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San Antonio Express-News (US)
April 25, 2003

Amos' latest 'Walk' more of a meander

By Jim Beal Jr.
San Antonio Express-News

Tori Amos' latest album is called "Scarlet's Walk." But a conversation with Amos jumps, slides, leaps and does everything but walk.

"First of all, I kind of look at songwriting more as storytelling," Amos said from an Albuquerque tour stop. "Joseph Campbell is someone I studied. He was a mythologist. I look at archetypes. But you need to look at your work and know what you're doing or you can get into trouble. That doesn't mean the work is going to be warm and fuzzy or necessarily have a happy ending.

"I'm a pretty disciplined character. I research a lot. If I'm going to write about someone drawn to the dark side, I need to know what they'll face in the underworld. I like creating bloodlines and word associations."


Tonight Amos will be doing her creating and her associating during a concert at the Majestic Theater. Rhett Miller, doing his solo thing away from Old 97's, will open.

Amos and her piano and vocals will be accompanied by Matt Chamberlain (drums) and Jon Evans (bass).

"Scarlet's Walk" is the chronicle of one woman's journey.

"She didn't mean to take the road trip; she just did," Amos said. "She's questioning what she believes. She was not taught in school about what she's finding out. She's developing her relationship with America."

Amos' songs can be interpreted in different ways.

"You've got to let people have their own experience with the work," she said. "You have to let people take a magic carpet ride. There's a lot going on."

Those deep into Amos' work also can be deeply involved. The "Scarlet's Walk" CD includes technology that enables listeners to access Scarlet's Web site. Amos also is offering filmmaking fans the opportunity to create the video for her next single, "Taxi Ride." There's info at www.toriamos.com

"When people get involved, they take it to heart," Amos said. "As I get further into it, it's not just Scarlet's walk but Tori's walk and maybe other people will take their own walks. I feel there's a lot of spiritual manna here, a lot of strength here. In the industry you get so much editing that we want to see unedited stuff. We want to see what people are thinking. There's a lot of censoring going on and I thought I should let people see what people are thinking -- unedited."

So how does Amos view the writing and the performance of what she writes?

"They're completely different skills or completely different messes, depending upon how you look at them," she said with a laugh. "In concert I'm just holding space for different characters to come through. Not all the characters are characters you'd like to take a long drive with, but some are characters you'd like to have a drink with and listen to for a while. I just shift myself and get Tori out of the way."

These days, some music fans are looking for escape, some for help with their questions.

"I see both happening at the same time," Amos said. "If you want to be truly powerful, that doesn't happen through the use of weapons. That comes through intellect and heart. Right now in the letters I'm getting people are expressing great concern about the information they're getting. And I'm hearing similar worries whether people come from a more conservative place or from a more liberal place. People feel they're not getting all the information."

And Amos' solution?

"We live in a time where we have the tools to turn over the stones. We have the Internet. We have libraries. But it takes gumption," she said. "You can talk yourself into a stewpot or you can become a supersleuth. You can also come to my concert. Spicy is spicy and I'm going to be spicy."

Tori Amos
Where: Majestic Theater, 224 E. Houston St.
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
For openers: Rhett Miller
Tickets: $33.50-$39.50 at Ticketmaster outlets
For openers: Rhett Miller

Old 97's spent most of last year doing next to nothing as a group, but front man Rhett Miller has been on the road almost nonstop since the release of his solo album, "The Instigator," last fall.

The group's smart-alecky singer-songwriter with a broken heart of gold opens for Tori Amos tonight as a solo acoustic act. It sounds like a far cry from his band's revved-up, rocking alt-country, and like an impossible assignment -- a guy and a guitar trying to win over Amos' faithful, some of the most devoted fans anywhere.

But a report from a recent gig in Omaha suggests he's pulling it off.

"Rocking out like an 8-year-old boy with a toy guitar," Omaha World-Herald staffer Christine Laue wrote, "Miller impressed fans and proved that acoustic acts are not always subdued."

- Robert Johnson


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