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Spin (US)
April 2005

Larger Earthquakes

On a new album and in a new book, Tori Amos reacts to the tragedies and triumphs that recently rocked her world

by Laura Sinagra

For Tori Amos, the piano-pumping songstress who named her daughter Lothlorien after one of Tolkien's elf kingdoms, gone are the days of provocative pig suckling and throwing bad boys into volcanoes. In February she released her relatively demure eighth album, The Beekeeper , as well as her mystical guide to the artistic process, Piece by Piece (written with rock critic Ann Powers). Calling from her castle in England, Amos talked about surviving a less than pretty good year and getting even more in touch with her feminine side.

Spin: You're sending wildflower seeds with some of the copies of The Beekeeper.

Well, we're all trying to figure out what our relationship to the earth is, whether you were affected by hurricanes in Florida or the tsunami. When I started this (album), there were physical storms happening, as well as emotional storms for me. The idea for Beekeeper came after listening to politicians talk about the Bible and thinking about something so old being very current because people are still arguing about it. As a minister's daughter, I felt it was time that I go into the teachings that I was brought up with and maybe turn them around a bit.

Spin: Have you outgrown the characterization of "angry young woman"?

I certainly still get angry, but I don't walk around being angry because I'm under somebody else's control. It's like in "The Power of Orange Knickers" (from The Beekeeper): "Who is this terrorist?" It's very easy to point your finger at the guy with the turban. Or if you're the guy with the turban, it's easy to point your finger at the guy with the Army uniform. But sometimes it's harder to point the finger at someone in your own family or your boyfriend or your friends.

Spin: Are you one of the "women who have walked the dark walk" that you describe in your book?

Yes, I'm one of those women who walked it! And yet, being only 41, I don't know what's ahead. I lost a brother this year, and it has been difficult. It was such a shock because he died in an automobile accident. I don't think that there is an acceptance yet. I put some of it in the music, and that's how I'm always able to work through emotions.

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