come this way! Come on. This woman has been jumping up.... I'll protect you, ok.

Tori: No no no, she'll make this interesting. Will you do this interview for me here?

I: Just for ... you never ever recorded 'Found a Peanut'.

Tori sings: 'Found a peanut in my pocket, boy, found a peanut ... found my peanut it doesn't seem to have your name on it, brother, that's just too bad'

(applause)

I: Wow, I've never wanted...

(applause)

I: I've never ever had the urge to go to bed with a woman after hearing 'Found a Peanut'. That's a whole new ... But I gotta go get my hundred bucks (laugh) You sat right next to, what's your name?

Girl from the audience: Nicole.

Tori: We don't have to put a red wig on you. Do you play the piano?

N: I used to. I played the drums.

Tori: Do you? Maybe you could sit in for me tonight? (laugh)

N: OK.

Tori: No, I'm just kidding, I'll wake up, I will, I will, I will.

N: I know how you feel, I woke up at like 4, and I have jetlag for like a week, so...

Tori: Where do you come from?

N: I live like 10 minutes away but I was in Mali for two weeks so I have bad jetlag. I know ... I could never tell from pictures.

Tori: Well, I stole them from ... last week. So they change, I'm just kidding...

I: One question to ask Tori. What would you like to ask her? Now think for a moment. I mean it's an important moment because, you know, you ask Tori any question and you will answer her honestly any question she asks.

Tori: Absolutely.

I: She's very good, one thing about Tori, the one that I really love about this woman is her way with fans. Like some people go 'Oh, yeah, here's the autograph'. And you actually talk with them and, you know, you even remember them when you've seen them before.

Tori: To tell you the truth, after two hours of singing all these songs that, you know, are pretty personal to me anyway and you're looking out at this sea of blackness, because you can't see anything most of the time when you're on stage, you wanna know who you just had this experience with, it's sort of like 'Who did I just marry?' and...

I: I have asked that question quite often.

Tori: (laugh) And so that's why I go afterwards and talk to people so you know, ok, it just keeps you connected to who you sing to. But I didn't do very well today when I saw you, can we tell them what I said to you? I put my foot in my mouth.

I: She said I reminded her of Bob Fosse.

Tori: But I was trying to say, you know, I love that movie 'All That Jazz', I adore it, I saw 17 times over and over and you know the scene I'm talking about. (Tori imitates the scene) And I love that moment, you know, I was drinking loads of root beer at the time. But when I saw you this morning I was still in the movie, not when you said to me, you mean, I don't know ...

I: I know what you mean, I won't take it personally.

Tori: Ok, so Nicole, you ask

N: I think, of all things, I'd ask you something but you'd have to say 'No', just because you'd have to, but I'd ask you.

Tori: I don't know about that, I'll answer.

N: Can I go on tour with you for the rest of your tour?

I: That's not a question!

N: It counts.

A guy in the audience: It is a question, Alex.

Tori: You know what.

I: It is a question, Ted? Ok.

A guy in the audience: John just said it is a question.

Tori: John just said, my tour manager just said it was a question, ok. Well this is the thing...

I: He's sitting over there like ''

Tori: No, actually. My crew would be siting over there going: 'Yeah'. Let me explain something about the road and the crew made up with 30 guys that happens ...

I: That's what she's counting on, Tori.

Tori: No no no no, this is the thing, I'm an old Viking with these guys. When I'm not with these guys, you know, I have my female moments but when I'm with these guys it's like you know what they're up to you, you don't wanna be on road with my guys, they've done 97 shows, they've been on the road since February. No, no woman, I'm protecting you! No!

N: Can I ask another question then?

I: Yeah. Can I go on your next tour?

N: Can you do me a favor tonight at the show?

Tori: Yes.

N: Could you have Winter come?

Tori: Which show are you at?

N: 7 PM.

Tori: Yes.

N: Thank you very much.

Tori: Do you have a pen so I don't forget? I need to write it.

I: Pen has a pen!

Tori: Hi, nice to meet you!

Tori: Do you know what, I'm gonna write it on my hands, because um...

I: Oh, sure please.. Let's see the notes she has on her hands.

Tori: Unless I end up ... I guess I'll be alright.

N: Just in case she forgets herself.

I: What else do you have written on your hand? It's the lyrics to your songs, you cheat!

Tori: No, not always, there are other things here. This is set songlist, see. This is what happens, ok. Everybody says 'Why do you write on your hands?', it's like 'Ok, geniuses, why don't you think about this for 5 seconds' You're playing like this, really fast, ok, where you're gonna look, there it is, right there, you don't miss a beat!

I: Do you ever ....and they said it was their right if they wanted to like, you're in the middle of a song, you forget the lyrics.

Tori: OK.

I: And you start making them up?

Tori: Of course that's your right.

I: Yeah, but have you ever done that?

Tori: Every night. (laugh)

I: And you had then have some fan come up afterwards and go 'That was not lyrics to the song'.

Tori: And I go: 'You know, she changed tonight'. There is this awful...

I: Why did you say 'she changed tonight?

Tori: No, no, no, she. Each song is its own individual.

I: And you call them 'she'?

Tori: They are all 'shes', yeah.

I: Ok. No, I'm just...

Tori: That doesn't mean they are all straight (laugh) But they're all 'shes'.

I: We know you're not, we're just trying to figure out what level ... you are

Tori: I'm not talking about them, not... Yes, I am, actually.

I: ...

Tori sings: That peanut, where did it... (laugh)

I: But you refer to them as 'shes', the songs?

Tori: Yes (laugh) ... (???)

I: Are there any songs you refer to as 'him', maybe?

Tori: No, no. Not at this point in time. It hasn't happened in 32 years.

I: Now as you might have noticed I'm not a woman.

Tori: Well...

I: Thank you very much if some of you think I am. But your music seems to resonate more with women than it does with men (some girl in the audience shouts: 'That's not true') A woman just calls 'That's not true'! No, but I'm saying that it seems to resonate, I'm not saying that it's exclusive to women but it seems to resonate mostly with women. You seem to touch something at their core.

Tori: Well, ok. If we're gonna run with that theory.

I: Yeah.

Tori: Keep going.

I: I'm just saying it's my observation, it may be wrong.

Tori: It's, I'll tell you ... I do think there is something to be said for. Women have an innate knowing of what it's like when they're crawling to a phone that isn't ringing and not that men don't do that because there are some that do and you'll find them at my shows (laugh) However, the thing is, a lot of times, and this is true, Alex, I don't know if it's true for you ...

I: I've crawled to phones that weren't ringing. No, I'm serious. I've been in that position too so I can understand that feeling. Bob Rubins (?) done that too but ...

Tori: Anyway, some guys, though, show up and they've told me this 'I have no idea what my girlfriend's thinking, that's why I'm here'. I said 'This is a good place to be, go away' Yeah.

I: When you write a song you write it from your heart, what you feel, from your experience and your experience is very, very female.

Tori: It's very female in some respects. Obviously, I have three orifices, you don't.

I: What are those, Tori?

Tori: No, let's just stay with that thought.

I: Actually, there is the mouth...

Tori: No, this is the thing. That's going to make me female on certain levels. But like I told you, Nicole here I'm very aware that if she goes on my tour with my crew, whom I love and adore, but these guys, they're like, I don't know that ...

I: The guy with an arrow in his leg.

Tori: Those guys are the ones that when I look at them, whether you wanna call it female with the lion's teeth, I just look at them and go: 'Down, boys. I know she's beautiful, I know she's yummy, off, hands off, go have a coffee!'

I: Do you really tell them that?

Tori: Yes.

I: And how they react to it?

Tori: I go 'Yeah, yeah, yeah... Speak up'

I: Do they ever challenge you on that?

Tori: No (laugh)

I: I ... remember, you're the boss.

Tori: No it's not just, yes, but there is a thing about...

I: You see, I hate guys that do that.

Tori: Wait, I respect these guys, I respect the crew but there is a place where, you know, women know what I'm talking about. Lionesses go get the meat in the kingdom, in the animal kingdom, those guys sit around and wait, yeah, they're the beautiful ones with all the mane and all the hair, which is interesting in the animal kingdom, isn't it, guys? But anyway, they sit around, the women come back with the wildebeest or whatever and you, guys get to eat first, well there's a part of me Exactly. I'm just going on but I love my crew. However, there is a side of me that is like ...

I: I don't think I can speak for other guys, I'm embarrassed when other guys do that with women. When they will like go ...

Tori: Well, you guys do it a lot.

I: Sometimes, I'll tell you, sometimes guys, some guys go on with it for male bonding, but it's wrong, it's bad, it's not good.

Tori: Look, the whole thing is...

I: I grew up with father, so maybe I have more respect for women in that.

Tori: No, but this is the thing...

I: And I'm saying this just to...

Tori: But that's the point, isn't it? Boys, it's kinda cute. This is what they do: a beautiful woman walks in the room and even if some of them are trained to be really cool, all the heads go this way. And my head's going too cause I'm going 'Wow! How did she get those ... to look like that on her cuff'. I mean, women look at women for different reasons, but I understand that guys do that and I adore them, but it's just sometimes, it's inappropriate, that's all.

I: Of course it's inappropriate. Do you consider yourself to have, at this point of your life, a great deal of self-esteem or do you feel you still have to work on that?

Tori: In some areas I do, in some areas not so much, but more than I had before. I'm getting to a point where it's ok if I don't know certain things.

I: Do you feel more self-assured. Let's face it, you're a very successful performer, your albums sell marvelously, you're adored by fans, you sell out concerts everywhere you go. Is there still a part of that goes : 'Am I successful yet?'

Tori: Well, there's a part of me that goes 'Can I tell a good joke? I'm dying to be'. Sometimes when you're on stage, I'm sure some of you have this experience. I hate talking, I'm comfortable with music and I'm comfortable singing but I'm not comfortable with just having a conversation sometimes, so in certain areas I'm not as confident but what I try and do is push myself because I go 'Well, you know, I need to try this. I don't wanna crawl up in a shell'. I love all the babies, they're good, huh?

I: What is it, a ...match? Is that Tori applause, it's kind of like... You know I love having you here. Somebody earlier wrote me and said is it true Tori, when did you say Tori Amos and you don't hate each other? I love this woman, we get on great, always loved having you here, always have

(someone from the audience asks about Neil Gaiman)

Tori: Neil, she's asking about Neil Gaiman, Neil's doing great, he's the writer of the 'The Sandman' comics. Do you know 'The Sandman' comics?

I: Who?

Tori: Well, obviously Alex, you need to brush up on this one. He's a fantastic writer and this is one of the most popular comics out.

I: Oh, Sandman, yes of course! Yes. I thought you were saying like Sam-man, the comics or something.

Tori: Well, Neil's the writer and that's who she says, he's doing great, really good.

(someone asks another question)

Tori: No, Neil's coming out on a road in a couple of weeks to do a story for ... he's writing a fictional story about the tour, don't ask me (laugh) So he's living on my bus and I'm making him eighteen hundred ... courageous when... Oh, who's this person? Fantastic... how are you? Are you a friend of Neil?

I: What are you standing there for? Oh, you're advertising 'The Sandman'.

Tori: He's advertising a shirt. Oh, that's groovy! There it is.

I: Very nice. .... Thank you very much, and I wanna thank you for coming.

Tori: Thank you, Alex.

I: I know that there was a concert last night and there's one tonight.

Tori: No, there are two tonight.

I: Two tonight, and you're probably exhausted and you took your time to come down here. It's always wonderful to have you on that show.

Tori: Good to see you and thank you, Nicole, I'll play Winter.


[transcribed by Karolina Kucinska]


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