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America Online (AOL) (US, www)
live online chat
sponsored by Steve Madden

October 19, 1999

live online chat with Tori Amos and Steve Madden

AOLiveMC1: Thanks everyone! And welcome to our guests Tori Amos and Steve Madden!

AmosMadden: Hi! We're ready to roll!

Question: How long have you both known each other? Do you plan to do other fund raisers for RAINN?

Madden: About a year now. This is the only thing we do at our company. This is a double pleasure for us.

Amos: Steve has been there and been really helpful during Lilith Fair. He's been really supportive!

Madden: I just had a flu shot, and my memory is going!

Question: Tori- What got you into your shoe fetish? :) I am a huge fan!

Amos: To be honest, I remember being 5 years old and having these little shoes with an enclosed toe with an opening where I could insert different colors. That was the beginning of an obsession.

Question: There seems to be a strong female influence in your music (the songs and the piano all seem to have female personas). How do you integrate the male aspect?

Amos: Well, as I've told all my women friends when I buy them jewelry, that in another life I was 6'4" with three legs.

Question: Steve, how did you get interested in creating shoe styles?

Madden: For me, I didn't start out as a designer. I worked my first job in high school in the shoe business in '73 as a stock boy. The big albums were Ziggy Stardust and Elton John. They all wore these big platforms and the styles were so great in those days. We had things like Spiders From Mars... Gary Glitter....... Shoes were a big thing there.

Amos: Steve, have you collected any of those shoes?

Madden: I did, and I lost them! I had a great pair with crepe bottoms. They were oxfords. I had a lot of things, and I lost them along the way. The funny thing is about that is that I haven't seen such a hard-core following like there is for Tori since then. I think Bowie had that real strong cult following.

Question: What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

Amos: You better know why you're doing it. That means if you wanna get chicks or guys, whatever your preference. Just be clear with yourself about why you're doing it. What happens sometimes is that a lot of musicians say that they're only doing it for the music. When the lights are flashing in your face, you get a kind of guilt complex. You wake up with a little monster. You should never feel guilty about wanting to put your art out there. Don't feel bad about wanting to share, just remember why you're doing it.

Madden: As for me, I say work in a shoe store....and don't get bogged down in design courses!

Question: steve--thanks for all your help with RAINN, and your website rocks. Are you planning on designing more "celebrity shoes", and for whom?

Madden: I don't really think so. I don't think we're big on that. We'd do anything for RAINN, but if we did anything else it would be very private. I'm more interested in the shoes being worn on the street. I like to see people wearing them.

Question: Being a child prodigy at the age of 3 and being the youngest person ever admitted to the Peabody Institute, what words of advice would you give to parents of children who are gifted?

Amos: It's a tricky thing, because let's face it...if you don't encourage a child to develop their talents, it's a diamond in the rough. As a parent, I think you have to ask yourself if you're doing it for you or for the kid. My parents wanted me to be a concert pianist. I wanted to be a composer. My ideas of how I wanted to use my talents were different from my parents. It's really important that the kid is conscious of the sacrifices he'll have to make. I made a conscious choice, and it's important to keep checking in with the kid. If the kid wants to throw in the towel, it might be nice to take the kid to a concert to see what's ahead.

Question: Since 1998 you have been producing albums starting with From The Choirgirl Hotel (Atlantic 1998) and now with To Venus And Back (Atlantic 1999). What's next? Are you already working on another album or are you going to hit the road and tour for awhile?

Amos: Are you kidding me? I'm going to go to sleep soon! This album we just did was a surprise. I think I need to go be a little bear and go hibernate.

Question: Steve, what made you decide to get involved with RAINN?

Madden: It's a great cause. Luckily it's combined with a great artist, so it was an easy decision.

Question: Tori....i am 21/male/CA.....i LOVE the way you write...i attempt to write poetry (and am currently writing a musical) and i want to know how you deal w/ writer's block?

Amos: Well, usually when writer's block comes, I take it as a sign to go drink in life. Maybe that means spending time in the desert or walking a wall in Cornwall. I take roadtrips. And I take notes. As I collect ideas, I find it's about exposing yourself. You open yourself up to different people's lives. There's so much inspiration out there. I think you should make it into an adventure.

Question: Tori, do you feel your music has changed over the years?

Amos: Sure, everything changes every day. I think it's a reflection of where you are at the time.

Madden: I think you struggle to change. People don't accept it. You have to keep changing though, or it gets boring and your work gets bad. It's frustrating to get shut down for doing something different, but when you evolve like in music, people like Tori can do different things.

OnlineHost: We would like to thank Tori Amos and Steve Madden for being with us this evening!

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