80's band fronted by Tori Amos. An aspiring musician, Tori moved to Los Angeles at the age of 21 and soon found herself the lead singer of a hard rock band that has been described as a "more metallic Pat Benatar."

The band name was something of an inside joke for Tori and her friends, referring to her short time at the Peabody Conservatory as a young girl. While Tori had an incredible knack for playing by ear, she found reading sheet music to be difficult.

When Y Kant Tori Read was signed to Atlantic Records, some of the original band members were dropped in favor of "better musicians," as the label put it. For that reason, Tori has said that the resultant album was not a very accurate representation of the band. At varying times, band members included Kim Buller on keyboards, Steve Farris and Steve Caton on guitar, Matt Sorum and Paulinho Da Costa on drums and percussion, and Robin Zander on background vocals (as you should well know, Steve Caton and Paulinho Da Costa worked with Tori on some of her later solo endeavors).

Y Kant Tori Read only got as far as one album, a self-titled "flop" released in 1988. Around 7,000 copies were sold out of the tentative 15,000 albums pressed by Atlantic. Interestingly, it was produced by Joe Chiccarelli, who has worked in the past with... you guessed it... Pat Benatar.

Only one video was released as well, for "The Big Picture." I've seen a small clip of this video and can attest to its horribleness. It begins with an argument between Tori (decked out in a white party dress and utilizing an amazing volume of hairspray) and a police officer. Somebody has broken into her car and stolen her underwear. From then on the video runs by the usual cliche images of the 80's, like motorcycles, Tori showing off her legs, and entirely too much fog.

Although the album has pretty much been unanimously declared her worst ever among fans, it's next to impossible to find a non-bootlegged copy these days. After Tori cut her losses and escaped to London to "rediscover" herself, she released Little Earthquakes and finally gained popularity. New fans caught wind of her "first album" and decided to snatch them all up. Today the thing is considered a collector's item and worth upwards of $100. The bootlegs range from about $18 to $30.

Tori has wisely stepped away from what some considered a "mistake" and rarely mentions her days in California. This is not necessarily because she is embarrassed or regretful, but because she sees little connection between Y Kant Tori Read and her solo work and probably figures it won't help her image any. Also, the Y Kant Tori Read period was one of the most difficult in her life; not only was her future uncertain and her very real musical talent made a thing of ridicule by critics, but that was also around the time that she was sexually assaulted by a bar patron she was driving home. It's little wonder that she'd rather not think about Y Kant Tori Read any more than she has to.

As for the album itself, I've heard it and actually kind of like it. The only bad thing about the album, in fact, is that it's 80's rock and not really the proper genre for Tori. As she would later explain, her mistake was in neglecting the piano and denying herself that connection in her music. Y Kant Tori Read, then, could be seen as somewhat soulless when compared to more honest, heartfelt albums like Little Earthquakes and From the Choirgirl Hotel.

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