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Just Passin' Through (US, radio)
WHFS, Baltimore/D.C. (99.1 FM)
August 25, 1999
Tori Amos interview and live performance
songs: Lust, Concertina, Jackie's Strength, 1000 Oceans
Bob Waugh: 99-1 HFS. I'm Bob Waugh. Good evening and welcome to another edition of Just Passin Thru. We are at Omega Studios in Rockville, Maryland. And very pleased, very happy to have our dear friend back once again. Would you please welcome Tori Amos.
[much applause and cheering]
Bob: Belated happy birthday first of all.
Tori Amos: OK.
Bob: Was it a good one? Tori's birthday was Sunday.
Tori: Well, I stayed up with the rhythm section all night. They helped me to become 36, cuz now I'm closer to 40 than 30. So, um, the human loop, Matt Chamberlain and John Evans the bass player. Always the groove guys; they'll stay up with you. So we were up til 7:30 in the morning. And, uh, it was painful the next day. But my husband threw me in the steam. [snort] He said, 'Go. Thou shalt go to a steam; for two hours.'
Bob: Thank God for Mark. Many margaritas consumed?
Tori: Oh, no no. Uh, a really wonderful Montrache[sp?] [Mon-tra-shay]. Many Montraches. [laughs]. 1990.
Bob: How's your summer been; in general? I know obviously you've been working on, on the record and now you're out on this tour with Alanis.
Tori: Well, I had a really great weekend with my girlfriends in the Tropics. And that was all going really well. And I was like dabbling at some songs thinking I was gonna do the live album and the b-side record; I wasn't gonna tour. I was just gonna put out a little something for Christmas of 99. You know, just, not much work. Well, all of a sudden, um, things started to shift and I ended up in England playing all these songs to Mark and Marcel. [Mark Hawley, Tori's husband and sound engineer, and Marcel van Limbeek, sound engineer] And they looked at me and said, 'You can't really put these with the b-sides because they live in a, in a shape by themselves. And they said, 'You're gonna be making a random record. You can't really do that.' Theoretically, it won't work. So, I had no idea I was doing a double record. The band was booked. They were coming to record three songs and I said, 'You're gonna do thirteen. [laugh] Only eleven made the record. But, um, they were busy.
Bob: We should explain to people the new album is gonna to be a double album. It's called To Venus and Back. It's gonna be in stores on September 21. One half of it live material and one half all new material if they divide albums into sides these days.
Tori: Yeah, there's definitely two disks. And one is - they're both disks of the planet Venus. And one is Venus Live (Still Orbiting) and the other is Venus Orbiting and that's the studio record.
Bob: OK, So, How do you feel about the live material? Because anybody who's been to a Tori Amos show knows that the Tori experience is the live experience and - Is this material that is with the band for the most part? Or does some of it -
Tori: It's like the shows last time. So, it's pretty much how a show would run with this thing called Secret Time in the middle. We just call it that because it's shorter to do that than When Tori Plays By Herself. [laughs] So, um, we compiled out of 120 shows. We had like the NBA playoffs going on. So, everything had a ranking system; one being the worst, four being the best. I think that's a Dutch thing, Marcel. I have no idea why four is the best and one is the worst. But, in our records, one was not good. So, by the end of it, we had um, fifteen songs that had made the semi-finals. And then we had to cut em down.
Bob: So, it's kinda like March Madness.
Tori: [little laugh] Yes.
Bob: Um, how is this dynamic between you and Alanis Morrisette? It's really the first time you've gone out on a co-headlining kinda tour. Correct?
Tori: Yeah, first time.
Tori: We get on really well. Really really well. I know - I have really good manners when I meet my contemporaries. But some of them, you just wanna sit down with. Why?? I don't know. And she's one of those people that you just feel like- this is somebody I've known for a long long time and I have no idea where.
Bob: Well, let's take it the other way. And you don't have to name names. But how often have you been in a situation where you're meeting your contemporaries and you're walking away just thinking, 'What an asshole.' [laughs]
Tori: Well, you know sometimes I think I do get into trouble because- I mean Maynard and I get on very well; from Tool. And I think, we have a good gossip. He loves a good dish, you know. So, it's nice to sometimes have somebody that, you know, you can say, 'God, when this happened--' and he's like 'You are tellin me--' And it's kinda nice. Because it's-
Bob: A shared experience.
Tori: Shared experience and- I don't like to be tacky, but there are times when you meet people and go, 'God, you have a great press agent. Cuz you are NOT like your press.' [laughs] But I just say see ya and move on. I don't hang at the parties. I don't go - I find most of my friends aren't, um, in the spotlight, but they're fascinating people. I'm just drawn to - to a good party. But content, not glitz, you know.
Bob: There was an interview I read and I don't remember where it was now, but it seems like you had a great rapport with Dave Matthews.
Tori: Yes. [audience giggling, Tori sighs] I'm on his bus now. And my problem is, every time- he looks at me and goes, 'Hi, Tori. I am potty.' And I just- I have such a hard time. He's such a potty mouth. That's all he did for four hours. But he knows it drives me nuts. So we got on. We shared French fries. But I'm on his bus. So every time I pass that part of the bus all I can think- he's standing there going [in a cute voice] 'Hi, Tori. I'm a potty mouth.' [laughter] Drives me nuts. Ehh!
Bob: Tori Amos is our guest tonight on Just Passin Thru at 99-1 WHFS. I'm Bob Waugh. And I had an experience this summer like a lot of people around the world, Tori, where I woke up on a Saturday morning, went down, turned on the TV to learn about JFK, Jr's flight going down. And the first thought I had, honestly, was, 'Wow! Next time I talk to Tori I gotta ask her about this.' Because I- I just immediately thought about Jackie's Strength and the story about how your mom laid you down on the blanket and the inspiration for that song. Now, were you in England when-
Bob: -that happened? So, couple of questions. How did you find out? Did your mom call you? Or-
Tori: No. Uh-
Bob: -and secondly, what was the reaction like from the British perspective?
Tori: Well... OK, here we go. See, the thing is, I found out from Natalie, who works with us. Her father had called; west coast time. And he'd been staying up all night. They're eight hours behind. So, he had heard it really early on cuz he stays up. He's like an insomniac. So he called and let us know. And we started to turn on, um, European CNN. And there was coverage before a lot of America had woken up yet. And I actually called my mother and told her; woke her up. And, um, she was in absolute shock; my mother. Because, in Georgetown when my father was Methodist minister of Dumbarton, they lived on O Street, I think, next to one of the Kennedy sisters. So I think there's a strange tie that people have with them. Um, metaphorically, emotionally. And my mother wept on the phone and it was just that- she reminded me in 1963, when she put me down because she couldn't, you know, her heart had stopped.
Bob: Well this would seem like a pretty good place to segue into-
Tori: Yeah, time for me to do my stuff.
Bob: Tori Amos on Just Passin Thru tonight. 99-1 HFS.
[Tori plays Jackie's Strength]
Bob: 99-1 HFS. Tori Amos on Just Passin Thru. Do you envision coming back to live here. I mean now that you're an ole married gal and you really have, um, I guess even more reason to keep your residence in England. Uh, What do you say, Tori, you ever think about maybe coming back and living in the States again?
Tori: [in a deep voice] No. [laughter] No, the thing is, right, like playing Merriweather tonight. It's- I'm a bit excited and nervous because I used to go and make out on the lawn. We could afford the lawn seats. And uh, it'd be raining; like tonight. I'd get wet, like, people are going to get wet tonight; probably. And it's just one of those weird, um, it's not so far from being thirteen. I mean, I'm thirty-six, but those memories of getting ready to go to the concert. It's strange now going. I'm going in a different entrance tonight.
Tori: And that's just- But you don't forget. You don't forget. I had Kissing Potion (Wild Cherry) in my pocket, hoping things would go well for me; all that kind of stuff. The performance was this big. I was like, 'They're ants up there.' And they always ignored us up on the lawn. So-
Bob: I bet you won't forget the lawn people tonight.
Tori: Not tonight.
Bob: What shows do you remember seeing at Merriweather growing up?
Tori: James Taylor, strangely enough, but yeah. I wanted to go see Zeppelin of course years before. But my father was a bit, really ruthless on that one.
Tori: Cuz I was gonna go find Robert and ask him to marry me. I was ten.
Bob: I'm sure he would have-
Tori: He would've gone for it.
Bob: That would have panned out. Sure.
Tori: I'm a bit too old for him now. Anyway. What should I do? What are you set up for, Marcel? OK. Doing Lust. That's what we're doing.
[Tori plays Lust]
Bob: We're live at Omega Studios in Rockville. You're listening to Just Passin Thru on HFS with Tori Amos. And that's called Lust from the new album that'll be out September 21. Tori, have you noticed on this tour with Alanis any sense of some fans that maybe are there that aren't your audience. Or in other words, I think there might be a perception among most people that there isn't a great degree of difference between a Tori Amos fan and an Alanis Morrisette fan. Uh, have you noticed that there actually are separate camps at all?
Tori: Well, I think you get a sense of, um- [?] there are a lot of people and you hope they're coming for an event; that they're seeing it as: this is a few hours of two people really, um- Two pirate ships. Coming into a cove for a party. That's how you hope they see it. And you know, you're gonna toodle onto one ship because you're more comfortable with that first. But you know that they're serving good hors d'oeurvres on the other ship so you'll go cruise. [laughter]
Bob: So you might go check that out, too.
Tori: You might go check that out. Plus, our bands are really, um, bootied out. [laughter] So, you know, they're very, on both sides, they're strong musicians. I think if you just like watching players-
Bob: OK, that's what you meant by bootied out.
Tori: Uh, yeah. [laughter]
Bob: I got it. OK. I was going somewhere completely different. Tori Amos on Just Passin Thru at HFS. You wanna do another song from the new album.
Tori: OK, I'll do this thing. This is, um, again, these are the only times you'll hear 'em at the piano because, um, well the band never lets me play them alone anyway cuz they like their part. OK, this is Concertina.
[Tori plays Concertina]
Bob: That was really beautiful. Constantina?
Tori: It's like a squeezebox.
Bob: Tori Amos. And her new album will be out September 21; Venus and Back. Tori, you are one of the hardest working artists I have had the pleasure of knowing over the lastů whatever, eight years. Um, and it always amazes me that you make time, even at this point in your career, to do things like you're doing today.
Tori: Well... this, this is going to the woodshed, ya know. Like as a carpenter, I think. When you play this close to people, the lights can shield you in a strange way, even though there are a lot of people and there's a strange, um, uh... almost detachment even though you're trying to be close. When you're in a small room with people, there's no, um, good lighting, sweetie. [laughter] You know, you're very close. So I think you feel more vulnerable and you constantly have to put yourself there as a writer. I think a lot of songwriters forget. You're not gonna get a lot of material backstage at the Grammies. Trust me. [laughter]
Bob: So, this kind of thing keeps you grounded to a degree?
Tori: Very grounded, yeah.
Bob: So is that what you're saying, yeah. Do you get to do this kind of thing in Europe or is it mostly in the States where there are radio stations and TV talk shows and there's just so much media, um, after you all the time?
Tori: Well, Europe is a bit of a whole 'nother thing. Um, you're playing places like um, where Hitler gave one of his last speeches. [laughter] It's pretty trippy.
Bob: Different vibe.
Tori: It's a different vibe, yeah. It's - the States are pretty casual. And I think, um, the language barrier in Europe is, uh, always tricky because Crucify was always[neat euro voice], 'Tori, sacrifice me!' They thought I was singing 'sacrifice me.' I said, 'No-no-no-no-no no, I'm not talking about sacrificing me. But I would get in the car with a driver[euro voices]: 'I lovezhat song. Sacrifice me!' [laughter] No no.
Bob: Something's.. [laughter] Are you saying something is lost in the translation?
Bob: Could you do one more song for us, do you think?
Tori: Yeah, I'll do the one you asked me to do. 'Kay?
Bob: Yeah, OK.
Tori: It's Tori Amos on Just Passin Thru on HFS.
[Tori plays 1000 Oceans]
[transcribed by Reverend Doctor Alan Salisbury
Minister of Music; Ambassador Universal Life Church]
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