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Triple J (Australia, radio)
Triple J FM, Sydney
November 3, 1999

Tori Amos interview

This interview was conducted over the telephone while Tori was in Belgium.

[Triple J plays Glory of the 80s]

Caroline Tran: You're on the J's. First up on that set, Gerling with "Ghost Patrol" and Tori Amos there from her new album To Venus and Back - you heard "Glory of the '80s". And Tori Amos joins me now from Brussels. Tori, how are you?

Tori Amos: Hey Caroline, how are you?

Caroline: I'm very well, thank you. Now have you appeared on any Belgium television just yet?

Tori: Oh, my god, did you just say "been"? I thought, OK. You said "been" right? I thought you just said "have I peed"!

Caroline: [laughs uncontrollably]

Tori: I didn't know!

Caroline: No no... Well, I mean, it's only like, we're only just getting to know each other....I don't think I should ask you questions about personal hygience just yet.

Tori: Oh, well, you'd be amazed. You would be amazed! It's like 9 something here in the morning, so I'm not hearing right. I'll put my hearing aides in...

Caroline: [laughs]

Tori: I'm doing telly tonight.

Caroline: You are.

Tori: Yeah.

Caroline: What show is it?

Tori: Oh, I don't know. A bunch of upset...what are we doing tonight? Caroline, do you really care? [laughs]

Caroline: Well, I'm just interested because Belgium humour is always one of those funny things, or unfunny things, I just wanted to...

Tori: It's dangerous stuff.

Caroline: Yes. It, it...

Tori: Especially with the internet now.

Caroline: It could be damaging to your reputation, Tori, although I am sure it will hold up anyway.

Tori: Yeah, I'm sure me slagging somebody off would be damaging for my reputation.

Caroline: [chuckles] Now Tori, the new album is out now - it's a fantastic album, i've been listening to it all nightlast night, a double CD. Now apparently when you were starting this project it was going to be a disc full of B-Sides and rarities?

Tori: Yeah.

Caroline: And, how did this evolve to be another sort of project on its own?

Tori: Well, truthfully, when we were coming up with a title for the live thing, I was with two of my girlfriends and we were really having this amazing bottle of Corton Charlamagne. And during this, and as you know, as happens with girls when they're together, we started talking about all sorts of stuff and we decided that it should be called "To Venus and Back". And once the title was in place and all these new songs started to kind of, grab me by the throat and say, hi we're coming.

Caroline: Oh, OK. That's amazing. So no reference to Mars? Venus and Mars? It's just a female thing?

Tori: No, actually, no. Not to them at all!!

Caroline: [laughs]

Tori: Fuck them.

Caroline: [cackles] I'm with you - don't worry Tori I'm with you! So what's been the reaction been to the album Tori? I mean it's full bodied in terms of instrumentation, lot of your fans were used to hearing the Tori and piano. Only.

Tori: Uhhhh...I don't really know or, you're going to think, this is, whatever it is, think whatever you want, but I don't care what people think. I really don't. I do what I think is right as a musician. I sit with my team and we follow the muse and you know... I put out a party when I put out an album and if people show up, they show up and if they don't, the quality of the wine does not change. You know what I'm saying?

Caroline: Yep. [chuckles] Just sounds like magical experience unfolding.

Tori: Yeah, but I mean I've always been like that. Like if a guy doesn't ask me to the prom, I always have my left hand.

Caroline: [laughs softly, then loudly, getting what Tori's just said] I see. Or you hold your own prom?

Tori: That's right.

Caroline: It must be one fanatastic bottle of wine, Tori.

Tori: Oh yeah.

Caroline: The song Datura that I was having a listen to - I've been reading up on it. Now apparently you have a herb garden with a list that you run off in the song Datura as well.

Tori: Had.

Caroline: You had? What's happened?

Tori: You know that Hurricane Irene?

Caroline: Oh yes, did hear about it.

Tori: Oh, she kicked my butt. My gardener, I had this emergency message from my gardener, like I get this messge in Berlin. "Your gardener's calling from the tropics - they say it's tragic." So I'm going to have to go down there and figure it out. But I've lost everything in the garden except the Datura [laughs], which is a hallucinogen. That's good because then it'll help us get everything back together again.

Caroline: Fantastic. So do you put together herbal remedies? Do you concoct natural remedies for things? Like oh, example, we've got a lot of people who are studying at the moment - they're cramming, they're stressing. Anything for concentration? Or for creativity? (pause) Do you mess about with your herbs at all?

Tori: Uh, no. I have other people to do that. Because it's kind of tricky stuff. Because honestly, like with Datura, if you do it wrong - people have died doing it. So if you get it wrong you could become brain damaged.

Caroline: Mm. I read that...

Tori: Some people around me think that I'm brain damaged but I don't want to take it further. You know?

Caroline: [giggles] No, I don't think so at all. There are plenty of people who really rely on your music to... Friends of mine, when they listen to their albums, they listen to it on their own. It's kind of like a reconciling or exposing the things about themselves. Who do you actually rely on Tori?

Tori: Um, my speedboat? [laughs]

Caroline: [laughs] Speedboat - you're getting out on a speedboat.

Tori: Yeah, I have a speedboat, but it blew up so I got to get another one. My other one caught on fire.

Caroline: Oh.

Tori: And I ended up on this barge, right with all these Cajun, Louisiana... Just imagine I'm there, we've got this fire on this little speedboat and we're standing there getting ready to jump any second, and these guys come up in their little boat, and they're right from a barge, and they go "Hey baby, you wanna go to the barge?" Urgh! And in that second, right, jumping and seeing if I can make it to the shore myself looks almost better.

Caroline: [chuckles]

Tori: But we end up with these guys for 3 hours.

Caroline: They didn't want to let go of you - they thought they'd rescued these damsels and they deserved to get some rewards.

Tori: Yeah. Rewards (extremely sarcastically).

Caroline: [laughs]

Tori: That's a tricky word Caroline...

Caroline: [laughs] How did it catch on fire, Tori?

Tori: I gunned it too much, you know in the shallow area?

Caroline: You should know when you go boat shopping, you know yourself, you shouldn't be going for second rates standard boats, you're a high powered woman, you gotta get a high charger speedboat. If you're going to consider an investment like that...

Tori: I know. I screwed up.This time though I'm going to approach it differently. So I'm really, see that's the thing - when I'm out on the water, that's when a lot of ideas come. And I dunno - I just love being out there.

Caroline: OK, think of us out there when you're on the water too Tori. We'd love to be out there with you.

Tori: Oh yeah Caroline, it'll be the first thing that comes to my mind!


Caroline: Alright! Enough sarcasm from you young lady.

Tori: No way! You gotta go now right?

Caroline: Yeah, but I'd like to play another song from To Venus and Back! Which song would you like to hear, Tori?

Tori: I want you to play a song that nobody ever plays - play Suede because it's you when you know guys. Because I have a crew of kazillions of guys. And they'll come up to me and go, "Tori, I didn't do anything wrong, why is she mad at me?" And then you hear this story right, "they think, look all I did was show up in a room, why I have a girlfriend, but I showed up in a room and she was looking at me going, you know, obviously you want to be here. I didn't want to be there - i was just in a room having a drink and you know making out."

Caroline: [chuckles]

Tori: So Suede is for all those guy who of course have nothing to do with it.

Caroline: And who just don't get it.

Tori: Yep.

Caroline: Thank you very much Tori. It's been great to speak with you.

Tori: Bye Caroline!

Caroline: Have a fantastic day out on the boat!

Tori: OK.

Caroline: Bye bye. You're on Triple J.

[Triple J plays Suede]

[transcribed by Jill Verbaendert]

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