“Is Led Zeppelin under ‘L’ or ‘Z’?” shouts Tori Amos from across the aisle at New York’s Generation Records. We’re in the basement--where all the best vinyl, vintage concert tees, posters, and buttons live--and despite the dimly lit quarters, a newly 50-year-old Amos is a ray of light ripping through records like a frenzied teenager.
“Um…‘L’ maybe,” I answer, doing my best impression of someone not about to lose her shit over her present company. We’re also here to discuss the alt-pop chameleon’s forthcoming 80-city worldwide tour to promote Unrepentant Geraldines, her 14th studio album and first of originals in five years. “I feel so energized,” says Amos, beaming, before getting distracted by Debbie Harry’s face on the cover of the Blondie frontwoman’s 1981 solo album, KooKoo.
I tell her I’m going to buy the record for myself as a keepsake, and she continues rummaging through the racks, pulling out Patti Smith’s Easter and Queen’s A Kind of Magic, effusing adoration for each. Just then, she shrieks, having discovered Pat Benatar’s Precious Time.
“Oh, I just love Patty,” she gushes, holding the album up like a trophy. “I’m buying this.” I insist on getting it for her, and she leans in agreeing, “Fine, but only if you’ll let me buy that Debbie Harry record for you.”