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Stero Type (US)
the Atlantic Group's gay and lesbian newsletter
Summer 1999

Tori's Strength

Amidst the hullabaloo that goes on backstage prior to a big rock-and-roll show, Stero Type sat down and interviewed the beatifically tranquil Tori Amos just minutes before she was to go onstage before thousands of screaming fans. By the time we shut our tape recorder off, we were in complete awe of this woman. She was extremely polite, had many interesting things to say, and to top it all off, she is very aware of what's happening in the gay community.

Tori's latest dance remix, "Jackie's Strength", hit #1 on the Billboard Dance chart this past spring. Look for a double album (one disk will be live, the other will be new studio material) to be released on September 28. Also, look for Tori on tour with Alanis Morissette beginning on August 18. In the meantime, here are a few pearls of wisdom from the deliciously loquacious Ms. Amos.

Stero Type: When we were at the taping of your Sessions at W.54th St. show, we noticed you taking sips of water and spitting it on the floor. Is this a technical thing?

Tori Amos: Yes. I need to keep my cords wet, but not drowned, so that's why I spit it out.

Stero Type: What kind of preparation are you making for tonight's show?

Tori Amos: Well, it's now 9:15, and we go on at 9:30, and I haven't written the set list yet. The band usually gets the set list right before we do a stupid thing called "doingetty doink" (a nightly bonding session with the rest of the band that appears to be a form of patty cake), and for some reason that has been our ritual during this tour.

Stero Type: As you know, this interview is for a gay and lesbian newsletter, and there are many musicians who support and influence the gay community. You are definitely one of them.

Tori Amos: I grew up surrounded by gay people because I started to play in gay clubs when I was thirteen years old; it was never an issue for me. Some of my dearest friends are gay. I find a lot of comfort in the gay community. I'm drawn to people that are creative and artistic. Don't get me wrong-I don't want to generalize and say that all gay people are creative and artistic. God forbid! But I'm comfortable around anyone as long as people act like consenting adults. If it's not consenting, I'm not hanging around for coffee!

Stero Type: We've been told that you are writing a song called "Just Another Dead Fag"

Tori Amos: Yes, it refers to another bright light that has left us. The British call cigarettes fags, and I like the meaning of that-the fire and the brightness that shines in a person. Its been tricky to write because sometimes I feel there's a sacred ground that I shouldn't intrude upon. This song, in particular makes me feel a sense of toil and trouble.

Stero Type: How involved are you in your video concepts?

Tori Amos: Well, obviously nobody is going to tell me what to do because I allowed myself to be seduced many years ago by what people wanted to see from me, and the results were frightening. But, basically, the video concepts are really about collaboration. I never come up with the concept myself. There has to be a chemistry between the director and me. We talk in depth about the song on different levels. I don't tell the director what the song is about because it can be about different things. For instance, the video for "spark" was about a girl having a very bad day, but we don't know if she will live or die when the video ends.

Stero Type: How would you sum up your work in one sentence?

Tori Amos: I think my work is of-the-present and cutting edge. It's not just about some stupid party backstage at the Grammys, which is not very interesting at all!

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