Tori Amos

Flame-haired doll—or was it beekeeper, maybe sex-kitten—finds forgiveness.

On her ninth studio album, Tori Amos has shape-shifted once again, veering away from the ladylike The Beekeeper and the restless wanderings of 2002’s, Scarlet’s Walk. On American Doll Posse, the provocative enchantress has created five personas based on goddesses in Greek mythology, and sculpted herself into matching supermodel avatars for the CD sleeve. She tells us exactly how she did it, why her husband is the right man, and who exactly the real Tori Amos is.

You look awesome on the cover.
Thank you. I’ve been working out for the last, I don’t know, forever it seems, but the last year and a half. But not working out as I should. It’s kind of silly what I do, but it makes me happy.

What do you do? I did notice that  your body had changed a lot.
Well, besides playing every day at the piano, which I know people think, yeah, right. But you do get those arm muscles going. But for below the arm muscles, I go into the steam and sauna room at Martian, so it’s really, really warm. In England, let me tell you, sometimes you’ll do anything to get some warmth. And we have a catalogue of music, probably 6000 songs, and I just turn on the music, I blast it, and I dance my ass off. And I’m a terrible dancer. I wouldn’t dance for anybody. But I close the door and lock it, and I just go, for an hour.

People go through so many career changes in their lifetime, yet you have been who you are now since you were five. I mean do you think the fact that you take on these different personas like on Scarlet’s Walk and Beekeeper, and then now as the Dolls, do you think that’s the way you deal with that?
I think these are all extensions of the feminine, and who I choose to be in my personal life is very private, and I separate that from who I choose to explore as an artist. When I get behind that piano, I’m not just mother, daughter, friend, and wife. And since I was a little girl, I was able to leave the fact that I was five years old and a minister’s daughter outside and away from that piano. It was—this is my private space, and relationship with this instrument. And this instrument plays me as much as I play it. And so there was a loyalty to the code of musicality, more than there was a loyalty of being a proper daughter or a proper wife.

So, well, which person does your husband like the most in the American Doll Posse?
That’s really intriguing. You know, that has yet to be discovered. He’s keeping very quiet, my husband, because he wants a date with all of them.

For me the best thing I can teach my daughter is no woman-on-woman crime. That these are your sisters, you know? Because look at the people before who didn’t; we were all chasing after the same man or some evolutionary biology. We wanted the same things. It’s like you have to suspend that.
This is something that I’ve had to address in myself, and maybe doing this project, believe it or not, is really about not being so competitive. Now I can be—there is a healthy competitive but then there’s a vicious competitive. And sometimes we support anybody but another woman’s success because there is this program in us that thinks for us to win, another woman has to lose because there’re not enough places for both. And, but the truth is that there aren’t the same amount of places for us as producers in the music industry, or say, guitar players or prime ministers, because—for all kinds of reasons. So we have to look at the reality that no, there aren’t the same amount of women as men in powerful positions, however we’re never going to get there if we’re envious when one woman achieves it.

You’re so well loved by women and by men. I think because you have that sex-kitten-with-the-whip thing but you also have that compassionate listener.
Well, thank you for that. I’ve got to tell you, every day you do stuff that you’re not so proud of and you say stuff that you wish you could have done better, but that’s what being on the planet’s about. And I must say to you, sometimes I think, God, I’ve got to give people a break if I expect them to give me a break. Okay, so, she pooped on her Manolos. Give her a break.

– Jaan Uhelszki

Reading by Lena, who has no idea this palm belongs to Tori Amos

1. Has a wacky sense of humor. Can find a joke in places and situations no one else can.

2. Attempts to dominate the entire universe. This is someone who will be seriously indignant that the tide will not go out as she tells it to when she is in the mood to dig clams.

3. She will try to fit within the customs of her society, but they won’t fit her well—it’ll be like trying to wedge herself into a corset with hoop skirts—too big here, too small there and very hard to get about in!

4. Sensuously indulgent—this individual will indulge in sensuous pleasures as they become available.

5. Excellent health and life force.

6. Imaginative and creative.

7. Loves deeply and cleanly. Love relationships will be (at least from her end) straightforward, non-manipulative and wholehearted.

8. She has a theatrical bent. This is the other place her creativity will go to—a love of drama—specifically stage drama rather than in her personal life.