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WHFS, Baltimore (US, radio)
WHFS, Baltimore/D.C. (99.1 FM)
November 4, 1998

Tori Amos interview

Lou: Tori, Queen of life, appear now and end my strife. Tori, Tori, Alanis is a cow.

Alan: Hey, hey!

Lou: Tori, Tori, appear now. Oh my god, I can feel her presence, I can feel her presence. Tori, are you there?

Tori: Hey Lou, how are you?

Lou: I'm not too bad, how are you today?

Tori: I'm pretty well, thanks.

Lou: I can, I can hear you, but I can't see you. It's rather eerie. (continuing the spirit world theme) Umm, first off, I'm curious, what, if anything, you did for Halloween?

Tori: Umm, we played Purdue Univ. And we did, uh, we were all in masks, you know, Gold and Silver and Black masks, so it wasn't like, umm, we dressed up really shockingly, but I think it sorta worked. I kept taking off masks and there was another underneath, so..

Lou: Were people offering up their own costumes for any part of the show?

Tori: No, not, umm, the audience. My crew seemed to get into a Rocky Picture Horror Show Review. I don't know what happened, but all these guys ended up in fishnets and wigs and stuffed bras, so they seemed to entertain themselves. I think when you're on the road as long as we are, you know, the crew, they need to humor themselves.

Lou: Well, after a while, don't they just get kinda *makes monotony noise effect* "I need to get home for a while" or...

Tori: Umm, no, they need to get laid, to be honest with you. But, they're like pirates, you know? And it's not just the men, the women too. They've been out since April, a lot of them, and most of them have not been home. So, you do get, you know, the village keeps traveling. We go from city to city, we live and work together, but umm you know, everything gets magnified when you're on a tour, because you're never without each other.

Lou: Now, do you pay the crew, maybe it's none of my business, but do you pay the crew in cash, in check, or perhaps in gold and silver?

Tori: Direct to their bank. We're in the modern age.

Lou: Damn, it would have been cooler if it was more pirate like, with everyone gathering on the stage after the audience leaves to, you know, cut up the booty.

Tori: Yeah, I think that they like it direct to their bank cause they're worried what they're gonna do with it if it's in their pocket. It's dangerous to have too much cash on hand because, you know, we're going through places, it's shocking how many casinos there are now these days. And, umm, you know, if somebody is holding the money, I never hold the money, it's a strange thing. It's just you always hope somebody's got some in their pocket and you sort of look at them. When you go through these casinos, I mean Johnny told me a story one of these nights, somebody, one of the people holding the money, they were in Vegas and I think they had $40,000. And it was just almost too tempting to go downstairs to those tables.

Lou: Like having to tell the crew, "Uh, I'm sorry, no one's actually getting paid this week cause the number 17 didn't come in."

Tori: Yeah, that would go over really well.

Lou: So, uh, tell me about this thing on MTV tonight. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to read the actual press release for what this show "Revue" is about and then perhaps you can put it in some form of human communication. "'Revue' will give viewers a new and exciting way to learn more about their favorite artists by incorporating biography, philosophy, and comedy intertwined with unique and intimate musical performances by the artist." That sounds like a lot for 30 minutes.

Tori: I think that what you're really going to see is artists that get scared *bleep* (shitless) and how they deal with it. You know, you're sitting there, it's really like a monologue. There's no audience and there's really, there's somebody on the side kind of shouting questions to you, but, like I told these guys in Minneapolis, the crew, they're really nice, but you know that they wanna go and have a beer and get home and watch what's going on in some sports channel. And so, you're really trying to talk about yourself, but I think you get to see us kinda fall on our face and try to save it.

Lou: Do you get the feeling that you say things in a situation like that and they're just gonna cut out everything you say anyway if it's not of a particular ilk of answer?

Tori: I think what you have to know is that they're probably gonna keep the stuff in that's embarrassing. Because it's, when you really just have to talk, I'm not comfortable with that. That's why I write songs, I guess. And when you have to rattle on, you know, you begin to see, you begin to sometimes trip over yourself and you're always winking at the editor, hoping that he's gonna be your friend.

Lou: By the way, if you're just joining us here on HFS, Tori Amos is our guest. Umm, that leads me to something about your song writing. There are some human beings, be they in or out of the public eye, who have no problem talking about themselves. You've always seemed painfully shy by that and yet, your songs certainly touch a cord with a lot of people because they are so personal. Do you have any explanation why it's easy in one respect to bare your soul and in other ways, it's just impossible for you?

Tori: I guess the piano's just been a safe place for me since I was real young. And I can sit there at a dinner table and lie through my teeth and be nice to everybody and then really go after them when I'm at the piano. It's just always been the way where I can sort things out.

Lou: How old were you when you started playing and perhaps this could spill into if you have any opinion on if there are parents who have younger kids and they are interested in getting them involved in music. And usually I would guess that the earlier, the better, but what was it like for you and what would you suggest are the good things and bad things from the situation you grew up with?

Tori: Some times parents kind of get dazed by kids that are drawn to one thing and do it pretty well. I was playing, my mother says, when I was 2 and a half and I was at the Peabody in Baltimore when I was 5. I'm glad I was, on one hand, because I think it really taught me, I was never, umm, that's why when the pop media talk about female singers/songwriters, it's very foreign to me because I was brought up "you're either a good musician or you're not." It's not about a female musician or a male musician, musician is the word.

Lou: Oh, I still do.

Tori: Do you? *laugh* Maybe it's an Anne Boleyn thing, I just needed to decapitate everything in honor of her. But I think people do forget it's a career and you still don't even have proper table manners. It's a very strange thing when at 11, you feel like you've failed in your career and you can't even drive yet, can't even reach the petals.

Lou: By the way, we'd like to remind folks, the closest you're gonna be in between now and the holidays is probably the show in Newark, DE. So, we remind everybody to forward any Barbie heads to the Carpenter Center care of Tor.. We're kidding, please, for God's sake, don't do that, don't embarrass us.

Tori: Oh no, come on, I have a X-mas tree, it'll be beautiful.

Lou: Oh, do you hang Barbie heads on the tree?

Tori: Sure.

Lou: And the bodies make a cheery blaze in the fireplace. And also, collecting the heads keeps the crew alive and animated while you're out and about.

Tori: Yeah, Johnny says bring Stolley.

Lou: That's the pirate talking... *using pirate voice* Arr, where's me grog Captain Amos. By the way, what do you have coming up for the holidays? I see the last date on the itinerary is on December 3rd. Do you basically get to go home and go out shopping and enjoy the holidays after that. I think it would be fun to go out X-mas shopping with you.

Tori: You do?

Lou: I think you would probably know like some cool shops to go to, it'd be fun. We could get cocoa.

Tori: Mmm, the thing is, you might find this strange, but I'm gonna go traveling for X-mas with my new husband. I'm not ready to settle down yet. I've been traveling for so long that I think I need to travel without having to be somewhere at a certain time. So, I need the freedom of just kind of walking around the city.

Lou: Would you like to say where you're going?

Tori: We're gonna be in Europe somewhere, I think that's safe enough. *lightening sound effects and static* Sorry Lou and Alan, sounds like..

Lou: Tori, we're losing you.. Don't go! Come back!

Tori: Ok guys, *laugh* Merry X-mas.

Lou: Take care.

Tori: Bye.

Lou: Tori, Tori are you there!

Alan: What happened? I hope it wasn't that "Alanis is queen" comment I was making in my head.

Lou: Hey hey hey!

Alan: What? *innocence*

Lou: We lost the connection, it's all your fault!

Alan: What are you talking about?

Lou: You are a fowl unbeliever!

Alan: I don't know what you're talking about *still acting innocent*.

Lou: The audio lines to the spirit world were a little tinny today.

Alan: Just a little..

Lou: I wish they would switch to digital finally, you know. Thanks to Tori for joining us. *takes deep breath* There's that smell of electricity in the air, can you smell it? *deep breath*

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