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Nomad (Australia, TV)
SBS Australian television
Fall 1995

Tori Amos interview and live performance
song: Leather

(Tori performs Leather)

Interviewer: We often hear people saying that religion can really screw people up. I was just wondering what your antidote to it has been?

Tori: We are not taught to think for ourselves and there's reasons for that. 'Cause if we think for ourselves then we CAN'T be controlled. That means by government, by media, by any institution. And you find that the tools AREN'T given for kids, cause that's where it begins and ends really. For them to learn how to work through their own thoughts processes. And this is really the key, because if you don't have the tools then you are subjected to everybody else's opinions and belief systems. So I had to go in and strip away everybody else's beliefs systems and find my own. And you know instinctively what's right for you. But umm, it's not what's been taught.

(Winter video plays for approx. 20 secs)

Interviewer: What about your mother? I believe she was part Cherokee. Has that background had any influence on you?

Tori: Completely. She wasn't reared in a Native American, um, culture. Like a full-blooded Native American would be. But the stories came down through my grandfather who was. And she is a minister's wife which is really interesting because that is the duality of being a real nature spirit. And the two, it's a really interesting combination. Sometimes a bit volatile. Because she has her TOMAHAWK in her purse next to the bible. (interviewer laughs) And she is a real, elevated being, my mother. She's been an incredible part of my life.

(Silent All These Years video plays for approx. 20 secs)

Interviewer: Me and a Gun is about being raped, attacked. Must have been a very painful song to write.

Tori: I wrote it after I saw Thelma and Louise. And that had, umm, I had to let out all that incredible hurt and anger. The anger came. The song was written in the afternoon that I had seen Thelma and Louise and completed. It had always been a capella. And when I started writing it, it was as if the blinded was on. I knew exactly what I wanted to say. I mean, I was almost in a trace writing that song. I was back there in that experience, and yet, another part of me was guiding it on. I felt like I was protected writing it, when it was over, when I had looked at what I had written. And the hardest part is performing it every night because, although I know I'm safe, a part of me has to go to that place to sing it. And what this whole process has taught me is, I'm not a victim. Although when I go in and sing it every night, there's a certain energy I bring to make it very real and then after the performance is over I can go and have an ICE CREAM and have a life and say, "This is over. I can talk about it and I have love in my life." And it's really important to get to that stage.

(Crucify video plays for approx. 20 secs)

Interviewer: I guess the thing about pop music is it tends to gloss over a lot of things. And yet you treat subjects quite differently. You sing about sex, for example, in a way it hasn't been treated before in pop music. What sort of reaction have you had from that?

Tori: (Tori giggles .... big smile)... umm. It's really been good fun because when people starts listening to what I'm saying, because it's acoustic, you immediately without really listening to what I'm talking about, they umm, I find that their heads start swing around when they hear what I'm saying and they are a bit shocked. Because they are not prepared for it. And I really like taking people off guard. I like it when somebody throws me on my BUTT and I have to, like a David Lynch movie (opens eyes wide and gives an intense stare), I just find myself feeling all these different things and it pushes buttons and it reminds me that I'm ALIVE and I can feel something. Which, most of the time listening to the radio you don't remember you are ALIVE unless JANE's ADDICTION comes on and then it's like ..... thank god I'm alive, JANE's ADDICTION has come.

(Silent All These Years video plays for approx 20 secs.)

Tori: Even those things when you fall on you face, those AREN'T bad experiences. IF YOU HAVEN'T FALLEN ON YOUR FACE I REALLY DON'T WANT TO KNOW YOU. Because you haven't lived. I mean, HONEY, that's part of my natural archives those experiences. And I've got some archives. You have something to write about when you have lived. And living is ... you've got to try things. So when anybody tells kids .... BEING SAFE IS VERY DANGEROUS. Safe meaning staying in one place, not experimenting with, "DO I WANT TO DO THIS? DO I WANT TO TRY THAT? MAYBE I SHOULD GO HERE?" You have to, give yourself no limitations (raises hand above eyes), and that's when you find out what you are made of.

(Winter video plays)


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