It Might Hurt A Bit

Updated March 7, 2001

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Tori recorded a duet with Michael Stripe of R.E.M. called "It Might Hurt A Bit". It was recorded initially in 1994 for the Don Juan de Marco soundtrack, but never made it on that disc. It was later slated to appear on the Empire Records soundtrack, but that fell through as well. An article on Michael Stipe appeared in the February 1995 issue of Details Magazine, and this song is given significant attention. Here is the part that mentions Tori and this song:

    I FOLLOW MICHAEL STIPE TO LOS ANGELES, WHERE HE'S WORKING on music and undergoing dental work. I visit him at a studio where he is recording a song with Tori Amos for "Don Juan De Marco and the Centerfold". We are supposed to spend time talking together, but they are running behind so it isn't possible ("I feel like a bad date," he apologizes), and instead I just watch. Perhaps you have wondered what happens when records are made. Sometimes it goes like this:
    "Come in," he says when I arrive. "We were just talking about cannibalism." Tori Amos sends Michael into the vocal booth.
    He sings, but too quietly. "I'm stuffed like a pig," he apologizes to her. Then he burps at huge volume.
    "Why can't you sing as loud as you burp?" demands Amos. He sings the line again. Silence.
    "Tor-eeeee?" he inquires.
    "Yes-eeeee," she answers.
    "It sucked?" he inquires further.
    "No, it didn't suck," she says. "It was great. The pitch was kind of funky, but it should be good..."
    He tries a new harmony.
    "Was that a third?" he asks apologetically.
    "Yes," she says sternly. "It's okay--we're still friends. I won't pee on you." She turns to me. "I hate thirds," she explains.
    Michael returns to the control room; they listen to the playback.
    "The tone of my voice is so..."--he pauses, looking for the right words--"Grand Canyon."
    It is Tori's turn to sing. She adds a new countermelody to the chorus. "It's Moses parting the Red Sea," says Stipe.
    "Yeah, it's _exactly_ that," says Amos dryly. It's a Charlton Heston in a fright wig," he continues, unbowed.
    Stephen Dorff arrives.
    [...] Tori goes off to sing some more. Michael instructs her to try an octave higher.
    "Are you serious?" she says. "You'll say I'm a new-age Druid."
    "I'll allow it," he says. "Enya has left the building." She sings it again.
    "More balls," he says.
    "More balls? Like I care about you?"
    "Be a redhead."
    She tries to follow these instructions.
    "I think it's a little precious," he says. "Push the same amount of air but make it a little wilder, and we're on the way to Zaire." This time she not only follows these instructions to everyone's satisfaction but sings the words "on the way to Zaire." If it makes the final cut, it will be just the thing for generations of Stipeoplogists to overponder for months at a time.
    Tori suggests that it is time to break out the Guinness. Bottles are passed around, and the entire song is played.
    "Would you fuck to this, Chris?" she asks me. "I would."
    Maybe I would, I say.
    "We'll put it on a loop for you," offers Michael.
    "I'll wear my rubber dress," she says.

According to theTori Amos Collectibles book that came out in 1997, Tori has talked about remixing this song and maybe releasing it one day. However, since that time Tori has been asked about this duet on numerous occasions, and her answers seem to get more pessimistic as time goes by. Unlike the other unreleased songs mentioned above, Tori does not seem to have much control over the fate of this one. I mention it here for completeness, but I personally would not be surprised if it never gets released. (Thanks to Deke for reminding me about this song.)

Here are some of Tori's comments about this duet:

From Record Collector Magazine (November 1999):

    You recorded a duet with Michael Stipe, "It Might Hurt A Bit", for the Don Juan de Marco soundtrack - it's never seen the light of day, so do you have any plans to release it ?

    It's in the vaults. I don't know. I mean, I have to find out where the masters are to be honest. It got real sticky at that time. I know you're looking at me going, "you don't know where the master is?" but off the top of my head, I don't. Because we were doing it for a film it got out of control. I haven't talked to Michael about it in a while. It's funny, the last time I saw him, we didn't talk about it, it's not something we bring up.

From MTV Live (April 24, 1998):

    Carson Daly: Whatever happened to the much-hyped duet with Michael Stipe ?

    Tori: I dunno, you know ? Um, I saw him the other night. It's funny, we haven't talked about that in a long time. It just, the movie company had another idea, they wanted Bryan Adams and Bryan's a sweetie and I understand that that's what they wanted.

    CD: Yeh.

    T: But, what Michael and I did was definitely not that. So we did something I think a little too left of center for what they wanted.

From SonicNet/Yahoo Chat (April 13, 1998):

    Question: "Will your duet with Michael Stipe ever see the light of day?"

    Tori: "That's a very interesting question, I don't really know the answer to that. I can't say yes."

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