songs | interviews | photos | tours | boots | press releases | timeline | stories

The Shepherd Express (US)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, newspaper
Thursday, June 6, 1996


By Paul Gargano

Talking to Tori Amos is very similar to watching her perform. Even over the telephone, Amos is an endearing, captivating, and convincing as her music, which titillates the senses with it's precise balance of soothing undertones, and deep, sometimes dark lyrics. More than anything else, those extremes are the fuel for her creativity, establishing a desire to take what the extremists have to offer, incorporate her experiences and present an honest, heartfelt impression of the truth according to Tori.

"People that come and hang out at my shows know that it's a safe place to go diving on emotional levels, because I'm very clear about what my job is-my job is to hold a space," Amos says. "We're in a time where there's so much competition, that I feel a lot of artists like to hold a copyright on the fact that they're the source. But the source is for everybody to have access to, the source is out there somewhere, in there somewhere, it's everywhere, and we all have a right to it."

According to Amos, her rich and structured religious up-bringing explains her present status as a "born-again pagan." Her father is a minister which a doctorate in theology. After attending church four times a week until she turned 21, Amos began to doubt some of the Christian dogma being professed. She educated herself in world religions, read all she could, and began to formulate theories of her own.

"I sat there and started to think, 'Alright, I've heard all this backwards and forwards from every angle, and fine, I'm into this love your neighbor as yourself, that's great, but where does all this fear come from about dancing the primitive dance, the concept of woman, their sensuality, their connection with all aspects of the self? I read a bit of mythology, with Isis, etcetera, and said, OK, where did all of this go? Where's the balance? Where's the female aspect of God? The fragmentation of the feminine is something that really started to perk my interest. That's what 'Muhammad My Friend' is about, trying to find the female part of God that's been circumcised."

What's tangible to Amos, isn't always tangible to her fans, who may have different thoughts, different experiences, and often an altogether different take on what a song may mean. While that isn't easy for her to handle, she's got a little choice in the matter. She may not be as shocking as Marilyn Manson, or as angry as Trent Reznor, but Tori Amos has her own cross to bear, and she does it proudly, using her music to explore the depths of her mind, and hopefully provide a spark for her audiences.

"I may connect with one out of six, but that's not bad," she says, laughing, "You translate as much as you can at the time. People get out of it what they want, and it's very different than what I'm getting out of it. A lot of us see things differently, and that has to be OK. I make it very clear that I'm a reflection, everybody has a right to claim their own creativity. I don't want to take anybody's power, and I don't want anybody to take mine."

t o r i p h o r i a
tori amos digital archive