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November 2003

Rock of Ages

Tori Amos' life has changed, but her music's as timely as ever

by Mark J. Miller

Tori Amos is loath to call her new Atlantic release (untitled at press time) a greatest-hits album: "Only a few people should have a 'greatest hits.' I'm not one of those people."

Instead, Amos, a piano prodigy who became famous for such confessional songs as "Crucify" and "Silent All These Years" and such platinum-selling discs as her 1992 debut, Little Earthquakes, calls it a 'best-of.' Another recent best: turning 40 in August. "It's a relief," says the rocker. "If I hadn't flown to Paris to have lunch and go shopping when I was thirty, if I hadn't met that lover on the bridge that night, then maybe it would be frustrating. But there's a time to grab those horns and ride that bull, and I did it."

Today, her priorities are her husband, studio engineer Mark Hawley, and their daughter, Natashya, three. Tasha has been on the road with Amos this year as she supports the 2002 album Scarlet's Walk, a meditation on one woman's relationship to her country post-9/11. "I didn't want Natashya saying to me in twenty years, 'Mom, where were you when America was at a crossroads?'" (The video for the first single, "A Sorta Fairytale," starred a pre-Oscar Adrien Brody -- "A pro. He's really good at what he does.")

The family lives most of the year near Cornwall, England, where she's building a residence for visiting musicians. "I had to give them a place to go that wasn't my living room. I do have a boundary."

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