Tori & Alanis: Their Comments On Each Other

Updated February 3, 2000

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Tori and Alanis Morissette toured together in 1999, and there was and still is a lot of discussion and debate on various Tori forums and mailing lists about it. I have noticed many people making erroneous comments about how each artist feels about the other and I thought I would shed some light on that. Comments like "Tori does not like Alanis" are quite incorrect! Below you will find many of the key comments Tori has said about Alanis in past interviews, and quotes from Alanis about Tori. This will also place Tori's comment that Jagged Little Pill would make "a dog's ears hurt" in the proper context as well as document Alanis' response to that comment. Each reference is linked to the full article if available on the web.

Washington Post - January 29, 1996

Here is a segment of an Alanis article that appeared in the January 29, 1996 edition of the Washington Post. Richard Handal sent me the article and it was called "EVERYTHING IS FINE FINE FINE: CANADIAN DIVA ALANIS MORISSETTE: AT 21, BREAKING THE RULES -- AND THE BANK" by Richard Harrington.

    Growing up, she'd been influenced as a writer by the likes of Carole King and Jane Siberry, but it was a Washington-bred artist who provided a writing epiphany. "When I first heard Tori Amos's Little Earthquakes,' it just blew me away," Morissette recalls. "Perhaps musically it wasn't what I wanted to do, but her honesty was something I related to in such a visceral way. I'm not her and I will probably never write like her and I don't sound like her . . . but I understand her!'

Toronto Sun - January 30, 1996

Here is a segment of a Tori article that appeared in the January 30, 1996 edition of the Toronto Sun:

    Tori Amos has some frank, been-there, survived-that advice for Alanis Morissette.

    Stick to your guns and ignore the critics.

    Amos at the age of 22 was called "a bimbo" by Billboard while she was fronting the big-haired, hard rock L.A. band, Y Kan't Tori Read.

    "My only problem is I can't fit into those snake pants anymore," she said yesterday.

    She has since re-invented herself as a London-based, multi-million selling, confessional singer-songwriter and piano-bench straddling diva.

    Morissette, on the other hand, has come under fire at the age of 21 for becoming a chart-topping, alterna-rocker after spending her childhood in Canada as a teen disco sensation.

    "My God, you guys, she's 21. Let her fit into tight pants," said Amos, her voice starting to rise as we talk at the Four Seasons Hotel.

    "Let her explore and grow. I did. What is this you're not allowed to explore? Look at me now. I'm breast-feeding pigs."

Q Magazine - March 1996

In the March 1996 issue of Q magazine in the U.K., there is an article/interview with Alanis where she says:

    "The first time I heard Tori Amos's Little Earthquakes, I played the record in its entirety, lying on my living room floor, and I just bawled my eyes out. It felt like the first time I could relate to a woman on that level through her music and I was so grateful. I felt that she'd been through a lot of the things I'd gone through."

OOR Magazine - April 20, 1996

In the April 20, 1996 issue of the Dutch magazine OOR Alanis says the following in an interview (This was translated from Dutch by Toriphile Dennis Snelders):

    "When I had moved to Toronto, I was alone in a big city, not knowing anyone. I had several depressions every day, until I heard Little Earthquakes from Tori Amos. Her music turned my life upside down. She touched me like no woman had ever done with her music before and she taught me another way to sing. All my negative feelings, which I had been carrying with me for so long and which I didn't knew what to do with, suddenly got use and meaning. I discovered I must not hide the feelings, but use them. But I still had a lot of shit to deal with."

Austin American-Statesman - October 1997

In an October 1997 article called "Alanis Plans A Painting Party" from the Austin American-Statesman and the Scripps-Howard News Service, there is a very interesting Tori reference:

    "I don't want to be limited to only spending time with people in the public eye because I rarely have anything in common with those people." This is probably true, as Morissette isn't into the trappings of celebrity and is pretty bright. Amusingly, it turned out that stars had often tried to come backstage at her concerts and she had refused to see them. (She said this, I should add, in a way that didn't sound offensive.) I was intrigued to know which celebs had had their egos squashed in this way, but she didn't elaborate. She told me who she had agreed to see, though--Tori Amos, of all people-- and that she has been in correspondence with Annie Lennox, although they have not met. "I'm very much into supporting female artists that I like."

Q Magazine - May 1998

In the May 1998 issue of Q Magazine Tori says the following about Alanis and her album "Jagged Little Pill":

    "I really like her. She's such a good person. I like her as a person a lot. I like the songwriting and I think I like her singing but I've got to tell you, I have a hard time listening to that record, just on a sonic level. It would make a dog's ears hurt. I hate records that have so much high end and no bottom."

Alternative Press - July 1998

In the July 1998 issue of Alternative Press Magazine Tori says the following while talking about her song "Playboy Mommy."

    "And as much as I love Alanis - I love that girl from head to toe - but Alanis, 'What were you going down on him in a theater for? To pick up your Coca-Cola?' she asks. "Give me a break! But this woman in 'Playboy Mommy,' she'll swallow. She'll swallow a billion seeds to protect this little girl."

Q Magazine - March 1999

In the March 1999 issue of Q Magazine, there is an interview with Alanis Morissette. Readers sent in their own questions and one of them addresses the comment Tori made last year about Jagged Little Pill making a dog's ears hurt:

    Tori Amos said Jagged Little Pill would make a dog's ears hurt. Is that a crushing disappointment since she was your saviour? (Jamie Richards, Burnley)

    "I didn't really consider her my saviour, but I was very inspired by her. inspired by her empowerment through her vunerability. I'm still a fan of hers, I'll always be a fan. Everyone has their opinion. Whether they love my record or hate it, I just think being in the public eye and sharing music is an amazing way for people to define themselves and we define ourselves in accordance. We define who we are by what we love and what we hate. People loving it or hating it, I just take it in the same way. Other people's relationship to what I do doesn't really affect me that much, although I love inspiring people or (laughs) repulsing them."

Orange County Register - April 11, 1999

In the April 11, 1999 edition of the California newspaper the Orange County Register, there was an article called "Musicians' choice: Concert stars pick their favorites" and it asks various artists to reveal their favorite concerts. Alanis had this to say:

    "It was probably Tori Amos, when I saw her a couple of years ago at Jones Beach (Ampitheatre) in New York. I just bawled my eyes out."

Live Daily Press Release - April 24, 1999

An article appeared on Ticketmaster's Live Daily web site on Saturday, April 24 about the tour with Tori and Alanis that will take place late in the summer 1999. Alanis had this to say about the tour

    "I look forward to playing with a woman whom I will be touched by nightly on a musical, intellectual, spiritual and emotional level."

Tori had this to say about the tour:

    "Bringing two visions together to make one show can be tricky, so obviously, it takes a lot of mutual respect and a load of gear. With that in mind, Alanis and I are bringing two trucks just for ourselves: one filled with wine, the other filled with lip gloss."

KROQ Phone Interview With Tori - May 13, 1999

On May 13, 1999, Tori did an interview over the phone on radio station KROQ in Los Angeles, CA with the morning DJs Kevin & Bean. She talked about her upcoming tour with Alanis among other things. You can read all about the interview in my TV/Radio Archives. At one point Kevin & Bean talk about how wonderful Alanis is in person and Tori says, "She's really great." She goes on to say that it was Alanis who approached her about doing a tour together and Tori said she agreed because it felt right.

Just Passin' Through" Radio Interview With Tori - August 25, 1999

On August 25, 1999, Tori taped a performance and interview for the Just Passin' Through radio show that airs on WHFS in Washington D.C. The show aired for the first time on August 29, 1999. Tori made these comments on Alanis:

    We get on really well. Really really well. I know - I have really good manners when I meet my contemporaries. But some of them, you just wanna sit down with. Why?? I don't know. And she's one of those people that you just feel like- this is somebody I've known for a long long time and I have no idea where.

Boston Globe Interview With Tori - August 27, 1999

A Boston Globe interview with Tori on printed on August 27, 1999 contained the following comments on Alanis:

    Amos's latest incarnation is with Alanis Morissette. The two share double billing on a tour that comes to the Tweeter Center on Tuesday. They have distinct musical styles yet have been quite supportive of each other, says Amos, who credits Morissette with first suggesting the tour.

    "We get along very well," says Amos. "It's like two pirate ships that have gone into the same cover together."

    The two women have offered to share chefs, a masseuse, and, on each show night, some time together before performing. The only thing they don't do is sing onstage together.

    "No, it's not the Christian campfire-girl thing, where we roast marshmallows and sing `Kumbaya,"' says Amos. "We're two separate people, but we're orbiting together. We see each other before the show always and we talk. ... We talk about what happened with our day. She was water-skiing yesterday, and I was with my niece who was telling me family stories. Each day we touch base, and it's not a studied thing. It's just hanging out, and you have to trust that is going to set a tone."

    Amos, who will release the double-album "To Venus and Back" on Sept. 21 (one disc is live, the other is a studio disc), describes herself as a "lone wolverine," so she was flattered to receive Morissette's invitation to share a tour. (Morissette was unavailable for an interview this time.) "Because it came from her, it meant something to me," says Amos. "And I don't feel a sense of division with her. I also like to watch her show from the wings. I just sense that this is an event. It's about two individual shows going on with two crews. To me, it's like a Dionysian ceremony with two storytellers."

    Although it's advertised as a double bill, Amos opens for Morissette each night. They each play for 75 minutes. Amos has no ego problems with this order, and even rejected Morissette's suggestion that the two flip-flop every night, as many stars do in double-bill situations.

    "I said to her, `Are we both confident enough that your audience will come early and stay, and that mine won't leave early?' We knew we had to have the courage to do this, and it's working," says Amos. "It's kind of like Torville and Dean."

Los Angeles Times Interview With Tori - September 23, 1999

Read an article about Tori that appeared in the September 23, 1999 edition of the Los Angeles Times. Tori talks about her new album and the tour with Alanis, and reveals why she wanted to go on stage first all the time rather than switch with Alanis each night.

Rolling Stone Interview With Tori - September 30, 1999

A small interview with Tori in the September 30, 1999 issue of Rolling Stone magazine:

    Let's talk about your tour mate. When did you first hear her music?

    I'm trying to remember. I think it was in Ireland -- we were doing Boys for Pele, recording. I really wanted to know if she really went down on someone in a theatre -- that's what I was caught up in! I was going, "Hmm. I don't know. It's all sticky in those theatres, anyway." That just intrigued me.

    What was the last conversation you had with Alanis?

    It was at the show last night, and it was really about holding space for each other while the other went on. I was at the side of the stage while she went on. It was about inspiring each other. We want to create different things, but it was saying, "You go up there, I'm watching your back."

Marie Claire Magazine Interview With Tori - October 1999

The October 1999 issue of Marie Claire Magazine in the U.K. included an interview with Tori that was conducted earlier in the year before the tour with Alanis started. Tori made the following comment:

    "I wanted to do something sexy on this tour--the feminist fist-in- the-air thing has been done. I'm hoping to blindfold the piano and rub down Alanis with ice cubes," she says, grinning mischievously. "But I'm not sure if she'll find it funny." Chat With Tori - October 2, 1999

During a chat with Tori at on October 2, 1999, Tori made the following comments when asked about the tour with Alanis:

    Well you have to figure that two separate productions working together is very tricky. All things considered we both handled it with mutual respect and I grew to like her in a big way. Friendship is a very sacred word and I don't throw it around lightly.

Rolling Stone Tidbit About Tori & Alanis - October 14, 1999

A photo of Tori and Alanis Morissette together appeared in the Random Notes section of Rolling Stone magazine in the October 14, 1999 issue. They had text with the photo:

    "No divas in this camp, pal. Alanis Morrisette and Tori Amos are touring North America and enjoying the comforts of co-headlining. "I had never done this before," says Morisette, "and it's the best experience. I love it. It's amazing to be with a woman on tour. A lot of times, I'm surrounded by men, so to have Tori's energy out here is so refreshing and comforting." The two singers have a few more weeks together before each goes off to do her own dates. "It's been about holding space for each other," Amos says."

Charlie Rose Interview With Tori - October 19, 1999

On October 19, 1999, Tori was interview on Charlie Rose on PBS. Here is the part of the interview where Tori talked about Alanis. You can find the entire interview in my TV/Radio Archives:

    Charlie: Now, this tour with Alanis
    Morrissette, tell me about her. Do you like her? Do
    you admire her? Is she good?

    Tori: She's a lovely person, good heart. She's good at
    what she does.

    Charlie: That's it?

    Tori: That's good!
    C: I mean.. well, was their conflict, was there tension? or was it just a
    T: no tension because.. I think honestly, she approached me and she did it
    in a way that was like, "hey, lets be creative and put two shows together,
    two separate shows and um.. I had to bring my own production. I didn't want
    to do anything where I couldn't bring my own production because that's not
    how i work. I have a pirate ship, I have a captain..
    C: yes
    T: I'm the ship(giggle)
    C: yes
    T: i have loads of chefs
    C: yes
    T: and all sorts of people floating around. thieves, fantastic. few
    C: yes
    T: all on my ship
    C: yes
    T: and we all had to come and be respected that, you know, no compromise on
    any level. and, she has her captain, she is her ship, and of course thats
    how it had to be approached. and, because of that mutual respect it worked
    out really well.

Music365 Chat With Tori - October 28, 1999

During a chat with Tori at the Music365 web site on October 28, 1999, Tori made the following comments when asked about the tour with Alanis:

    I thought we had a good laugh she and i, we did 28 shows in the states, and we had a lot of challenges on our plate. And I think we worked with them. It's another to have worked with someone and still like them. I still like her.

Alanis Video Interview At SonicNet - February 3, 2000

I found at the SonicNet web site a section with various video interviews by different artists. One series of videos features clips with Alanis Morrissette, and in one she talks about why she chose Tori for the 5 1/2 Weeks Tour. The interview was done backstage during Woodstock 99. I thought her comments were really nice and thoughtful, so if you have a chance, check out what she says. If for some reason you can not watch the video, I added the comments below:

    When it came time to decide or to choose really who I was going to play with on the summer tour, before I saw a list of people I could potentially play with, I just, um, said to my manager that I would love to see if Tori was up for it, and she was and it really was as simple as that...

    ...Just how unselfconscious she is when she's playing and how, um, stream of conciousness it is and how I can relate to the place from which it comes. Obviously we are both different artists, but I can understand the place that her music comes from and I very much respect her.

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