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SonicNet/MTV.com (US, www)
live online chat
with Tori Amos and Alanis Morissette
August 17, 1999
Twice as Nice - Tori and Alanis Chat
Moderator: We're coming at you live from the National Car Rental Center in Florida for Twice as Nice, a Yahoo video chat with Alanis Morrisette and Tori Amos on the eve of the Five and a Half Weeks Tour.
This little shin-dig is brought to you by mp3.com and presented by SonicNet, MTV.com, Atlantic Records and Maverick Records. The tour kicks off tomorrow and we're going to take some questions from you folks out there and let's get some answers. We're gonna start off simple.
We have AlanisFan7 who wants to know right off the bat, 'How did you guys meet up and decide to tour together?'
Alanis: Well it was a couple of months ago, more than a couple months ago, a FEW months ago, and I was talking to my manager about who I would play with at the end of the summer. And he was going to give me a list of potential people to play with and before he even gave me the list I said 'I'd love to find out what Tori's doing and it was as simple as that really and [to tori] you were open to playing with me. Very exciting
moment, because I love Tori so it's going to be great.
Moderator: Had you guys met before?
Tori: Yeah, we met at Jones Beach [to alanis] I made you tea I think.
Alanis: Yeah, it was a beautiful show.
Tori: I think it was crap tea, but I made a crap cup of tea for you! But we had a good laugh, and that's the one thing, I think, when you're touring out there it's nice to have somebody else who knows what it's like when, you know, you leave dirty underwear in a hotel room, those kinds of things. So we had a few things to talk about...
Moderator: We're just going to bounce around. We've got questions for the both of you, separately, and together, so we're just going to run through, we'll just go with it exactly. HefelumpMan (sp?) has a question for you Alanis.
Alanis: I was going to say, 'Hopefully, that's for Tori!'
Moderator: Alright... he wants to know how you feel about your fans knowing so much about you and sort of hoping to have an 'intellectual intercourse', their words, with you. And I guess this is a good question for the both of you, because you do have that sort of relationship with the fans.
Alanis: I wrote songs when I was younger that were a little less personal than the ones that I write now, and, it was an amazing way to express and to entertain on a certain level, but I found myself wanting to not only communicate more only through my music, but in my life as well. And I found that the more I did that, the more empowered I felt and the more connected I felt with everyone around me and less isolating.
Moderator: So once you revealed some of yourself that's when people could truly respond to it?
A- Yeah, or I feel like I'm being authentic which is really all I feel like we're here to do and be, so that was much better for me.
Moderator: Hopefully. In a perfect world.
Alanis: Yes. Ultimately, for me.
Moderator: We have one from oneirocrite, because we love people and their web names! This is for Tori, wants to know how you write the songs, and sort of the usual, have lyrics first? Do you spend a few days, a few hours? Do it at the same time? Do they just flow?
Tori: Well, I don't know about you, but for me it depends if I've had bran that morning. You know?
Tori: I don't really know what's coming in a few hours. Food is a big thing with me, that's just something my husband has had to come to accept. And I usually get inspired in between forkfuls of something really good. And that's sort of... I can't sit down and plan to write. It just doesn't work that way.
Tori: I think that once it starts coming to visit me that I can sit down and shape it. But it's more about instinct.
Moderator: Do they come sometimes, like, all in rush? Just like you find yourself sitting down with a pen and just all of a sudden it's there? Or is it bits and pieces...?
Tori: Bits and pieces. And then I have to go hunting. I hunt. I go hunting sonically. And I think like, I guess like a wolverine, you know? You go out there and go protect your cubs and go bring them some meat.
Moderator: This is from aristalexgeo and they want to know if you view writing as therapy. This might be a little extreme, but there is a release there.
Alanis: Yeah, it's very therapeutic. A lot of times when I write a song it'll indicate to me certain thing that I perhaps wasn't prepared to deal with in my conscious everyday living. So it schools me a lot and it also allows me to realize that I have my own answers. Because sometimes I will answer things on my own songs and ask questions. I love asking questions in my own songs and seeing the answers before the song is finished.
Moderator: Labellelucy (sp?) wants to know what books you're taking on tour with you this time. This one is applicable to the both of you.
Tori: Still packing...
Alanis: Are you?
Tori: Got 24 hours. Well, all the clothes are packed. All the shoes are packed.
Alanis: How many bags do you have, Tori?
Tori: [off stage] Jen, how many bags do we have? [off stage answers, Four for the bus] Four for the bus. Do we have the case? [off stage, The big wardrobe case.] That's cute! Where's our wine? It's coming? [off stage, It's right here.] Okay! [off stage, the books...] What books?
Moderator: Good question.
Tori: More are coming.
Alanis: Back to the question.
Tori: Back to the question. I have 24 hours and my house is close by so I'm gonna...
Alanis: Get them...
Tori: Get them and put them in it. We're gonna have 5 bags, Jen, it sounds like.
Alanis: I just bought the book 'Kalimantan' (sp?) which a friend of mine recommended that I haven't even started yet, but I can't wait. And all my psychology books. I need to figure out how to interact with people. Tori and I need our psychology books.
Moderator: So far so good.
Tori: I have one on men, a psychology book on men.
Alanis: What's it called?
Tori: 'Saturn'... I don't know, something 'Saturn' and something 'Evil' so that's how I understand. I work with so many men [to alanis] like you do. And sometimes I have to know...They do have periods! I mean we all know that they have periods, they just don't know because it's not like, every 28 days. So it's a very tricky thing. Going [whispered] 'I know what happened to him' he needs a little -
Alanis: A hug, chocolate, patience.
Tori: Warm bath.
Moderator: Now wait a minute! Um, good question here from Rebecca100, 'Who are your greatest influences?'
Alanis: When I was younger I loved Carole King. I remember she was the first voice that I remember actually hearing and asking my parents about while we were driving through Germany. I lived in Europe with them for a while and I just remember hearing her voice as I was sitting in the back part of the wagon that we were driving.
Alanis: She just seemed so powerful and her voice was very masculine and feminine, I just loved her. She was the main one I remember.
Moderator: And Tori?
Tori: Robert Plant. I mean I would stand by the stereo and because I was brought up in a really Christian home, you know Robert was one of those 'touched-by-the-devil' kind of people to my dad. All that wiggling and he said 'Why does he have to gyrate?' and it was a thing where when I would listen to the music and I would look at the little pictures, because the great thing about the old days is the albums, the pictures-
Alanis: The size.
Tori: Yeah. And so you have this life like Robert dripping with sweat and I was 8 and I just knew that he needed to marry me. But I wanted to marry him then-
Alanis: Not today.
Tori: Not today! Yeah. I love him. But it was one of those things when I was 8 and I didn't understand that marriage wasn't about going and having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and-
Alanis: Walking into the sunset?
Tori: Yeah and being all smooshy together.
Tori: It is kind of smooshy together but-
Alanis: A different kind of smoosh.
Moderator: Andy Schmidt asks if you're planning on releasing something other than music soon. This one is directed towards you [alanis] but this is a good question for both of you. Have you ever thought bout maybe doing a book of poetry, or photographs - something other than what people tend to expect which is, you know, a record or a video?
Alanis: Yeah, I love expressing through film and I'm writing something right now that I'd love to, I think once the tour has ended and I have had a little bit of a rest, I'd love to express though the writing of a screenplay. And directing, I love directing. And a book at some point. It'll be organic, kind of a scrapbook of sorts, not overly auto-biographical, although, by default, because I'm writing it there will be some personal experiences within it, but there are so many different ways to express ourselves that I just can't wait to try all of them.
Alanis: I could star Tori in my movie! She's an actress, and I'm going to bring it out in her!
Moderator: Well, [to tori] have you ever thought about acting, I guess you [to alanis] have your first movie coming out in a matter of months if all goes well, which would be Kevin Smith's 'Dogma'.
Moderator: In which you play god?
Alanis: [more enthusiastically] Mmmhhhmm!
Moderator: How'd that feel?
Alanis: Just great. I think Kevin Smith is a genius, so when I read his script I was happy to just be part of his vision really, I think there is something to be said for that.
Moderator: How did they call you, did they say. 'We have a part for you. It's god.' Or did you get to pick that one?
Alanis: No. I didn't pick that one. He actually, we talked about my being involved in some shape or form, but when I got off the road I was too tired to dive in at that point, so a year and a half later he had cast everything except for this cameo role of god at the end, and so that was the only one I -
Moderator: When's it coming out, October?
Alanis: I think November, mid-November.
Moderator: Just in time for Oscars.
Moderator: Oh yeah, really. You never know!
Alanis: I don't know!
Moderator: This one comes from Earl, very simply - Earl, and he wants to know which is your favorite song of each other's.
Tori: 'One Hand in my Pocket'. I love that song.
Alanis: Wow. There are so many that I love, it would be really tough to say, but I think anything off 'Little Earthquakes' is my favorite, I think everything you do-
Tori: I thought you were going to say, 'Like a Virgin'.
Alanis: [laughs] 'Like a Virgin' was a really great one that you did!
Alanis: Anything off that record. I think anything, any present thing that you're expressing, I love. I'm not the kind of person that sticks with one record of an artist. I, everything that is the most recent thing is my favorite, just because it's new. So everything of yours, but definitely 'Little Earthquakes' was a pretty moving experience for me.
Tori: I think I'm excited about the tour because when you hear another person's work live it really does start to, I start having a relationship with it. Once I hear someone's work, like her work, on a CD, because I'm in my own little world when I listen and I don't have those visuals, you know we don't have those big huge artwork things that we can take around anymore, to get the real person's essence when they're singing that I feel like songs shift when they start coming out live. It's, having done a few shows now, I still really get excited about how the songs change with each tour and they're always showing me different sides that I missed. So I'm sure when I'm standing from the stage watching your show that there are certain songs that I will see in ways that I haven't before and that always excites me, being able to be near the essence of the person who wrote it. And I really enjoy it. I like that.
Moderator: Carrot42 asks, this is for you Tori, You're very open about sharing your personal story with your fans, and a lot of people who aren't your fans, too, actually. Does it affect you? How do you feel about people who know so much about you, like when people meet you, they have more of a sense of who you are then I think most people do with their favorite artists. There's like, I think people have more of an insight into your life because you've been so open about it.
Tori: I don't know. I am fascinated with other people's lives. I really like people. I didn't used to think that I did, because I went through some crazy phase, somebody I was dating who had that 'they-don't-really-like-people' thing going on. I really like hearing people's tales. And when they kind of confide in me what's going on it makes me feel really special that they trusted me. And when you start hearing some of these stories it's pretty humbling. Because so many people have been through their unique shadow world, I guess. And what's a monster to one person isn't to another, but you start seeing how these people really share a secret with you and it's very moving.
Moderator: But it's reciprocal, because they feel that you're sharing a secret with them.
Tori: It is a relationship. [to alanis] I'm sure you feel that way when you play. There has to be a relationship when you're playing or it's really like you're masturbating. And that's OK, it got me through Christianity. But there is a thing where when people really come to see you when there is somebody else, it's about the exchange.
Alanis: It's a composition. And that's why I think that's why I can tour as long as I can and I'm wondering if it's the same for you, basically. If I can sing the same songs every night it's because every night is a new composition.
Alanis: That's why it can be done at these lengths.
Tori: It's funny how the songs become like a magic carpet ride for me. It's like a little window. It could be whatever the song is, 'Silent [All These Years]' or whatever we're playing, but because the people change and places changed and the events of the day-
Alanis: We've changed.
Tori: That conversation I had right before I went on that made me a nutcase so that when I approach that song it's like we're sharing a whole new thing again. I think that you, I don't get tired of making love to a person that I find interesting.
Moderator: Melissa J. Smithers, lightening up the mood a little, would like to know if any of you have played practical jokes on members of the band of tour personnel. I'm assuming yes.
Alanis: Wow. Yes. Yes, I have had the pleasure of putting make-up and nail polish on some of the male members of our touring family. And they seemed to like it.
Moderator: So they came back the next day for more?
Alanis: They dug it, and I think it opened up a part of them that perhaps would not have been opened had we not had that interaction, so-
Moderator: So you like doing that then?
Alanis: I love doing that. It's great. I love dressing women both masculine and feminine, and vice versa. I love when men can be both feminine and masculine. There's nothing more attractive to me than a man who would be willing to wear a skirt. So in my own way, at times, I will basically ask men that I sit down with to tap into their feminine side.
Moderator: You know since you said that there will be a lot of guys showing up like that at the shows now.
Alanis: [laughs] I don't know about that, but-
Moderator: Oh, you'd be surprised.
Alanis: Yeah? We'll see.
Moderator: Here's an interesting one, also from aristalexgeo, What are your views on electronic music? You've clearly been incorporating a lot of it, both of you, into your music. Sort of, electronica for lack of a better word.
Tori: Not a great word.
Moderator: Not a great word. Better than techno though.
Tori: No, but, we've kind of... Electronica is a bit 96.
Moderator: What have you got?
Alanis: Oh dear.
Moderator: What are we calling it these days? It's all to studied, too many subdivisions - trance and electro-
Tori: Things are I think it is metamorphisizing and I think the great thing is there are so many more gadgets that they're becoming instruments now. Sound effects, you approach it like an instrument. As a keyboard player, I've had to stretch and try and find a bridge between the acoustic piano that I play, I usually call it a Bosey, and then all of these sounds that are coming out of keyboards, whether they're sampled sounds. For us, we're really trying to get to us making our own samples because Puff Daddy has stolen everything else. So we steal from ourselves.
Alanis: I love both. I love the hybrid of gears and gadgets and accouterments. And then having my hand on something and having that be the sound or an instrument. I love the hybrid.
Moderator: Is it also changing the structure, though? It seems like songwriting is changing because of the influence of this sort of reform of instrumental music.
Moderator: You know, less chorus-y and so forth.
Alanis: I like structure for what it is and I also love walking away from it. I learned structure when I was very young in songwriting and I think the charm of learning it that early was that I then had the freedom to know that I could return to it, but I could also to just deviate from it, for lack of a better term. But it's good to know it, to throw it out.
Tori: It's an architecture, right. I mean I do think that songwriting is always very much always about playing with form. It's endless, but how I can fuck up four minutes blows my mind all the time. And then when you get it right, you get it right. It always surprises me sometimes how I think a song is going to go a certain way and then it doesn't reach the potential, when others who were sitting over to the side... Her bridge, I take that or something and she comes to life in another song. And there is a genetic kind of weaving that goes on, different than children obviously. Because you can't go, 'Oh, let's take her kidney' and 'She's got a really cute ass' and 'Let's put them together'. But you can do that with songs.
Moderator: Fictionwriter101- 'What do you do to relax while on tour?' We should mention that we are on the eve of the Five and a Half Weeks Tour, it kicks off tomorrow night here in Ft. Lauderdale. So, for five and a half weeks, what will you be doing to relax?
Alanis: I take bubble baths. I just took one before I came here.
Tori: You took one on your, you, do you have a bath on your bus?
Alanis: No! Do you have a bath on your bus?
Tori: No, well I don't either.
Alanis: That's good! [laughs] No bath on the bus.
Tori: I'm just curious.
Alanis: I like being outside, too, to rest. And being silent. I spend a lot of time with a lot of kinetic energy around me as I'm sure you do and everybody in this room probably. But I love being alone and resting and being silent. Very much rejuvenates and then I can go back out and be available to people. And [to tori] you? What do you do to rest?
Tori: [laughs] Um, the guys put on some booty music and we salsa on the bus and I love to dance, but I can't dance. So I never dance in public because people laugh at me. So I dance on the bus and of course we have nice wine on the bus and probably good chatting. There's a lot of chatting, a lot of little hummingbirds going back and forth. You know people hang out in front, come back to the back and very social. And after dancing about two hours and sweating and everything I crash like a puppy and [in a little girl voice] then I need to go to sleep. And then that's it.
Moderator: Works. This comes from finefinefine9 to the both of you, 'Are you ever struck by writer's block?' Another songwriting question. People are intrigued by the art.
Alanis: Writer's block to me is when I feel that I have to write. I don't really believe in the concept of writer's block. I think the only time when I really struggle with it is when I am forcing myself to do it. I do believe that the discipline of writing can meet inspiration half way and vice versa, but don't believe that writing from a place of feeling I have to ever results in my writing something that I like. So I like deadlines. If someone says, 'You need to write a song for a movie and we only have a few months'. I love those kinds of deadlines, but not the pressure of having to write anything for any other reason than to express myself.
Moderator: Do you ever find, though, that there's nothing coming? A period where you're just not writing? You know where there's really just nothing there?
Alanis: Of course.
Moderator: Do you ever worry when it happens and think, like, the muse is gone? Or do you figure, whatever happens, she'll be back?
Tori: Well, you know, if she's gonna split, you can't do a whole lot about it. I mean that whole thing about there has to be a faith that if you leave little crumbs so that she can find her way back to you, she'll find her way back. For me, there's an intake and an outtake period. So on an intake period, there's traveling and getting loads of books. I'm really into buying shoes and books. And sometimes, this might
sound strange, but because I am a slow reader, I don't always read the books. I read back to front. And I usually start at the back, end up in the middle and then in the front. I always check the first page out to see if I'm going to buy it, but then I start in the middle and read back. I think the reason is because I'm trying to get, be almost like a filing system and let it all bleed through. So that if you contain it, when the muse does come there are pictures and there are different ways of saying things that I say over and over and I can become repetitive. And whether I try and imprint the pictures have an artist or whatever, just, somewhere, then when it becomes sore of a fertile time it is sort of like a computer screen. I don't know, I still haven't turned my
Alanis: We'll talk.
Tori: But that's how it kind of-
Moderator: So it's like, it's all of the little pieces and things that you sort of take in begin to gel.
Tori: I'm an insect there's a storage thing and then it comes back up again.
Alanis: It happens often enough. A period of time when I was younger where I was in the intake period of time I was worried that the outtake wasn't happening. But once that had happened often enough, where I had
rested for awhile and hadn't written anything and the proverbial dam breaks and you write a lot of music. When that happens often enough the fear goes away and you never really fear that the inspiration is gone forever.
Moderator: This is from DanS. He wants to know if there are any knew and upcoming artists you are into. There's going to be a whole bunch of unknown, for lack of a better word, or little known, artists opening up throughout the Five and a Half Weeks Tour.
Tori: Yeah, but you know what's good? We didn't know it, but we picked the same ones.
Alanis: Did we? I didn't know that.
Tori: We picked the same ones.
Moderator: And you guys picked them.
Alanis: Oh sure we did,
Tori: We did.
Moderator: So these are a number of artists, I guess you could hear some of their stuff at mp3.com, I believe. But did you go through some tapes or-
Alanis: Yeah. And apparently we picked all the same bands.
Tori: [to offstage] Johnny! We picked the same ones right? They told me we did.
Alanis: Wow. Um, to be totally honest, I don't entirely remember right off the top of my head, but I can get back to you on that one.
Moderator: I actually have a list right here. There's a band called Chlorophyll.
Moderator: Greta Gaines.
Moderator: A band called LotusLand, gee, somebody named Ray Lane and another band called Sci Fi Lullaby. Very cool names.
Tori: For me, if I listened back, I'm not great with names-
Moderator: Well, forget those guys, what are you guys listening to?
Tori: No, but, you know what I mean, it's like, usually when I hear something, that's the impression it makes on me. I just think it's exciting that people, that the record industry sometimes is very closed and you know, this is a way that people's passion can get out there. Anyway, I think it's a good thing.
Alanis: I've met a couple of the bands, I've seen a couple of bands that actually aren't even playing with us, but it's exciting to hear how excited artists feel because of there being another option for them. as opposed to the main route that most artists have taken. There's another option for them to share their music and they're very excited about it. And I love hearing new music. And I have been so fortunate to have been supported by a lot of people over the last decade and a half and to be in a position to be able to do that with other people now is pretty amazing.
Moderator: And it's also great to give these young bands a chance to play big rooms like this and it's a skill that's hard to pick up if you don't get the shot.
Alanis: And it's scary! and it's good to talk to them right before they go on when they're afraid and to say that, on a certain level, we are as well!
Moderator: Right. And when they come back afterwards I'm sure they've got something to say about it as well. For some of these people I'm sure it's the first time they've played anything even remotely resembling a big arena. So it's got to be a real big kick, but that's sort of a great thing to be able to share the wealth, so to speak.
Alanis: It's great.
Tori: Share the wealth and the fear.
Alanis: Share all the craziness too. I love it.
Moderator: We talk about the mp3 and somebody here, yunnatinyusic (sp?) we'll be interactive a bit, all the web stuff. You both have terrific websites, alanismorissette.com and tori.com, um, [to tori] last night you did a live rehearsal over the web.
Alanis: How was that?
Tori: I think it was pretty good.
Alanis: That's great.
Tori: Yeah, um, it was the first time I've played in front of people in a while. We needed to do that.
Alanis: Did you do it here?
Tori: No, we did it at an undisclosed location. It's so undisclosed, I don't where it bloody was. But anyway it's black inside and we had a good time. And I love playing with the guys. I haven't played with them in a while. I miss playing with them. We played together on the new album and since, they toodled off, and I know it feels like a slumber party and so we're just getting back in the swing of it.
Moderator: Clearly you guys are interested in the whole sort of new Internet, whatever, the new world, the new world order that has been created by this sort of availability. There's been a lot of promotional things and
it's another way to interact with the fans. [to Alanis] I guess you're going to be doing a show at somebody's house?
Alanis: Yeah. For the next 48 hours.
Moderator: How did that come about?
Alanis: An idea that, I guess MTV and myself came up with to... This contest, that was all very hilarious. Just making the commercial was hilarious to me because I was able to tap into that part of myself and I love breaking things down to their most simple form. And singing in someone's living room with, I don't even think I'll be using a microphone. I may be, but if I do it will be really low amount of it. It will actually be the antithesis of our live show I think. Which is fun, I love doing unplugged stuff. But I think as far as the Internet and what you were just saying, I think it's very exciting. And the more I learned the less fearful I was because when I first heard about it as well, of course, there were issues that came up about protecting artists and their music. And these questions come up, whatever form, the music and how it's being shared, whatever form that takes. So with any new shift and new form of sharing it through this technology there will be concerns. But the more I learned about it, the less afraid I was and the more excited I got.
Moderator: So do you travel with, like, a powerbook or a laptop?
Moderator: Tori, you're avoiding that purchase?
Tori: No, I just...
Alanis: She has one, and we're going to delve into it in the next few weeks!
Tori: No. I married a techie, so I get it through osmosis.
Moderator: AnimeAngel1999 asks, [to tori] you brought up the new album which is called 'to venus and back' it will be out September 21 I believe. And from AnimeAngel1999 'What's up with the new album and what kind of sound is it? Is it more computer driven or stripped down?' So tell us about the album.
Tori: Well, it's not really stripped down. But it's very hard to describe something that isn't like, because it's like I wrote this song, it's very tricky to describe something's that's in the ethers, you know. There's rhythm, for me, when I started thinking about the 'Venus' record, I started thinking about, she was sort of dragging me to the plate, going 'If you're going to sing about the passion, you've got to sing about the other side, which is when someone is sort of severed from their heart.' So the record started to, there are 11 songs on it. And there are some songs that have such faith that you could find somebody again that dies and you are able to, even if they become a baby in another woman's tummy, you know that there's this closeness as close as I am to you, on some other plane. There are also songs that were inspired by things that, where people are completely cut off from their heart. And there are over 200 women who have been raped in Juarez. When I was in the bus near Texas, near the border. It's strange, because I kind of dragged out of my bunk and went to the front and it was dark. And the song really said to me 'You know you have to sing this from the point of view of the desert' Because the desert heard the last breath that the young women took, and the desert heard the breath of the killer. And it became really important when I would just try and hear what I would sing was that there had to be a strange antithesis from 'Me and a Gun'. Because 'Me and a Gun' was very much about the girl's perspective that was going through that in her head. And this was coming from a perspective that saw both sides. Not justifying the act at all. And so as you can see the sounds on the record become characters and for all the songs I was working more with sound effects and the piano and I was playing the Siline and the Waveform, and lot of old keyboards, bringing them in, and it was just the 4 of us who played on it, we didn't bring any string sections. I love doing that, but we just kept it a very small nucleus. You'll hear it.
Moderator: The record sort of came together spontaneously didn't it? It wasn't a planned album. Weren't you putting together a collection of rarities and such?
Tori: It really wasn't planned. I was just going to do 2 or 3 songs. That's how I had the guys booked. So they were coming to play and they showed up and I said, 'You're cutting an album.'
Moderator: And they were happy to do it.
Tori: Yeah, they had to work, we kept running the studio around the clock [to alanis] you know that one. But there's something exciting about that. I love it when it gets dark outside and everybody has gone to bed and you're still creating with these creatures.
Moderator: It's also a live record as the TV said. So it's going to be a live album. I guess this is something people have been looking forward to, probably your fans have been asking for a while. But it's important because it does sum up the tour, which was your first tour with a band. So it's sort of nice to have that sort of souvenir of last year.
Tori: We listened to 120 shows and we had a ranking system and if they made it to the semifinals then they got on the short list. And we finally ended up with a record and it wasn't about songs that people know or don't know. It was about did we play it half decently. [laughs]
Moderator: So you didn't go for the greatest hits sort of thing?
Moderator: The high points?
Moderator: Got a question from thankyouclarity and this is to alanis and suggests that your views on God have changed since 'Jagged Little Pill' and why is this so?
Alanis: I don't know if they changed as much as they became something. Because I had a confusing relationship with god having been born and raised Catholic. Having God portrayed as someone who judges us and is vengeful and upset with us somehow and condemns us. I didn't feel that my relationship with God rang true to that definition. So I let go of everything and explored different religions over the last few years and saw the thread of continuity that permeates all of them. I wanted to define my own version and my own explanation of what God was to me or a higher power or whatever you want to call it. And I see God now as someone or something, it's everything, and is very compassionate and very open and not at all judgmental and therefore having me to take responsibility for my own life and feel like I am in control of it and that I am creating my own reality in my own world. And that I can't blame anyone else for it for what is happening and it also allows me to feel much more connected to other people. So my definition of God is just that God is love, and that is what we, fundamentally, are. I suppose that also means that we are God.
Moderator: You especially this yes, starring as... yeah. [to tori] You grew up with a fairly religious background. You have certainly articulated your thoughts on spiritual matters like this. What's your vibe lately? What's your relationship with God like these days?
Tori: That would take us a long time to talk about. Because the Christian God that I was brought up with...I sort of look... I am fascinated by mythology. And I don't know a lot about it, but different cultures, obviously, have a god. Some have many gods, some have many goddesses. And the Christian God, for me, there is a dark side to Christianity that needs to be claimed. And until this is claimed... And I talk about it, you know, half of them are Mormons, half of them are born-agains, you know, they're all telling me that I am going to the devil. And I'm saying, you know, whatever you need to make you feel like you need to be so defensive. It's something that truly, maybe because my mother's side is partly Cherokee, and this country has really not claimed what they've done in the name of Christianity, in the name of God. And it's something that I know America loves to go play cop, all over the world, you find this when you travel a lot. And there are great things about this amalgamation that is becoming America, with many cultures. But when I am in Germany, for example, [to alanis] I'm sure you found this, I'll be singing a song right, and then they go into the Holocaust like on a Jay Leno or David Letterman over there. Those people are having to hold what happened. This country has Thanksgiving, does the little Disney Pocahontas bullshit, and they don't really think about, you know, there were 500 nations. Every inch of this land belonged to a people. It was genocide. It happened. So, you know, when we sit around the table, and we talk about the Christian God because we are surrounded by a Christian family, we have to think about, in the name of God, the murders, the rapes, the lies. This isn't 'love your neighbor as yourself' kind of behavior. And it's really important that we look at that. So when you ask me my relationship with God, it does depend on what culture you are talking about. Because the Christian God and I have obviously a few things to sort out.
Moderator: Sometimes I think it's more about his representatives as opposed to-
Tori: Yeah, but you have to go back to the mythology. Because if you read the mythology and some of that stuff, it's very hierarchical. It isn't about mutual respect. Whether we go back to the Cimmerian culture, or wherever you want to go you do find that there's a lot of this going on. And we all know that there's even an internal hierarchy. But there's gotta be a place where everybody respects that everybody should have spiritual freedom. Not 'You can have spiritual freedom - but my god's better!' It's like 'My god's bigger than your god.'
Moderator: Don't you think that's sort of changing? I mean, it seems like you know with the younger generations... I mean, this sort of offshoots of the evils of political correctness, it's sort of opened I think a lot
of people to things that the society had told them not to think about. However out of control it might have gotten. People now understand the genocide of the Native Americans for instance.
Tori: No they don't.
Moderator: You don't think so?
Tori: NO. No they don't. No. No they don't.
Moderator: You don't think it's changing though?
Alanis: I think that some people are being encouraged now to question the way things have been traditionally viewed as and seen as. But if you read the newspapers, it's quite obvious that there's still a lot of us that don't question tradition and don't question this selective amnesia that we have. And certain things we've been told to remember and revive and continue to share, and certain things that we've been taught to forget. And at the same time I can also say that I've met so many people that are constantly questioning tradition and creating their own definition of what they believe, not based on what's been done for millions of years before, so I see both.
Tori: I think that there's a lot of, you know, if you want to be honest, and we all want to be fair, there's so much hate music right now. There's a lot of violence. And one thing about America is that the mythology of this land is very ancient. And when the people are disconnected from the land, because when you haven't owned how you got the land. And it's not about money, it's about a place in here [taps her chest] owning. You know, you don't have to walk the Trail of Tears from North Carolina to Oklahoma to own it. That's not what I'm talking about. But I am saying that when you look at all those kids murdering each other. When you look at this strange demon thing that's consuming, you have to remember that this place, this isn't the land of Irish mythology, this isn't that land of French mythology, Viking mythology, This has its own mythology. And when we go there, when I go to Taiwan, that holds a different mythology and you respect it when you go there. And this is just something that some people are opening up to. Others don't wanna know, just go buy another gun. And we have to hold it all.
Moderator: It seems like the young people that grew up in this sort of politically correctness period, that they are sort of changing. That hopefully they are hearing. They're seeing the news. They're seeing that in the next few years as they come of age, that hopefully the culture's attitude will change towards certain things.
Alanis: I think there has been an opening and an evolution of consciousness, absolutely. But also, I think that fear is also as prevalent as it once was. And its manifestations are as obvious as ever. And that enters us into the whole realm of relativity, which I think is what living on this Earth is all about. It's all about relativity and us knowing the manifestations of love, because in contrast we can see manifestations of fear. So I think that the more we remember what fear feels like and what falsehood feels like and the more that we feel and remember what love in its manifestations feels like that we don't have to consistently keep going back. And be in contrast with certain things in order to remember who we innately are, as I see it.
Tori: Political correctness happens when a word like 'black' becomes a pejorative. So when we go back to the hierarchy, right. And if you get into these words where you are being hateful and not honoring somebody
else's beingness then political correctness happens because you are a slimebucket and you need it. But if you can really respect different people and you're not walking around thinking of people in those terms. It's like, you know, I said the other day, 'I don't think of my bloody piano as these are the African American keys and these are the European Settled keys and this is just whacked to me. Because black is beautiful. White is yummy and there are thousands of amalgamations in between. But political correctness had to happen because there were people who truly hated somebody for this. For me, sometimes I'm just like, oh my god, I can't say, 'Well, what was he like?' 'Well, he was tall,' 'Um, well, what were his eyes?' 'Well I can't say he had' It's like, Jesus Christ! Do you see what I'm saying, it's getting nuts!
Moderator: It's what began as an opening of things and sort of teaching people about respect has become very close minded because-
Tori: We're scared.
Moderator: Right, people are scared.
Tori: We go back to scared.
Moderator: Do you think any of this ties into a sort of pre-millennial thing? I hate to say it, but all of sudden it really seems like there is a connection. I mean I thought it was hooey for the last couple of years, but it seems like this year it does feel like there's a certain bad vibe among people leading towards this big millennium.
Alanis: I think that the one thing that I have felt as we head towards the new millennium, is that there is a pressure to be conscious and a pressure to actually assess where we're at. and perhaps it wasn't happening in 1998 or even 1986 or whatever other year that may not have been as close to the year 2000. So I think the fear and some of the anxiety and I can only speak for myself, obviously, is that there's a stepping back of sorts that's happening and an assessment that's being made of our society and of our Earth and of our environment. And if we look at where things are at their present state, I think it's obvious why the anxiety is there. And I think that a lot of people are looking for answers and a lot of people are judging and blaming everyone else and I feel like the anxiety might go away if we look at, if I look at who I am and look at what I can change and look at what I can do the anxiety goes away. Because that's really, the whole concept of 'Think Globally and Act Locally' to me is what I keep coming back to. Because for one person single-handedly to feel like they can change something that is happening across the world or something that is happening that millions of other people are doing, it may not be able to happen overnight. But if we all, I feel like, again, when I say we all I
almost want to take it back because all I can really do is take responsibility for myself, but when I look at myself my whole world changes. And when I'm driven by fear and when I point the finger and say somebody else is doing something and I judge them I become part of the unconsciousness that is resulting in what we read in the newspapers. I become a part of it. And as soon as I stop pointing the finger, and looking at the way I live my life and how I resolve my own conflicts or don't resolve them or how my fear manifests itself I feel
like my attitude towards the world and life in general and other people drastically changes. So I feel like a lot of times there is so much focus put on outside of ourselves in a lot of communities and certain charities that I've taken part in a lot of the focus is outward and I feel the frustration that comes along with that focus and the peace that can come from looking at our own issues and looking at how we can change to share more love, first and foremost, towards ourselves, and then I see this organically being given to other people once we give it to ourselves. And that's what I look at when I see all, when I read about guns and murder and famine and all of these things I look at ourselves and I see that that is manifested because we don't have compassion for ourselves and we don't really know how amazing we are.
Tori: I'll tell you what flipped me out. I was reading this thing, right around the eclipse, and these genius scientists, okay, I'm sure you all know this, or know more about it, but they crashed this rocket into the moon to try and find water. Now why don't they leave her alone? I mean, these guys, right, what I want to say to them is, you need to know, obviously, the moon decides the tides, it decides womens' periods. I mean, are you nuts? If you crash into the moon we're all gonna come after you with a, like a fucking pick! It just drives me crazy sometimes how, in the name of science and in the name of things, we're screwing up this place, yet we think that we deserve to go out there and do it to more? I mean the moon for god's sake! When you hear this kind of thing as we get closer to the millennium and how we're gonna look at it, we have to be held accountable.
Moderator: We don't think about the repercussions.
Tori: No, we don't.
Moderator: We are down to the final three questions of the evening. And the first one comes from dolcestamore (sp?) and this is 'Do the negative aspects of fame ever make your question your decision to do what you do? To become a performer? And what are those negative aspects of fame?
Tori: Having a soap box! And being able to say whatever you want in front of thousands of people [laughing]!
Moderator: That sounds like a positive to me!
Tori: Sometimes, sometimes it is, sometimes. You know, I can feel people's eyes rolling. But there you go.
Alanis: I think fame at first was overwhelming and scary and something I was always curious about when I was younger. And then once I was dealing with the concept of it I was overwhelmed and I needed to rest. And I think fame is amazing. I think it's a beautiful opportunity. And if I rest while I'm in the midst of it, in the hurricane of it, if I can step out of it then I feel like I'm actually being of value by being in the public eye. But if I'm not resting and it's literally sometimes it comes down to something as menial as time management. If I'm not managing my time well enough while I'm in the public eye I feel like I'm not being of much service. So you have to kind of retreat and rest for a while.
Moderator: Final question number 2 comes from schmazda who, it would strike me as being a negative affects, do you like being seen as 'women in rock'? Go for it.
Tori: I (?) on the left.
Moderator: Moving onto question number three then.
Alanis: Wait, wait! No, I think we're humans in rock. And I think, of course, we're women in rock and there are men in rock. I think it's natural that the pendulum is going to swing after having so many years of the musical industry being immersed in the patriarchy that it once was, and not just the music industry, obviously. The pendulum has swung and ultimately my favorite place is when the pendulum just kind of dangles in the middle somewhere and we're seen as humans. It really doesn't matter what our gender is, it matters about the art. Like I love Tori's music because I love her expression. And I don't even think about what gender she is when I am being touched by her music.
Tori: I don't think about your gender. I mean, it's not... I think because we're women there are certain things that, you not, that you just talk about. But it's not about... I think of you as a musician.
Moderator: That's how it should be and it just seems like every couple of years they call it 'the year of the woman in rock.'
Tori: Oh yeah.
Alanis: It's understandable. You know, but it's interesting.
Moderator: I think we're wasting time with it. I think it's finally done so that now everybody can be a rocker, everybody.
Moderator: The final question of the evening from you folks out there. What do you hope to gain from this tour? What do you hope to get from each other? What do you expect to take with you at the end?
Alanis: I don't expect to take anything. I don't expect anything from this, really. I already know that I will be enjoying it immensely. And that I will be touched every night because [to tori] when you perform I am so touched. And I don't even need to have that, I already know that I'm going to have it. And I expect nothing from you.
Tori: For me, I think to be able to be a part of something where there's passion and deliciousness and booty and sensuality and that to me is so much more exciting than a place where there's violence and punching people and there is a, I don't know, an orgasm when it's about passion and not about any kind of abuse crap. So I'm really looking forward to that sensual thing.
Moderator: That will be five and a half weeks of deliciousness.
Tori: Well, yeah.
Alanis: Etcetera, etcetera.
Moderator: And more! That's great. This has been wonderful. Thank you both so very much.
Tori: Thank you.
Alanis: Thank you.
Moderator: Throw out a few plugs here, the tour starts tomorrow night here in Ft. Lauderdale at the National Car Rental Center, and then travels, obviously, for about five and half weeks. Winding up in Laguna Hills in September in California.
Moderator: [to tori] And after that you're going to take a couple of weeks and do some solo shows .
Tori: Couple of weeks.
Moderator: Let's see, you've got the new album, 'to venus and back' it will be out September 21st. You've got all kinds of stuff. Alanis' 'Bringing it Home' cybercast from somebody's house will be on Sonic Net on mtv.com on Thursday, August 26th at 8:00 ET. And there you go. I'd like to thank mp3.com for bringing this to you tonight. Also like to thank
mtv.com, Sonic Net, Atlantic Records, Maverick and all of you folks
writing in with your wonderful questions.
Alanis: Yes, thank you.
Moderator: Thank you.
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the World of Tori Amos