By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
"They're not mad stories like I've heard other artists tell about - people sending themselves by post in a box and sitting there for three days," Tori attests of her devotees. "This is pretty hardcore stuff." To illustrate, a completely somber Tori relays a young girl's harrowing letter. Repeatedly raped at knifepoint by a scorned older man, "She couldn't take it anymore - she was ready to commit suicide - so she told her mother. And her mother beat her up and called her a whore, and now she's run away from home." Tori pauses. "So that's this week."
Amos' latest album, From the Choirgirl Hotel, rocks hard while bearing her trademark emotional diadem. Not that 1996's "Boys for Pele" (which refers to a Hawaiian volcano goddess, not the soccer player) didn't. Indeed, it was deemed worthy of remixes (earning her "backdoor" fans), Torified via Armand Van Helden's "Professional Widow" re-crafting, which featured breathy "Got to be big" samples among its funky charms. Also that year, she contributed vocals to remix wizard BT's "Blue Skies" single ("BT sent me some rhythm and sounds on a 13-minute tape and said, 'Do something'"), further ingratiating the famous Amos with clubbers. Any chance she'll interpret a ditty live in its remix incarnation? "Well, um, remixing live is kind of redundant. If I'm going to do a remix version, I'll just sit there and play the sample of 'Got to be big' for 20 minutes. I'm not gonna sing it."
However, in concert Tori does perform another fan-winning staple: cover versions, most famously "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Regarding her selection methodology (Steely Dan's "Do It Again" appears as the import B-side to "Spark"), Tori offers, "Obviously, you don't do something that doesn't speak to you. But there are things that have influenced me which I stay away from because I know I don't have the right read on them." Such as? "'Dream On' by Aerosmith, but I don't know. My 'Like a Virgin' cover really shouldn't get out, although . . ."
Until she lets that loose, or an enterprising pirate purloins the masters ("Enterprising pirates value their balls," she snips), recent Toriconverts can unearth a wealth of Toribacklog to sate themselves, and, of course, there's her current tour.
"We've had a very good interview, you and I," Tori declares with honey sweetness before an escort whisks her off. "So you're going to hold true to what we've done, right?"
As much as Torijournalists value their balls, Tori.
Tori Amos appears at Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, Friday, September 18, and at the Greek Theater, Tuesday and Wednesday, September 22 and 23.