A 60 minute Tori Amos special was broadcast a TV channel called Canvas in Belgium on Sunday, January 11, 2004. I now have a report and transcript from this TV appearance.
Thanks to marti pujolar and jesse for giving me the details of the program and to Lucy for first telling me about it. The show simply featured the Tori interview clips about TOAL that are featured on ToriAmos.com, as well as various videos from the songs on Tales Of A Librarian. Marti sent me a transcript of Tori's interview comments, which you can read below:
(1) Caught a lite sneeze video
I started thinking about the music that has been part of my life since I was really little, two and a half, and Natasha, my little girl, asked one day: what kind of music do you make, mommy? And I started to think about it, I wondered if she would play something in 20 years-time if I had a compilation that would tell the story of this woman born in the 60s, when feminism was coming alive and when America was at a crossroads, as we've just been, the view point from a girl who was the daughter of a minister and played in bars in Washington DC for congressmen, their rented boys and their mistresses -- and I thought yeah I hope to put these tales together and weave the story.
(2) Mary video
(3) Crucify video
Picking an order for this work has been something -- a lot of it is based on sound, keys, frequency -- yes, narrative comes into play, this is not chronological, that is not a story, this is not the story I'm writing. These pieces exist but what I felt was very important was that I had to work within sonic architecture, and I always talk about this, you must serve that as a musician, and sometimes those elements that come in, it is like a puzzle, certain things do not work because the rhythms pull each other and it does get discordant, so one song really is not something you're experiencing -- no different from when you're walking in an exhibition and there are paintings next to each other, if they're not laid out in a certain order you can be running out of the room and you won't experience the paintings at all -- so I had to taken -- to consider everything, so you know, keys, narrative, rhythm, and certain songs, some sit next to each other, that you wouldn't think -- but there is a reason.
(4) Cornflake Girl US Version
Well it's a very difficult one to talk about favourite songs, because they've been good to me over the years and I've felt they were their own identities, that means, they're not obviously like you or I or someone listening, but we go back to the idea of consciousness, a song is conscious thought, and yes, I'm interpreting it in my way differently than the next person interpreting this thought -- but I have, in this sense, try and translate, and be true to this form, so I don't see it as my child, I see it as consciousness that I'm trying to express, so that's what I hold true to, and to play favourites is tricky, but I do find that SILENT ALL THESE YEARS comes up a lot for me.
(5) Silent all these Years
The reason that I chose the songs I've chosen is because they cover many different events in this woman's life and the important thing is that this woman is allowed to tell the story now. We have to remember that in many cultures and for a long time women couldn't tell their stories, especially in the Christian faith, where we don't even know Maria Magdalene books, they say there were writing, of course they weren't included, we don't know her point of view, I would have loved to know it -- So I really feel like there's something that I needed to stay true to, you can't get away from what you are, even though you might want to try, your legacy is your legacy, this woman's upbringing, Tori Amos, that's what she is, try to produce a work that's almost an autobiography, a sonic one, without trying to make everything ok, cos some things weren't ok, but you hear how she copes with it, you see the picture she paints to get herself to the other side.
It's funny because certain songs at the time might've been written for revenge or because -- having a moment, because -- some of these relationships have changed, some of these people I can have a giggle with, some don't even know that is about them and some people I don't see or speak to because the songs were the end of it, that was it, done, over, and the song in a way is almost -- another dimension and that person cannot cross thru the song and I cannot cross back to them. It's the end. So those were also included to show you what this woman saw and went to -- from a wild, passionate feelings -- to having a fantasy about someone -- and that's not who they were.
Coming up against PROFESSIONAL WIDOW is delicious. At that time I had to cock my head because I had just been in a real, you know, musical space, going back to harpsichords and early keyboards and trying to in -- this contemporary-cock-pop-world pull in a classical background while the suits and the music industry was trying to tell me what I needed to do to stay around and I would say: for you or for my soul? They're not interested in your soul -- unless they're drinking out of your shoe -- but honestly, I had to have a laugh at that time with WIDOW but I love it now, I can really enjoy it, and I've included it in a way that's with other Pele songs, which I found needed to be there, songs that have a gospel choir, songs that have a brass, that was recorded in Ireland, so I felt like the whole experience needed to be covered and it is covered in extremes, but pele was a very extreme time to me.
(8) Professional Widow
The extremes of having ME AND A GUN and BLISS on the record -- so, It Was Me and A Gun and a Man on my Back, the song about rape, into, Father I Killed My Monkey -- I thought things were improving there. It was important that we take you out of this woman's rape, in a way that shows you how she has transcended. It's not a love and let go experience, and I have found out after the years being part of RAINN, and just hearing the letters from so many people, that you cannot go anywhere but where you are with it, some things you may physically be gone for years, but they're still here (points to her head), either still here (points to her heart) -- how do you extract that? You can't find it, it's passed a life here, she had to get inside herself and get out the voice that was subjugating her and making her feel that she committed a crime and that she wasn't able to be passionate again -- she goes after this thinking, that patriarchal thinking, whether you've been raped physically or psychologically -- because the church is done that for a thousand of years, in all religions, how they shape you and don't hold the place for you to become whole, because they don't want you to become whole in many cases, and that is what she's striving for.
When I see this work, what I was trying to achieve was the Medicine Wheel, the idea of the Native America Medicine Wheel which includes 4 directions and the 4 directions bring different ideas, and different cultures, and light and darkness, it comes from all sites, as above as below -- in ceremony you give tobacco to all 6 directions and I try to call in the songs as far as I could in my dewey decimal system to represent these 6 directions in this woman's life.
I feel like, for whatever reason, this group of songs wanted to be together, some songs people will say How could you not have included this and that and I'd say I have 3-strings and 4-strings songs on the records and for instance we included PRETTY GOOD YEAR on the DVD because again on that moment in tile, when I was playing that day, it was the last show, it was sound check, I only played it two other times on the whole tour, I mean I'm talking like 150 shows, and again for that moment in time, PRETTY GOOD YEAR was our way of saying goodbye to each other, the musicians , people that have loved, lived our lives together for many months, in a year that's been filled with a war and where we had friends die this year. And a boy came to me, he was totally a terminal cancer, and he said, would you play PRETTY GOOD YEAR FOR ME? And in that moment, she came, she was not in good shape so she was not going to make it to the record, but in the final hour PREETY GOOD YEAR made the DVD. So these are decisions you can't make.