There was a 2.5 page interview with photos in the September 18, 1999 issue of the Dutch music magazine OOR (Ear). Bens O.S. and Hendrik Jan translated the article for me from Dutch to English and you can read it below. Hendrik also scanned the photos and you can see them as well. Click on any photo to see it larger.
Update from Mikewhy: This article as translated says that "Riot Poof" was written in honor of Tori's sound guy Marcel van Limbeek. We have other evidence now that "Riot Poof" was actually written for Tori's chef on some of her tours, Darren Staats. Read more about that here. It is my belief at this moment that Darren is indeed the one the song was written for and that this OOR article is mistaken. This article seems to be the only proof out there that the song was written for Marcel. If anyone has additional info on this, please email me! (Thanks to Ben for pointing this out to me.)
Sane or insane:
The beast in Tori Amos.
Welcome in the world of Tori Amos. Where fruit is the enemy and demensions are being crossed. Going on and of to Venus is for this exentric singer/pianist no problem. Changing shape is a piece of cake either. Tori knows her demons and is totaly ready for The Beast. She already has his number.
By Herman van der Horst
It is a hot Sundaymorning in Indianapolis. There are only a few elderly tourists walking through the streets. They are being observed by sheriffs, with their goldencolored handcuffs. In the hotel-restaurant, Tori is ordering breakfast. Srambled eggs with bakked potatoes and nothing else she orders to the waiter. 'Don't you want some fruit with it?' he tries. 'No, no, no!' she calls, 'Fruit is the enemy!' The other guest turn their heads a little amused in her direction. Welcome in the world of the Cornflake Girl, where fruit is the enemy.
In her appearance you fall from one supprise into the other. Her way of conversation, is as colourful as her bodylanguage. She talks about how she can change shape without any effort. That is a very old, Indian wisdom. She learned that from the shamans and the medicinwomen, who can take the primitive powers of leopards and snakes to themselves. This tric was very handy when making the recent record To Venus And Back where she had to work as an artist and as a producer. She also tells me (without taking a breath) that all the soundeffects on the record had to represent a character. After only 15 minutes it already makes me dizy. But Tori is still accelerating.
Myra Ellen Amos is the daugther of a methodistic priest and a Cherokee-mother. During her puberty this piano-wonderchild had sexsual fantasies about Jezus Christ and Robert Plant (has problably to do with their hairstyle). After a long doubtful periode as a barpianist, she moves in '84 to LA when she is 21. There she begins a doomed adventure as a glamrock-metal singer. After a show with her group Y Kant Tori Read, she gets raped in the backseat of her car. She would later capture this shocking incident in the song Me And A Gun. She still in therapy for this.
Every record is born from a thematic idea. Seks and religion from a female perspective (Little Earthquakes and Under The Pink) the separation from het boyfriend and coproducer Eric Rosse (Boys for Pele), her miscarage (From the Choirgirl Hotel). You could say that To Venus and back is a ugly duckling in comparison. The record was not planned. She only had to come up with 2 songs for her compilation record with B-sides and outtakes. By everyones supprise she made 11 brandnew songs. In Tori's case, it has everything to do with magic. Especially the angles who wake her manytimes when she has nightmares, to whisper in melodies.
'All the music already exist somewhere. Artists are only the people who translate it. That's why we have to be thankfull we have our own music-rights. There is a creative force we're part of. Look, this here (waves around with her arms) is called reality. Oke? This is three-dimensional en this exists. But there are also other worlds, worlds I don't have to create, but who I can hear. And that I try to translate. In those worlds I live to. Everybody can. But what happens sometimes is that some artists are getting confused and think they create it all themselves. There getting drunk of that. And then you've got a problem. Then people die from drugs. Cause when your a translator and you begin to think that everything is comming out of you, then your getting burnt alive. You won't make it. Recklessness means the end. Cause you can't fool the muse. She will fool you.'
A year ago Tori became married with her British soundtechnision Mark Hawley. Since then she her homebase is a 300 year old farm in Cornwall, whichis also the studio. Her other Dutch soundtechnision Marcel van Limbeek, recently gave her indirect the curious songtitel Riot Poof, which is the translation from the Dutch word 'Rel nicht'. This song is about his homosexsuality he recently came out for.
'To me Riot poof is about one part of my family that is the conqueror and the other part who where being conquered. They fought at both sides. And you have to find out who you are. Many people don't want to see that they're partly victim and partly the executioner. Every evening I get letters. Hundreds of letters. A great part of them are letters from young women (and men) who where sexualy abused by adults they trusted. They hate themselves because they think they made the adults do this. They are all wearing a little victim sign. Like they belong like some elite group. They're drown in a lake called victimhood. Instead of saying: 'No! I have the pride of a lioness. I will hunt. I will escape from this all. I found this place when I lost my baby. Then I understood the lifeforce you can get from it. So I could go to Venus, to make passionate records there. I can't define my new record yet. I only see this picture in front of me, like it is filmed from a camera that is circling round the hart of Venus. So I can look at her in all her darkness.
'The biggest shadow over America is that people don't want to admit that the genocide on the Indians has been the same as that of the Jews. There were obviously no signs on the coast saying: Hey Europeans, come here, take our land an kill us! Every country has it's own collective demon which is systematicly denied. And when this shadow comes back it doesn't look could, right? With all the schoolmurders in Denver and stuff. America is the policeman of the world, of course. They piont there finger to everybody, but don't see what happens in our backyards. Our childeren are killing each other on the streets.'
Is that why you are affraid of the next millenium?
'Afraid? My ass! Those people are waiting on the Apocalyps. But it already happened. The best proof of it are the bad haircuts in the '80's. Without kidding: the people are totaly alienated from their spiritual and emotional side. That is the real Apocalyps. We're all very close in front of the abyss. In my case it's only some inches. I am that close on the edge of insanity. My only fear is that my fear is bigger then my faith. Cause believing in God is the key.
As a child you really hated God. '
No, I only had a argument with him. That's something else. When people talk about God, then most western people mean the christian God. And when your being raised in a family, that just is convinced that this God is the only true one, then it really exist to you. So, to me He exist. God is drinking a margarita up there at this moment, I'm sure of that. But I don't think of Him as divine. I believe in the spiritual world. To me that world is as real as you sitting in front of me. This is mostely because of my Cherokee-grandpa, who had an enormous influance on my life. I find the divine mostly in non-western en ageold cultures. Aspecialy from the native Americans.'
This sounds very new age to me.
You know how I call the new agers? Pleasure rabbits. They're just sitting there with a peyote (cactus with narcotic substances) giggling in a corner. They play with some rituals, but don't integrate it in their lives. They buy new age as a coat, that you can put back in your wardrobe when they want it. That doesn't intrest me, cause it's not dangerous. It look like the r&b nowadays. Most r&b doesn't have power. It doesn't make your soul shake. It's only retoric. Surogate sugar. And then they can parade around whenever they want, in their dresses, jewelry and Versace-stuff. I don't give much about it. I don't care how good it sells. McDonald's sells good to.
Did your marriage calmed you down? With the risk that your inspiration is getting less and less.
That is a cliche. It's just how you look at marage. You can look at it like the sitcoms on tv show it. But you also can see it, like ancient mythology: a contract with a other soul. Well, my idea of marrage is different from the stuff I saw on American television. Many women turn in some kind of a non-person after their marrage. As if they're cut out of some housewifes magazine. I see marrage as a exciting and dangerous adventure. It is like I've entered an other solar system. Emotionaly I'm on a journey in space. What shall I find here...? I'm now more then ever fasinated by the dark side of the human spirit. I want to lick at what is hidden.
In the end everybody wants to get rid of their demons and find inner peace? I don't want to get rid of my demons. Do you understand me? That's the difference. You only can find inner peace when you live with your demons. It is even imposible to get rid of them. Jezus wouldn't have spend 40 days and nights in the desert if he hadn't demons. Theoraticly impossible. That is the lie christianity makes. That you have to get rid of the Devil and sin. My God, then you give away al your powers! I'm just like Faust, baby, just take a seat. When your gonna dig in your shadowpaterns, you find a part of yourself you could call the Wicked Mother or the Evil Queen. Well just talk to her. Make a deal with her. Cause she's part of your life. People who think they've gotten rid of their demons gonna do crazy things for compensation. They're gonna do weird, kinky sexgames. Snifing the underware of little girls. And those guys think they're rid of their demons. No! You have to dance with your demons, raise them. When you get to know your demons you grow as a person. I'm begining to know mine...
What do they look like?
Sometimes they're wearing a knitted sweater and look very respectable. I have to observe them every minute, cause they're always up to something. For centuries people wanted to go to the underworld to understand the mystery of the Prince of Darkness. An idea witch attracts many women. But I always said it: the Dark Prince wears a white kasjmir sweater, rides in a icecream car and is a woman. Do you understand what I'm talking about? The Prince of Darkness could very well have tits. The Beast is alive and healthy and lives in us all. I'm ready for him. I already have his number. It stands on my cute little leather skirt. I will show you later.
The number of the Beast is probably 666 I assume.
Well it's the number of my own Beast. You see, that's the whole point. Everybody is waiting for Jezus to come back or the aliens... No, no, no, no, no, no (waves fast and powerfull with her arms). The aliens are already here! They are with us. They are inside us. We are them!
Do you find it strange that some people find you kooky?
I find that amusing actually. Well it's logic. Because I always fell attracted to Maria Magdalena, with her mystical, sinful and unbelieveble power. The seperation between the two Mary's in christianity always fassinated me. The mother Maria, the virgin, is cut of from her sexualty. She stands for the spiritual. Maria Magdalena is cut of from her wisdom. She stands for sexuality. En I remember the ministers round our table at Sundays, just like this one. When the name Maria Magdalena fell, a shiver went through them. They didn't know how fast they could change the subject to Mother Mary. Cause the fact that a woman can be holy and a horny cunt, couldn't get through the minds of those Calvinists. That's why I try to combine those two Mary together. I marry the Mary's so to speak. That's my part of my alchemie
Would you've been a good therapist?
No, that's not my style. I think I would be a good scientist.
You believe in supernatural things, in magic. Looks pretty difficult to use science on that.
Maybe it would work. Maybe they need that. A person on the round table who says:'But if...'
You can't go far with magic in science. Actualy nothing. Just talking or drowning in it.
Oh no, Herman! That's just hocus-pocus-stuff. That's not what I mean. When I heard Led Zeppelin, things moved in my body. I felt it. That was a transcendent experience. That's real alchemy you know.
Alchemy is a primitive sort of chemestry from the Middle-ages, when men thought they could make gold out of lower metals.
O, are we gonna talk that way. No, no, you're wrong. I'm talking about emotional gold. I'm talking about trancendentity. I'm talking about crossing dimensions. About not being trapped in three dimmensions just because you're here. I have an creative-all-areas-card to other worlds. Sometimes I'm a business woman. And sometimes I jump in a other dimension with other little creatures I communicate with.
You could also see it as a flight into your fantasyworld.
If you couse to see it that way, then I can only make one sad conclusion. You will never access those worlds.
In the silence after this conversation her eyes burn with the precision of a laser beam a hole in my head. 'Normaly I'm a nice person you know. But don't toy with me. Cause this little kitten can turn abruptly into a cheeta' Then she takes off from her chair and flies away out of the window. High above Indianapolis she waves to me one more time, before she disappears with lightspeed into a wormhole. On her way to Venus.
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