Resistance: Tori Amos memoir looks at politics, violence and lyrics

Singer engages with Muses and sketches her road to success against backdrop of US politics

Tori Amos: devoted fans will relish the book’s release. Photograph:  Scott Dudelson/Getty

Tori Amos: devoted fans will relish the book’s release. Photograph: Scott Dudelson/Getty

Tori Amos launched her career at the age of 13, performing at Mr Henry’s, a Washington DC gay bar for tips collected in a brandy snifter atop the piano. Her father, a Methodist minister, accompanied her to the gigs; at first, the customers mistook his clerical collar for fancy dress, Amos recalls in her new memoir, Resistance. Later in high school, she played smoke-filled piano bars near the White House that hosted the “liquid handshakes” of lobbyists. “Even though I was not aware of the details, I was a witness to something dark occurring.”

Resistance eschews the standard formula of the genre (“rise, bling, fall” as the hip-hop artist Questlove put it). Instead, it is loosely organised around 18 of what Amos considers her most political songs, including Cornflake Girl, Jackie’s Strength and Silent All These Years. Each track prompts a memory about what inspired the lyrics or a discourse on an issue close to her heart.

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