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Süddeutschen Zeitung (Germany)
April 27, 2007
"Next time, I'll bring a gun"
Yes, this is what she really said in the interview. Although it was agreed that we should talk about love. We did later. As we continued things calmed down. Yes, until we started talking about the church.
by Von Willi Winkler
Q: Miss Amos, when you go into the studio, your husband is with you as recording engineer. But you are your own producer. Can that work out?
T: Why not?
Q: You never argue?
T: I threatened to bring a gun once.
Q: You? With a gun?
T: I said "Next time, I'll bring a gun."
Q: And then you shot.
T: No, but I was tempted.
Q: Why? Because the technicians weren't your slaves that you needed?
T: No, only because it can become passionate and hot tempered in the studio. When artists and technicians come together, everyone has their visions. One has to say, "We will do it this way, and you have to give in." A gun would be very helpful: "Do it now!"
Q: How does one have to imagine tha
T: You run from microphone and control cabin, take the artist hat off and put the producers hat on?
Q: A little bit like bunny and hedgehog.
T: It looks like a comedy of mistaken identities. But that's part of it, that you change appearances.
Q: And you're able to do just that?
T: It's a talent that Indians have. I would never talk about these things with an English journalist because they are so cynical. They have problems with a culture that doesn't fit in their view of the world. But Germans are able to do it, they are analytical.
T: If you stay with medicine men for a while, also with medicine women, you learn that they are capable of using their body as a container. They let energy walk up and down. It's a dicipline, a form of visual art. But it is possible that we spent 5 hours with different pieces of music and nothing comes out.
Q: What is this "it"?
T: Everything. We don't have any music, any performance, any artist. "Hey, where is she?" Then the producer has to be able to sit with the technicians and clear up the situation. As a sound engineer Husband asks the right questions. "What do we want? Would the artist leave the house?"
Q: Who is tempted to use a gun in these situations, you or your Husband?
T: Everyone has their fingerprints on them. Even Natashya. She would say: "Mummy, Daddy - pffft!"
Q: How old is your daughter now?
T: Six-and-a-half. Do you know "The Night of the Hunter"?
Q: The movie of Charles Laughton, with Robert Mitchum as the evil preacher?
T: I recently watched the movie again. Lillian Gish is sitting there in her rocking chair, a loaded gun on her lap. She defends her children, she might defend an ideology. But this gun doesn't have to mean violence. It might not be used — it just makes sure there's order.
Q: Just like the producer Phil Spector that shot in the studio's ceiling: "Everyone listens to my command!"
T: Let's hope I point to the ceiling in case of emergency.
Q: Are you a violent woman?
T: No, I don't see myself like that. But I'm not an idealist, I'm very pragmatic. What I accomplished in a comparatively short time wouldn't have been possible without adequate resoluteness: "We have to make it now, c'mon people!"
Q: Excuse me if I sound creepy, but a woman that is only pragmatic couldn't do your music.
T: You think so?
Q: Yes. Otherwise you'd be Joan Jett or Gloria Gaynor. "I am a woman..."
T: Maybe I only want to be pragmatic and Husband is the one who really is. When I fly, and I practically live on the plane, there's often turbulence and the plane falls down to 3000 meters. Everyone else is clings to their seats until their knuckles can be seen...
Q: ... like me—-
T: ...I don't get nervous. Something always says to me, "Down there there are the dolphins."
Q: You think dolphins will save you after a crash?
T: No, but I am aware that it can be over any time. We all wake up in the morning, but not everyone will see the sunset.
Q: Is that fatalism? Or do you call it kismet then?
T: " I like the word - kismet.
Q: But only the word.
T: We do have a designation. I cannot influence what's coming, only the choice how to handle it.
Q: But please be honest now: during turbulences, don't you send prayers to heaven above and promise to build a church on the cliffs of Dover when you get through alive?
T: Not on your fucking life! I am a minister's daughter and wouldn't do it because of that. This monotheistic male God in whose name people are fighting, he doesn't have anything in common with creative forces. I'm through with that.
Q: How long have you been going to church?
T: 21 years. I went to church for 21 years, 4 times a week!
Q: Since when?
T: I was brought along as a baby, and I went with them even after I was wearing red leather pants and playing in clubs. But my father supported me.
Q: What does your father say to you when you use your art, which you learned in church, for something as profane as rock music?
T: Of course he wanted me to compose church music. In the meantime he learned, but I can't bring him to read the Gnostic writings. That's the border he will never cross.
Q: He is only consistent with the church, the Gnostic writings don't belong to the bible's canon.
T: Instead of saying, okay, we accept the Gnostic writings as the lost son of the Bible's canon, he defends this decision. That is why on the cover of Boys for Pele I was breastfeeding a piglet. Because the piglet is not kosher.
Q: Above all it is the worst kind of blasphemy.
T: It is the best kind of blasphemy.
Q: You're not welcome in Catholic countries.
T: But I'm not a Catholic, I am a Gnostic. In early Christianity, I would have followed the Gnostic direction. But I live today and therefore I believe in the power of the myths, in what Joseph Campbell called "the power of the myths". In American schools you won't learn much about these myths.
Q: But excuse me, Campbell's book "The Hero With A Thousand Faces" is the source for George Lucas' "Star Wars" myths. Star Wars is the best selling movie of all time. For a certain generation in the USA this myth replaces the Bible's stories.
T: And that is a good thing. If you grow up in the USA today, you hear stories about Mary and Mary Magdalene and all that at Sunday school, but not about Athena, about Artemis, Demeter and Persephone. Maybe my songs about these 5 woman will help.
Q: Your Girls. Do these myths have to be told by a woman?
Tori: Well, I am a woman...
Q: ... Gloria Gaynor again...
Tori: During the production of American Doll Posse, testosterone played a big part. If you take the girls as equal players, then that's very testosterone-driven to me.
Q: But you're not a dressed up man?
Tori: Wouldn't that be great? I actually thought about it. I am the same age as Johnny Depp. At my age, in this business I am beyond the perception border, whilst Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt are becoming admirable and sexy just now.
Q: Johnny Depp comes off as pretty transsexual when wearing Mascara as a pirate.
Tori: Doesn't that look great? It suits him fine. At 43, you should be a man.
Q: Pip, one of the Goddesses that appear on your album, comes from the Greek goddess Athena. While Athena is a woman, she is a completely masculine being.
Q: Please disagree with me: Athena is an intellectual, she appears in armature and she is Zeus' favorite daughter: He gave birth to her himself, she sprung from his aching head.
T: My girls come from freely delivered archetypes that live in the modern world.
Q: And which of them is you?
T: I appear in every one of them equally. During my tour I will be a different one each night. At the moment, I'm none of them. I sit here as their creator.
Q: At home, you are married in front of God and the rest of the world and can't escape. You're fixed to be one person.
T: I don't feel like that. I decided that, and I think Husband did too. I hope so at least.
Q: You're not sure then.
T: Yes I am. Don't pity him, he can go out with 5 women, and he asked for a rendezvous with each of them.
Q: And who did he want to go out with first? Santa, e.g. Aphrodite?
T: I won't say.
T: Yes, it was Santa. But he likes them all. Pip frightens him a little, she is on a search and like Athena, she is busy with war and violence.
Q: Hypothetically, you're Clyde for a day, the Persephone on your album, and the character Clyde falls in love with a real man. You come back home, confess to your husband and say: "I didn't cheat, that was Clyde."
T: Difficult question, that stays between Clyde and myself. Husband doesn't want to know what happened, he wants all 5 of the girls. If it's about the performance on stage, the technical stuff, the light-show, if it's about Arsenal London, then he can talk to me - but about nothing else. He understands me and there are things you don't as a woman. He doesn't ask. But of course we do have a strong physical relationship.
Q: And you stay true to one another?
T: We both know the consequences if something happened with him or me. An hour later it'd be on the Internet. We never talked about it, but I don't believe for a second that he has not been interested in other women since our marriage.
Q. Or you another man.
T: There are evenings when I feel from somewhere, say the upper balcony on the left, energy coming to the stage. I don't see anything, and it could be a grandmother, but for a few moments we become one. But that has nothing to do with our life as married couple with a daughter.
Q: It must be difficult for a man to live in the blinding presence of a singer.
T: He is a very special man, that's why I live with him. I didn't take the only one I could get. He came on tour in 1994 as a technician. Not for him, but for me it was love at first sight. I watched him from afar for quite some time and then picked him out. Of course I let him believe he picked me.
Q: And then you let him into your kingdom.
T: He had to deal with all the creatures and figures that I build around and in front of me, until I let him into sanctuary. On his way he got to be friends with all of them.
Q: Even with your life as a star?
T: He doesn't want to be part of the scene. He has his passions, but Hollywood parties bore him. He works behind the stage for me, he doesn't want to be famous.
Q: Is he your prince consort?
T: I call him the magician - a knight of the Round Table.
Q: He plays all knights at the table you are head of.
T: One is enough for me. He wants me to stop touring. Instead we expanded the studio and at the moment he works with newcomer bands. But it's working, I find him and our relationship sexy.
Q: He must admire you, but isn't he jealous of your audience?
T: I couldn't be loved more, Husband carries me in his hands. Husband is there when I'm fighting demons and dragons. He is my knight when I fight with lindworms and am stuck up to the neck with unfinished songs and arrangements that don't work. Sometimes we have to argue because of that, but that is sexy too, because we do it with passion.
Q: He is proud of you.
T: Of course, but above all, the man is the force behind it, the force that drives me, but he stayed on the ground himself. Husband says to me: "You rise like a kite and fly in the wind. You should know, even if a thousand evil ghosts are coming that try to take this cord from my hands, I will hold you tight and will be here when you come down again".
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