AMERICAN UNIVERSITY/THE EAGLE

 

Return to Amanda Palmer

 

Palmer goes beyond boundaries on tour

By Katrina Casino
Eagle Staff Writer
November 15, 2009

Amanda Palmer is today’s traveling muse. Over a decade into her multi-project career, the alternative-punk-cabaret songwriter best known for being one-half of the Dresden Dolls is done releasing music.

Rather than dealing with the lengthy and tedious recording process and the constant demands of record companies, Palmer is doing it all her own way, traveling the country and spreading her art.

With the rise of digital downloads, both legal and illegal, the CD release is beginning to become anachronistic. Why wait to process and package all her work, asks Palmer, when she can release it as she goes?

“I don’t believe in releases anymore,” Palmer told The Eagle. “My theory is that I make art, and I put it out and I wander around and tell people about it. I really like the idea of creating art, making it available and then capitalizing in creative ways.”

The singer, whose latest release is the Ben Folds-produced 2008 album “Who Killed Amanda Palmer?” has spent the greater part of her career smirking in the face of industry standards of operation and relying on the support of her fans to keep her music successful. Often relying on highly interactive stage tactics, Palmer never fails to engage her fans. Whether it be through an “Ask Amanda” portion of her show or sitting in a bathroom stall before the show taking confessions from strangers, Palmer has strived to create an intimately close connection with her audience.

While this tour will still have a personal feel, Palmer excitedly stated that this set would be headed in a different direction from the one-woman show that marked her last tour.

“The band is pretty much on stage with me for the whole show, so it’s a really loud, raucous party tour,” she said. “We’re going to be having a lot of fun. It’s going to be the opposite of the long, introspective, Amanda-talks-to-the-audience-for-half-an-hour.”

And yes, she will be taking bathroom confessionals on selected nights, but fans will have to subscribe to her Twitter (@amandapalmer) to find out when and where.

Palmer’s unconventional and raucous nature extends past the stage. The songwriter, whose tour motto is “Do it ‘til you get caught,” has been wreaking havoc upon New York, where she and the band have been practicing. After recounting stories of singing Tegan and Sara songs to New York’s Finest and paying people in Union Square to accompany her to bodegas, Palmer admitted her motto is one she practices.

“We try to be respectful of some boundaries, but mostly we just do shit ‘til we get caught,” Palmer said. “Then we stop.”

Although her on-stage persona may be rowdy and boisterous, Palmer’s work itself tends to take on a darker edge. “Runs in the Family” — a track off “Who Killed Amanda Palmer?” — is a swelling and receding, manically bouncing song tying the modern-day addictions and depressions of her friends to the family that has come before them, proving that mania is inescapable. Despite the dissonance among her real-life personality, her on-stage persona and the content of her lyrics, Palmer insists that her almost-macabre style of songwriting is to the benefit of her well-being.

“If you’re not willing to let yourself go through dark, scary, fucked-up places and deal with those things through your art, you won’t need to do it in real life,” she said.

When it comes to her future with the Dresden Dolls, Palmer is uncertain. With band mate Brian Viglione (formerly of World/Inferno Friendship Society) now drumming for the Cliks and Palmer touring solo, she admits that playing with Viglione is one of the things she misses most.

As of now, though, Palmer’s got her priorities straight. Always adventurous and never afraid to speak her mind, she’s not touring to promote an album or an agenda. Her message is much simpler than just that.

“I am touring to promote Amanda fucking Palmer,” she said.