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Blender magazine (US)
March 2004

Who Does Tori Amos Think She Is?

The mystically minded songbird is a lover and a fighter. Oh, and a "motherfucking ant-fucker." Hey, don't blame us -- she said it!

Hey! It's the 40-year-old "Cornflake girl" with the watermelon obsession, fear of poisoning and colossal ears! Now let's answer the question...

By Rob Tannenbaum
Photography by Ethan Hill

What's that you drew?

I did it this morning with my daughter, Tash, who's 3. We got this new rainbow pack of watercolors that they were pushing at Toys 'R' Us. We were suckers, and we bought it. We try to let her express herself with art everyday - but she gets to pick what she wants to do. Music, Mommy, marriage: It's full-time.

Are you into drawing?

No. I'm in here only as a mom. I was never good at art. I always expressed myself sonically, since I was tiny.

What was your nickname when you were in school?

"Ellen the Watermelon." I was always quite small, so it wasn't that I was rolling down the hall like a watermelon. Growing up, in the summers in North Carolina, we had no air-conditioning. There's something about a 100-degree summer day and watermelon. I could eat a big one all by myself.

Tell us about the worst haircut you've ever had.

The most dramatic one was after From The Choirgirl Hotel, in 1998. It was just to short, because I have these really big ears, like Dumbo [pulls back hair].

Good Lord, those are huge ears!

They are. [Laughs] I need a landing strip. That was another nickname, when I was 9: Dumbo.

Is your musical ability due to your extremely oversized ears?

I don't know. But it's a rough tradeoff.

What personal habit do you have that annoys other people?

I leave half-drunk bottles of water all over the house - 20 of 'em, from the piano room to the office. The truth is, I have this fear that somebody's trying to poison me [laughs]. I have visions in my head of somebody opening up a ring and pouring out the poison, like in the old days. It's an obsession. The husband and I had a chat about it. He said, "You know, nobody's gonna poison you." They've assured me they're not going to kill me, because I'm a good boss.

What's your astrological sign?

I'm a Leo Virgo. My moon is in Libra, with Sag rising. It translates into desperately trying to find balance, wandering the globe as a mother-fucking ant-fucker.

What's an ant-fucker?

It's an oxymoron. Virgos are meticulous, but Leos are lionesses. Leos have no problem pulling down the wildebeest. "Ok, how many people need to be fed? Do you want sauce on the side?"

Between that and the ears, we're very scared. How would you characterize your taste in sex?

It changed after I had therapy [laughs]. I was drawn to a dark-prince archetype, maybe Dionysian. Then I realized that the Luciferian essence isn't about having power over somebody, and I had access to my own darkness. I became drawn to men who didn't need to belittle or withhold or be voyeurs. They participate, which means their hearts are open, and they're vulnerable, too.

What ethnic stereotype do you live up to?

My father's people are Scottish and Irish, and my mother's people are Eastern Cherokee and Irish. My great-grandmother survived the Trail of Tears, hid in the Smokey Mountains, then worked on a plantation, and she kept a tomahawk in her apron. Always. My mother used to say, "Keep your tomahawk in your apron." When I'm going to do deals, I remember that, because of my hot-blooded side. And the Irish like to have a squabble, too.

So you're a fighter?

Yeah, but I'm also a lover.

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