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She hit the big time with Cornflake Girl and Tori Amos has a kooky take on everything from fame to romance. By Francesca Ryan.
Q: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Tori: Either a ballerina or a sewage manager. I always wondered where everyone's stuff went -- who does that job? I could have been a dancing sewage manager.
Q: As a minister's daughter, how oppressive was was your religious upbringing?
Tori: From the age of 5, I hated my grandmother. She was also a minister and believed that a young woman should turn her body over to her husband, who then owns it. Until then, she said, you should remain untouched. She told me that if I didn't love Jesus there would be no money for me in the Christmas kitty.
Q: What part of your body would you most like to change?
Tori: Everything apart from my lips, feet and hands. I'm only 5ft 3in, but my hips are 2ft wide, so I really wish I was elongated.
Q: Do you enjoy exercise?
Tori: No, I really wish I did. I'd rather clean the house than exercise. Sadly, I'm 34, so I know I have to go to the gym or I'd turn into a blob.
Q: What is your most embarrassing habit?
Tori: Every 30 seconds I click my jaw back into place -- I've had braces and bite plates, but I still get chronic nerve pain.
Q: What is the most dangerous thing you've ever done?
Tori: I hate people cutting me up when I'm driving and when I was a teenager I used to take my truck and block the traffic. I would get out and stand in the road with a crowbar, daring people to pass me.
Q: Have you ever committed a crime?
Tori: In the early 90s a friend and I were stopped at the border at Aachen, Germany. She had cannabis on her, so the sniffer dogs came to the car, the police searched us, and they wanted to pump our stomachs for drugs. Thankfully, they changed their minds.
Q: What is the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you?
Tori: I've been fortunate because men have been very creative as far as romance goes. One man took me to a cliff -- I thought he was going to throw me off, but he took out a bottle of wine and an elaborate picnic.
Q: On your first album you sang about rape, and on your new album you sing about miscarriage, is there anything you wouldn't sing about?
Tori: There are lots of things I don't sing about. Sometimes I put something in a song, but I don't want to wreck someone's life, so I disguise it a little. I don't believe in censorship, but if someone's going to be hurt, names and places should be changed.
Q: What's the downside of being famous?
Tori: You feel like you can't even have an argument in a restaurant without it being broadcast on the internet. I left some underwear in a hotel on tour and people were trading it on the net. I freaked out, but you just can't keep up with it. All you can do is be aware of what you carry with you -- you don't leave letters or diaries lying around.
Q: Have you ever been stalked?
Tori: These days, if you don't have a stalker, you don't rate -- there should be a TV show called My Favourite Stalker. I left the States to get away from a guy who had beaten his sister to a pulp and been put in a mental institution, but escaped four times. He managed to track me down to the tropics.
Q: How do you treat your employees?
Tori: I think I'm a really fair boss, When I'm on the road I have 35 people with me and I work them really hard. But I don't like bullies -- if there's a bully we weed them out.
Q: What do you hate most about Britain?
Tori: What really pisses me off is that the British aren't self-made -- they want to win the lottery or go on the dole. I hate people who bitch about people who do well -- if someone wants my career they should get off their butt and play in a band for 14 years.
Q: Where would you like to be on New Year's Eve 1999?
Tori: Drinking 1981 Krug champagne, sitting in the sun with my friends and listening to Marvin Gaye. But I'll probably end up in England, eating chips and freezing my butt off.
Tori Amos's fourth album From The Choirgirl Hotel (eastwest) is released this monday.
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