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City Revolt (US)
The Alternative Music & Arts Publication of The Pacific West
September 1994 (Vol. 2, No. 9)
Interview: UNDER THE PINK AND BEYOND
by Ralph Thomas
photo by Susan Merrell
Tori Amos is definitely an anomaly, just ask her. She'll be the first to tell you. Since the release of her first "real" album, Little Earthquakes on Atlantic, (she had an earlier one with band, Y Kand Tori Read in '88), Amos has become a kind of iconoclast in pop music.
Her recent work, Under the Pink, also on Atlantic, does just that. It sheds skin until we're left with this raw, unrefined look into not only Amos, but also ourselves. And judging by the response of Under the Pink, people like what they see.
I'll be the first to admit I'm not an Amos fanatic, far from it, to be honest. In fact, during a recent phone interview where she was wrapping up a three-night concert series in Los Angeles, I committed the ultimate offense. I asked if she was using a Steinway piano on her current tour. What followed was a lesson on the difference between a Bosendorfer (which she uses) and a Steinway that included chocolate analogies, and stern reprimands -- truly a learning experience.
Ralph Thomas: O.K., Under the Pink, what does it mean?
Tori Amos: It means a couple things, but underneath all these layers, whether it's the concept of a girl, or if you ripped her, or everyone's skin off, we're all pink. And going beneath that, it's paring it down. These little voices inside sometimes don't get a lot of attention.
So these voices were your inspiration?
Yes, not to ignore.
How about the producer of Under the Pink? Did you use the same ones?
Eric Rosse did four of the cuts on the first album, and all of Under the Pink.
What do you think are the major differences between both albums?
The first one is more diary form. Under the Pink is more of an impressionist painting, so you really have to become a part of the painting to understand it. The first record, you could be a bit of a voyeur whereas this one really doesn't allow that. And that was a conscious choice.
How do you feel about the end product with Under the Pink
I feel good about it. I took it as far as I could at the time. I wouldn't have put it out if I didn't feel good about it.
So there's nothing you would go back and change?
I would rather make a new record.
That's a positive outlook to have
You've got to. You have to let the work go in order to live and be at that time.
The tour -- when did it start?
February. Tonight is the 110th show.
So you must be tired.
Honey, I'm crawling.
Is that a lot of shows for you?
No. That's not what kills me. What kills me is all the press that I do (laughs) before I walk on stage. I've already done a big radio show this morning, four or five interviews, and I'm doing T.V. today. So, I wish I was a Starbucks franchise, just plug me in somebody.
How do you like being interviewed?
(Long pause) I think the trush is we're very dependent on the interviewer to take us places. I think most musicians will tell you they feel very drained. Just talking about yourself all the time. I thought if I was in the same room as the interviewer, and I knew they went on a shopping spree, I'll go, "O.K., where did you go? What did you get?" I mean, I can sit there and interrogate for hours and ask if you've gone to the GAP. I'm finding that very exciting right now.
Now there's something I do know about you, you can't just pass a GAP store.
Right, I can't pass a GAP. I just have to get a little something.
I did do some research on you, and what I found was mostly positive.
Well then, you haven't read enough, which is fine, but it's real important to have your love/hate thing going. I have what I call my friendly enemies, because there are certain journos I look at and say, "Hey Dave, what's up. Don't even load your gun because I just grenaded you five seconds ago.
In fact, the only negative piece I ran across claimed you used too many notes which reminded me of...
Mozart, yeah I know, I'm in bad company (laughs).
What changes, if any, did you make on this current tour?
Bigger piano, nine feet, she's beautiful.
So what do you use, a Steinway?
Honey, NO. BOSENDORFER. Aggghh. That's [Steinway] the other camp. This is like serious (now I've seemed to wake Tori up a bit). There are two piano makers in the world, and Bosendorfer is in a whole nother league altogether.
It's like the difference between -- O.K., I'm gonna get it for this -- It's like the difference between an incredibly dark chocolate and white chocolate. Milk chocolate doesn't even figure into this discussion. You know what I mean? Milk chocolate is the middle ground. They both (Steinway and Bosendorfer) try and hold milk chocolate hostage. Steinway is definitely white chocolate and Bosendorfer is dark chocolate. If you were milk chocolate, who would you want to saddle up next to?
No comment, what changes did you make that you did not expect on this tour?
That I couldn't open for Metallica. I've accepted it, with dignity I might add.
That's good. It's good to accept your fate. So what do you miss now that you are not playing lounges like the Marriott?
The Bailey's Irish Cream.
You mean you can't get that now?
No (laughs). My thighs are rebelling against me. But when I was playing "Feelings" six times a night, I could do a little Bailey's and feel O.K. about it.
There's god to be something about the anonymity of that whole scene. Do you miss any of that?
Anonym? An-no-nom? Come on, a-n-o-n-m-e. What is that thing?
You mean like an animal that lives in the ocean or something?
Yeah. That thing that lives in the ocean. What's that called?
All I can think of is amoeba.
Well this is another thing. It's (tries to sound is out again) well, that's what I want to be. I'll be that instead of the other (anonymous) O.K.?
All right. That's what you want to be. So what's next after the tour: vacation, studio, other projects, etc.
Are you going to hang out for a while, gather your wits?
I don't know what I'm doing. I have no idea. I have no address, I don't know. My address is Rocket Cargo, LAX.
Really, you have no place to call home? That's sad; you're kind of a wanderlust then.
Yeah I am, as long as there's a Jacuzzi in the bathroom. I like dirty feet as long as I have a marble bath to put them in.
[article shared by Lori Christie]
[transcribed by jason/yessaid]
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