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Tea with the Waitress

The Waitress

Lyrics by Tori Amos

So I want to kill this waitress
She's worked here a year longer than I
If I did it fast you know that's an act of kindness

But I believe in peace
I believe in peace, bitch
I believe in peace

I want to kill this waitress
I can't believe this violence in mind
and is her power
all in a club sandwich

But I believe in peace
I believe in peace, bitch
I believe in peace

I want to kill this killing wish
There're too many stars and not enough sky
Boys all think she's living kindness
Ask a fellow waitress
Ask a fellow waitress

Tori Quotes

Condiments are my favorite thing. Sometimes when I was lonely I'd line up all the condiments and pound them on the table and let them applaud me, adding confidence to my dishes before they got cooked. [Under the Pink songbook - 1994]

So there are a lot of shades of grey in my life now. I try to weigh off the different points of view these days. For example, I try to look differently at violence. That's an important subject to me now. I felt so violent the last few years. Still I portray myself in "The Waitress" like a bird of peace. That's significant. [Haagsche Courant - January 28, 1994]

"The Waitress" is the next step in "Cornflake." I don't have them in order. It doesn't work like that. "The Waitress" is how I can't control my violence, and in this one situation, we're both equals, we're both waitresses in this song. I don't go into the details of why. Why isn't the issue. The issue is that I thought I was a peacemaker, and this violence has totally taken control of every belief system that I have. It's a very scary thing, especially after you talk about anti-violence.

The consciousness is divided. You're either looking at who you are, or you're not. Yeah. The Waitress, the rage, the betrayal. The whole "you are not a woman, you are a lizard with a stolen pussy. You have no right to be a woman." Then it's "Tori, what right do you have to judge her?" Then it sums it up: "but I believe in peace, bitch." I mean, that's really it. It's hanging onto your beliefs but one hand's on the neck and you're going "three to five, three to five, I don't know, broomstick up the butt every day, I don't think I can do this..." get out of the room quick, she's not worth it. It's not your job. Why can't you just see that she doesn't get it? And when they are in a position, some of these women, to hurt other woman... it just... you want to rip their heads off. [B-Side - May/June 1994]

"The Waitress" is about the agony of admitting that you really have no remorse about ripping this girl's head off. It's a very scary thing to not have any remorse about wanting to kill someone, especially when you think you're a peacemaker. So that song is not just about wanting to kill her. It's about the feelings of wanting to kill her, and what that brings up. I should feel terrible, but I don't. Uh-oh. [St Louis Dispatch - July 15, 1994]

It's just to feel the feeling of rage, because I've been on the victim side before. It was just shocking for me to have to deal with that part of myself. First, of course, you acknowledge it, and then you go, if I don't control it, I could end up in jail with a broomstick up my ass for the next 30 years. That's no fun. I could, like, go to Italy and have good fettuccini. That would be a drag, and I'm sure there are people out there that just snap that one millimeter more. I mean, what is it that keeps us - there's something obviously in us that keeps us from taking that step.

I couldn't believe that somebody who just wants to hold hands and have cookies and chocolate milk would want to rip this waitress's veins out of her throat. [The West Australian - August 11, 1994]

Everybody understands basic emotions: feeling like a coward, wanting to kill some cunt and having no remorse about it. It's like, No, I don't feel guilty about this. What I feel bad about is that I don't feel bad about this. That's what I have to look at. I try and crawl into my unconscious, and it's not that different from what's inside any of us. All of us have a bit of the vampire and a bit of the nightingale. [Keyboards - November 1994]

I was mad. I wanted to throw her (the waitress) up against the wall. She did something -- one day I'll tell you -- that made me want to kill her. My reaction was a bit extreme. I was ranting and raving. I've had this feeling about being a peacemaker why can't we sit down and talk about it: and here I am throwing this bitch against the wall, having no problem with annihilating her cell by cell. But the issue, I know, was in my head and she was calling it up in me. [The New Review of Records - November 1994]

At one point, engineer Paul McKenna said to me, "You know, Tori, this record's missing something." I said, "Oh, okay." And within 48 hours, I had this horrible argument with a waitress. I'm not kidding. She was the devil. She was Satan. She was a meanie. She became the embodiment of a few women in my life that I was having it out with, and "The Waitress" got written. And Paul said, "The record's complete." [Blender - February 2002]

I'm sure you've wanted to kill a waitress in your lifetime. Or a waiter. Just apply all those moments. It had happened in Taos where we were recording. Life can work that way sometimes. Things happen and a song gets written. You've had a tough experience or a confrontation that you wish hadn't happened, and yet you get this gift that comes out of it. Confrontation isn't something I court or would choose to have in my day, but as a lioness, it's one of those things where if you're there with the cubs, and you've got a tourist standing in front of you with a camera obnoxiously taking pictures and disturbing the cubs, then that tourist might end up as lunch. [Under the Pink Deluxe Edition liner notes - 2015]

Live Versions

"The Waitress"
1994 - London, England
UK Late Night TV

"The Waitress"
July 25, 1994 - Baltimore, Maryland

"The Waitress"
January 23, 1997 - New York, New York
The Concert for RAINN

"The Waitress"
June 27, 1998 - Pilton, England
Glastonbury Festival

"The Waitress"
July 28, 1998 - New York, New York

"The Waitress"
August 5, 1998 - Albany, New York

"The Waitress"
November 14, 1998 - New York, New York
Sessions at West 54th

"The Waitress"
September 24, 1999 - Las Vegas, Nevada

"The Waitress" (as Pip)
October 18, 2007 - Boston, Massachusetts

"The Waitress"
November 6, 2015 - Basel, Switzerland
Baloise Session

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