The Book of Amos Continued
By JANE STEVENSON
Toronto Sun, January 29, 1996
Tori Amos has some frank, been-there,
survived-that advice for Alanis Morissette.
Stick to your guns and ignore the critics.
Amos at the age of 22 was called "a bimbo" by
Billboard while she was fronting the big-haired,
hard rock L.A. band, Y Kan't Tori Read.
"My only problem is I can't fit into those snake
pants anymore," she said yesterday.
She has since re-invented herself as a
London-based, multi-million selling, confessional
singer-songwriter and piano-bench straddling diva.
Morissette, on the other hand, has come under fire
at the age of 21 for becoming a chart-topping,
alterna-rocker after spending her childhood in
Canada as a teen disco sensation.
"My God, you guys, she's 21. Let her fit into tight
pants," said Amos, her voice starting to rise as we
talk at the Four Seasons Hotel.
"Let her explore and grow. I did. What is this
you're not allowed to explore? Look at me now.
I'm breast-feeding pigs."
Ah yes. The controversial photo of Amos suckling
a baby porker in the liner notes for Boys For Pele,
the current follow-up to her two previous
best-selling albums, 1992's Little Earthquakes and
1994's Under The Pink.
"It's the metaphor of embracing the hidden, the
ugly, the shameful," said Amos of the pig picture.
But has she received flak for it? "Everybody talks
about it, sure yeah. But you know that's a reflection
on them because if you really look at this picture,
this is mother and child. I'm very aware of what this
is going to bring up, but that doesn't mean this is
wrong. That means the oppression of this thought is
Amos, who kicks off a 200-date tour on Feb. 23 in
Ipswich, England, which brings her here in late
April or early May, hasn't exactly shied away from
thought-provoking career moves thus far.
A piano playing child prodigy, she was expelled
from Baltimore's prestigious Peabody
Conservatory when she was 11 and cut her
professional teeth playing Gershwin in gay bars.
Later on, she wrote and sang about her own rape
in the Little Earthquakes song Me And A Gun and
confessed in interviews about having past lives.
"You know I'm a Viking," she said at one point
yesterday like it was common knowledge.
Loopy image of its creator aside, Boys For Pele
has garnered mixed reviews -- thumbs up from
Billboard, thumbs down from Rolling Stone.
"This is about a relationship with a few men in my
life, mainly because I've looked for my woman's
worth through the men in my life," said Amos, now 32.
"My male worth was quite good. Chemically I'm
not interested in women in that way. The smell of
men seems to make me want to merge physically,
but again I've always had a real problem embracing the feminine."
The Pele of the album title, in case you were
wondering after all that, is the Hawaiian volcano goddess.
"I went to Hawaii when I was at my lowest," said
Amos, who split from her producer-boyfriend Eric
Rosse before writing, recording and producing
Boys For Pele in a church in Ireland and a studio in
"I was desperately trying to find passion," she said.
But was she also considering offering up any of "the
boys" of the album as human sacrifices?
"I had five minutes of wanting to push them over the
edge," said Amos with a smile. "I think if we're all
honest ... If anybody said they've never thought
about just roasting their lover, they're a liar."
articles & chat transcripts