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London Paper (UK)
May 18, 2009

A kooky quickie with Tori Amos

Q&A: Marriage, musicals and being a minister's daughter

by Malcolm Mackenzie

Is Abnormally Attracted To Sin special ­ because it's your tenth album?

Yes - double numbers is good! I like to think of it as a classic car. We get in a routine, so when you're on your fourth, fifth, sixth record, you're kind of like on your 2003 Saab, but in 2020 that little Saab might be quite something.

Did you imagine you would get this far?

Well, I was at the dentist in America a few weeks ago and my hygienist said, "Do you just pinch yourself sometimes?" I looked at her and said, "No, because there is so much you have to do in order to stay." The staying is much harder than the getting there. Like, it's easier to seduce a man who has never experienced that moment than one who knows it inside out.

So, what sins are you abnormally attracted to?

I'm rather fascinated by how a woman can be drawn to a man who really treats her badly. I know men are fascinated by this, they tell me all the time.

Do you have those relationships?

Not any more. It took a while for me. Sometimes it's even people you're working with - but you kind of suss out which ones are the baby demons.

Is your husband different to the men you dated growing up?

He is very dangerous, but not in an abusive way. He is a loner, independent. You have to be OK with that. You can't be needy with a loner if they're off on their motorbike.

Do you need space, too?

I don't need it like that. I can take my space in a group of people. How do you think you perform to thousands? You can have an intimate show because you can be alone with each one of the 4,000.

Did you move to Cornwall to get away from your fans - because they are quite devoted?

No, maybe that's a bit of husband psychology. I think he likes to get away from the world. He doesn't seek the red carpet. Not that I do, but he's more the one who likes to hang in the pub.

Being a minister's daughter, do you relate to Kings of Leon, whose dad's a preacher?

Yes, there's something about growing up in the church that gives you fire and music. I questioned the way teaching was interpreted and applied to other people, applied to lifestyles, and I just can't understand why the compassion of Christ will embrace people who might abuse their daughters and, goddammit, not two consenting women who want to sleep together. I am just lost.

Do you feel guilt at the back of your mind? Caleb from Kings of ­Leon told me he does.

No, I don't feel guilt. How old is he? [He's 27] This is the difference when you're a mid-20s minister's kid and when you're 45: you've slept with the devil more than once and you don't have guilt because you understand the concept of Lucifer and damnation. What damnation, from whom? I'm more worried about the Earth deciding to kick us all off.

Is your musical at the National Theatre still happening?

Yes. It's called The Light Princess. I'm doing the songs. [National artistic director] Nicholas Hytner is giving me some good tips. He said it's a "glorious nightmare" - we wrote a musical that would last four days.

Your gigs are sold out, so why haven't you had a hit here in a decade?

This isn't really my big market. The States is my bread and butter. I don't live here for my ego.

Abnormally Attracted to Sin is out now


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