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New City (US)
Chicago, Illinois
September 1996

What do Tori Amos and Bette Midler have in common?

Tori Amos returns to Chicago September 28 for the second time in three months, following the release of a critically acclaimed five-song EP, "Hey Jupiter." The disc, which features a remix of the title song from her "Boys for Pele" album and four live tracks recorded during her Dew Drop Inn Tour, provides a solid preview of her live shows - including the chill inducing screams she elicits from adoring fans.

There seems to be a new generation of divas for a new generation of of gay men. Performers such as you and Sarah McLachlan have an enormous gay following. Why do you think that is?

Tori: I guess it's no different than why, in the seventies, certain people were drawn to Bette Midler. I don't know if it's the lyric content, but I know that I do have a huge gay following. I can only speak for myself. Because I started working in gay bars, playing piano and singing, when I was thirteen, I was kind of brought up, taught how to be a woman in some ways, by the gay men in my life.

"Boys for Pele" is chock full of what could be considered "gay references": the back and forth of "You think I'm a queer; I think you're a queer" in the song "Blood Roses";the "Boys in their dresses" in "Caught a Lite Sneeze." Am I reading too much into it, or is that what you intended?

Tori: In the last few years I've been more aware of the questionsing way people see sexuality. A lot of that's because I've been educated by {make-up artist] Kevyn Aucoin, who is one of my best friends. He's really opened my eyes to what he goes though, what he thinks, what he feels, his perception on issues. Because of him in my life, I see things differently even when I'm attracted to a man, say, who's questioning his sexuality. There are many women who I would be intamite with before many men. It's not a choice I'm making right now. I like a hard body, but I have a lot of friends who are lesbian, I mean really great friends. One of my best friends used to be in a lesbian relationship and now she is in a hetero relationship and she's probably one of my dearest female friends. So, as you can see, I'm surrounded by people who are open about questioning what they want to experience.

You have used the CD single to great advantage as a way of releasing tracks that didn't make it onto an album, as well as doing wonderful cover tunes. Tell me a little bit about the "single" process.

Tori: I kind of look at it like a subtext or a spin-off of "The Mod Squad," you get me? Meaning that if Pete, Linc and Julie are doing "The Mod Squad," then Julie goes off and does a show with Angie Dickinson that nobody ever saw because the networks didn't pick it up- maybe it's still kind of groovy. That's what a single is to me - trying to do offshoots of what an album is, but with its own storyline. The package has got to be a short story, but with a character that you recognize from the album, which is the single.

You've done some soundtrack work, on "Toys" and, most recently, the remix of "Talula" on "Twister." How do you view the soundtrack phenomenon?

Tori: I don't think too much about it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it kind of lets a song live in a different geographical place than it would normally. I don't know. There are so many soundtracks that are just thrown together. But when somebody puts one together and it really works, it is quite an art form.

Have you seen either of the movies in which your songs were featured?

Tori: No.

Have you ever thought about doing an entire soundtrack yourself?

Tori: I would like to do that someday. There was something in the wind a little while ago about a movie, where the script hadn't gotten picked up, about Georgia O'Keefe. I would have loved to have done that, but the script itself hasn't been picked up yet.

What surprises should we expect on your return visit to Chicago?

Tori: this is the final leg, so it's sort of like the long goodbye. A lot of people want their tours to finish because it was hell, and everything's a mess, the music's shit, it sounds terrible. But somehow the vibe of the audiences and the commitment of all of us as a crew, it's just sort of been a party that hasn't stopped for nine months. So when you see the party winding down... I'm thinking about a hot tub, and my shoulder, and soaking for three weeks. But at the same time there are tears.


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