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Simon Mayo Show (UK, radio)
BBC Radio 1, London
March 30, 1994

Tori Amos interview and live performance
songs: Crucify, Pretty Good Year, Past the Mission


Simon: Hi, Tori, how are you?

Tori: Fine.

Simon: Welcome.

Tori: Nervous. I've never confessed to anything before.

Simon: Really? Well, I suppose not. Well, you were the daughter of a Methodist preacher, and confessional isn't big in Methodist circles. So...

Tori: No, we hide those.

Simon: We hide them.

Tori: We just take our communion and say all is well. [laughs]

Simon: Well, do you have a story that you'd like to share with us? 'Cause, you know, you'll be doing some singing later, but um, a story first of all?

Tori: Um... There's a story.

Simon: Is this gonna be shocking, by the way? Should we be sort of bracing ourselves for a bad one?

Tori: No, no, no, no. This is a very sad story, actually.

Simon: Ok.

Tori: Um... Dear Father Simon.

Simon: Yes, Tori.

Tori: I think you will understand what it's like to be a girl if you could just imagine being thirteen years old. Just having gotten off your braces. Kind of being a nerd, but not totally a nerd, just kind of a nerd. So, in other words, I sat in the middle of the bus, not the back of the bus where all the cool people sat. And not the front of the bus where the real, real serious nerds sat. Anyway, I was in the middle of the bus, and the most popular girl in school happened to be on the bus that day because she was going home with a boy that day, that rode my bus, who was really cute and popular, too.

Simon: Ok.

Tori: So anyway, um, they took my books and uh, 'cause this one boy in the back wanted me to hang out with him. So I had to go to the back to get my books.

Simon: So they were kinda taunting you, weren't they.

Tori: Yeah.

Simon: By taking your books, yeah.

Tori: Now this girl would do this to a lot of other girls. Just stuff, make them feel stupid and humiliate them in front of class, you know, 'cause she was attractive and all the boys liked her. They couldn't see the slime she was. So anyway, I went back -- she was a cornflake girl -- anyway, I went back to the back of the bus with this guy, and he was kinda burly and sweaty and gross, but tough, like a young Sylvester Stallone.

Simon: I got it.

Tori: So anyway, he's sitting there pawing me and stuff, and I get really sick of this news, so I clock him one, and I shove him in the ribs with my elbow.

Simon: Nice one.

Tori: And I know it's near my stop, so I've gotta get off. Well, this girl has hidden my books. So, I take my books. I take her head in my hand and I take my hand, instead of marring her beautiful skin, I hit her on the top of the head.

Simon: Fantastic.

Tori: And um, I get my books and she says, "I'm gonna come after you, you little scum." So she, for the next three months of school, she made my life a living hell. Every day, it was awful, screaming outside my house to come fight her. Well, I didn't want to fight her, 'cause, you know, I had done my bit. So, one day, um, she got up from her desk and she was walking, and everybody started to laugh at her. And they laughed and laughed, and she couldn't understand why. And me and my friend Connie had had a packet of ketchup that we had taken from cafeteria. And we just happened to put it beneath her white jeans before she sat down. And it's the only thing that got me through three months of hell.

Simon: [laughs] Revenge is mine!

Tori: [laughs]

Simon: I like it. So, is that the end?

Tori: That's the end.

Simon: Well, that's a happy ending, then.

Tori: Well, it's kind of a happy ending.

Simon: Did she know who it was who'd done that?

Tori: No.

Simon: Phew, you got away with it.

Tori: Yeah.

Simon: Could be a couple of songs and a video, at least.

Tori: [laughs]

Simon: I would think. So that's Tori's story, she got her own back on this horrible old cow of a girl by putting some tomato ketchup on her seat right by her white jeans.

Tori: Underneath her white jeans.

Simon: Underneath her white jeans.

Tori: Yeah.

Simon: Did it look affective?

Tori: Yes.

Simon: Did it look good?

Tori: It looked great.

Simon: It had the impact you wanted?

Tori: Totally.

Simon: Ok. Collective, it's over to you. What do you think of that? Marcus?

Marcus: Up here at the ski snow shop, absolutely forgiven. Great story, Tori.

Simon: It was good, wasn't it?

Marcus: Yeah

Simon: Ok, Simon Bernside, not related to the guy in the [?]. Oh yes, Simon.

Simon: [laughs] Revenge is sweet, Tori, well done. Absolutely forgiven.

Simon: Ok, Big Chris has just turned up. Yes, Big Chris.

Big Chris :Well, I've been subject to a bit of [?] but no, I think that's a magic story. And quite right, Divine retribution. Forgiven.

Simon: Alright, and all Tori Amos fans, Jamie Morton.

Jamie: Eh, not forgiven. I was out last night, so definitely not.

Simon: So you're grumpy. And finally, Jake the Sales Rep, please, Jake.

Jake: I think absolutely forgiven. I would have done the same myself. Brilliant.

Simon: Alright, thank you, that's four to one, Tori, you're forgiven. Good, so she'll sing next, thank you very much. Alright, thank you Aberdine Ski Center and we'll be back with you tomorrow.

Cheers from the Collective

Simon: Ah, they're listening today, how splendid. Seven minutes past eleven. Forgiveness for Tori, it's just as well, her first song is coming after 'em people

commercial break

Simon: ...Tori Amos, you have heard her confession, now hear her sing. Have you got lots of stories like that? I just get the feeling we could be here a long time, you know, swapping stories.

Tori: Well, not lots -- some. I have some.

Simon: Ok. Crucify, you're gonna do this. Now, what's the story behind. There's a lot of religious imagery in a lot of your songs. Where does this come from?

Tori: A lotta guilt. [laughs]

Simon: Catholic guilt or Methodist guilt?

Tori: Well, Protestants have guilt just as much as Catholics. I mean, it's all about, "shame, shame, shame, I'm so bad that I had that thought of that choirboy. But I was always having those thoughts." You know, I always had those.

Simon: And Tori, do you still have those thoughts?

Tori: Yeah, of course, Simon.

Simon: Ok.

Tori: That's why I don't go to church much, 'cause they'd burden me if they knew what I was thinking, sitting in my little pew. [laughs]

Simon: Shall we just do the song, then?

Tori: Let's just do the song.

Tori performs Crucify

Simon: Excellent stuff. Thank you, Tori. Tori Amos live on One FM at 11:17-ish. More from her in a second...

commercial break

Simon: What's the next song gonna be?

Tori: This is Pretty Good Year.

Simon: Hey, it's been a pretty good year for you.

Tori: Yeah, but this song's a tragedy, Simon.

Simon: Oh, it's a tragedy, ok, so I'll change my...

Tori: Ok... Change your face. Tone. Um, I got a letter from this guy named Greg from the North of this country.

Simon: Greg from the North, that sounds a bit vague.

Tori: Yeah, Greg from the North.

Simon: Ok

Tori: And he wrote me a letter saying that his life sucked. And I didn't really know how to respond to that one, but he drew me a picture of himself um, with a drooping flower and scrawny grunge hair and he weighed about 90 pounds and he had glasses and he was like, you know, at the end of his rope. And I wrote this song because um, the worst thing I could give him was pity. Because if you give somebody pity, it means that they're not capable. That doesn't help anybody. So I wrote this song for all those people out there that are uh, that don't think enough of themselves.

Simon: And specifically Greg of the North.

Tori: And specifically Greg of the North.

Simon: Ok, Greg, if you're tuned in, this is for you.

Tori performs Pretty Good Year

Simon: For Greg of the North, Pretty Good Year. Tori Amos singing live, more to come.

commercial break

God of the Day

Simon: And now it's time to get on those well-worn knees and pray because here we go, it's God of the Day time. And as you'll be aware, performing all the way through the show, and one more song to come, our God of the Day is Tori Amos.

Simon: Yes, Tori, preparing you for one more song. In just a second you're about to embark, well, how many dates have you done on this tour so far?

Tori: Nine.

Simon: And how many to go?

Tori: 241.

Simon: Only 241. So what's that, Europe...

Tori: Europe, America, Europe, America, Australasia.

Simon: Ah, then another album?

Tori: A little baby, then an album.

Simon: Ok, a baby. Oh, it's just quite clinically planned. So when's the baby due?

Tori: Um, July. [laughs] Of next year.

Simon: July of next year. Right, so you know, you gotta go for conception around about September time.

Tori: Around Cincinatti. When I hit Cincinatti. The tour, all the guys on the road have a plant. No, no, no. No, the guys on the road have bets -- "I know who the father is." It's not, well I just...

Simon: Well, you can't say who the father is because the father will be.

Tori: The father will be, yeah.

Simon: Unless you've got the gestation period of an elephant.

Tori: [laughs]

Simon: No?

Tori: Yeah, we all have bets on it.

Simon: But the UK branch of this incredible tour, this is the pre-baby tour, Cardiff is the next on the 20th, and it's Portsmouth, Nottingham, Ipswich, York. Three in London. And then in May, Wolverhampton, Belfast and Dublin.

Tori: Yes.

Simon: Is that all right?

Tori: That's all right.

Simon: Ok, we've got that sorted. And the God of the Day questions to Tori Amos are coming next.

commercial break

Simon: And we're back with God of the Day questions with Tori Amos in just a second. Your single in America just what, just finished probably now, is "God," yes? Now I thought this was very brave of you, 'cause I remember Kate Bush, who's been a God of the Day before now, she said when the "Running Up That Hill" single came out, she was very nervous about it. In fact, she was told that she couldn't go with the original title, which was "Make a Deal with God," 'cause the Americans wouldn't like the reference to God. But you obviously thought, "Hey, to hell with all that, I'm just gonna call it 'God.'" Did you get any adverse reaction?

Tori: It's been fantasic, yeah. Great adverse reaction. And it's really helped the record a lot. And it was number one, college radio, so...

Simon: So you got the reaction, is that the reaction that you wanted after all that?

Tori: Well, I wanted it, I wanted the song to really stand on its own and not try and cover up what it is.

Simon: Do you hear any similarities between yourself and Kate Bush? You must have heard the comparisons before.

Tori: When, since I was like seventeen years old, people would tell me, "God, you sound like Kate Bush." And at that time...

Simon: I bet that was really irritating.

Tori: I didn't know who Kate Bush was. This was thirteen years ago. And um, so I didn't even know. And maybe back there somewhere, who knows what my great-great-great grandfather was doing, you don't know genes you've got running in you, you know?

Simon: Alright, let's do these questions. If you were God for a Day, as indeed you are, who would you like on your cloud with you, Tori?

Tori: Um, the Magnificent Seven.

Simon: Why them?

Tori: Because that means there's seven. [laughs] I get seven of 'em. And Steve McQueen's one of them, wasn't, isn't he?

Simon: You could have Level 42, it'd be 42 of them.

Tori: No, I want the Magnificent Seven and I want to do things that the Magnificent Seven would do.

Simon: Right. We'll leave it there and ok, who would you like to make a saint?

Tori: Anita Hill. Anita Hill is a woman in America, a black woman in America that went up against the American government for sexual harassment and she lost. But you should have seen those senators squirming in their seats.

Simon: I remember the case. A thunderbolt on anybody?

Tori: Some bitch I know.

Simon: Just want to leave it at that?

Tori: Yep.

Simon: Is this perhaps the woman who was on the...

Tori: It's another one.

Simon: The beautiful girl on the...

Tori: It's another one. There are a lot of those girls in the world.

Simon: Ok, so some bitch I know, we'll write that one down. And a miracle, if you could perform a miracle, what would it be?

Tori: Oh. Um, that guys can get pregnant, too.

Simon: Guys to get pregnant.

Tori: Yeah.

Simon: I'm not enormously confident that that might happen, and indeed I'm...

Tori: Yeah, but miracles, Simon, miracles.

Simon: Indeed so, indeed so.

Tori: And that means you guys would get PMS and all that stuff.

Simon: And PMT...

Tori: Yes.

Simon: And GNT and GMS.

Tori: And then we could have a lot to talk about, and you could come into the ladies' room, and we would have something in common.

Simon: Ok, I like that. Ok, God of the Day today, who has some splendid answers, Tori Amos, but just stay there have a swig of water, have a swig of water. And we'll take one more song from you before you disappear.

Tori: Um, this is Past the Mission. In New Mexico, there's a big Pueblo nation there, Native American. And there are a lot of missions where the Spanish, the Conquistadors, came in. And they really stripped the native peoples of their culture and forced them to worship. And when I saw the missions, you just see. They're very beautiful but this is where a whole culture was really lost.

Simon: Ok, thank you. Singing live, Tori Amos with, this track's gonna be her next single, Past the Mission.

Tori performs Past the Mission

Simon: Singing live on One FM, Past the Mission form our special gust today who's been Tori Amos. Tori, it's been great to meet you.

Tori: Thanks, Simon.

Simon: Thanks very much for the stories, thanks for the confession. And all the best for this 6,000-date tour.

Tori: Yeah. [laughs]

[transcribed by jason/yessaid]

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