Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Y Kant Tori Read - Tori Amos and Matt Sorum Together (1988)

Behold. The publicity photo above is of the band Y Kant Tori Read, the act that Tori Amos is probably now embarrassed that she was a part of prior to becoming the Tori Amos that we all know. That blond fellow second from the left is drummer Matt Sorum, once of The Cult, later of Guns N' Roses, now of Velvet Revolver. (The band was rounded out by guitarist Steve Caton and bassist Brad Cobb). In 1988, the band released a lone self-titled album and two forgotten singles, "Cool on the Island" and "The Big Picture," neither of which would have their own Wikipedia entries if Amos had not achieved later fame. The band was very, uh, representative of the 1980s (and you can check out its promotional materials here). But after one record, the project forever sank into the ether. (Perhaps their fate was in part due to the fact that their name could not simultaneously serve as an intentional misspelling and a reference to an 18th century German philosopher?). Long out of print, the album is a sought after collector's item for Amos fans. It's amusing to think that when Sorum was involved with this project his future GNR bandmates were already touring in support of Appetite for Destruction, a much different album to be sure. I wonder what Sorum or Amos would say to a Y Can't Tori Read reunion. Not no, but hell no?

Above: Y Kant Tori Read's video for "The Big Picture."

But we're not just here to showcase old photos of Amos. Here's what Amos herself had to say about that band in the early 1990s, when her solo career was just beginning to take off:
  • "Matt and I, we can laugh at it now, but at the time we were just opposites with the same fire, though." ("Tori Amos Has a Lighter Touch These Days," Albany Times Union, October 23, 1994).

  • "I was trying to live up to other people's expectations I'd be anything that was going to get approval. But before I made Little Earthquakes I made a commitment to myself and to my music." (Michael Norman, "Victim A Empowered Artist: Why Tori Amos Refuses to Go Into The Nice Box," Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 12, 1994).
  • "I wish I could get into those plastic snake pants again! My life then wasn't committed to being a musician. I wanted approval really bad, and I did anything to get it. When that album failed, I became a bit of a joke. It was a far cry from child prodigy to bimbo, which Billboard called me. But that experience was my teacher." (Edna Gundersen, "Tori Amos' Vision of Feminine Strength, " USA Today, February 7, 1994). (As noted here, though, Ms. Amos actually takes the Billboard review's bimbo reference out of context.).

  • "So I turned over my opinions to everybody else and refused to express what I was feeling in music anymore and invented this character for myself. . . . I forgot that if it isn't in my heart or if I'm not getting off on it, maybe people could tell. I didn't think about that one. When Y Kant Tori Read bombed, I didn't have any respect for myself." (Chris Willman, "Pop Music," Los Angeles Times, January 30, 1994).
  • "I can't tell you how many people said, 'That girl just does not have it,'". (Ann Kolson, "Tori Amos: Giving Voice to Her Fears," Philadelphia Inquirer, April 24, 1992)

  • "I feel like it's inviting the ex-boyfriend to the wedding. But without that record, I couldn't have written ["Little Earthquakes"]. That was the final step for me to make until I was willing to go back to the piano. It was the springboard that made me go into all the things I wouldn't talk about. The 'Me and a Gun' experience, all the religious viewpoints I had. So it was a big door for me, that record." (Wayne Robbins, "Songs of Sex and the Spirit," Newsday, April 5, 1992).


rhpt said...

best. band. name. ever.

The League said...

I have no idea what to do with this information. I had never heard any of this.

Unknown said...

Amazingly, I actually remember seeing the mega-cheesy video for “The Big Picture” on MTV back in the day. When Ms. Amos made her big solo splash with the delicate “Silent All These Years” a few years later, I didn’t even make the connection, even with all that cherry-red hair.