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MTV Hour (US, TV)
March 26, 1992

Tori Amos interview with John Norris
live performances: Crucify, Me and a Gun & Precious Things


John Norris mentions something about maybe moving the furniture around before they got started and Tori says, it's very Arabic.

John Norris: Our guest this hour Tori Amos who has released an album that just about everyone I know is talking about these days, and you've got to be (stumbles stutters) now I talked to (stutter) well i'm sure you love these thumbnail history bios as I do at the top of the show but um but uh you must be pretty gratified that after some time of going through various different things there's such a response to this record.

Tori Amos: It's kind of surprising I mean I just um when I wrote this record I had to do it because it was really do it or die it was my form of expression so I didn't lose my mind completely and I didn't really think about where it was gonna go I just had to write it.

John Norris: And so now that it has gotten such a on the one hand a great response it's put you on a whole different apart from I mentioned in the beginning the band you were with in LA but that was a completely different kind of thing musically and um.

Tori Amos: Well I had been doing a lot of different things before this (in many areas of my life) but um you know I think you've got to experiment I think that you got to try different things and I was just..i was definitely into hairspray phase then but I had a fabulous collection of hairspray and I was just not going to write at the piano that was just to close to home for me at the time so I made a decision kind of unconsciously I wasn't gonna talk about the Me and a Gun experience, I wasn't going to talk about um the religious influences, not to much- i'd touch on things but if you open one door about a thousand are gonna open and I think I was completely terrified of having to look at myself my monsters and all those fun things and..

John Norris: But once you start to do it, does it become easier?

Tori Amos: Well I started having dinner parties with myself you know the virgin and the prostitute next to each other having spaghetti bolognese you just go I think they need each other

John Norris: Uh Huh. Grinning like a loon. Right.

Tori Amos: because it's every easy to be the self righteous good girl and to have an idea of how everybody's consciousness should be and how everybody should think ..and that was earlier years and then it became I had to become that thing that I always pointed the finger at, you know that girl who was just oh god not her coming into the room...... so then I had to go through all that and finally come back to oh these are all pieces these are all pieces of me and it's not about they're bad it's just um you're made up of a lot of things you know you have the coward and then you do have the hero if you will

John Norris: Different sides for sure

Tori Amos: you have that one you have that part of you that can be really there for you.

John Norris: She mentioned a song called Me and a Gun which is one of the songs one of the three songs Tori will be performing live this hour . Gonna get her over to the piano in just a minute but right now we have her on video tape once again this is thee second video from the album?

Tori Amos: this is the second one we did in the UK it's called China, we did it in North Cornwall -Cindy Palmano directing again, bloody cold! freezing cold!

John Norris: was it cold( laughing) was it cold

Tori Amos: oh ! The guys were in down jackets ,they were standing there with umbrellas it was pouring down rain in a lot of it and they just looked and said how do you do it? And I said because I've been in the edit suite when they go where's the other reel and there's no other reel.

John Norris: Get it right that one time ( laughing) alright trying to stay warm in this one it is the second video from Little Earthquakes Tori Amos and China. We'll be back.

Part 2 China music video is playing

John Norris: Alright,welcome back to this hour of MTV where are guest is Tori Amos a women whose album Little Earthquakes as we talked about earlier has certainly been well received but has in just about everything I've read inevitably people keep... seem unable to resist these comparisons um to a point Joni Mitchell but even more so Kate Bush are these? I mean I read actually you said it's curious it's interesting that people say that because your influences have been more male singers than female singers. Is that?

Tori Amos: Well, I mean I'd I listen to tons of stuff growing up to just pinpoint it to one thing is not really accurate but um when you're compared to people like that those women are wonderful I have so much respect for them but you do get kind of I think the media you go Don't you guys have anything else to do except come up with this stuff? I mean , I think that the women get compared a bit more than the men do and I think that is a fair take, that's just honest! You know I said before and I really mean this when you get a few women out there singing they go what is it too many tats or something, they have to start comparing em all and I think that we're individual there might be moments but just because ah you play a similar instrument, it's not like there are too many to choose from.

John Norris: Well maybe one reason that the Kate Bush thing has come up a lot is because the British press has talked to you a lot and of course Kate has always been major over there and you're living London now how did that come about that move, is that your idea?

Tori Amos: Well

John Norris: Their idea?

Tori Amos: Truthfully always wanted to go there I mean, I always always wanted to go there so I was like I had a Voodoo Doll of the President of Atlanta going (ake stabs a voodoo doll while repeating England over and over) and um he doesn't know this , anyway he said to me I really think people need to hear this record live when he heard it he said I really think people need to hear you do this, he heard me do it at my little hut in Los Angeles, and I said to him, um well where do you propose that I do this because Los Angeles really isn't a live music town I mean it's just not especially for what I do they want a this isn't a negative I mean I did this my seven years that I lived there you finish doing your thing and you want to go home and sit on the deck have a good meal with your sweetheart and

John Norris: that's LA

Tori Amos: and it's not really about going out every night and London they go out they work and they go see bands and they go see artists and it's very much a part of the life there and um he suggested that to me .. what do you think about London because the London company the London side of the label which is East West really loved the record and it wasn't any kind of we don't know how we wanna introduce you to people we know what we want to do and we think they'd be really open 'cause they don't have formats like this.

John Norris: Right, it is much more open.. right right

Tori Amos: Country has, it's not like that

John Norris: Well she got her wish to go over there and we're going to get our wish in just a few minutes because we got Tori doing three songs live here in the studio looking forward to that don't go away you don't want to miss it, Tori Amos, We'll be back.

Part Three (Tori is sitting at her piano)

John Norris: We're already to this hour of MTV where a special guest who's joined is Tori Amos whose album Little Earthquakes is certainly one of the most talked about records um I've seen come out this year around MTV and elsewhere and this is an album that's um comprised of songs written over how long? Quite a period of time or?

Tori Amos: About a period of 4 and a half years

John Norris: And this lead off track we're about to hear first song from the album um an older song? A newer song?

Tori Amos: Crucify it was um about 4 qnd a half as in being written.

John Norris: laughs, uh huh and ah any particular story or inspiration or?

Tori Amos: Well, I was sick of being a victim so um I kind of stewed this up

John Norris: Has this um, has the words touched anybody that might have victimized you in the past at all?

Tori Amos: Well I've done it myself, I mean you know.

John Norris: Something we do to ourselves? (sticks microphone in TA's face)

Tori Amos: Mmm we put different hats on.

John Norris: chuckles, alright great Crucify from Little Earthquakes, enjoy it.

Tori Amos plays Crucify live.

Part 4

Tori Amos: I wrote this song a few months ago after I saw Thelma and Louise and it reminded me of something that had happened to me... a few years ago. I sing this song a lot it feels actually very good to sing this song, it's called Me and a Gun.

Tori sings Me and a Gun.

Part 5

Audience is clapping

Tori Amos at piano, Um you know those songs where all the guitar players play really fast and they get to show us how fast they are and I guess I always wanted to be a guitar player and it never worked, just never really made sense so I did my own fast little thing one night and it became this thing... [starts pounding away at the piano into Precious Things.]

Part 6

still clapping

John Norris: Alright, that is great stuff, that's Precious Things and I'm sure that these guys already have an appreciation even if they don't have the album just from the performance here today and from the video from Silent All These Years, I mean you write so personally and I mean to a point where I, I mean it would seem to me to be tough for a songwriter to be as open as you are is it was it is it easier for you now??

Tori Amos: It makes me very regular, I mean you know you ..

John Norris: Therapeutic?

Tori Amos: Well I mean you know you have to.. you come out by yourself and you can't kid yourself that you have this massive drummer behind you and if you mess up he's gonna cover for you.

John Norris: You mentioned before about Me and a Gun that Thelma and Louise was sort of reminding you of this and ah i'm curious because the many of the songs are written from particularly a female perspective do you find that most of your response is from women or is it pretty equal?

Tori Amos: It's very equal, I think that um more women are sexually attacked but I think that I've actually gotten a lot of comments from guys that uh have dated women that have gone through it and have to deal with how it changes their relationship because it does change your relationship until, I think it always changes it I mean I think you can transform it and I have really been working on not feeling shameful about it or guilty about it or that I was the catalyst or you know all these things come through your mind but every situation is different you know everybody's is their own unique experience with it.

John Norris: Absolutely, well men women it's a beautiful album Little Earthquakes but as beautiful as it is, you got to experience her live and you can. I understand in the next couple of months you're going to be doing dates around?

Tori Amos: Coming in the end of April and May to do a Tour in the States.

John Norris: terrific, well looking forward to it catch her when she comes into town definitely an intense live performance. (turns to audience, thanks to you guys) (turns to Tori, thanks to you, thanks so much it's rare that we get people in like this.)

John Norris: Stick around there's more of MTV on the way, and we'll see you soon.

[transcribed by Ophelia Bells]

screen shots



Me and a Gun

Precious Things

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