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July 10, 2014
Tori Amos is heading back to Australia.
Tori Amos announces Australian tour: talks music, motherhood and Miley Cyrus
by Nick Bond
As she approaches the end of her 50th year on earth, iconic singer-songwriter Tori Amos shows no signs of letting up.
In recent years, Tori Amos fans have borne witness to some weird and wonderful career diversions: a classical music album. A very unconventional Christmas record. Even a stage musical, The Light Princess.
Now, with her first album of contemporary music in five years, Unrepentant Geraldines, Amos is readying a return to our shores (tour dates, announced today, are at the bottom of this page). We spoke to the singer in the midst of a dramatic European tour to find out what we could expect.
Q. Tori, whereabouts are you at the moment?
A. I'm in Istanbul. I was supposed to have played Kiev last night, but the promoter cancelled because of the unrest, so we had to camp out and then jump a plane to Istanbul. It's been a dramatic tour so far!
Q. How are the shows going?
A. The audiences are really incredible. Tash, my daughter, said to me: 'Oh get over it, you need to grab 50 by both hands and go rock! You've got to be as good at 50 as you were at 30. None of this 'I'll be good for 50' crap -- go rock, or I'm not going to talk to you, and that's a promise'. So I promised her I'd go rock.
Q. That's quite a pep talk.
A. Coming from a 13-year-old, right? She is her own person, but she grew up on the road. She was on tour with us from one year old, so it's a family thing, the 'Tori' thing. She was just out with us on the American tour, working the merch stand. It's a part of her life.
Q. One of the highlights of the new album is a duet between the two of you, Promise. Tell us about that song.
A. We were at a place where we needed to make a promise to each other, because we were looking at other mothers and daughters, teenagers and their mums, and sometimes the relationships are not great. It's not because one of them's a bad person -- it's just about communication. Neither one listens, so we had to promise that we'll always listen to one another. That's how the song came about.
Q. You're known for tackling different cover songs on the road - most recently a Miley Cyrus album track, Rooting For My Baby. How were you even aware of that song? Is Miley on your radar?
A. Having a teenage daughter can help you with that. That's the great thing about having a teenager in your life -- that's what they're good at.
Q. What was the intention there -- was it as simple as 'I like this Miley Cyrus song so I want to sing it?'
A. Well it was a Miley Cyrus song with a Sinead O'Connor song. You can't forget about that, because that's the linchpin of the whole thing! That's the statement right there.
Q. Other covers you've tackled during your European shows, of songs by Conchita Wurst and t.
A.T.u, could be interpreted as a show of support for your gay fans in those regions ...
A. Well, you can't not do those songs without knowing what it can mean. I mean I'm 50, I'm not completely naive! You can't be coy about it. To play a t.A.T.u. song, a lesbian anthem, in Moscow -- you've gotta grab it with both hands, because if you don't, it's not going to work.
The Russian audiences suggested it and I thought OK, that's a really good idea. Little did I know, Putin was the next person to take that stage. He was going to be giving a speech there the next morning. His security showed up at the end of my show to start scoping the place, not knowing I'd just sung a lesbian anthem on stage.
Q. I'd imagine that for a gay person in Moscow, a Tori Amos concert is probably one of the few places you'd feel safe.
A. Well, you're kind of safe, but even then you have intimidating security everywhere. My tour manager, who's a lesbian, made them stand down because they were very threatening. But the Moscow show was great; we had people from Russia there, and people from Kiev, and to see them joined in unity, above and beyond government, was inspiring to see. I don't sing for government, I sing for the people.
Q. You're in the midst of an 80-date tour and you've just released your fifth musical project in as many years -- do ever taken time out?
A. [Tori puts the phone down momentarily to chat to her husband, English sound engineer Mark Hawley] Hey husband, husband! This lovely journalist is asking me if I ever think about taking time off from making music. [murmuring, laughter] My husband just said 'Apparently not'. He'd love me to, but you know, that's just what he gets for marrying me. There's no rest for the wicked. It's a privelge to still be able to make music, and I don't take it for granted.
Retro Tori - the singer back in 1994. Source: News Corp Australia
Tori Amos tour dates
Sydney Opera House, accompanied by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra -- Tuesday November 11
Palais Theatre, Melbourne -- Saturday November 15
Her Majesty's Theatre, Adelaide -- Sunday November 16
Riverside Theatre, Perth -- Tuesday November 18
QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane -- Friday November 21
Tickets on sale 10am Friday July 18 through Live Nation.
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