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live online chat
February 22, 2005, at 7:00pm EST

live online chat with Tori Amos

Tori_Amos_Live says: Hey everybody out there! I'm sitting back stage at Fuse TV with my feet up on a table in high heel gold shoes after just playing live. And I have a ginger drink in my hand and I'm happy to be talking to all of you.

CiaraBlaze in Onstage_1 asks: I've listened to the song "The Beekeeper" and it struck a very particular chord with me. It's a very haunting song. What exactly brought it on? To be more exact, what is the "story" of the song?

Tori_Amos_Live says: At first the melody would come and walk with me through the mists in North Cornwall England. I would take this melody back to the Hammond Organ, the B3. I would sit and play with this for hours. Soon I began to have to deal with my mother's heart condition and she survived a cardiac arrest in September. Because of this I began thinking about the life cycle and that dying is part of the life cycle. Even though I realized this, logically, I couldn't accept the idea of losing my mother emotionally. The song started to become clearer as the days went by and I began to realize that the Beekeeper that had taken my character in the song, to death, to plead for my mother's life, the Queen Bee in the song, little did I know that although my mother would survive and that death did pass her by it would be the last time I saw my brother when I went back to stand by my mother's bedside. So life/death has it's own rhythm and it's own rhyme. The Beekeeper really acts as a Shaman, similar to the Medicine Man in the Native American tradition. We have the Beekeeper in the Celtic tradition.

AmySVP in Onstage_1 asks: How do you choose the titles for your songs? In your book you were debating on Garlands and you chose Garlands in the end instead of Washington Square - any particular reason why? Amy from Ohio, USA

Tori_Amos_Live says: I think that even though Washington Square is a point of place in the song, it didn't put it's arms around the song in a way that "Garlands" did. If you think of the word garlands as not just a collection of flowers, but a collection of paintings, ideas, and in this case it's a collection of Chagall lithographs.

collinscantsignon in Onstage_1 asks: Do you often "find" your music while you're out walking or anyplace else where life is silent around you?

Tori_Amos_Live says: I can hear music anywhere. I can hear music in the oddest of places it seems. When you think you should be inspired to write a song, sometimes you're just not. Sometimes I think you have to take the information in and experience it. You have to drink it in. Not all moments walking in the woods are about anything but walking in the woods. (laughs) If I think I'm going to sit down and write a song, it's usually quite difficult, that's where my discipline has to kick in. It's very tricky, I usually have to go to my sonic pallet and get something that has already been "cooking" on the back burner and expand upon it. I can't just take something out of thin air, well I can, but it will sound like I took nothing from thin air and it will sound pretty much like nothing. Just a derivative, that's not what you want as a creative force.

thothscribe777 in Onstage_1 asks: Do you find it is easier to create from a place of pain or memories thereof? --texas

Tori_Amos_Live says: Well, this is an entriguing idea because it's much more of a challenge I guess to write about inspiration and transmutation when you're filled with pain and rage. It's much more difficult to do that than write about pain and rage from a place of inspired thought. Because if you are at a place of inspired thought you've probably experienced deep pain and rage and survived it and not been devoured by it or other elements. Now if you've survived the trip to the underworld and transcend, then you can tap into that create force. Just because I'm a mother doesn't mean I can't tap into moments of deep rage, that's ludicrous. How can you not be enraged over what is happening to some of our soldiers because of the greed of our leaders.

SweetMySting1 in Onstage_1 asks: Tori.. horses have brushed through many of your songs.. do you own and ride horses?

Tori_Amos_Live says: No. I don't. But I'm drawn to them as an intelligence. I'm fascinated by their ability to know things, their instinctiveness. I'm attracted to their Beingness.

RoseSky41 in Onstage_1 asks: Many have said that Beekeeper and Scarlet both are much more "mellow" than some of the older albums. Is it just a coincedence that both came out after your daughter was born or do you think that being a mother has changed how you write your music?

Tori_Amos_Live says: I think that being a mother has changed me on every level. I think mellow is a curious word because I think that you can sonically make a choice because you want to have a certain effect. "Scarlet" was very much about Americana and we wanted to have an organic sound that would make you think of "The Great Escape" that old movie with Steve McQueen. "The Beekeeper" is about preceeding Genesis and going to God's mother Sophia and entering not into the Garden of Original Sin, but into the Garden of Original Sin-suality. Now that is called penetrating the patriarchy, that is called highlighting the female prophets that were censored and edited out of the Bible for 2000 years. Now maybe, quite possibly, we decided to make these albums beautiful because they are probably the most political of all the records. When you're going to go after certain leaders and their agends, sometimes, to be most effective, "You must be as wise as a serpent but as gentle as a dove."

StarTears26 in Onstage_1 asks: What pushed you to continue making music after losing so much? I lost my daughter Portia at 33 weeks and I find it hard getting out of bed. - Starry

Tori_Amos_Live says: I can't imagine the pain and loss you are going through at this time. I know what I went through during my time of loss and I had a hard time getting out of bed for a while. So some days, don't get out of bed, and weep and cry, but at a certain point, you have to realize as I did that others have gone through this before. There is a lot of wisdom and love in the form of books and websites and community. Which I think is imperative to align yourself with. I chose books, but that's my way, some people choose community through websites, etc. Reading about other people's loss and seeing how others were able to shed their tears and turn it over to the Great Mother that loses children every day. The Earth Mother who is really sort of more of an advanced version of us. Earth Mother is my inspiration, the Native American tradition is also very giving on a soul level through their rituals, and their spirituality when it comes to loss.

birthdaygirl222 in Onstage_1 asks: You speak about writing songs after being visited by the sonic shapes (the girls) - do you ever write songs soley from an autobiographical perspective? (And Happy Wedding Anniversary!!)

Tori_Amos_Live says: (laughs) Thank you for the Happy Anniversary! You know, sometimes I don't know when the songs begin to have their own birth certificate. I think they might always be intact and then an experience I have might open me up to them. So I may have an "autobiographical" experience that introduces me to this create who knows exactly what I am feeling. Because she is the personification of that. I don't mean she looks like us, but in her own dimension. I know this is very abstract but sometimes explaining music is abstract. That's why it's such a delight to work with this universe. I would say it's soul food.

lilmej in Onstage_1 asks: Tori what is one quality you hope to pass on to Tash?

Tori_Amos_Live says: I want to really pass on a sense of value. How to show that you value other people in your life. How to value yourself. Sometimes it gets very discombobulated, this idea of valuing yourself. Going out and spending, spending, on yourself can sometimes be undervaluing yourself. Because you are trying to fill up an empty space with what? With just stuff. We've all been there. You can't buy a sense of value. Sometimes just being able to limit ourselves, having limits I find gives myself immense freedom. You can't always meet someone else's needs with one more toy or one more piece of candy. Sometimes it's about, "No. That's enough." We never know when to stop eating or spending or showing our bits and pieces. We never know when to stop calling. I'm not talking about values in the Christian way. (laughs) I am not the Christian Moral Majority. That is almost funny. But it's about how do you show a friend that you value them. Just appreciate them. Sometimes I have fallen out with people or record labels because they don't know how to show they value you. They take each for granted. I tell Tash if you have to work so hard to get someone to like you then you are working way too hard for the applause in that room. That's when you say, "Goodnight, Elvis has left the building."

Digital Dish Diva says: Tori, I know you need to run. Thanks for joining your fans on MSN Live. It's always great to have you here!

Tori_Amos_Live says: Thanks everyone for joining me tonight. I'm off to have my anniversary and then to be a mom.

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