"Me and a Gun" was the first single released from the Tori Amos LP, Little Earthquakes, released on October 21, 1991 in the United Kingdom, as a CD single, 7" and 12". It was also released in Germany.
The song is three minutes and forty-four seconds long. It was inspired by a rape that occurred in LA when Amos 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 and Louise and was stirred. On the way to a show, she wrote the song in her head. That night, she performed the song a cappella.
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 paralysed 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".
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. "Silent All These Years", another song from Little Earthquakes, was the first track on this single, with "Gun" appearing third (or as the B-side on the 7" release). "Silent" was a more accessible song, and radio stations began to play that instead. Ultimately the single was re-released with nearly identical packaging but retitled as Silent All These Years.
Amos made a habit of singing this song during live appearances. In 1994, the DC Rape Crisis Center awarded Amos a Visionary award for the song and the co-creation of RAINN. Ultimately Amos stopped singing the song live in December 2001 and did not sing it live again until September 2007 (with the exception of one performance in Istanbul in August 2005).
Later appearances of the song
- Trance pioneers Salt Tank sampled the line "Do you know Carolina, where the biscuits are soft and sweet" on their 1996 release "Eugina".
- A VHS video of music videos and live performances was released in 1992; it was also called Little Earthquakes. Amos sings "Me and a Gun" in an appearance on MTV Asia.
- Amos performs "Me and a Gun" on the video Tori Amos: Live from New York, a recording of the 1997 RAINN benefit concert.
- During 1997, a CD called Tori Amos the benefit for RAINN [sic] (Atlantic #PRCD 6995-2) was given out during several promotions in order to raise money for RAINN. An audio version of the above live concert version was released on this two-track CD. (The other track was the album version of "Putting the Damage On".)
- In 1999, the song was featured on an MTV compilation called Fight for Your Rights: Take a Stand Against Violence.
- "Me and a Gun" is also included on A Tori Amos Collection: Tales of a Librarian.
- While performed for her stint on MTV Unplugged, "Me and a Gun" was cut from the final airing of the show. Clips of this performance surfaced on the MTV special Hips, Lips and Genderbenders: MTV's History Of Sex but has otherwise remained unreleased.
- On November 6, 2007 during a Chicago show of her ADP tour, Amos performed Me and a Gun as Pip with her backing band, using a knife and gun as props. This marked the first time she sang the song with instrumentation.
Full article ▸