An article on Tori appeared in the October 22, 2002 edition of the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-posten. Toriphile Ingeborg translated the article from Danish to English for us, and you can read it below. Tori's quotes are in bold.
The Torch must be passed on
- by Jakob Lambertsen
The American singer, composer and pianist Tori Amos is doing her best to build bridges cross generations and continents. Her new record, "Scarlet's walk", is an eventful journey through U.S.A. Personally she has started a family with address in Cornwall, England.
I'm looking for patriots. - for someone, that I can pass the torch on to. My generation is getting a little tired, and we no longer have the flame in us. But we know that the world is at a crossroads and I feel certain of, that the next generation is able to take the torch and pass it on. If not, in 15 years it will be like:" How could you hand over such a messy and impoverished world"? And the way, it is now, we would answer: "Yes - but you were busy decking yourself outwith tattoos, while the rulers of the world were making decisions for you"
Though Tori Amos is saying that she's getting a little tired, you have to have met her before to know that her gift of the gap once was much faster than now, and that the thoughts she expresses have become more structured through the years.
The American singer, who for more than 10 years, has frisked about in her very own personal blend of rock and classical music, will be 40 years old next time. She has become the mother of a daughter, who's now 2 years old, and after many years of "flirting" with England, and after recording most of her records there, she has moved to that place.
"My home is in Cornwall. I have a British husband and Worse luck! a British talking child. Mark said that he would marry me, but not move in with me, where I was staying, that was in the U.S.A. I said: Ok, I think I say yes. I used to live in London north of Themsen. He lived south of the river. I didn't want to move up north, so the solution was to move to the countryside.
At the end of this month "scarlet's walk" I released, Tori Amos' seventh album. Judging by the listening samples, it's her most polished and out-turned album so far, where previous heights like "Little earthquakes" (1992) and "Boys for Pele" (1996) got closer to self-centeredness, and last year's "strange little girls", maybe was rather strange and contained too many stridently contrast to appeal to a large audience.
The 18 new tracks take the listener out on a comprehensive journey through the U.S.A. She lets her altar ego, Scarlet, travel the length and breadth of the states. To the pacific ocean, to the Mexican border, to L.A., Austin, New Orleans, Boston and New York and not least localities like little big horn, wounded knee and the original lands of the Cherokees at the Appalachia.
In the songs we find both men and women, who she meets and joins in travelling
(and leaves again). She runs into both distant observers and glowing lovers.
Tori Amos herself has travelled much of America. Seen both North Carolina, Florida, Los Angeles and New York from within. And she rejects that she should have been staying in safe distance and making her observations.
"There, I edited, what I had written down about America. For me it's good to sit in England and get a hold on the details. There it's easier to see, if something is a little too sentimental, too west coast or too psychopathic. So it must be gone!"
Throughout the past few years she's become strongly convinced, that she though her mother has Cherokee blood in her veins. Today she definitely sees America through the eyes of an Indian a Native American.
"America has been conquered again and again 100 years ago on the basis of broken promises and justified in the name of God by "we were the chosen people". The day today there are no lessons in school concerning what U.S.A.'s government once did. Our country's culture and population are not a part of the American mythology. Our mythology comes from Denmark, England, Ireland, Italy and Germany"
The influence of this culture is not ignored by Tori Amos. She mentions uninvited, that the musical influence from Europe is integrated in "scarlet's walk", among others the Latin- Spanish in the track "sweet Sangria" and Irish Scottish in "Virginia".
"But I wanted to have a tribal spirit to run through the entire record. It made a big impression, when an elderly woman last year approached me back stage. She sat down and delivered her message to me: The different people in America must be brought together now for the sake of their own existence. I had to acknowledge that they haven't taken her history, her love, her position, her spirituality or her sense of responsibility away from her. But people in her country are starved concerning decent behaviour."
The power of hatred
The previous album by Tori Amos, "strange little girl", was out just one year ago. It was a record of her versions of songs, which all were written by men. Among others: John Lennon, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Tom Waits and Eminem.
"I took the words of these men, who all have widely different positions on the medicine wheel, if we see it from an Indian point of view. They had widely different lines of approach, though all with full power. I started the project sometime in the end of the 90'es when I felt there was a lot of hatred in America. It was before Bin Laden, but heterosexual men, white men, black men and Latin men had this hatred towards women and not least homosexuals. It was fun at one level and terrifying on another. Americans did have intern problems before the attacks. September 11. was distracting for the attention on these problems. Because it's a fact, that a family is divided against itself, when someone breaks in, kills the children and burns the house down. But as soon as the outer enemy is gone, the intern problems still remain. If Uncle Pete commits incest against little Jennie, you have to relate to it again, when the mass murderer is gone. I think that the male songwriters have inspired me in many ways, but it started with America being in trouble. And my new record starts with the porn star Amber Waves being in trouble".
On behalf of Amber Waves, Scarlet and herself, Tori states, with her intense look pointed towards the male interviewer:
"If you ever try to hurt my daughter, I'll cut your throat. I'll just put salt on the tongue, to make your blood taste a little better"
A slumbering nation
Back to the torch that must be passed on:
"I think, that it's the world's events, which have forced us songwriters, who feel, they have something to give to us, to be torch keepers. But there is a generation, who's slumbering. That's the trickiest thing that has happened to America. The nameless and faceless, whoever they are, they made this generation to believe, that it's free and has access to every single information, in the world. The internet generation thinks, it knows everything that it wants to know. And still this generation has no idea, what is being done in their name, right now while we're talking. Last year that image was changed. America has been isolated. The Germans have burned books, the Christians have burned books. But not in America - country of freedom. You can get, what you want, they say. To such an extent that people is starving in this rich country."
Q: could you imagine a movie about "Scarlet's walk"?
"That, I cannot manage to think about. But No. Hollywood would just change the ending. Something silly would happen. The porn star will be elected for president or something like that, and everyone will live happily ever after and do yoga."