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Rolling Stone (Germany)
October 2002

Q & A
Tori Amos

by Birgit Fuss

In "Scarlet's Walk" the song writer comes up with a journey through an America which is a bit different to George W.'s America

You have to be prepared for a long way, if you want to talk to Tori Amos. The song writer has lived in Cornwall, on the south west end of England, for a couple of years and doesn't like to leave her "own nest" with her daughter Tash lately.

This is my husband's home of the heart and I feel very comfortable, very protected here as well.

Your new album, Scarlet's Walk, is a journey through America. How close do you still feel to your home country?

America is my mother - or rather an aunt, because the earth is my mother. America is my soul, and this has nothing to do with how she's behaving politically at the moment. There's more to it - the American natives and the history and the fact that there is another world than the one you read about in the newspapers. There is still sympathy and passion - and a very deep need for spirituality which is neither satisfied by success nor by feelings of omnipotence or by affluence. People are starving because of that affluence.

Where did you collect all those stories?

I'm touring so much through America and through these road trips I see so much. I was in New York, when the Twin Towers collapsed and I had to decide whether I should cancel the tour. I didn't do it because people needed distraction, affection. At least the ones that wanted to come.

Has your view of the world changed since 09/11?

We're living in scary times. As a mother you see both sides of the medal. On the one hand: What will be left in 20 years time? I cannot accept that my daughter won't have a happy future because we make the wrong decisions. All parties have to sit down on one table now. Nothing can be solved by violence - no matter, absolutely no matter where it comes from. On the other hand: if someone you love gets blown away, it is very difficult to understand "the other side". At the moment there are only victims. I know that I would get in any terrorist's way if he tried to attack my daughter. I'd kill him without scruple, rip out his throat - and pour salt on my tongue to make the blood taste nicer. Full stop. End of story.

And what are the chances of a peaceful solution in your opinion? Do you have that hope?

I don't think that everything will end with a bang. But it scares me how much everybody is looking for enemies at the moment and how we are isolating ourselves again. If this is getting worse, there will be no sympathy or visions anymore sometime, but only ignorance and mediocrity.

"Amber Waves" is about a woman's tragedy whose dreams fail in L.A. A true story?

You find so many stories in Los Angeles. You see especially where all the movies come from - and how the game of chess works. Amber Waves is part of it - if she represents America or if she's a woman, everybody decides for his- or herself. There's this anthem with "amber waves of grain" in it - and then there is this porn star in "Boogie Nights". She notices at a certain point that she has to learn to appreciate herself. L.A. doesn't appreciate unconventional personalities. Too many [there] are standardized.

You directly attack Oliver Stone- the song says that he deserves to be slapped. What will he say about that?

He's either got a sense of humour or he hasn't. He represents certain things. He then wanted to use my song "Me And A Gun" for his film "Natural Born Killers", and he had many reasons, but in the end I couldn't accept them. I have this problem with Hollywood directors who want to play god. I don't like that attitude with priests, presidents or others either. I just had to reply to that. Now I keep meeting Oliver by chance, on airplanes and such. Weird. We both went so different ways and yet they keep overlapping again and again.

Are there people that you can't write about - or that you don't dare to write about?

This can happen. If it is too painful. Sometimes you rather wait, till people die.

[translated from German by Christine Abraham]

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