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Billy Bragg Show (UK, radio)
BBC Radio 2
October 30, 1999


Tori Amos interview and live performance
songs: Lust, Winter and Concertina

Billy: I'm very pleased to say that my first guest today is Tori Amos. Tori, welcome to the studio.

Tori: Hey Billy.

Billy: What are you going to play for us?

Tori: Um... Lust.

Billy: Lust. On a Saturday afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, Tori Amos live.

Tori plays Lust.

Billy: Tori Amos live, here in session from Maida Vale 4, with the track Lust from her new album To Venus and Back. We'll be coming back to Tori to speak to her a little later in the program.

Billy: I'm joined again now by Tori Amos, who's here with her baby grand piano, looking sparkling and beautiful.

Tori: (laughs)

Billy: (jokingly) Dont...look, you'll scratch it. Don't put your ring on there.

Tori: Oh Billy, you're so funny.

Billy: I try. It's live radio, we're here at Maida Vale. Tori, you're going to play us a song and then we'll have a little chat.

Tori: Tell them the truth. I look like, y'know...crap.

Billy: You look fine - you look like you've just come in from a rainy day. It's kind of raining here, those of you who are might be watching the rugby with the sound down and listening to us. It's raining in Twickenham and it's raining here.

Tori: I look like a rugby football. That's what I look like. But that's okay.

Tori plays Winter with a special intro.

Billy: Tori Amos with Winter there, live from Maida Vale. The beauty of radio, Tori, is that it's not what you look like, it's what you sound like. And that sounded beautiful. Everyone at home is absolutely enchanted now.

Tori: Hooray!

Billy: Hooray! So you are you? You're very busy at the moment.

Tori: Yeah.

Billy: Touring up and around. We were talking earlier that these are rather hard times for singer/songwriters. It seems that the medium of pop music has moved away from performance and lyrical content of songs towards the movements of bellybuttons and repetitive beats. Does that trouble you?

Tori: I think what's troubling is not that that exists cos it's always existed and y'know, entertainers have always....God, we wouldn't, Vegas wouldn't do very well without them. I mean, you gotta have them.

Billy: Yeah.

Tori: And, y'know, we all love a bit of that. But I think what's scary is when you never hear the poets any more. What happens is, they're the ones that tell us our devils, and if we don't know what our devils are, then it gets scary because, y'know they're that voice that whispers in your ear.

Billy: That seems at the moment to be sort of disappeared under layers of post, for want of a better word, doesn't it?

Tori: That was good.

Billy: Yeah, I know, it was wasn't it. I kind of fished that one out of the air. That's the other wonder of live radio - you tend to say whatever comes into your head. Later you think to yourself, "where did that come from?" So, when you eat pizza, do you eat the crusts?

Tori: No - I give the crusts away.

Billy: You give the crusts away.

Tori: Yeah. And there are people that will take them. See that's the thing. That's the thing about a bus with boys on it, they will take the crusts.

Billy: Ah, you feed your band the crusts of your pizzas.

Tori: Yes, I do.

Billy: See, I dip mine in humus. It makes them much more palatable. I spose it's like dipping your biscuit in tea, makes it easier to...

Tori: (interrupts) Doesn't it blow your mind though that people, there are those people who don't like it with all the yummy stuff on it.

Billy: Yeah.

Tori: Like the guitar player, he's like, "No, I don't want that stuff with all the tomato crap on it and the cheesy bit." I'm like - "you're nuts."

Billy: He just wants the crusts.

Tori: The dry stuff.

Billy: That's perverse. Now that is perverse. Is it the thin one or the big fat one?

Tori: I like thin, so that's what I order.

Billy: Thin is good. That's one of the things about doing this job, it's messed up our Saturday afternoon pizza experiences. I'm sure I'll be getting back to that subsequently. That's a big hope.

Tori: Hooray!

Billy: So are you going to be free by December 31st or are you touring right up to the millennium experience and doing some huge gig?

Tori: Well, we go back to the States during Christmas which is always kind of trippy - y'know, they do all those radio Christmases and y'know, those things. and basically blackmail. That's what it is.

Billy: Is that social blackmail or familial it being blackmailed into seeing all your family members or...

Tori: (interrupts) Ah, nonononono, I'm talking about blackmail, radio blackmail. You HAVE to do this.

Billy: Oh right, oh I see.

Tori: Yeah. And you know they know, I say it over there. I tell them, "I'm playing and it's blackmail. Hi!"

(Both laugh)

Tori: But um, so that's how it works. So, we're going and doing that but by the 31st hopefully I'm going to be cuddled up with husband and um... y'know.

Billy: Mm. I do exactly. That's the other wonder about radio, it's all in the mind. People at home are now imagining that scene, of you spending the millennium...

Tori: (interrupts) Sometimes it's all in the mind when you're there, participating!

(Both laugh)

Billy: Speaking of which, perhaps you'd like to play us another song.

Tori: Oh sure, okay that's what I'm supposed to do.

Billy: What's this one gonna be called?

Tori: This is called Concertina.

Billy: Tori Amos live on Radio 2.

Tori plays Concertina.

Billy: Tori Amos live from Maida Vale 4 with Concertina from her new album To Venus and Back. Tori, thank you very much for taking time out from a very busy schedule to pop in here this afternoon.

Tori: Thanks Billy.

Billy: Thanks very much. We'll be back after these messages.

[transcribed by Danny Weddup]

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