Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Tori! Tori! Tori!


Saw Damian’s all-time favorite artist last night at the Beacon -- his Blondie, if you will. Tori Amos was never really on my radar — slightly after my time(!) — but after spending the night with her she kind of reminds me of Kate Bush’s half sister. (Oddly they are from different eras but were born the same year.) Although I didn't know one song from the other -- just Tori and a huge piano and an electronic keyboard up onstage, by the way -- it was highly entertaining watching a crowd full of people hanging on her every word, movement and hair flip, and seeing how much her music means to them. (Especially sweet to see Damian so happy -- he's going back again tonight.) P.S. It smelled like everyone bought “Like a Prayer” on the way there. (Brooklyn Vegan's review HERE.)


And in an exclusive new interview, Amos talked with Hornet Stories’ Alexander Kacala about getting her start in a gay bar/restaurant in Washington:
Well, when I was 13 years old, the first place that gave me a chance professionally was a gay club. There were all men there. My father had his clerical collar on as a minister [and we were] turned down at all these other piano bars. We walked into Mr. Henry’s on Wisconsin Avenue and there was a man there with a studded something. It should have been a key but my dad didn’t get it. And he asked, “Will you give my daughter a chance?” And the person said, “Can she play?” And my dad said, “Yes, she can.” And the person said, “Well, she can play for tips and then let's see how it goes.”
The audience embraced me and started asking me to play songs that I hadn’t heard of. I knew hundreds of songs but I didn’t know necessarily all the ones that were being requested of me. I had The Beatles’ catalogue, but they weren’t really asking for that. They wanted musical theater, show tunes, and ’40s, some of those wonderful torch songs. So they made a deal with me. They said, “If you learn as many as you can and come back next week, we will be here.” I went and learned things and then I came back and back and back. And that was the beginning.
Had no idea she was from the D.C. area. Mr. Henry's -- which is actually on Pennsylvania Avenue -- was a regular haunt of mine when I was crashing with my brother Bill on Capitol Hill and is where Damian first met my family! (Robert Flack also got her start there.)

Full interview HERE.

2 comments:

Donny said...

I'll be seeing her in a couple of weeks and can't wait! I wonder why she was slightly after your time. I think I'm 3-4 years younger than you and I've loved Tori since the beginning of her career. Anyhow, one of the reasons she's so great is that she changes her entire setlist from night to night. Perhaps the opening song remains the same but that's about it. Apropos that Damian is going again since tonight's show will be totally different.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@Donny: Yeah, he's looking forward to seeing what she comes up with tonight.

I was half-joking about her being after my time. I'm kind of an '80s (and before) purist. I was dating a guy from Colombia in the '90s and he dominated the car and home stereos, so I learned a lot about that. Eventually I circled back to some Belly and the Breeders. But for whatever reason, Tori was never someone who I pursued, along with a lot of other '90s solo artists.

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