je-ne-sais-plus asked:Hello Amanda, I doubt you’ll answer this but I’ll take a shot anyway. I read somewhere that you and Tori Amos didn’t get long very well, is this (still) true? just being curious because I love you both (and I mean really, really really love you)
is not true, and was never true. we’ve barely met (we had a big group lunch once a few years ago, and we got along great) but i’ve seen her live multiple times and am a huge admirer of her being, and a legit repeated-listen fan of some of her records (little earthquakes is, i think, a truly genius album from tip to tail).
i think the rumor comes from a blog i once wrote where i explain that i had a really hard time getting into her stuff when i was a teenager (that was around the time of little earthquakes and those early records that i now really dig). she hadn’t been an influence on me as a teen songwriter and i was really resenting all the “amanda palmer of the dresden dolls is like tori amos’ punk little sister” references in the press. why wasn’t i being compared to robert smith? or iggy pop? just because i was an american chick, playing piano….instead of a british boy, playing guitar? it made me very cranky back then.
i have what i call “the piano-string theory”….which is:
when two piano strings are very, very close to being in tune, but NOT in tune, they clash distinctly. i chalk up my teen-dislike for stuff like ani and tori (really couldn’t stand them back then, love and hugely respect both of them now) to the fact that what they were doing was SIMILAR to my songwriting, but NOT THE SAME, so THEREFORE WRONG. we’re like this in general, as humans, with things. when we really see ourselves, but the image is slightly distorted, we recoil.
when i was a younger artist, really trying to find my voice and stake my own art-flag in the ground, i wanted desperately to be seen through the lens of my real-time teen idols…robert smith, nick cave, edward ka-spel, robyn hitchcock, prince, leonard cohen, marc almond…and they all happened to be men, though that was no coincidence. instead, i found myself only being compared to other chicks-at-pianos. i’m glad this is no longer the case, and i’m REALLY happy that all the reviews of the record have been citing the many many echoes on the new record regardless of piano-ness and female-ness.
and i’m even flattered that a lot of reviewers even say hear a little tori in “trout heart replica”…i hear it, too (i think there are traces of “precious things” in there, along with shades of some “ok computer” in the bridge section). and i’m glad people are hearing the my bloody valentine (kevin shields), and the depeche mode, and the cars. all of it.
and when i see newer artists defending themselves against comparisons (see: lady gaga and madonna) i can really sympathize. lady gaga wants to be seen as the female david bowie, not the….female madonna, because, i think, it somehow carries more cred, more coolness, less “little sister” energy, more “bad-ass older cousin” energy, whatever you wanna call it.
i understand the bristle. it hurts to be compared and compared when you’re just starting out….because it seems to pare down and minimize what you do into a little box with someone else’s name on it. that’s an ego-killer for ANY artist.
anyway, yeah. in closing:
tori = friend, big time. not foe.
(Tori’s been one of my best friends and my sister — the kind you choose, not the kind you were born with — for over 21 years now.)
Just thought this was a really interesting perspective on how industries always make comparisons like this.