Sep 232011

(Here we have a tender letter from guest contributor Phro to Tori Amos, who seems to have riled up metalheads far and wide with THIS.)

Dear Tori Amos,

Don’t take this the wrong way, but who are you?

I’m guessing you think you’re pretty important… Which maybe you are. But either way I have no idea who you are. Oh! Wait! Are you the little puppy who sang about ironic things in the 90s? …Or was it apples? I’m pretty sure there was a woman singer who sang about stuff. I know you’re not the nice lady who was God. And the Google image search gave me a red head instead of a cute blonde, so you’re not Jewel…well, I’m at a loss.

Anyway, this is a letter for you.  I hope it will justify your sense of importance.  By the way, this might seem like it was written for a five year old, but that’s only so it’s easy to understand for you.

Anyway, apparently you have challenged metal. Which…what…when…where…who?  Who, exactly, do you think that is? Limp Bizkit? I mean I may not know who you are, but I also don’t issue challenges to  random…umm…things, because that’d just be weird. (You know music can’t hear or read, right? I mean, technically, it doesn’t even exist since it’s just sounds waves, but let’s keep this at the five year old level.)

Look, saying you’re gonna take someone down is pretty serious. You’re like 5’6″, right? (I’m just guessing based on Allanis Morrisette’s height.) Well, the lead vocalist from Amon Amarth is like Viking zombie Godzilla tall. He’s could eat you and still have room for a full pig. I mean, I hope he doesn’t, because the cholesterol might kill him, but don’t make him mad is all I’m saying.

And, again, you’re just one person. That’s the challenge, right? Just you? Well, unless you are gonna use a gun or a broom stick to sweep the legs of the band while they’re playing, the odds are not very good for you. Maybe your a SEAL? I think a SEAL could probably take a metal band by himself, but, even then, I wouldn’t bet too much money on it.

Oh, wait, I checked again, you’re talking about emotional something. WTFBBQ? you’re gonna take metal bands down emotionally? Does that mean you’re gonna tell them their pants make them look fat? Or maybe that their parents will never love them? Perhaps you’ll just tell them that they’re weird and no one will ever love them!  HAHA!  Too bad, you didn’t know all metal bands have no hearts or souls, since all metal bands have sold them to be metal.  (It’s a well kept secret, you can’t actually play metal without selling your heart and soul.  It’s in the union contract!)

Oh! I get it now! You mean like a battle of the bands! Because that’s a great way to judge artistic quality: let the unbiased masses decide!  That’s a stupid, stupid, stupid idea. (Seriously, you fail at basic logic so hard it makes me wonder if you know how to add.)

According to MetalInsider, you covered a Slayer song.  That’s…that’s just lame.  Seriously, I know everyone is hanging off of Slayer’s nuts like crabs off a hooker’s chapped vagina, but why don’t you just go cover “Fade To Black”?  Covering Slayer is as metal as attending a J-Pop concert dressed in full anime cos-play regalia.  Which is to say that it’s really not metal.  Maybe if you covered Napalm Death, then we’d know you weren’t just a troll.  But you’d have to cover Anal Cunt before I’d even start to give you the time of day.  I’d be cool with it if you even just covered a song off their Picnic of Love album.

Anyway, I’m getting off track.  (Sorry, thinking about crabby hooker vagoo really gets me all horny.)  I just have to ask (though I don’t expect an answer from someone as important as yourself, whoever you are), if you think metal has no emotion.  I’m gonna quote MetalHammer here:

“I’ll take them down at 48 [years old],” she continues. “And they know I will. Because emotion has power that the metal guys know is just you can’t touch it. Insanity can’t touch the soul. It’s going to win every fucking time.”


Have you ever listened to metal?  I mean, besides asking them damn noisy kids to keep it down next door when they’re sacrificing virginal lambs to Mammon.  I mentioned Napalm Death before.  If you really think those guys are just “insanity” and have no emotion, then maybe you need to put your acoustic guitar down, go find a knitting needle, and make yourself deaf.  Clearly, you’re ears aren’t working anyway.  Or maybe Pig Destroyer.  In fact, I’d wager that J. R. Hayes has more emotion in his left testicle than you do in your stupid red hair.  I mean, I’d like to see you get so into your music that you keep going when your mic goes out.  I’d like to see you scream OVER the guitars AND the cheers of the crowd and still be audible.  That’s not insanity, that’s raw emotion.  (Okay, you have me there, that’s a bit insane.)

Or maybe you think guys can’t be emotional.  (If you’d been listening to Staind, I guess I can’t blame you, but why were you listening to Staind anyway??)  Even then, you know women play in metal bands, too, right?  You know Nightwish, right?  And Cerebral Bore have a woman who is absolutely killing it with her vocals.  And then there’s Arch Enemy and Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation.

So, now, I’m curious, what are you defining as emotion?  Because, last time I checked, anger and hatred are emotions.  So is joy!  And loneliness.  And desperation.  What emotions are you planning on eliciting?  Boredom?  Sadness?

Which brings me to my next point: pathos.  You’re prattling on about emotion, but I’m not sure you know what it is.  (According to Wikipedia: Emotion is the complex psychophysiological experience of an individual’s state of mind as interacting with biochemical (internal) and environmental (external) influences.)  But fuck all that noise (that’s what the octopus said, huhuhuhuh), I’m talking about pathos here.  You know in all those shitty Disney movies how they’re perfectly planned to make you cry at certain points, even though it’s just a stupid fucking lion?  Yah, that’s not pathos.  You cry because you’ve been emotionally manipulated.  Pathos is a genuine emotional reaction to sympathizing with realistic characters.  Your music about having your boyfriend run off with your horse when he discovered he was more into bestiality than with you isn’t really pathos.  It’s just you manipulating the heartstrings of your audience by reminding them of the time they got dumped (but it probably wasn’t by a horsefucker).

Do most metal bands have pathos?  Shit if I know.  The concept that music MUST inspire emotion is as absurd as the idea that music MUST be political or artistic.  I’m sure every band (except shitty deathcore bands) is inspired by something that affected them emotionally, even if that emotion was just mirth arising from a good dick joke.  (Personally, I love dick jokes.  Penises are hilarious.)

Sorry, I’m getting away from the five year old level I’d set for myself.

Okay, really quickly: emotion doesn’t equal good.  Emotionally manipulating your audience doesn’t make you a good musician.  I still have no idea who you are or what you mean by saying that you can take down any metal band with your “emotion”.

What annoys me most though is this: I’m guessing you’re supposed to be a feminist.  I could be wrong, because, again, I’m not going to do any research on you.  But you could have legitimately challenged metal bands to be more open and accepting to women in the metal world.  You could have pointed out that metal is still mostly dominated by men and that all too often women are trivialized or ignored or sexualized.  But no, you went with the grandstanding “I’m more badass than these guys!” schtick.  (I know there are plenty of women who defy the stereotypes in the metal world and kickass no matter what.  My point was only that more men need a good slap saying, “Hey, stop being sexist.” And I should probably include myself here.)

Anyway, I guess I’m done.


  39 Responses to “DEAR TORI AMOS”

  1. I rarely take anything this woman says seriously. Seriously, she believes she has conversations with faeries in her garden, she did a giant interview in the 90’s with Rolling Stone about it.

    So many people have “Taken On Metal” in the past, and they are all gone and long forgotten. Anyone even remember the PMRC other then old fucks like myself?

    • I don’t really take her seriously, but it just seemed like something fun to write about.

      It wasn’t as funny as I’d thought it would be, but I do think it was still a bit funny.

      But I DO recall the PMRC. But only because of the video I saw where Dee Snider talks about testifying.

      Seriously, though, FUCK Tipper Gore.

    • I’m afraid I remember the PMRC too. So I guess it’s not all gone and forgotten. And that kind of thing will happen over and over again as long as metal exists. But it’s still ridiculous.

  2. ” having your boyfriend run off with your horse when he discovered he was more into bestiality than with you isn’t really pathos.” THANK YOU for such an awesome kick off to my weekend, this and the text in overall was hilarious!

    If only we could somehow get a genuine response to this from her.

  3. Funny. Reminds me of the Superjoint Ritual song “Dress Like a Target”…

  4. I would pay to see this challenge of she had to go against The Acacia Strain

  5. I actually love Tori Amos, but… This sort of pretension irks me.

    I’m pretty sure thsi website has done more for women in metal than tori amos has. STILL her heart’s in the right place, and we should challenge metal to be more emotional and open-minded… it’s a good idea, but she’s the wrong messenger.

    • But I don’t think that’s her challenge. If it were, I wouldn’t have written this. Her challenge is, as I understood it, less a challenge and more an assertion that metal lacks impact because it doesn’t have “emotion”. She’s not trying to encourage growth; she’s trying to put metal in its place.

      The thing about women was all me. At least in the stories I’ve seen, sure never mentions metal. So, maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned it?

      I have seen lots of people saying they like her, but I still don’t know who, exactly, sure is.

      • Sorry, smartphone failure:
        sure never mentions metal
        Should be
        She never mentions women in metal.

        still don’t know who, exactly, sure is.
        Should be
        still don’t know who, exactly, she is.

  6. I’m glad you added the “years old” to her “I’ll take them down at 48” because I couldn’t figure out what the hell she was saying. My first impression was that she was thinking about a boxing match and was predicting a KO 48 seconds into the 1st round.

  7. I was listening to her cover of “Raining Blood” and yeah, it was emotional. It was also extremely annoying. I guess that was because it became background noise because it wasn’t as interesting as reading this article. I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t continue to pay attention after what felt like the first 30 seconds, maybe, if that. But yeah, boring, and annoying. Oh, don’t forget emotional.

    You want emotion in metal?

    • By the way, look at the reactions in the YouTube comments.

    • BTW, I didn’t really feel like giving the song my time in the first place, so I don’t exactly feel the way I portrayed above about it, but when I did listen to it, it was quite boring and while I was reading this article it was somewhat annoying.

  8. Pretty stupid thing to say, but I stilI think Tori belongs in the“THAT’S METAL!” – BUT IT’S NOT (metal) MUSIC category. – Beautiful song with one of the best uses of the word “fucking” and lines like “When you’re only wet because of the rain”

    I would love to hear her “scream over the guitars”

  9. Hmmm, what to think….

    First off, I also like Tori Amos, mostly her first couple albums (the later stuff is okay, but missing the energy and something else I can’t quite put a name to). Truth be told, I’d actually want to hear what she could do if she had stuck with rock a bit longer instead of letting the abyssmal sales of Y Kant Tori Read’s only album deter her. Then again, if I want to hear what Tori would sound like in a rock/metal environment, I could listen to Eilera instead and get a good idea.

    Her commentary reads as someone who has a fairly limited amount of experience with metal. Talking about emotion, metal certainly has that, some genres darker than others. Sometimes it comes via the music, sometimes the singer. Or both.

    Though there isn’t really a need to prove a damn thing, I hope someone does step up and shows her (and the fans) what metal really is about and what it can do. If people can’t – or won’t – see what metal has to offer in all its varieties, no big loss. We know and we have a sense of community that is second to none. And though it may pain some readers here to read this, a band like Napalm Death is not the kind of band to step up and meet Tori to prove a point. Sorry, but you need a different breed of band to win over the skeptics.

    I have to wonder what brought this on. PR stunt? Someone cross the line somewhere? Something else?

    Even if you don’t like the music, it’s not your enemy. But if you are going to throw down, at least know something about what you’re inviting yourself to. Tori isn’t a dumb woman, she can play well and write some decent songs. She should take notice of the fact that metal bands do the same and like the majority of music out there, it has to be of a certain level to possibly survive in the wake of the crap that dominates the charts and airplay of today’s radio and/or TV. She got lucky before, but I think Tori’s part of that same majority of musicians who actually have to do something better than good enough to keep going.

    • You have an excellent point about napalm death not being a good counterexample.
      My basic point was just that even if someone can’t hear it, it doesn’t mean the “emotion” isn’t there. It kinda reminds me of the Victorian poets looking down on the “simple” poetry of Japan, because they lack the textual language to understand it.

      I really have no idea what her music is like, so maybe I should check it out…

      • Well, metal is something that most people have to ease in to.

        At one time, it wasn’t as widespread and most got into it because of a handful of bands that had enough success to be noticed, including those of the “Big Four” (for me, it was Metallica’s …And Justice For All that did it). Personally, I like her cover of “Raining Blood”, as well as “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, which is more recognizable, but it had more than its fair share of naysayers when it came out. Covering Slayer at the time was hardly the equivalent of attending a j-pop concert in full cosplay. Today, it may be different when someone goes for it. Hell, just look at the more recent clusterfuck that was Cheryl Crow doing “Sweet Child O Mine”; the difference is that Tori put her own imprint on those songs (and others that she’s covered) and didn’t ruin them (although some fans may disagree, just as some love Crow’s GNR cover). When it’s done well, it’s not such a bad thing. Non-metal musicians can enjoy metal, can even cover it; the opposite is true, both sides with varying results.

        Now if we are to pick bands to “meet” her challenge, I think a progressive metal band might fit the bill much better than black metal, death metal, grind or what have you. Not that these are any less expressive or full of “emotion”, but a progressive metal band is likely the best route to show this side to someone not as famliair with this type of music, as well as have anough of the elements of metal to stand out and represent the genre as a whole.

        Why metal is Tori’s target, whodafuckknows? You know, one could find the same complaints (even if grasping at straws in the process) about most any type of music.

        Maybe she was just having a bad day and should’ve kept quiet.

        • When it comes right down to it, lambasting an entire genre of music based on a couple of examples is just ignorant. And it’s just as ignorant when we as metal fans do it than when it’s done by a self indulgent ‘pop star’. Taste is subjective; no one is ‘wrong’ for liking Anal Cunt, just as no one is ‘wrong’ for liking Lady Gaga. Amos’ so-called ‘challenge’ is ridiculous twattery, because who is going to judge the validity of her statement? Anyone who goes into an arena to see such a thing play out is either going to be a metal fan or a Tori Amos fan and we all know that neither side is going to go in there with the expectation of possibly having their minds changed. In my opinion, Amos was trying to suggest that she is still somehow relevant, and took a pot shot at the most extreme variant of music she could think of at the time to make her point. In essence, she just trollfaced all of metal, and we took the goddamn bait.

          • Well, to be fair, I think that *I* took the bait, and that everyone else is pretty blameless.

            I mean, if I hadn’t written about it, most people would have just went “meh” and moved on.

            Damnit, I gotta stop feeding the trolls. Except you. I like the color of your uterus.

        • “Maybe she was just having a bad day and should’ve kept quiet.”

          To be perfectly honest, I’m pretty sure this is a good summation of what happened. But I was looking for a topic to write about it, and this seemed perfect for me. 😉 And you have a good point about her covering Slayer WHEN she did does make it much edgier. I guess I was looking at it from the wrong lenses.

  10. Let’s see her take on BEHEMOTH…

  11. If there isn’t any emotion in this then I will eat my shoe.

  12. This was great!

  13. When Arsis played at the club I worked at last year, the bassist wore a Tori Amos shirt and chick pants (like literally a girls pair of pants). The lead guitarist/singer wore a zebra striped vest with a denim cut off jacket. Pretty fucking comical, the show was blisteringly brutal though.

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