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Tori Amos' Secret Garden

Page 4 of 4

"Because the songs are complicated and not so literal, people get lots of room to move," says Amos. "And I think the songs can become little myths for people. All the myths are symbolic and representative of something." And anyone who mocks these myths can expect the moon child to morph once more into Mr. Blonde.

"I want to torture the people who don't understand the world of faeries," fumes Amos with almost church-lady righteousness. "You'll get some reporter from Vogue who doesn't know what she's talking about, who paints me as some insipid Tinker Bell character – well, Tinker Bell ain't up my Strasse, baby. I'm not some shivering waif in the forest. Sometimes I want to grab these bitches by the hair and take them to the world of faerie and say, 'Would you repeat that?'

"People can be so vicious toward the imaginary world, and it saddens me. You kill a lot of little people's dreams that way. You're no different from Hitler, as far as I'm concerned."

Amos stares her piercing stare. You wait for her to realize what she's just said and issue a disclaimer or make some gesture of self-deprecation. She does not blink.

This story is from the June 25th, 1998 issue of Rolling Stone. 

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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