Mr. Zebra
from Boys for Pele


January 22/23, 1996




Atlantic Records, East West Records


Tori Amos


Tori Amos

"Mr. Zebra" is the fifth song on Tori Amos' 1996 album Boys for Pele.

Background Edit

Remastered versions Edit

Other media Edit

Comic Book Tattoo Edit

A three-page story inspired by "Mr. Zebra" was included in the 2008 graphic novel anthology Comic Book Tattoo, a collection of short comics based on Amos' songs. "Mr. Zebra" was written by Comic Book Tattoo editor Rantz Hoseley and illustrated by James Stokoe.[1] Hoseley also wrote a piece inspired by "The Waitress" for the anthology. [2]

After Stokoe became available as a contributor on short notice, Hoseley decided to have him illustrate "Mr. Zebra" because of the song's short length and because the song "serve[d] his art style, which is this wonderfully manic-yet-stoned, detail-oriented surrealist style that always references cooking in some way".[3] In the piece, the character of Mr. Zebra - described as a "burned out hack of a talk show host" by Hoseley - hosts recurring guests on his talk show, including a chef named Kaiser Wilhelm,[3] who secretly poisons Mr. Zebra by serving him ratatouille laced with Strychnine.[4]

Ryan McLendon of City Beat praised "Mr. Zebra" as one of the standout contributions to Comic Book Tattoo, writing that Hoseley "morphs the song into a Kafka-esque short story"[4]

Live performances Edit

"Mr. Zebra" was first performed live during the 1996 Dew Drop Inn Tour and has been played alone at the piano on nearly all of her tours since.[5] Live performances of the song have been included on To Venus and Back, Legs & Boots

TV performances Edit

Amos performed "Mr. Zebra" and "Putting the Damage On" on Later... with Jools Holland. She was accompanied by a brass band for these appearances.

Lyrics Edit

Personnel Edit

Credits taken from Boys for Pele liner notes.[6]

  • Bosendorfer and vocal – Tori Amos
  • Brass – The Black Dyke Mills Band
  • Conducted by James Watson

References Edit

  3. 3.0 3.1
  4. 4.0 4.1