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Music Planet 2Nite (France, TV)
ARTE TV, France/Germany
October 2, 2002
broadcast November 26, 2002
Tori Amos interview and live performance
[Tori plays Scarlet's Walk]
Ray Cokes: Hello Tori.
Tori Amos: Hello Ray.
Ray: Welcome to Paris.
Tori: I love it.
Ray: How happy are you ? Your eyes are sparkling. You look pretty happy to me.
Tori: Well I haven't done a show quite like this, that I can recall, where it's so intimate and you can play your music and with that it always takes me back to the days when I played piano bar and people would stand around the piano and, you know, you'd pass the mike and they would sing songs with you, that sorts of things.
Ray: I read some articles on your website, said something like you borrowed someone else's shoes for your last album and this time you're in your own boots. Cause you were singing other people's songs called some Strange Little Girls. And you were touring at the time of September 11th. And so you wrote this on the road, this new LP.
Tori: I wrote this on the road in a time when America was clearly going through an upheaval, and as we all know America's at a crossroads right now and yes, I was out there at a time when I say the masks were down and people were asking questions that I thought needed to be asked, and some people were pushing these questions away because they didn't want to hear them, so these characters are based on real people and real events, but it starts with Scarlet, my character, who goes to LA to see her friend, Amber Waves, who's in trouble. Now maybe America is personified in Amber Waves, she's a porn star, a fading porn star, so I go out to be with her and the journey begins there, and I meet people and they make me see America as a soul, Native Americans, other people, that makes me question the people who are pimping her out.
Ray: So you said that Scarlet was your character. How much of this is you then, are you inspired by Scarlet, are you in fact Scarlet doing the walking ?
Tori: Well, I guess, you know, at a certain point, my feelings go into her, and I think her feelings now are coming back into me. I mean Husband looked at me lately and said, "Where is that coming from?" and I went, "Oh Dear." Right now it's sort of all kind of getting fuzzy, I'm not sure anymore, the songs are coming alive, as we talked about the body map, they're finding their imprint, not just on Scarlet anymore but because I'm singing them all the time it's like they've taken over, and so I'm having to, sort of, feel what she's feeling, and I don't know if I can escape her but I don't know if I want to.
[Tori plays Pancake and A Sorta Fairytale]
Ray Cokes, from the audience: Hey Tori Darling how are you ?
Tori: I'm very well Ray, very good, yes.
Ray: Tell us about Crazy
Tori: Crazy, he makes a lot of sense to me and to Scarlet in the middle of our journey, after the guy that was supposed to be our soulmate wasn't really. So Crazy comes along and makes a lot of sense at the time.
Ray: Let's meet Crazy and let's make some sense of it all.
[Tori plays Crazy]
Ray: What is it about you and your piano ? I remember seeing you many many times. I think everyone who's seen you today has been mesmerized. You and your piano. What is your piano to you ?
Tori: For me, I have a relationship with these pianos, they're alive, they have, you know, high heels and all sorts going on with them and they talk, I'm never lonely, these pianos are my friends, sometimes I crawl under them and go to sleep, they protect.
Ray: Far be it for me to project anything onto your performance but when I've seen you sitting at the piano, you're extremely sensual, is that a fair comment you think ?
Tori: I think that there's a rhythm, and rhythm is also written on your body, the music is written tattooed on the body, so the piano is, everything about her is resonating and it's, you know, I'm trying to think of words that aren't gonna get me in hot water, she doesn't throb but she, you know, she moves and she surrenders and she seduces me and I can't say no to her.
Ray: So that's what we're seeing then ?
Ray: Maybe. She's my love.
[Cunnie Williams sings 2 songs]
Ray: Tori we have a new guest joining us. The man on your left, the big man on your left, is Cunnie Williams. Hi Cunnie welcome to Paris.
Cunnie Williams: (with a deep kind-of-Barry-White's voice) Hello, thank you for having me here.
Ray: Can you say this again ?
Cunnie: Hello and thank you for having me here.
Ray: (with a Cunnie Williams' mimic) Hey coming soon to the screen near you. Now Tori I know that you've been secretly listening to the album, haven't you ?
Tori: Oh yes, the girls have been dancing upstairs, we couldn't get anything done out there, they were moving and shaking to your music and loving it, it's beautiful.
Cunnie: Wow that's a compliment thank you.
Ray: What did you feel ? Cause you're a feeling woman
Tori: Well I was sitting there watching these girls dance and I was just kind of moving to my own thing, it's very hot up there you know.
Ray: Now seriously, one serious question, we don't have to talk about it if you don't want to, but I spoke to Tori earlier on about, she wrote her new album on the road, just after the September 11th that happened, and on your album there's a song written about the time, War Song, could you talk about that and how important it was for you as an artist to get something out of that ?
Cunnie: Well I've written a song some years ago because I'm against anything that has to do with any people dying, anything being destroyed for material gain of any (.) so I wrote the lyrics some years ago, and, you know, I never knew when I would use it or put it on an album, then after the September 11th it seemed appropriate. So right after the September 11th situation happened, we got into the studio and started recording.
Ray: Pretty much the same happened to you, an emotional reaction and you just wrote, without thinking too much ?
Tori: Well I think, like we were talking before, because America hadn't been attacked on the main land before, in that way, if you speak to the native Americans they see it a bit differently, but it did, sort of, I would say, rip masks off and skin off and I felt people were feeling things, seeing America as a being, not as an object, so people were having a relationship with her, French people have a relationship with France, France is their mother, their lover, many things, some Americans haven't always looked at her as their mother or spiritual force or lover, and I think this made people, (to Cunnie Williams :) what do you think, start to feel her in a certain way.
[Cunnie Williams interview]
[Cunnie Williams sings]
Ray: Also on the album there's a lot of references to the American Indians, that's something that's very close to your heart, and I think your grandmother was pure blood Cherokee, was she ?
Tori: Well, my grand father's grand mother and my grand mother's grand father were both.
Ray: There's a whole underground of American Indians in the states as in Europe we know nothing about, and we still got the old image of, you know, of the old cowboy westerns. What were you wanting to say about the American Indians ?
Tori: If you're going to find out about America's soul, or France, people speak about her, she, this creature, who she is, and it's not just about who's, you know, the silly leader at the time, that's not who she is, her soul, and so, similar to this gal, America, you must go to the native Americans, their mythology and their stories, and the saddest thing is we in America , in schools we're not taught what really happened, we're not taught that there were these 500 nations that were very cultivated and had a deep spirituality, we're not taught that, and that there were many broken agreements, and that our government made sure at a certain point that they were not integrated, their language, their stories, their songs, into our life, so we are very segregated from the people that are the caretakers of this land, and Scarlet goes to them, as she travels, to really sort of understand about this greed, this greed that seems to be part of the genetic modern American structure, and it goes back a long way, because America was made on, yes, people leaving Europe from prosecution, and then what did they do, in many cases, they prosecuted, and so broken agreements happened with all these nations, and this is really part of the core of who we are and our record. And native Americans came to see me on the tour and this one woman said to me : "the white brother came, and he took the land. Now he needs to come and take more". And I was very humbled by that, very moved by this old woman, older woman who had this gift to give.
[Tori plays Mrs Jesus, Virginia and Strange]
[transcribed by Sylvain Cavailles]
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the World of Tori Amos