Cheri Speak

Is this mic on?

Radio Days: Meeting Tori Amos

The bad thing about meeting an artist you love and listen to on the radio is they have the power – in that moment of meeting, to change your perception of them forever.

That isn’t necessarily a good thing!

Music is my love. I have been fortunate to have been blessed with so much of it in my life. From growing-up in a band family to working nearly my entire career in radio I definitely have the music in me. So, when I love an artist, I love an artist.

But, sometimes, when I meet an artist, you may as well cue the “Wamp, wamp, wamp” and hit eject.

Seriously. At least for a while.



Haven’t you ever had that happen?

Dang, I have several times.

I worked for KINK FM in Portland, Oregon for a long time, back when it was owned by Viacom/CBS. They had a “Live Performance” lounge and up and comers would perform for us while they were there on their radio tours. Many of these newbies ended up being big stars like Nelly Furtado, Jason Mraz, Josh Grobin, John Mayer and so on.

We would also have what were big known names come through from time to time, like Sting, Rob Thomas, Alanis Morissette and even Joan Baez. All of which are great stories I will tell you another time, but today I am going to tell you about the time I met the one and only, Tori Amos back in December of 2002 while she was on her, “On Scarlet’s Walk” tour…



Photo credit: Wikipedia

You should know in advance, I was a HUGE Tori Amos fan at this time. I loved her music, her talent is immense. Even songs I didn’t like were still brilliant from my artistic perspective.

When Tori arrived in the building I was so excited. I felt akin to a teenie-bopper crowding the stage for the British Invasion. There was a protocol when artists/celebrities were there and of course each artist had their own demands eccentricities to toss in the pot as well. In Tori’s case everyone had to be in the “Performance Lounge” and seated before she would come out of the conference room. She quite literally didn’t want anyone to be moving.

It was very quiet. Everyone was still. Dave Scott — the DJ, was set to interview Tori on live radio while she intermittently played for the staff and a few select top-tier station clients.

Tori came out of the conference room and made her way into the “Performance Lounge” where she sat on the stage at the baby grand we had brought in for her in this very intimate setting.

Dave Scott cracked the mic and went live as he welcomed Tori to the KINK Live Performance Lounge and to Portland. Tori smiled. Dave apologized for the rain. Tori smiled. Dave asked this and that and Tori nodded and shook her head…


English: Tori Amos in concert in Frankfurt, Ge...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

This went on this way for what seemed an eternity although it was no more than a few minutes. I was truly flabbergasted. I could not believe the behavior I was witnessing and was nearly convinced Tori Amos was stoned out of her mind on something.

If you have no idea how I have made this leap…let me remind you she was on live RADIO not TV. No one (but the handful of us in the room) could SEE her smile and nod and shake her head.

I mean come on, speak woman!

Now you follow, right?

I’m not quite sure what snapped her out of it, but finally she began talking and tinkling the piano keys and she was totally fine. Like, there would be zero reason for me – or anyone to think she was on anything.

The rest of the interview and performance was amazing.

What the hell had just happened?

Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe she was just over-tired from her radio tour? Maybe she just forgot we were live on-the-air?


Meet and greet Tori Amos, held before the conc...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

To be fair, I still love Tori, but being fair also means being honest so I have to admit, I do love her a little less after having met her. Something was really not right in those first initial odd moments and it changed the way I see her.

We did both however, walk away with a mutual souvenir…kinda.

As she was leaving the building, I was re-entering it so when we simultaneously opened the door from opposite sides we collided into one another, or at least our left breasts did.

In true deadpan, this tiny red-head grabbed her breast protectively and said to me, “I will never wash this breast again!”

True story.

17 comments on “Radio Days: Meeting Tori Amos

  1. dylanfreak
    December 2, 2013

    You have been very lucky to be so totally involved with music. I love radio as well, and at one time hosted a political radio show about the Green Party that wasn’t bad at all. I would love to be a DJ. I once prepared a demo of the kind of music show I would want to do.

    I’m not very familiar with Amos’ music, but I understand the shock of seeing the artist fail to live up to her/his image. I would be terrified of meeting my hero, Bob Dylan: what if at that moment he was stoned, exhausted, angry? How could he ever live up his image anyway? (To his credit, Bob understands this problem.)

    Jack Baldwin


    • Cheri
      December 3, 2013

      Thank you. Yes, I agree, I have been lucky. Now that I have written this one, I am sure I will write about more of my “Radio Days” experiences. As for Bob Dylan…I had an odd opportunity to go to the Dylan Ranch once, but it was fleeting and then revoked LOL.


  2. charleskafka2013
    December 3, 2013

    great article, lol i guess we all have our stories.
    adventures like this from the heart are always a welcome read.


    • Cheri
      December 3, 2013

      Thank you. Yes, everyone has stories 😉


  3. Rosanna
    December 3, 2013

    It usually happens when we put people on a pedestal – celebrity or not – they sooner or later fall… reminds us that we are all similar in some ways 🙂


    • Cheri
      December 3, 2013

      I agree, that is the case for most…for me I know they are all just people like you and I. I will say of all those I have met, Tori needs to be on a pedestal…that woman is TINY! I had no idea how little she was until she was there that day. She was wearing high wedges and was still way shorter than me.


  4. Robert Schrader
    December 3, 2013

    Maybe she was trying to save her voice? If I’m not mistake, she was last at the KINK lounge in 2009, which was her weakest era, when it came to vocals.


    • Cheri
      December 3, 2013

      This was YEARS before her 2009 visit to KINK. In fact, this was Dec. 11, 2002 during her “On Scarlet’s Walk” tour….and no, her voice was totally fine. I think she simply forgot she was ON live radio.


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  6. Brenna Fender
    December 8, 2013

    I’m surprised that you would think less of her for a mistake like that. She probably was in the middle of a zillion interviews and shows and she just forgot that it was radio and not something else. Sounds like you had a really cute exchange at the end though. 🙂


    • Cheri
      December 8, 2013

      My view of her was skewed for sure, but you really had to be there to know how it all came off, it was really hard to explain. I do not normally assume people are on drugs LOL.


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  11. Adam Zanzie (@adamzanzie)
    November 13, 2014

    “I will never wash this breast again!”

    Sounds like she was more agreeable behind-the-scenes 😉


    • Cheri
      November 13, 2014

      LOL it was a really weird start and a funny finish. Thanks for reading! 🙂


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This entry was posted on December 2, 2013 by in Artist, Character, Humor, Live Events, Memories, Music, Oregon, Radio, Weird Stuff, Women and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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