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Holy Moly! (UK, www)
May 20, 2009


Tori Amos Talks Sex, Jesus and Swine Flu

By TimC

Right then. Tori Amos has got a new album out. It's called Abnormally Attracted to Sin. We went to have a talk with her about it but instead she told us about '80s sex, Jesus and marriage. Although some of that could have been an analogy. We're not sure. Anyway, she was lovely and pretended to like our topical joke. Here's the interview...

HM: Hello Tori, we heard you were ill recently and cancelled a show. We hope it wasn't swine flu.

Tori: No, it was just food poisoning.

HM: Because if you did have swine flu, everyone would know how you got it...

Tori: How is that?! How did I get it?

HM: Suckling pigs! (boom tish!)

Tori: Oh aren't you cute! It took a long time to gestate, didn't it? More than a baby elephant.

HM: Right, here's a proper question. The sticker on the back of your promo CD quotes you as saying you wanted to make a "treasure, something people will value." Do people not value their albums anymore?

Tori: I'm not just talking about the music. We all recognise that, sonically ether is like sex in the '80s.

HM: Er...

Tori: It just gets traded: "Hi, nice to meet you. Let's just trade..." In LA in the '80s there was a lot of "trading" going on. And the guys had long hair and they were cute and it was just a good time to be in your twenties.

But moving on... Trading ether is what happens these days. So you think, well just because you can doesn't mean that you don't want to support something that you value. So sometimes as the artist you have to get people to step up and say, "God, I do wanna hold this. I do really wanna have this magical little treasure." So I've always put a lot of effort into the packaging and the visual side.

HM: Is all this filthy trading of music the fault of the record companies?

Tori: Absolutely. It's because they didn't recognise what digital does. They didn't recognise what copying meant. And they could have, in the beginning, protected either -- in an appropriate way, but they didn't. And so because of that, it is where it is now. We can't rewrite that story. But what you can do is create something that people say, "Wow, a lot of magical things come with this and I want to have it."

HM: You're clearly proud of the packaging and accompanying videos but what about the music? Are you one of those artists who always thinks your new album is the best one you've ever made?

Tori: It's early yet. You can't ask me that. It's getting some good buzz in the States, and that's a good thing for all kinds of reasons. So that's nice. But I can't be objective about it yet.

HM: You must have some perception of whether it's a stinker or not?

Tori: There's no way. That's like trying to be objective about a marriage. Somebody says, "Is this really gonna work?" And they're asking you right before we're getting married. And the wedding is May 18th, that's the release date. So how can they ask me if it's gonna work? You don't know that. You think you're in love. And you are in love. Are you gonna look back and think, "I'm glad I had that relationship" -- even if you have other ones? 'Cause we have to assume I've had nine other husbands, if this analogy's gonna work. I can look at different relationships/records and say, "These are the strengths of it. These are not the strengths." But only with a little bit of time.

HM: Wait, are we married now? Let's say we are. Changing the subject, do ghosts exist or is it just your pipes expanding?

Tori: Well... I think there's some disgruntled spirits that are trapped. I think the world is so complex that when I look out at night, especially when I'm out in the desert -- hundreds of miles away from anything -- and you look up and you see what's out there. And you think of all the exploding suns and stars and everything else and yet, nobody knows where we go. There's not a little place, a destination. So I think, if the possibilities with galaxies are endless then I don't see why there would just be a destination: either/or for souls. I don't know where all the souls go.

HM: I think you'll find they go to Yates' Wine Lodge on a Friday. Tori, imagine that you've angered a wizard and he intends to transform you into someone else as a punishment. He gives you a choice of Britney or Lindsay Lohan. Who do you choose?

Tori: You can't be serious! I'd be a mixture. I'd take Britney's heart and Lindsay's brain. And maybe through the two, you find healing.

HM: Or, at the very least, a great new sandwich filling. What's your favourite smell?

Tori: My husband, right after he's gotten off his motorbike. He's a guy. My husband is a guy.

HM: That's reassuring. Now that capitalism is over, what will we do for fun?

Tori: This sounds terrible... oh god. Well, "naked bankers nightly entertainment'!"

HM: We'd pay good money to see a hedge fund. Like you, one of our parents is a Methodist preacher. Is that why we weren't like the other children?

Tori: Yes. Yes. Yes. Had to be, right? You either buy into it completely or you have just the right information to start asking the right questions; seeing how it worked. There were good people in the church, you know it and I know it, and sometimes I don't think people hear that enough from me. They all hear me blast it. But there are some ladies who really made that lemon poppy seed cake with the right intentions. But then there are so many people who would go to church and be so demeaning and mean and destroy others -- so I just didn't see a lot of compassionate Christ-like people. Then I started to look into the gnostic gospels and other cultures and mythology and try and understand how Jesus' message got hijacked... absorbed is a better word. How did it get absorbed by the patriarchy out of Rome? And a couple of hundred years in, the church was split into the liberals and the conservatives and the conservatives won."

HM: It's our favourite of the Star Wars movies...

Tori: My parents run my publishing. And my father put my anthology together, and my song 'Crucify' wasn't in it. He'd edited out 'Father Lucifer', 'Crucify', 'God'... all these songs. And I've tried to tell people that the guys who put the gospels together are like my dad. They just edited out the books they didn't like. I've lived this in my tiny little Tori-world; I've seen this happen. So you've got to check out the gnostic gospels because they talk about a whole other kind of Jesus."

HM: We'll read them the minute we finish the latest Sophie Kinsella. Thank you for speaking to us, Tori.

Tori: I've loved our little chat. I know I've talked your ear off."

HM: We'd rather spend an hour with you than another five minutes with Flo Rida. That's our motto.


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