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Minneapolis Star Tribune (US)
July 14, 1998

There's a certain detachment between Amos, fans

by Jon Bream

Why can't Tori Amos read any of the 4,000 or so Web sites devoted to her on the Internet?

Because she doesn't have a computer.

"If I need to know about it, somebody in the inner circle is into all that [computer] stuff and would let us know," said Amos, the singer-songwriter-pianist who has a religious-like following.

Just check out some of the worshipful Web sites listed by Yahoo. Find ToriAmos as:

Goddess of Music.

A Fistful of Tori.

The Church of Tori.

Violent & Delicious: ToriAmos.

Really Deep Thoughts -- the Official Fanzine.

There are even sites devoted to Y Kant Tori Read, the metal band she had long before she became a possessed, provocative, poetic piano woman who drives guys and gals wild.

"It's not your business what people think of you; it's their opinion, and they're allowed that," the North Carolina-bred Amos said recently from her London home. "Neil Gaiman [the award-winning Minnesota-based comic author], of all people, said to me one time, 'Once you become public with your work, if you have feelings, you shouldn't have rights because you're getting royalties.' You can't confuse them for friends. Friends are friends. People who have an opinion on your work, it's a free response."

Amos, 34, said she once checked out an Internet chat about herself and realized that she didn't really need it: "It's like going to a party you're not invited to, and they're talking about you."

These days, the million-selling, classically trained Amos stays away from computers and newspapers. "I read Scientific American -- anything that isn't about the music side of things -- because you need to continue a normal life while you're being a working musician." Ah, Web-site operatives will duly take note.

Amos' sold-out concert Friday at Northrop Auditorium will be her first Twin Cities appearance with a proper band. She finds a whole different vibe now -- both on-and offstage. "It took me no time to get used to the social aspect," she said. "When you walk offstage, you're so pumped. When I was alone, nobody really wanted to talk to me because it was like I had 40 espressos. Now there are four of you, and you can sit down afterward and share it together. The shows are emotional for the players."

Onstage, she has to think differently because it's about a relationship with the musicians. "Even if you're not best friends when you walk offstage, something's got to happen when you pick up your instruments. Otherwise, it's the kind of passive relationship you want in an office setting. Onstage, you need turbulence and emotion. If it's like the bloody Girl Scouts, that's not great; go sell cookies."

The songs on her new album, "From the Choirgirl Hotel," walk the line between mystical and emotional. She addresses her recent miscarriage. To write about such a deep personal experience, the songwriter went to the same kind of inner place she had ventured earlier in her career, when she wrote about being raped.

"I think what happens in the songwriting, I'm much more honest than anywhere else," she said. "That's how I kind of know what my feelings are about something. That's with all the songs. Even if I have violent feelings toward somebody, it's going to that place of 'You don't have to tell this to anybody else' -- and of course, I realize once it gets on record that other people will hear that.

"But there is a detachment in that. A lot of times, the person I've had the argument with, they might know, and we might kind of work through it, but my real feelings go into the song. Because some things you just can't say to anybody else. It's not like you're confessing, or you want their approval, or you want a conversation on it. You need to get to a little fact place yourself -- where you stood on something."

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