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Las Vegas Sun (US)
Sunday, July 27, 2003
by Spencer Patterson
Las Vegans won't see Lollapalooza 2003 in their hometown this year, but they will have a chance to catch "Lottapianos" this week.
The tour brings together a pair of pianists, headliner Tori Amos and support act Ben Folds. The two perform at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel on Thursday night at 8.
Amos is back on the road supporting last year's "Scarlet's Walk," the 39-year-old singer/songwriter's seventh full-length album. She also played The Joint on the tour's first leg in December.
Joining Amos onstage will be two longtime collaborators, bassist Jon Evans and drummer Matt Chamberlain.
Folds, formerly of the Ben Folds Five, will perform alone. The 36-year-old singer recently released the first of three new EPs this week through his official website, attackedbyplastic.com.
Last week Amos took time for a telephone interview from her Seattle hotel room, soon after her 2-year-old daughter, Natashya, finally fell asleep after waking her mother up that morning at 4:45.
Las Vegas Sun: How has motherhood affected your tour schedule?
Tori Amos: She's 2 and three-quarters, as she tells me, and she comes with me to my shows. But as she gets older, you have to re-approach it. She starts kindergarten this year and I'll have to play it by ear.
When she was a baby you'd just pick her up and go, but as she gets more established you have to kind of be respectful of that. I don't know what I'm going to do yet.
Sun: Tell me a bit about the "Lottapianos" concept.
Tori: I just thought it would be a good evening out for people, and I felt like having been touring through the pre-war and the (Iraq) war and even touring during the Afghanistan war, I felt like it was important as a musician to be out there if you could do it.
It's not for some people, and I respect that, but I felt like it was important to hold a space for people who needed a place to go to, where they didn't have to worry about somebody jumping on top of them and getting smushed.
Sun: Have you played with Ben before?
Tori: No, I'm looking forward to meeting him. But I just felt like this is what (the tour) needed to be. It wasn't about an all-woman evening. The idea was about the instrument, and I liked the idea that you could have two different approaches to a piano, the same way you can have two different views on policy. One doesn't have to take away from the other.
Sun: The lead character on "Scarlet's Walk" journeys through all 50 states. Are those routes you've traveled yourself?
Tori: What you're seeing there probably took me 10 years. I went across the country while I was touring "Strange Little Girls" at the end of September 2001, right after the twins (World Trade Center twin towers) went down. I was in New York City that day doing promo for it and everything, obviously, changed.
As people were canceling, we were getting a lot of e-mails on the website that were just saying, "If nothing else, just show up so we can have a place to gather and talk to each other." So I decided I needed to be out there and we've been out there quite a bit since. A lot of "Scarlet" was written on the road, while I toured the country.
Sun: On the map that details Scarlet's road trip in the liner notes, it looks like she spent some time in Las Vegas. Do you enjoy coming to town?
Tori: Gambling's not my thing, but I like walking the corridors behind where it all happens. That fascinates me. Watching the girls get ready before they go out and dance. Watching people coming in, hoping they'll be able to make their mortgage payment, just seeing it in their faces.
But you don't sit there and judge. You just sit there and take it in. As a songwriter, it's really important to try and do that.
Sun: On "Strange Little Girls" you recorded songs written by men, but from a female perspective. What type of reaction did you get from the original artists?
Tori: Slayer sent T-shirts for me and the crew, which I think said, "God hates all of us." I thought that was kind of cute. But it wasn't about that for me. I felt like at the time, when I made the choice to do this, I'd just had a baby girl and brought her into a world where there was a lot of malice toward women and gays in the West.
I chose to do the Slayer song in response to the Taliban's treatment of the women (in Afghanistan). But I also included the song by Eminem because I felt like he was part of the movement, too. You've got 15,000 young boys chanting "Die bitch die" (at his shows). So if you really think about it, the West was not that far away from the Middle East. It was just different, but there was a level of malice that I felt needed to be reflected.
Sun: You were the target, briefly, on an episode of Ashton Kutcher's "Punk'd." (Child actor Ryan Pinkston approached Amos on the red carpet and asked her questions about Tori Spelling's career). Did you have any idea what was going on?
Tori: I heard about it, but I haven't seen it. There was this little guy at the end of this long line, and I just thought he was some guy doing a school project who didn't get to talk to the person he wanted. I kind of felt bad for him. Then I heard he's got his own TV show, and I went, "Oh heavens." You never know.
I do feel sorry for (celebrities) when people they trust are in on it. That would really throw me. I don't know how I would react. But it does make you wonder, doesn't it? Because if my friends did that, they wouldn't be coming to my tea party that week.
Who: Tori Amos with Ben Folds.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday.
Where: The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Admission: $50.50, $60.50, $65.50.
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