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Amanda Palmer is more than just doll parts
By Wayne Bledsoe (Contact)
Thursday, November 19, 2009


Amanda Palmer is jet-lagged.

"I was in China and Singapore for a week," she says. "I slept all day yesterday."

She wasn't touring as a solo act or as half of the Dresden Dolls.

"I was mostly tagging along as Neil Gaiman's girlfriend. He's working on a book about China."

Palmer and author Gaiman recently worked on a book that was originally planned to be a part of Palmer's first solo album "Who Killed Amanda Palmer?"

"I was told by the record label that I didn't have a budget for the booklet and instead of another battle with the label, I decided to take the artwork and make it into a book," says Palmer. "Then as soon as Neil got involved with the project it turned into a giant beast! I couldn't even get it completed until after the album came out."

The book, "Who Killed Amanda Palmer: A Collection of Photographic Evidence," is a series of photographs with Palmer posing as if she's dead - in different situations. Gaiman wrote stories to bookend the project. The album, which Palmer worked with producer/collaborator Ben Folds, was released in September.

She's currently touring to support the album with the band Nervous Cabaret.

"I'm really excited because it's a really different experience," says Palmer. "There's all sorts of weird songs and a lot of crazy nonsense that allows me to escape from behind the piano."

She says the show isn't particularly theatrical.

"I've never done a big production," says Palmer. "In the Dresden Dolls we gathered this reputation that we had some huge theatrical show, but we've never toured with a single set piece or even lights."

Palmer says there is no difference in the songs she writes for the Dresden Dolls and what she writes to perform for her solo work.

"I just write. I don't change my songwriting style. The only thing I'm thinking about is writing good songs."

Palmer says she has songs she started at 18 and has never finished. When she needs songs she just looks to a box where she keeps completed works and scraps of songs and uses what she needs.

She says she doesn't like setting goals.

"My completely impulsive nature has worked out pretty good. Of course, touring means that I have to plan six months in advance, which I can't stand."

Palmer is planning to release a music project with singer/songwriter Jason Webley, sometime next year. It was Webley, who introduced Palmer to Gaiman.

She says she and Gaiman fit well together, both as artists and a couple.

"Our art is incredibly different, but strangely similar," she says. "Neil tends to do big huge things with large concepts. I have the much less disciplined job. I can't fathom where he gets the patience."

Outside of work they are a little more alike.

"We have very similar tastes, but we disagree about enough things to keep it interesting," says Palmer. "When we started dating a friend said, 'Oh, I get it. Amanda Palmer is just Neil Gaiman in a dress!'"

Palmer says both share a workaholic demeanor and are Internet addicts. The hardest thing, she says, is to take time out from work.

"I am slowly learning the life lessons of how to enjoy the fruits of it. It's so hard to slow down a little - especially when opportunities keep coming. That's the hardest thing in the world."