An article on Tori appeared in the May 15, 2005 edition of The Sunday Tribune, a newspaper in South Africa.
Thanks to Woj for alerting me to this article. You can read it online at sundaytribune.co.za or below:
Tori Amos, A Clone Apart
By Glyn Brown
We all know that the singer Tori Amos is a little . . . kooky. But how about this: a Paris fashion show where the world's top models are made-up to look exactly like her. What's going on, asks Glyn Brown.
Does Tori Amos still matter? At 41, she's still coming up with weird concept albums full of half-decipherable lyrics, melodies that sway and a message, if you care to hear it.
At 41, she still fills a venue without doing anything so silly as popping out of her clothes. In the US, her gigs attract young indie groovers; in the UK, the audience is a bit older: the women look charged and the men take pictures.
At 41, Amos won't conform, writing political stuff, sexy stuff in an adult way and dyeing her hair vixen red. And on top of all that, she's the new muse of Viktor and Rolf, the strange young Thompson Twins of designer fashion.
For their latest catwalk show, in the crumbling Theatredes Bouffes du Nord, she sat centre-stage, pounding out something newly invented while clones of herself stalked past.
Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren are 36, Dutch, and though their cerebral, arty work makes them the Gilbert and George of fashion, they swear they have never been lovers.
Their website has them posing in schoolboy blazers: up close, they have louche floppy hair, beards, geeky glasses and suits. So what is this lookalike obsession?
"Of course, we play with our image. But from the beginning, people would say, 'who's Viktor and who's Rolf?' So looking alike is saying we're one designer, one mind," says Rolf.
"It's always about us. Especially this show. Tori's music is what we listen to privately. It comforts us," says Viktor.
"There's always a surreal aspect to our work. But here, we just wanted to go to bed and be safe and be loved. Dreaming can be disturbing, of course, but we say that bed is a place where all good things happen. It's a haven."
The models and Tori look the same. Any reason for that?
"Two years ago, we did a show with Tilda Swinton where all the models had her vibe. This is the sequel and Tori's made the soundtrack for us. She will play it once, then never again," says Rolf.
Amos has a home in Cornwall with her husband, the sound engineer Mark Hawley, and her small daughter, Tash.
"It's a tiny hamlet, where I live. And to see them strolling down the road, smiling and waving at people - quite David Lynch," she says.
Amos is in the news due to a just-released album, The Beekeeper, and a book - Piece By Piece, co-written with the journalist Ann Powers. The book is a series of conversations, moving from Amos's Cherokee ancestors to her upbringing in North Carolina, daughter of a methodist minister.
At five, she was accepted to study classical piano at Baltimore's prestigious Peabody Institute; at 11, she becomes obsessed with Led Zeppelin (and so confused she turns up at a Zep gig with a sock stuffed down her trousers).
A career as a concert pianist scuppered and at 15 she embarked on a tour of lounge bars, her father acting as her chaperone. The Rev Edison Amos had no idea that his daughter was spending time with gay waiters, "specifically one called Joey. He showed me how to dress, and how to give a blow job on a cucumber . . ."
Amos has grown up a lot since then. Hugely prolific (the new album is her eighth), she is successful, hard-headed and compassionate. She is the founder of Rainn - the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network - and actively involved in the charity, having been a rape victim herself.
Her interests are wide but, always bubbling near the top, are the unfashionable topics of spirituality and feminism. These, in subtle guises, are all over The Beekeeper.
On the track Hoochie Woman, and its key line "I went to work and the office girls were all burning their poetry", she comments: "A hoochie woman is someone who has lost any sense of self-respect and conscience. In the song, a lady of this sort makes off with the narrator's man. Not, of course, one worth having. But still . . .
"I think that when you begin to think you're liberated, but in fact you're just an object - completely objectified, an orifice - then you walk into the profane.
"When you're not feeling well, when you're alone, you're not thinking right for yourself.
"You can't make calm decisions. What is important is that you can just say no. And that's it."
Tori Amos's new album, The Beekeeper, is available in record stores.