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Courier Mail (Australia)
Brisbane, Australia
December 3, 1999

Chatting with God

If people really believe in their god then they shouldn't be threatened by some woman who wants to have a little chat, Tori Amos tells Alison White.

Tori Amos' eerily unique voice has propelled her into a world of fame and fortune. She is surrounded by gifted musicians and beautiful music more often than not and has a cult-like following around the globe. But when Tori talks about her fifth and latest album, To Venus and Back, it becomes crystal clear that a fairytale like existence has not left stars in the eyes of this angsty songstress. Tori says she sees life like it is and she's not afraid to tell it like she sees it. Having been through the trauma of rape and in recent years losing a baby through miscarriage, feminist Tori has a lot to tell about music, life and religion -- a lot to tell about religion.

"God is a misogynist," she says in a contemplative tone. "When you really spend time and look at things God said, if you have a brain on you, you've got to raise an eyebrow and say this God is a macho pig. I mean, if Sylvester Stallone said this stuff we'd be giving him a very hard time and he has said some of this stuff and we have given him a hard time -- he deserved it. But the point is the Christian god hasn't honoured women. Sorry, the cat's out of the bag and it's just not cool so it's something we have to address because until this century women didn't have a voice. It's not as if you hear about all those great 17th century women composers or painters or whatever. It's not like we've been allowed to have a voice until this century."

Now the voice has been granted to most 1990s Western women, Tori has no intention of staying quiet. And she is not content to just stick it to the people -- she is out to settle her score with deities. And not just the Christian god, but Buddha and every other mythical entity that transcends this earth (except for the spirit of Mary Magdalene, whom she has worshipped since she was five).

"I believe they all exist," she says. "I just want to have a little chat with them and I have been in the music. If people really believe in their god then they shouldn't be threatened by some little human woman who wants to have a little chat."

But the subtle menace tinging her voice would send a shiver down the spine of Satan himself and one gets the feeling that Tori should not be messed with. Her past albums -- Little Earthquakes, Under The Pink, Boys for Pele and From The Choirgirl Hotel -- make it apparent that she is a volatile force to be reckoned with. It comes as no surprise that Concertina, her favourite song on To Venus and Back, is equally as threatening. She describes it as "a fierce calm."

"There's this wonderful humility that happens when you deal with the power of Mother Nature," she says. "I think women can be very much like that. Lionesses are very much like that -- they're just sitting there sunning, very calm and then some ridiculous tourist comes and wants to take a picture. Then all they find is his camera."

To Venus and Back is out now through Warner.

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