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Herald Sun (Australia)
Melbourne, Australia, newspaper
Thursday, July 9, 1998
"Hit" section, p. 37
Shock and bull TORI
What you see is not what you get with outspoken pop princess Tori Amos. Cameron Adams investigates.
Tori Amos is no longer lonely. A solo artist-with-a-piano no more, she's on another endless tour of a minimum of 200 dates to promote her latest album From the Choirgirl Hotel, which sees Amos fleshing out her ideas with other musicians.
"I'm not such an egomaniac any more, I really understand it takes a team" says Amos. "I get a little lonely at my piano. If you stay there... well, if you stay there they will devour you."
She's talking about her critics and her fans. Tori Amos fans are not so much devout as borderline obsessive.
She's one of the most worshipped artists on the internet. Hundreds of sites are dedicated to her every move.
Amos fans have e-mail debates during which they discuss everything from what they think of her working with a band as opposed to still being solo to her hair color and whether her navel lint would be red.
There's even a site called 'The Church of Tori' which only half-jokingly talks of her work with biblical seriousness.
Then there are other sites happy to detail every foodstuff she has sung about.
But Amos isn't concerned. She remains blissfully ignorant of what she's provoked.
"I don't have a computer. I have no idea what goes on there" she says.
Several million record sales since her breakthrough album Little Earthquakes have enabled her to buy some rural properties, including a country retreat in England and a house outside Miami.
After a false start to her career with 1988's Y Kant Tori Read, a diet-metal disaster, Little Earthquakes, with its stark piano sounds and confronting lyrics ('Me and a Gun' was about her rape some years earlier) earned Amos immediate attention - and immediate comparisons to Kate Bush.
Under the Pink, in 1994, had pop hits (Cornflake Girl, God), with Amos touring non-stop, something the stage-shy Kate Bush never managed. Boys for Pele, in 1996, was repackaged to feature the 'Armand Van Helden' dance mix of 'Professional Widow', a British number one single.
Amos, who once joked her best skill was "being kooky for the UK press", is more economical with her quotes:
Asking Amos about her fans raises her defenses.
"The letter are different from the Net, usually (from) people that want some kind of psychiatric help, really personal stuff".
"People that are survivors of incest or some kind of abuse. It's not just women, you'd be shocked to realize how many men have had some kind of experience."
Sales of From the Choirgirl Hotel would indicate your appeal is broadening.
"It depends if people's tastes are opening up. I think that if you're an idiot you shouldn't buy my records. If you're an idiot, fuck off.
"If you're not, you might not even like what I do, but if you're an idiot, don't even go there. I'm not a sheila, I'll fucking tear your ass out. I've spent time with Australian men.
"Some say to me, 'Tori, I kind of like your music, but...' and I just look at them and go 'I'll kill you if you cross my line'. I like Australians, they understand something which is that I'm a very, very, very independent woman.
"Cross my line and I'll pull your jugular out. A lot of Australian men love that, they respect that, they know where they stand".
Your lyrics, especially on this album, are very direct. You talk about your miscarriage, that's even discussed in the bio for this record. Some would be reluctant to talk about something so personal...
"That's some people."
Do you see yourself as providing honesty where others don't?
"It's not about other people"
Is anything off-limits or private for you?
"There are a lot of things I keep private."
Some critics have claimed you're using your personal hardships as a marketing tool. How do you deal with that?
"Fuck them. If they lose a baby, then they can call me. That's my experience. I always write about my experiences, whether it's rape or losing a baby... or picnics, falling in love with women that are gorgeous, falling in love with men that are gorgeous.
"It's all a part of it. It's all a marketing tool if you want to go there. If those people are going to come after me, well, let them lose a baby and write a poem, write anything about it and I'll fucking crucify them."
Do you realize you're seen as good copy by journalists?
"Courtney Love gives good copy."
Seeing as you um,mentioned Courtney Love, there's talk that you wrote Professional Widow' about her. Is that true?
"There's a lot of talk about her. One of my best friends is close with her. I would never dishonor that."
From the Choirgirl Hotel (Warner) out now. Tori will tour Australia early next year.
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