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The Hard Word
Suspect: Tori Amos
Interview article by: Simon Wooldridge
She's always had a way with words. But in this case, Tori Amos' notoriously kooky interview style may in fact be driven by sleep deprivation rather than straight ahead eccentricity. In the middle of promoting and touring new album To Venus and Back (a double CD with live best of) and just off a tour with Alanis Morissette, JUICE found Amos in good spirits indeed.
Juice: This section is called the Hard Word, and it features some silly questions.
Tori: Silly's good.
Juice: What do you think of Stimpy's new record?
Tori: What did you say?
Juice: Stimpy Trent Reznor's new album?
Tori: Oh. Ask that question again.
Juice: What do you think of Stimpy's new album?
Tori: How do you know all this nonsense?
Juice: I read it on one of the few Tori Amos websites that didn't have the word obsessed in the title Are you surprised that I know that you nick-named Trent Reznor Stimpy?
Juice: It was in a FAQ from 1994. I presume 1994 would have been the height of Ren & Stimpy.
Tori: It was a bit to do with that. It's a joke.
Juice: The album ?
Tori: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. No. In 1994, calling him Stimpy. It was having a bit of a giggle. I have not had the chance to hear Trent's album, but it's something I want to do. You have to understand, I don't even have a CD player on the road with me now. Right now I am negotiating maybe three hours of sleep a night. That's where I am right now in my life. But I've heard some wonderful things about it.
Juice: Is three hours of sleep what you normally get by on?
Tori: No, that's something I'm dealing with now. But it's kind of making me a bit cranky.
Juice: Oh right. OK.
Tori: We're in a different city every day, and I haven't done this kind of thing in years, you know, all these television promotional things because I opted to do world tours instead. Because this is a double album and it's Christmas, I decided after the American tour that I just did - mostly with Alanis, but then with the band for a couple of weeks -- I decided I was gonna do Europe like I did in 1992 when Little Earthquakes came out. So it's a city a day, and it's really different kinda thing.
Juice: Well, I'll save the most irritating questions until later then, if it's possible.
Tori: No, that's OK. Bring it on.
Juice: If you can't give me a verdict on Stimpy, what do you think of Alanis' new record? You must be familiar with that.
Tori: Well, I've heard her live. But can I tell you a secret? I don't comment on other people's records, because I don't really want them commenting on mine. [laughs]
Juice: You think it'd turn into a slagging match?
Tori: It's either that or just a politically correct answer or it's gushing. Like when I hear people talking about the Radiohead record, I think, "Oh, get a life, get in the studio and do something yourself, you big loser. Go create your own thing, get a life." My opinions on other people's records I leave to myself.
Juice: The first thing that came up when I searched for Tori Amos online was an ad for some shoes you were endorsing. What's good about them?
Tori: Have you heard of Steve Madden?
Tori: Steve Madden is a huge shoe boutique in the States, mostly platform shoes. His demographic is generally just anyone who's willing to wear very high platform shoes. Point being all the proceeds from this shoe go to RAINN, which is the Rape and Incest National Network. So he's really done a great thing.
Juice: Do you ever get over Catholic guilt?
Tori: Well I'm Protestant.
Juice: You know what I mean, the guilt is shared.
Tori: There is a lot of shame, and you're totally straight for it, meaning they're tea totallers, the Methodists. And they had a bit of a hard time with dancing years ago. You know, it's that whole Scottish John Knox influence, that was the Protestant side's influence. I'll tell you the difference. The Catholics are able to drink alcoholic grapes. The Protestants have all the alcohol drained out. So there is no upside of drinking the blood of Christ if you're a Protestant.
Juice: No drinking and bad dancing is part of the deal?
Tori: Yeah, all of that. So of course I was gonna become a musician with a wine cellar.
Juice: What's the most romantic thing you've ever heard?
Tori: "I want to know what you're like when you're 80."
Juice: What did you last cry over?
Tori: What did I last cry over? That I ordered pomme frites in fucking France and got steak fries like I was in Texas. I mean how fucked can you get? They were doing steak fries in Paris, because they thought that was kinda cool. That's just confused. That's like people in Memphis trying to do the polka. "What are you doing?"
Juice: What are your thoughts on Woodstock '99?
Tori: I have very few thoughts about it and I try to think about it as briefly as possible. Do you really think that hate music is going to incite sensuality, deliciousness and peace and love? Because if you do you're a very confused person. It's just gang mentality, it's an equation, this is very basic. If you put an equation together like that you're not gonna get sensual dancing from everybody or a love-in. Those things do not add up together. OK? It's no different than if you have a bunch of guys that have been working in a fish market all day. I don't wanna go down on 'em. These are equations, OK Simon, basic stuff.
Juice: What was the glory of the '80s for you?
Tori: The decadence. I'd say on a scale of one to ten it was a seven and a half.
Juice: Have you ever taken it to ten to get perspective on that rating?
Tori: Not in this lifetime.
Juice: Describe yourself in five words.
Tori: Ok, you ready? I. Do. Not. Describe. Myself.
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