Not quite a wish list, because sometimes those crazy wishes for obscure Tori Amos songs actually do come true. Occasionally she releases a long-lost b-side (“Peeping Tommi”) or decides it’s time to complete an unfinished decade-old track when you least expect it (“Take Me With You”). With Tori, anything is possible. “When we do go to record, she has so many songs, we’ll record 30-40 songs for a couple of weeks,” said Matt Chamberlain. “Sometimes you just don’t get it right and you have to go back and revisit it, try it from a different angle. Sometimes she just says ‘this song needs to be put away for a while.’”
Below Tori gives PopMatters the exclusive scoop on where these some of her lost treasures are hidden.
PopMatters: Tori, when Rhino Records released the 2006 box set A Piano, fans were treated to a handful of rare demos and unreleased tracks, such as “Zero Point,” “Walk to Dublin,” and “Peeping Tommi.” But over the past 20 years, you’ve hinted that there are dozens of others in hiding. So we’re going to name a few, and maybe you’ll tell us where they are, where they’ve been, and when we’ll see them…
“Like a Virgin”? “Love Is a Battlefield”?
Tori Amos: Husband knows where they are. They’re locked away. He’s got them. If he divorces me, they’ll probably come out.
“To the Fair Motor Maids of Japan”?
Tori Amos: That’s a very good question. She’s been circling… I have this argument sort of with her. I said, “I think the moment has passed.” And she said, “Well, it hasn’t for me.” It’s funny because someone else asked me about it recently and there seems to be an energy that she’s gathering. She’s gathering this energy and I had thought that people would think, well, if I brought it out [all these years later]… I don’t know. I didn’t know people still had an interest. This is good to know. She really does exist, but she would need to be recorded properly because she was only a demo recording.
Tori Amos: Someone in the music industry had heard it and it wasn’t his kind of thing, and so that dissuaded me. That just kind of spooked me, so I put it away.
“Learn to Fly”?
Tori Amos: Oh, that same person—I don’t think he’s in the music business anymore, I haven’t seen him in a long time—it just wasn’t to his taste. And, as you do sometimes, and I don’t do this anymore, just listen to one person—I’ll ask more than one person, “What do you think? What do you think?”—because people have different tastes. What’s so difficult is finding people who can be objective.
You know, I can say rap isn’t really my thing, but I can point to [Public Enemy’s] Fear of a Black Planet and say, “God, that was great” and that inspired me. So if you’re in the music business, to think in your mind, “Well, I don’t like white girl music but I can turn around and see that that’s astonishing.” But some people are just opinionated prats, and if they don’t like it, they think it’s crap instead of thinking, “Wait a minute, this isn’t my style.” So that was the question at the time.”
PopMatters: Neil Gaiman once said there was a song that didn’t make it onto StrangeLittleGirls that he thought was the best cover you’d ever done. But he wouldn’t say what it was. Any idea what he was referring to?
Tori Amos: Oh yeah. He’s talking about “Growin’ Up” by Bruce Springsteen. I did it with Matt Chamberlain. I don’t know if it’ll ever see the light of day. That’s a good question. I always have time for Bruce…
The American Doll Posse DVD? 1998 Plugged tour DVD?
Tori Amos: We have them in the vault. They need to be edited, so it would be quite a project. But, you know, maybe it’s something that should come out if there’s a new record… in 2014. Maybe. Maybe after or around then, maybe. Maybe it’s something that we need to do.
Your musical, The Light Princess?
Tori Amos: I know it’s been a long time coming, but the musical, which I have been working on for what feels like 5,000 years, we’re getting there. Nick Hytner, who anybody in the theater world knows is a titan, he runs the National Theatre and he has been demanding, and yet I welcome it. I think it’s been important and all these other projects have influenced it. So just you wait.