Tori Amos - Me and a Gun
“Me and a Gun” is a song by American singer-songwriter and musician Tori Amos. It was released as the first single from her debut studio album Little Earthquakes. This song did not take off very well as a single, possibly given its serious subject matter; in fact, the track was not the A-side to its own single.
The song was inspired by a rape that occurred in LA when Tori was 21. After she performed at a bar, a patron asked her if he could have a ride home. She obliged, and he raped her at knifepoint (many journalists mistakenly state she was raped at gunpoint, possibly due to the song’s title). She escaped. Years later, in London, Amos saw the film Thelma & Louise and was stirred. On the way to a show, she wrote the song in her head. That night, she performed the song a capella.
Tori Amos explains the experience:
“I’ll never talk about it at this level again but let me ask you. Why have I survived that kind of night, when other women didn’t”, she says. “How am I alive to tell you this tale when he was ready to slice me up? In the song I say it was ‘Me and a Gun’ but it wasn’t a gun. It was a knife he had. And the idea was to take me to his friends and cut me up, and he kept telling me that, for hours. And if he hadn’t needed more drugs I would have been just one more news report, where you see the parents grieving for their daughter”. “And I was singing hymns, as I say in the song, because he told me to. I sang to stay alive. Yet I survived that torture, which left me urinating all over myself and left me paralyzed for years. That’s what that night was all about, mutilation, more than violation through sex”. “I really do feel as though I was psychologically mutilated that night and that now I’m trying to put the pieces back together again. Through love, not hatred. And through my music. My strength has been to open again, to life, and my victory is the fact that, despite it all, I kept alive my vulnerability”.
“I don’t talk about the details because I can’t, but it’s freeing to sing that song [Me And A Gun]. I have to go in a trance to sing it… It gets exhausting singing it. But there’s so much going on that nobody talks about, and I just found that out with myself after so many years of not talking.”
— Tori Amos; The Washington Post, March 22, 1992