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Best (France)
October 1999

THE MAN IN THE SHADOW

The distorted guitar in "Precious Things," the acoustic guitar in "Cornflake Girl," or the atmospheric guitar in "Spark" are all the work of Steve Caton. This 42-year-old guitarist has been writing, recording, and playing live with Tori Amos since her first group, Y KANT TORI READ. Born in California and influenced by Brian Eno, David Bowie and ROXY MUSIC, he brings so many different sounds to his musique that he calls his style... "non-guitaristic."

AN INTERVIEW WITH STEVE CATON (guitarist)

How did you and Tori begin working together?

Steve Caton: It was 14 years ago. I was a friend of Matt Sorum (later THE CULT, GUNS N' ROSES). We had known each other for a long time. He met Tori and played with her in a piano bar, I think. They started rehearsing and were looking for a guitarist. Matt called me and we ended up founding this club group. I already had some of my own work and Tori helped out by tightening up the choruses. We were in each other's groups for a long time. Tori's was called Y KANT TORI READ. There's been some confusion BECAUSE that was also the name of her first album. Moreover, the album wasn't even entirely recorded by us. There was a lot of production -- some thirty musicians. It was very different from what we had conceived in the clubs.

What has been your biggest contribution to Tori?

Steve Caton: We've been playing together for so long that she knows exactly what I'm doing and vice versa. I would say that she leaves me 99% free to play how I want. There are so many parts where the guitars don't sound like guitars. Some people tell me: "I listened to this album you play on, but I never heard you!" And I tell them that I do appear on it, but that what I do is "non-guitaristic."

Are you ever frustrated by being in a group whose dominant instrument is the piano?

Steve Caton: No, I really love what I do with Tori. I'm no amateur caught up in a frenzy of technique, nor am I the type that goes for an avalanche of notes. I'm interested in the texture of sounds.

Are you OK with the fact that people only talk about her?

Steve Caton: That's typical of pop. It's like the quarterback of a football team. Without the work of the others, he can't do anything. Of course, it's always him who gets the honors. But when he takes a stand, it's also he who takes responsibility for whatever's coming.

What are your other projects?

Steve Caton: I have Binge, a group with Matt, when he isn't with busy with THE CULT or when I'm free with respect to Tori. I'm the singer and principal writer. It's a serious project that takes up all our free time. We have a CD. Some songs are a bit dance influenced. We've been compared to a lot of groups, but I haven't really liked any of these comparisons. There's a tendency toward DEPECHE MODE and NINE INCH NAILS, but certain pieces are twelve years old and NIN didn't exist then. Certain sounds might remind you of Tori's albums. As for being a writer, I've had a contract with a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures for years. I write songs for films and TV shows.

[translated by Stuart LaRosa]


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