Tori Amos, August 5, 1998 
TV Guide Online: Welcome! Our special guest tonight is Tori Amos. From the Choirgirl Hotel is Tori's fourth album, following the multimillion-selling Little Earthquakes (1991), Under the Pink (1994) and Boys for Pele (1996). Those albums established the singer as one of the most strikingly talented songwriters around today. Tori is well-known for being unorthodox, uncompromising and unashamed to follow her own unique musical instincts wherever they might lead. She is taking time our from her current tour (her first time with a band) to chat with us this evening. Welcome, Tori! 

 Tori Amos: Hi, everybody. 

 Thainevedder: Do you think that Choirgirl Hotel is a departure from your previous work? 

 Amos: I wouldn't call it a departure. I would say it was probably the next logical step. I worked with a harpsichord on Boys for Pele, and I had taken the piano to a lot of different musical expressions in the other records, in Little Earthquakes and on Under the Pink. Choirgirl is really about integrating the piano with rhythm. I cut live with Matt Chamberlain, who is a drummer, and with a programmer. 

 DeL_IdaLia: Tori, do you ever miss home when you are on the road? And do you have any pets? 

 Amos: You can't really have pets because we are never around for too long, we as in the inner circle and the crew. It really wouldn't be fair to the animals. I particularly love pets, but we can't really do that yet. I do miss home. I just miss sometimes making my own lunch, even though if wouldn't taste so very good, just the fact that you can make it yourself and sit down by yourself. Home has become really important to me over the last couple of years, but I won't be able to spend time until after Christmas. 

 Anaischick: Do you write the full band arrangements for all songs now or just the piano parts? 

 Amos: No, the reason we get players really is to give them the freedom to come up with ideas. For example, Caton, the guitar player, will come up with a few different parts for each song, and some work and some don't, but it's really important to give the musicians freedom or it stifles the creativity. At the end of the day, if I can't live with something I just say it doesn't fit in with the spirit of the song. Sometimes I get rid of my piano parts because they don't serve the song, so we try something else. 

 Heyjupiter_aries: Did you write "Jackie's Strength" for anyone in particular? 

 Amos: Well, I knew I was getting married, and all those feelings were coming up, sort of flashbacks of your life. So when I saw this tiny book on Jackie's life at a bookstore in an airport I just picked it up, and when I saw the picture of her as a bride and then turned the page and saw the picture of her when JFK got shot, it really spoke to me about how fast your life can change, just at the turn of a page. I really didn't know how I was going to react on my wedding day when I wrote this song. A part of me could see myself getting lost, going to a 7-Eleven and having a Slurpee all day. The song is about a girl getting lost on her wedding day. I happened to show up at the church for mine in real life. But a 7-Eleven did cross my mind. 

 Molsonstock: There's definitely been a serious overtone in your music overall. Is this an outward expression of who you are as a person? 

 Amos: I guess I enjoy good black comedy, and I think life is really like that. Rules fascinate me and why they exist. Ideas fascinate me. Ideas that hold people back, or ideas that become like rockets that you put on your arms and take you, take you where I don't know. But I think that a lot of us are trapped in our limitations. But limitations come from not physical limitations but I think internal limitations. 

 We have perceptions of ourselves that we took on from other people's opinions of us which formed the way we see ourselves. That doesn't necessarily mean that's who we are. I think most people are trapped in these opinions and wear them like a Hefty bag. And we almost asphyxiate ourselves with other people's ideas of who we are. I don't know if you could call this being serious. I see it more as being an explorer; I see myself as an explorer asking questions, not necessarily having many answers. 

 Tifbrett: Tori, you once said that Little Earthquakes is like your diary and that Under the Pink is your fantasy and that Boys for Pele is your novel. What is From the Choirgirl Hotel for you? 

 Amos: I think it's a car race, but with women racing the cars. And it's not about winning as much as it is about fluidity and form. I find independence very sexy, and I see these songs as very independent from each other. That's why I put them in singing troupe. 



articles & chat transcripts