- 08 Apr 01
At the time of writing indications are that Tori Amos’ ‘Cornflake Girls’ single will hit the No.1 spot in the British charts this week. Celebrations may indeed be in order – but for Tori right now there are far more burning issues to be talked through and dealt with. In an extraordinarily intimate, open and at times devastatingly honest interview, she talks about the horrific knife-point rape documented in ‘Me And A Gun’, the lingering wounds inflicted on her by the experience and the difficult healing process she has begun – including, she says, accepting the ‘prostitute’ in herself. Along the way she challenges a wide range of assumptions on love, sex, violence, religion, masturbation, feminishm, lesbianism and the main man himself, Jesus Christ. By Joe Jackson.
Tori Amos smiles mischievously and whispers “dare me to go under that table to get it back!” I do. And she does, without asking permission of our fellow diners in a plush London restaurant. They smile nervously as she resurfaces mumbling something about having lost her bottle top. Still staring as she fastens the cap back onto the bottle of mineral water, they are clearly thinking ‘that woman is weird.’
Commentators who are prone to similarly superficial character analysis in the world of rock ‘n’ roll have also slapped much the same label on Tori Amos since she first burst into the charts nearly two years ago, singing what Vox described at the time as “loony tunes.” Q headlined its first feature on the woman “Weird Chick”, a doubly insulting concept that has since been pushed by most music papers who persist in presenting Tori as a person who has obviously lost more than her bottle top.
Indeed this simple-minded perception has become so predominant that the press release accompanying Tori’s latest album, Under the Pink, opens with the quote: “I don’t see myself as weird, I just see myself as honest. That’s just the way I am. I find the truth endlessly interesting.” This, too, is how I see Tori, having spent at least ten hours in her company for this and my original Hot Press interview with her in 1991, and having talked with her in an out-of-interview context on the telephone many times since then. She is, without any doubt, one of the most honest, self-analytical, truth-seeking women I have ever known.