Plankenkoorts (Belgium, TV) on Canvas
July 1, 1998
"Shirley and Tori"
Portrait of Shirley Manson and Tori Amos
no video of part 1
transcript (only the Tori Amos parts)
[clip 1 of "Cornflake Girl" from Pinkpop Festival]
The piano was like my freedom, because I went to church four times a week. I think my father was convinced that I loved going to church, but you really didn't have a choice. The one thing I could choose in my life, was what shoes I could wear, and what music I played.
[clip 2 of "Cornflake Girl" from Pinkpop Festival]
I started singing as a choirgirl. It was called the Cherub Choir and I was a terrible singer, really. I had a very hard time even though I had good pitch. I was always trying to sound like Robert Plant. And you can imagine being a little girl trying to sound like... some of my favorite musicians. Anyway, I tried to sound like them. I remember this boy, Kevin Craig, when I was nine, writing a note to a girl called Peggy. And I had this huge crush on him, like huge, I was so in love with him. And he said, "Tori Ellen sounds like a frog, she's got the worst voice I've ever heard, she should shut up forever." (laughing) And I was crushed and didn't sing for like six months until my brother talked me into doing it again.
[clip 1 of "Caught a Lite Sneeze" video]
I was composing at a really young age but just more music than lyrics. It was more piano compositions. And then, I think around eight or nine, I started making up stories like ... you know stupid stuff like "The Jackass and Toad Song," meeting, I don't know, some animal on the street and having a conversation with it. Just wacky, like mushroom trip stuff, but when you're young, you live in this strange fantasy world where inanimate objects can talk to you, so my songs were about ketchup talking, I don't know, just weird.
[clip 2 of "Caught a Lite Sneeze" video]
I was studying at the Peabody Conservatory when I was five until I was eleven. And the idea was that I was supposed to be a concert pianist. But it really wasn't in my blood, I think it has to be in your blood or you can't ... that whole world is really about competition. I don't, in my heart, I don't wanne be competitive. I'm a Leo... sun sign, thank God, not much else Leo or I would be a nutcase. So, there is a bit of that competition in me but I don't enjoy that. And being in the classical field it was very much about, "Were you winning the competition, the piano recitals? Were you aware that you place..." It was very sports-like and I didn't... that side started to kill me musically because I didn't want to have to play a piece a certain way in order to win the competition, when I thought that way wasn't what the piece should be. So, I didn't do very well in that world.
[clip 1 of "Spark" from Pinkpop Festival]
Classical music, I think, is really detached. Whereas, like blues and jazz, to me, were much more feeling. It was very much the audience was part of the band, whether you call the audience, you know, the Greek chorus in jazz or blues. But I've always felt that that is a gift that rock music / pop music can have, where when a band is really playing with each other, the audience feels very much a part of this, you know, like you're in a teepee and you're sharing the smoke. It becomes very much about the peace pipe. Whereas, in classical music and even sometimes in pop music, not so much blues and jazz, but pop music, sometimes I feel very detached when I'm watching a band. Sometimes it's like, they're here and they're a bit aloof. You know, they're a bit... There is this arrogance and then the audience is this, the peasants watching. And it can be very much like that, I think, in pop music but I don't feel that with jazz and blues, and I've tried to... that really always spoke to me, watching blues players and how they were interacting with you.
[clip 2 of "Spark" from Pinkpop Festival]
I think I'm moving in a direction that I don't even know where I'm going, because as the music business gets more and more commercial. Because in the States and in Britain it's getting much more about the pop song and much less about an album. Radiohead, a few other bands slip through, but when you talk about the difference between the late sixties and early seventies, the amount, and FM-radio, what that did for artists. You don't have FM-radio anymore in America, you do, but it's... that's an illusion, that's really not what it is, it's very much, all the industries become so commercialized that you don't have a lot of room for your beatnik, for the artist side of it, just without having to play both sides of the game. Obviously, sometimes I play both sides of the game.
[clip 3 of "Spark" from Pinkpop Festival]
So, I sing about a lot of stuff that goes on, sort of behind the scenes, in the women's locker room, that doesn't get talked about a lot. And the women know exactly what I'm talking about, even the ones that have the knife in the back, that are gonna cut their friend's throat out to get their man, they know what I'm talking about. And I think it's good that... sort of a little secret we share.
[clip 1 of "Raspberry Swirl" from Pinkpop Festival]
One of my biggest influences was Led Zeppelin, so when I put a band together, I didn't want the band to be a gratuitous, you know, just the drums there. It was very much about, if I'm gonna put a band together, I have to feel like, you know, we could open for Rage Against the Machine, absolutely with no problem as far as energy level.
[clip 2 of "Raspberry Swirl" from Pinkpop Festival]
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