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Blender (US)
February/March 2002

Tori Amos

"I'm not warm and fuzzy"

Tori Amos fought her record company tooth-and-nail to make Under the Pink...


Just one woman, her inner demons and a unique way of sitting astride the piano stool: it all seemed so naive, but Amos's double-platinum second album was powerful magic: love songs with hidden teeth and sexy confessions whispered across her pillow. Jerry Springer was never this dark.

BLENDER: WHERE ARE YOU RIGHT NOW?

Tori: I'm in Brussels, Belgium, and it's pouring rain.

WELL, IT'S GOOD FOR THE SPROUTS.

Yes, and there's a chocolate shop next door. [Momentarily distracted] Jerome, we're not taking those nuts. We can give those two back. Sorry, Jerome's doing inventory.

YOU RECORDED UNDER THE PINK AT A HACIENDA IN NEW MEXICO. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?

I was just feeling something in the Southwest. [Engineer/producer] Eric Rosse found a hacienda there, and it just seemed right to be away from any kind of music center.

WERE THE SONGS ALREADY WRITTEN AT THAT POINT?

I had "Pretty Good Year" with me. I had "Sugar" which was a B-side that I thought I was going to re-record and put on the album. But enough material came that I didn't have to do that. I wrote almost everything while I was there. There were certain songs, though, that were supposed to be on the record that got kicked off. "Honey" was supposed to be on the record and, in retrospect, I wish it had been. I kicked it off for "The Wrong Band." Under the Pink wept when "Honey" wasn't on, and she still is angry with me about it.

YOU CAN ALWAYS ADD IT WHEN YOU DO THE EXPANDED REISSUE.

That's a very good idea. The other thing about Under the Pink is that Atlantic wanted to leverage me out in the middle of the project so Eric and I wouldn't be in control of it. I threatened to burn the tapes.

NOT JUST ERASE THEM?

No. Burn them.

JEEZ. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

That they were going to take the tapes and give them to a hotshot producer. We won't talk about names. I told them, "Look, I'm the mother of this, and you won't be able to get to the cubs but through me." I'm not warm and fuzzy. That's why labels have such a difficult time with me.

DID THIS UPSET THE ATMOSPHERE OF THE SESSIONS?

No, the atmosphere was great. We were in Taos, away from everyone. If anybody from the busines side came by, they were walking into our lair. Not the opposite.

HOW DID YOU KNOW IT WAS DONE?

At one point, engineer Paul McKenna said to me, "You know, Tori, this record's missing something." I said "Oh, Ok." And within 48 hours, I had this horrible argument with a waitress.

YOU'RE KIDDING.

No, I'm not. She was the devil. She was Satan. She was a meanie. She became the embodiment of a few women in my life that I was having it out with, and "The Waitress" got written. And Paul said, "The record's complete."


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