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Q (UK)
May 2015

TORI AMOS
"ONCE IN A WHILE I LIKED TO EXPAND MY MIND"


The baroque pop virtuoso likes "good estasy", but is less keen on Putin and Cornish pasties.

When did you last get inspiration for a song?

When I was on a plane not long ago looking out the window. There's something about seeing the land from thousands of feet away, you get a detachment and it frees your mind from specific issues you might be obsessing about. It's a similar altered state to my experiences in the '90s with good ecstasy and mushrooms -- back when you trusted psychedelics and knew you wouldn't die when you took them! [Laughs] Not that I did that every weekend, but once in a while when you put yourself in a place where you wanted to expand your mind and use it more as an artistic experience.

When did you last flirt with danger?

Last night when I suggested to my husband I'd help him make dinner. Everyone gets nervous when I handle knives because, as a piano player, I'm not sure if knives are covered in my hands insurance. So when I'm chopping tricky things like slippery potatoes my daughter will say, "What are you doing? You're not supposed to even be in the kitchen!"

When did you last think: "I need a new pair of glasses"?

Boy, you tailored these for me, didn't you? Well, to be fair, quite a few have been gifted to me. How many do I have? I can't count them! They've become, in the last few years, part of my expression. C'mon, when you're doing a show and you have to wear glasses to see your lyrics because you can't remember what they are, you need to step up on your glasses front!

When did you last regret wearing stilettos?

I often regret that, especially after a full day of promo, I'll wish I had brought some flat shoes. I'll be sitting down for dinner in, say, New York and there'll always be one of my gay friends going, "You cannot put those awful flats on for dinner!" And I'll say, "Look what you're wearing!" And he goes, "No, if I was a girl mine would be higher!" I love the queens around me but they're ruthless and bitchy and that's why they're our fashion tyrants, but we must obey them or they will shame you all through dinner!

When did you last eat a Cornish pastie?

In the '90s [Laughs]. Because I live in Cornwall you think I eat them all the time? If I did, I wouldn't be able to reach the piano or ride side-saddle! No, it's not my thing, but I admire the whole tradition.

When did you last break the law?

Well, I'm terrified of breaking the law, but when I was in Moscow last year it was a bit tricky because I was being pro-LGBT and Putin was speaking at the venue that I was playing in the following night. His security came backstage to ensure we didn't leave anything behind, if you see what I mean, no flyers, no writing on the wall... it was very threatening. The vilification of non-heterosexual people over there is real and scary.

What's the last thing you think about before going to sleep at night?

If Isis are coming down the lane, am I prepared? I always have a bag packed, so if something happens I can get out fast. It comes from touring for over 20 years.


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