You’ve said this album (“Unrepentant Geraldines”) is influenced by the fact that you recently turned 50, and that “I’m not going to wear 50 the way the media says I should wear 50.” 50 is a weird age for someone in your line of work.
Tori Amos: It is a weird age. I have to define it for myself. Everybody does. Everybody has to define how they’re going to create what they want to say, Not to take away from actors at all, I have lots of friends in theater. They would agree with me, [but] roles and stories are created for older people. When you think of the fantastic Meryl Streep and the fantastic Helen Mirren, Kristin Scott Thomas, Judi Dench, Julie Walters, Susan Sarandon. Women we love. Stories are being created for them, because these women are so important, which is exciting. We want to hear what they have to say! In the music industry for the bards… I’m not necessarily talking about the Vegas entertainers with the dancers, because that is a bit of a different genre.
But a lot of my male contemporaries are thought of as being at the height of their magical powers. The Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, guys that I adore. But no one says they shouldn’t be singing about the subject matter [that they sing about]. I have to make sure that I’m singing about what I want to sing about. But you have to be timeless. I’m not going to do “Granny rock” now! So doing the rock and roll version of August: Osage County isn’t what people want to hear in a rock venue.
I would suggest that the bands you mention are also victims of ageism as well; the music blogosphere is always very excited by whatever the shiny new toy of the moment is.
Interesting that you mention the “shiny new toys.” Wow. When, in a culture, do we value people that are telling stories through our lives. When I was growing up, and you were growing up, there were people that we were looking to, to tell stories. I still look to them to tell their stories: Leonard Cohen, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney, the Stones. The question though is: can we now, in our culture, say “Yes, we want not just the shiny new toy, but we want to grow with these storytellers.” That’s the question: are we creating a climate where this relationship continues between artist and culture?