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New York gay nightlife magazine
October 18, 2002

Tori Amos

Eight-time Grammy nominee Amos first came to our attention while tinkling the ivories with her merry band of travelers during the Clinton era of slovenly '90s Generation X-ers. No slacker herself ("I believe in being rewarded for hard work- but not to the point of greed."), Amos gave us her multi-platinum breakthrough album Little Earthquakes in 1992, followed by 1994's Under the Pink, as well as the platinum successes Boys for Pele and Songs From the Choirgirl Hotel. Blending boisterious blues piano with dreamy soundscapes and rock 'n' roll riffs (including the occasionally Beatlesque rhythm section), Amos' crystaline sonic aura and poetic observations of life in America are no less on the ball on her new CD, Scarlets Walk, a musical account of an American road trip embarked upon by pulpy fictional ex-porn-star Scarlet and friends.

Written before the September 11th attacks on America and committed to tape at Amos' longtime creative haunt/recording studio in Cornwall, England, Scarlet's Walk and its journey across this great counrty of ours has taken on a whole new significance in the wake of America's recent bouts with terrorism and its subsequent wake-up call about foreign policy. Curled up on a sofa recently at Midtown's W Tuscany hotel, Amos endeavored to reconcile her love for the classic American spirit with her concerns about the global ambitions by which our nation is currently consumed.

"I'm not some kind of blanket pacifist," Amos insists, "Because I have a two-and-a-half year old daughter. And if someone comes into the playground and comes after my child and harms my child, I'm gonna go after them. The mother in me is going to go after them, and I have no problem with that. That's what we're talking about when we look at the World Trade Center and Washington attacks. But if I used that attack on my child as an excuse to go after every other mom and everyone else on the playground who I didn't like or who I have a problem with, what kind of mother would I be?"

"I spend time with people all over this country when I'm on the road," Amos continues, "and what bothers me is that the world won't get to hang out with these wonderful people I meet in Arizona or New York - instead, they'll just keep viewing the United States as this bully on the playground. And I think it's our job as Americans and world citizens to always look at what our leaders are doing and where our leaders are leading us. Ask youself, who benefits from their actions? I'm afraid we're becoming a nation of great people who are being defined by the actions of their leaders."

While Amos continues to tout the thrill she still gets from touring with her piano and loyal band (which includes longtime collaborators Jon Evans on bass quitar and Matt Chamberlain - of David Bowie fame - on drums), she claims that the good-old days of living out of a suitcase will come to end once her toddler reaches school age. "Right now, she's still young enough to come with us," says Amos' whose travels will bring her to New York next month. "But pretty soon, she'll be old enough to start school or pre-school, and then it won't be good to have her bouncing from place to place. So the pace will have to slow down for me somehow."

Amos insists that even though her morning will soon be spent packing lunches and checking homework, her spirit will never be far from the road- or from her love affair with the piano. "I can look at the piano in a physical sense - an instrument I play - or in the greater sense, as a being that loves me and nurtures me. The piano doesn't punish me or fight with me," Amos giggles. "Like Scarlet, the piano is more than a person or a thing. Scarlet could be the land, or she may be a person, or a trail of blood. But the piano is a never-ending source of ecstasy."


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