Tori Amos interview and live performance
songs: Crucify and Silent All These Years
Interviewer: Tori Amos - good afternoon, how are you?
Tori: Hey John.
Interviewer: Nice to meet you. Uh, you were here in San Francisco a few months ago. And you're back for a couple of shows at the Palace of Fine Arts and uh, I guess uh, from what I've read about you, let's, let's get a little bit of background on you. You're the preacher's daughter, right? You were born and raised in Northern, Carolina?
Tori: North Carolina.
Interviewer: And you started writing songs at four years old.
Tori: Um, while I was escaping church music, so I was gonna do anything to get away from all four thousand tongues to sing. I wasn't brought up on gospel music, you know. I was born white music. So, let's be honest about it. So I'd do anything to get my hands on, um, Jimmy Page.
Tori: John Lennon and all those guys. And I was playing as a real small child. Um, I didn't think about it, I just played. My mother insisted, says it was when I was 2 1/2, so I always remember playing, really.
Interviewer: Hmph, that's amazing. You went off to the...you got a scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and, but that lasted a few years I guess, but uh...
Tori: Yeah, I was booted out when I was eleven. See, things didn't work out too well. And uh, that was kind of a drag because, uh, you know, you go into a school as a child and you think that these older people are going to understand and just because you're an older person doesn't mean you know anything. Some older people do, some older people have their heads wrapped around a tree, so. Um, they thought John Lennon was just absolute crap. So, shows their genius, right?
Interviewer: Later on, in your early teens, things that I find interesting is that your father preacher takes you around to bars and hotels Washington, DC, and Baltimore area, to just gig around a little bit, I guess.
Tori: Gee, yes. My first bar was a gay bar. In DC Georgetown.
Interviewer: Did your dad have any problems -- was it his idea to do this?
Tori: Yeah, mother was on vacation. Yeah, he said, (putting on Edison's voice) 'Mommy's gone, so get dressed.' So we got dressed. I wore my sister's clothes because I was thirteen. If I didn't have - I didn't have the wardrobe yet. And we went down together, and he asked all these, um, shop owners, these new restaurant guys, if I could play before their entertainer went on. Entertainers always go on at 9:30, it was 7 o'Clock, you know, before bedtime, so can you let me daughter play, (Edison voice) she's really talented. And they said, 'no, we're not interested, reverend.' So, the club that let us play was a gay bar, and they say, we're not gonna pay her, but um, sure she can play before our real piano player comes. Well, they like me so much that they ask me to stay on. And um, I worked in Georgetown for a year and a half playing clubs.
Interviewer: Hm, that's amazing. Hmph, alright, tonight you'll be playing the Palace of Fine Arts a couple of shows at 7:30 and 10pm. Um, Tori Amos.
Interviewer: I don't know if it was you who said it or if it was someone writing about you but that you had a confrontational style, and certainly that is true when you listen to the record, it kind of demands that you listen.
Tori: Well, I guess it's because, you know, you're playing bars, and people, you know, are kind of sitting there treating you absolutely awfully, and you know, you're sitting there, 'oh, Johnny, you're so cute,' I mean that's kind of nice and everything, but, they're going on and on and on and you're trying to play and you're over there in the corner and you know I get really mad sometimes when they're so rude spilling beer on your piano and I'll just spit in their jello if they're not nice to me.
Interviewer: Hahaha, I believe you will. In writing songs, and performing your songs, and about a personal matters and serious things, I mean I guess you're a performer, I guess you're driven to do this kind of thing, but isn't it painful sometimes?
Tori: Sometimes, yeah. Sometimes, uh, you don't wanna know what you're really thinking, do you?
Interviewer: That's becoming scary.
Tori: Because then you have to make some choices. It's like, 'I DO really hate her.' So why is she staying in my house? I don't know! You ask yourselves these questions and you--
Interviewer: It can end up being positive therapy for you, too, you know.
Tori: Well, at least, at least there are no lies. I'm a really good liar. I think we all lie to ourselves. And at least nobody has anything up on me. I know when I'm being awful. If I'm ready to kill some chick - cause you know, they just bruised my vegetable or something, and you just have to ask, what's this really about? There has to be a reason for me wanting to kill this person. And um, we all get mad at stuff, and it's not about what it's usually about. Maybe it's I'm mad because um, I'm still living with this person - I don't know why I'm living with this person. Stuff like that.
(Plays Silent All These Years)
Interviewer: Tori Amos. Thank you very much for coming in today.
Tori: Thanks, John.
Interviewer: Um, you make your home in London right now, alright.
Interviewer: Although you haven't been there for quite a while--
Tori: No, this tour just keeps going, but you know, I just keep eating.
Interviewer: Why did you move there?
Tori: Um, when I turned in the record, people kind of threw their hands up on us honestly, this was a year and a half ago. And the record wasn't what it is now - Me and a Gun wasn't written, and um, a few things aren't what the record is now, but I wasn't getting any kind of response. So um, the head of Atlantic Records said the English side is really embracing this record, so would you be interested in going? So I said yeah, I've always wanted to go check it out over there anyways, so I've been there a year and a half. And um, I've really loved it. It's a great place.
Interviewer: I've been there once myself.
[transcribed by Kristen Loftis]
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