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Cleveland Free Times (US)
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Soundcheck

Tori Amos
Singer-songwriter/rock Goddess


by Ed Condran

Tori Amos is a complicated, opinionated and provocative subject. Her responses would indicate that perhaps there's more than one person inside Amos. So it's not surprising that Amos showcases five different personas on her latest opus, American Doll Posse. The grandiose album ranges from piano-driven tunes to visceral rave-ups bolstered by drummer extraordinaire Matt Chamberlain. Amos recently spoke about her zealous fans and her political beliefs via phone from a Boston tour stop.

Which character are you right now?

Don't worry about it. I don't have makeup on yet. I'm just the spokesperson.

What character is closest to you?

It depends on what day we're talking about.

How about now in Boston?

Last night Pip played. Pip has to come out onstage. I don't think she can come out in a social situation. That's not how she's constructed. She's big news in life. She's larger than life.

As a solo artist, you're so far from what you were in 1992. Part of what makes American Doll Posse work is that it's so different from your early days. It's a good vehicle for your live show.

But the key to that is that you have to be in physical shape. To do this show takes a lot of energy. Everybody knows that I was working for this show two years ago. I couldn't play on a stage with Matt Chamberlain for two hours and 20 minutes. He's hitting as hard as he can. He's not up there playing backup drums. He's sort of a [John] Bonham. When he plays for a singer-songwriter, he tones it down a lot. But when he's allowed to unleash then you have to really be able to step up there with him. It takes a lot of energy.

Touring and recording are very different.

I totally agree. Performing and recording use very different sides of the brain. Just because you like making records doesn't mean you like performing in front of thousands of people and taking them on a trip. Some people are born to go out on stage. They come alive when they step on a stage.

Your best lyric ever was written for Doll Posse. "M-I-L-F...Don't You Forget." What inspired that?

My niece, who at the time was 13. She wanted me to put on a bikini for my husband. I said, "I don't know." She said, "Put it on for Uncle Mark." I said, "Things are fine for me and Uncle Mark." She said, "You're a MILF, put it on." She has been calling me that constantly.

It's cool that you actually say hello to your fans before your shows.

We've done it for years. I'll go out today at 3:30. Soundcheck is at 4:15. I just come out and say hello for 45 minutes at the stage door. I've been doing it since you don't have the sense of the tone and temperature of your audience if you don't check in before a show. I was in Philly and I met a fan. She has been a sex slave for years in this country.

Where are the sex slaves?

It happens with parents who are divorced. There are guys that pimp the lost kids out. That's so scary. I responded to her letter through my show in New Haven. When you don't go out there and look at what's happening behind their eyes ... the stories you get from these people are much more complicated than what you'll get in Borders.

Your leadoff track "Yo George" slags Bush. When are we going to ditch these Republican bastards?

Until you can really smell the vomit, it'll just happen again. It's easy to sidestep it and say, "Can the maids clean this up?" It has to get so bad.

Who do you support in the next election? Hillary Clinton?

Everybody knows that she's the smartest person in the room.

Why are all the attributes that she has twisted around into negatives? They would be positives if she were a guy.

That's right. That happens with singer-songwriters. If you're a female you're being cathartic. If it's a guy, he's a poet. He's Rimbaud or Baudelaire. But a girl is fucking cathartic.

How do you win this election?

The Republicans play dirty. It doesn't matter if they drag our country to her knees and gang rape her.

Your solution?

Like I've always said, I believe in peace, bitch. Tori Amos 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 1 State Theater 1501 Euclid Ave. 216.241.6000 Tickets: $42.50-$49.50 music@freetimes.com


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