Amanda Palmer: Wikis


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Amanda Palmer

Music Box Theater, Hollywood, CA; December 2008
Background information
Birth name Amanda MacKinnon Palmer
Born April 30, 1976 (1976-04-30) (age 33)
Origin New York City, NY (born) / Lexington, Massachusetts (raised)
Genres Alternative rock
Punk rock
Punk cabaret
Occupations Artist, performer, musician, songwriter
Instruments Voice, keyboard, piano, ukulele
Years active 1989–present
Labels Roadrunner Records
Associated acts The Dresden Dolls
Evelyn Evelyn
Website Amanda

Amanda MacKinnon Palmer (born April 30, 1976) is a performer most noted for being the lead singer, pianist, and lyricist/composer of the "Brechtian punk cabaret" duo The Dresden Dolls.[1]



Palmer grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts.[2] She attended Lexington High School, where she was involved in the drama department,[3] and attended Wesleyan University[4] where she was a member of the Eclectic Society.[5] She staged performances based on work by the Legendary Pink Dots, an early influence, and was involved in the Legendary Pink Dots electronic mailing list, Cloud Zero[citation needed]. She then formed the Shadowbox Collective, devoted to putting on theatrical shows (such as the 2002 play, Hotel Blanc,[6] which she directed) and street theatre, and performed as a living statue called "The Eight Foot Bride" in Harvard Square, Cambridge; Edinburgh, Scotland; Australia (where she met Jason Webley);[7] as well as many other locations. She references this line of work on The Dresden Dolls' self-titled CD, with the song "The Perfect Fit":

"I can paint my face
And stand very, very still
It's not very practical
But it still pays the bills"

as well as on the A is for Accident track "Glass Slipper":

"I give out flowers
To curious strangers
who throw dollars at my feet."

A group of white-painted living statues appears in the music video to the single "Sing" from the Dresden Dolls' album Yes, Virginia....

The Dresden Dolls

Amanda Palmer performing with The Dresden Dolls at Kings Arms Tavern in Auckland, New Zealand, September 2006

At a Halloween party in 2000, Palmer met drummer Brian Viglione and together they formed The Dresden Dolls. In an effort to expand the performance experience and interactivity, Palmer began inviting Lexington High School students to perform drama pieces at her live shows. Currently, the Dirty Business Brigade, a troupe of seasoned and new artists, perform at many gigs. The invited costumed characters mingle with the crowd before and during the show, and veteran groups sometimes join in with a choreographed stage act. Life-sized marionettes, coin-operated boys, living statues, and other undergroundlings greet fans while circus and burlesque draw the audience into the Dolls' music, creating a participatory atmosphere that allows the audience to experience numerous types of art simultaneously.

After gathering to her a cult following, the band recorded their debut album in 2002 with producer Martin Bisi of indie, New York/Brooklyn fame. They self-published the album before being picked up by Roadrunner Records.

In 2006, The Dresden Dolls Companion,[8] was published, with "words, music & artwork" by Amanda Palmer.[8] In it she has written a history of the album The Dresden Dolls and of the duo, as well as a partial autobiography. The book also contains the lyrics, sheet music, and notes on each song in the album, all written by her, as well as a DVD with a 20 minute interview of Amanda about making the book.

In June 2007, as part of the Dresden Dolls, she toured with the True Colors Tour 2007,[9] including her debut in New York City's Radio City Music Hall,[10] and her first review in the New York Times.[10]

July 2008 saw the release of the second Dresden Dolls book, the Virginia Companion.[11] It is a follow-up to the Dresden Dolls Companion, featuring the music and lyrics from the Yes, Virginia... and No, Virginia... albums.

Amanda Palmer and the Onion Cellar

Palmer conceived a musical, The Onion Cellar, which the Dresden Dolls performed in conjunction with the American Repertory Theater at the Zero Arrow Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from December 9, 2006 to January 13, 2007.[12][13]

Solo career

Palmer's solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, was released on 16 September 2008.[14] Ben Folds produced and also played on the album.[15][16] The title is a play on an expression used by fans during Twin Peaks' original run, "Who killed Laura Palmer?" A companion book of photos of Amanda looking as if she were murdered was released in July 2009 featuring photography by Kyle Cassidy and accompanying writing by Neil Gaiman.

In July 2007, Amanda played three sold out shows (Boston, Hoboken, and NYC) in rare "with band" performances. Her backing band was Boston alternative rock group Aberdeen City, who also opened along with Dixie Dirt. In August 2007, Amanda traveled to perform in the Spiegeltent and other venues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, and also performed on BBC Two's The Edinburgh Show. She collaborated with Australian theater company, "The Danger Ensemble"; both again appeared at the Spiegeltent in Melbourne and at other venues around Australia in December 2007. In September 2007 Amanda collaborated with Jason Webley to release Evelyn Evelyn's debut EP "Elephant Elephant" via Jason's Eleven Records. In June 2008, Amanda established her solo career with two well-received performances with the Boston Pops.[17][18][19] In Autumn 2008, she toured Europe with Jason Webley, Zoe Keating and The Danger Ensemble, performing songs mostly from her debut solo album. She did most of the shows with a broken foot she had sustained in Ireland when a car ran over her foot as she stepped out into a street.[20] In April 2009, she played at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.[10]

In the spring of 2009, Amanda went back to her alma mater, Lexington High School in Massachusetts to collaborate with her old director and mentor Steven Bogart on a workshop piece for the department's spring production. The play, With the Needle that Sings in Her Heart was inspired by Neutral Milk Hotel's album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and The Diary of Anne Frank.[21] It received an overwhelmingly positive response from the Lexington community and abroad. NPR's Avishay Artsy interviewed the cast in a piece featured on All Things Considered on closing night of the production.[22] Amanda described this process as "what it's all about" in her blog.[citation needed]

Disputes with record label

Fans' "ReBellyon"

'Who Killed Amanda Palmer?' Tour 2008

After the release of her music video for the song "Leeds United", Palmer sparked controversy with a post in her blog. She claimed Roadrunner Records had wanted to pull certain shots from the video that exposed her stomach, because "they thought I looked fat". After her fans read about this, they immediately posted pictures of their stomachs online with messages to Roadrunner, lyrics, and words of comfort. They then sent in their pictures to the record label, and even started their own Web site. The fans coined a term for the movement: The ReBellyon.[23] Pitchfork Magazine[24] and The Guardian[25] were among publications reporting on the controversy. Since then The Rebellyon has developed a Web site run by independent musician Matt Wyllie.[26]

Partly because of the controversy caused by the Leeds video, Palmer has recently made attempts to be dropped from Roadrunner Records, which included posting a song on her online blog which asked the label to do so.[27] Subsequently, a message on forums from a forum user, has asked fans to buy music, merchandise and books from Palmer herself either personally or through mail order, via her website and to pass this message on to others.[28]

Oasis controversy

Amanda's song "Oasis", and its follow up video, sparked more controversy. The song concerns a raped Oasis fan who has an abortion;[29] the subject matter of the song, and the upbeat way it was portrayed in the video, proved to be too much for broadcasters in the United Kingdom. Palmer received an e-mail while she was in the U.K. from her label there explaining that "all" of the TV outlets in the U.K. had refused to play the video due to its "making light of rape, religion, and abortion". Palmer, in response, reached out to her fans via a lengthy message on her blog.[30] There, she wrote "i suggested that i might be allowed to play it if i just slowed it way down and played it in a minor key. think about it. if they heard the same lyrics against the backdrop of a very sad and liliting piano, maybe with some tear-jerking strings thrown in for good measure, would they take issue?"

Personal life

Amanda's residence in Boston, the Cloud Club, was featured in a 2006 episode (archived on YouTube) of Chronicle, the Boston Channel's newsmagazine. Amanda practices meditation and has written an article titled Melody vs. Meditation[31] for the Buddhist publication Shambhala Sun, describing the struggle between being a songwriter and being able to clear one's mind in order to meditate.

She identifies as bisexual.[32] "I'm bisexual, but it's not the sort of thing I spent a lot of time thinking about", Palmer said. "I've slept with girls; I've slept with guys, so I guess that's what they call it! I'm not anti trying to use language to simplify our lives."[33] On her blog, Palmer has stated that she had an abortion at age 17. In the same blog post, she stated that she was date raped when she was 20 years old.[34]

Palmer has also mentioned her pescetarianism in videos and blogs.[35]

Palmer is engaged to writer Neil Gaiman: on January 1, 2010, she stated on her Twitter feed that she "might have told [Neil Gaiman] [she]'d marry him but also might have been drunk."[36] On January 15, 2010, Gaiman and Palmer confirmed their engagement in an announcement made to their respective websites.[37][38]

Awards and honors


As a solo artist


  • Songs from 1989–1995... (1996)
  • Summer 1998 Five Song Demo (1997)

Studio albums


  • Who Killed Amanda Palmer: A Collection of Music Videos (2009)

As part of The Dresden Dolls


Cameo appearances

  • "Let Me Borrow That Top" (by Liam Kyle Sullivan aka. "Kelly") (2004) appearing briefly in the mall scene.
  • "With the Needle That Sings in Her Heart" (Lexington High School's 2009 Spring Production) appearing as "the Ringmaster"


  • Palmer, Amanda (2006). The Dresden Dolls Companion. New York, NY: Eight Foot Music. ISBN 1575608884. 
  • Palmer, Amanda; Brian Viglione (2008). The Dresden Dolls – The Virginia Companion. Cherry Lane Music Company. ISBN 1603780793. 
  • Palmer, Amanda; Neil Gaiman, Kyle Cassidy, Beth Hommel (2009). Who Killed Amanda Palmer: A Collection of Photographic Evidence. New York, NY: Eight Foot Books. ISBN 0615234399. 

See also


  1. ^ "Band Tries to Make It Big Without Going Broke". interview by Chris Arnold. All Things Considered. National Public Radio. 2007-01-17. The web page also has audio and a transcript of the interview, and links to several of their songs.
  2. ^ Perry, Jonathan (16 September 2008). "On 'Who Killed,' Palmer looks behind the veil". Boston Globe. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  3. ^ Shanahan, Mark; Meredith Goldstein (11 May 2009). "Palmer hangs out in Lexington". Boston Globe. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  4. ^ Sless-Kitain, Areif (3 December 2008). "Amanda Palmer". Time Out. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  5. ^ Bell, Sean (16 August 2009). "A piece of my mind". The Herald (Glasgow). Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  6. ^ Boston Phoenix review of Hotel Blanc
  7. ^ Chernov, Sergey (August 4, 2009), "Controversial Musician Prepares for Local Debut", St. Petersburg Times, .
  8. ^ a b The Dresden Dolls Companion, by Amanda Palmer, eight foot music publishing, June, 2006, ISBN 157560888X ISBN 978-1575608884
  9. ^ True Colors Tour web site.
  10. ^ a b c Chinen, Nate; photos by Hiroyuki Ito (2007-06-20). "Power to the People (and Some Pop Too)". The New York Times (The New York Times Company): pp. B1,B5. Retrieved 9 November 2007. "A much more musical brand of theatricality animated the Dresden Dolls, a duo consisting of the pianist Amanda Palmer and the drummer Brian Viglione. Their set was a concise demonstration of cabaret-punk. Ms. Palmer, singing throatily at an electric keyboard, held her own not only on the band staple “Coin-Operated Boy” but also even amid the bombast of “War Pigs”, the Black Sabbath screed." 
  11. ^ Virginia Companion, by Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione, Cherry Lane Music Company, July 2008, ISBN 1603780793 ISBN 978-1603780797
  12. ^ "THE ONION CELLAR". Web site of the American Repertory Theatre. American Repertory Theatre. Retrieved 3 December 2007. "Inside the small confines of the mysterious club The Onion Cellar, the internationally renowned rock duo The Dresden Dolls provides nightly entertainment while a series of stories unfold around them. As singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Amanda Palmer and drummer Brian Viglione play their songs, the Onion Cellar becomes a space where rock and roll meets cabaret with humor and humanity."  World Premiere.
  13. ^ On The Download editors; photo by Kelly Davidson (2005-04-20). "Dresden Dolls take the ART". On The Download. The Phoenix Media/Communications Group. Retrieved 21 August 2006. "The Dresden Dolls are taking the world by storm. This punk cabaret duo from Boston are incredible musicians whose smart, personal, intricate songs and mesmerizing live performance have earned them a cult following. Now don’t tell anyone, but there’s a rumor that the Dolls may be appearing at a bizarre underground club somewhere in Cambridge – an Onion Cellar, where the audience peel onions for emotional release, where you never quite know who's sitting next to you, where your life could change forever." 
  14. ^ [|Palmer, Amanda] (2008-05-10). "fish/people/belly". The Dresden Dolls Diary. Retrieved 10 May 2008. "the solo record got re-mastered and it's.....mind-blowing. it's so good. it's sooooooo gooooooooooooooooooooooood. so i feel safe in a deep way. because as long as the record is amazing then i can fuck everything else up and it's technically ok. it will be released september 16th. that is now like christmas day for me. it is four months away. that seems long." 
  15. ^ "Dresden Doll Preps Solo Debut". music for life. 2007-04-25. Retrieved 8 December 2007. "The Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer chats with about her forthcoming solo effort." 
  16. ^ Palmer, Amanda (2007-04-01). "here to dispel.". Speculation: Solo Album Title. The Dresden Dolls. Retrieved 8 December 2007. "... i am recording the solo nashville, at ben folds' studio, with ben, who is producing the record and playing on it." 
  17. ^ Eichler, Jeremy (2008-06-20). "All dolled up at the Pops – Palmer brings the edge but the fest needs more". The Boston Globe. NY Times Co.. Retrieved 7 June 2008. "Last night in Symphony Hall, Amanda Palmer brought some spark and much-needed edge to the Boston Pops's EdgeFest. On her own terms, Palmer, in strong gravelly voice, gave a richly satisfying performance that had this crowd roaring far more than most in Symphony Hall. But even she couldn't overcome the deeper tensions that make the EdgeFest a strained format." 
  18. ^ [|Smith, Rachel] (2008-06-20). "All Dolled up, Amanda Palmer and the Boston Pops, Symphony Hall, June 19, 2008". The Boston Phoenix. Phoenix Media/Communications Group. Retrieved 28 June 2008. "Last night, Amanda Palmer kicked off this season of the Boston Pops EdgeFest, the orchestra’s collaboration with younger, “edgier” bands and performers drawing the iPod generation into Symphony Hall. The choice of pairing Palmer with the Pops lead me to wonder if the Pops had ever listened to a Dresden Dolls album or seen The Onion Cellar or, you know, met her." 
  19. ^ Palmer, Amanda (2007-04-01). "The Dresden Doll's Forum". Speculation: Solo Album Title. The Dresden Dolls. Retrieved 8 December 2007. "... i am recording the solo nashville, at ben folds' studio, with ben, who is producing the record and playing on it." 
  20. ^ "Amanda Palmer: broken foot explanation". Retrieved 7 November 2008. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Amanda Palmer: Rebel With A Cause". 17 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  30. ^ "Amanda Palmer Blog". February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  31. ^ "Melody vs. Meditation". May 2008 Issue, Shambhala Sun. original publisher was Shambhala Sun Foundation, but the article can be found, with permission at, 09/19/2008. Retrieved 19 September 2008. 
  32. ^ "Interview: Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer". 2006-07-17. Retrieved 7 December 2007. "I figured out that I was bisexual when I was a teenager." 
  33. ^ Bendix, Trish (2007-07-18). "Getting Real With Amanda Palmer". After Ellen ( p. 1. Retrieved 4 December 2007. 
  34. ^ Palmer, Amanda (2009-02-03). "on Abortion, Rape, Art, and Humor". p. 2. Retrieved 3 February 2009. 
  35. ^ Palmer, Amanda (2009-07-15). "on Vegetarianism". p. 1. Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^ Staff (2009-05-11). "The 2009 Hot 100". Retrieved 23rd May 2009. 
  40. ^ Rosie Swash (2008-12-23). "Readers' Poll 2008: The results". Spinner. Retrieved 27th December 2008. 
  41. ^ Spinner Staff; photo by Sarah Komar, WireImage (2007-07-15). "Women Who Rock Right Now: No. 6". Spinner. Retrieved 8 December 2007. "Who: Amanda Palmer Birthplace: Lexington, Mass. Sound: Cabaret punk Palmer – one-half of Boston's Brechtian punk cabaret duo the Dresden Dolls – ain't no damsel in distress. The former street artist chokeholds her demons, teetering between sinister screeches and whimsical whispers of alcohol, self-mutilation and sexual exploration, while discordantly pummeling the piano – stocking-clad legs akimbo – in a sultry, sinful self-deprecation exorcism." 
  42. ^ Christopher Muther (2006). "Boston's Stylish 25". Boston Globe. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 8 December 2007. "Dresden Dolls lead singer Amanda Palmer, quite literally, has a rockstar wardrobe." 
  43. ^ Mike Errico (December 2006). "Hottest Women of...Rock!". Dennis Digital, Inc.. Retrieved 8 December 2007. "Amanda Palmer - The pianist and singer of Brechtian Boston duo Dresden Dolls mashes up punk rock and cabaret, sings about transsexuals and explores the elaborate deceptions that alcoholics commit daily." 
  44. ^ Half Jack. "Amanda Palmer". Bestuff. Retrieved 8 December 2007. "In the 2005 WFNX /Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll, Palmer won Best Female Vocalist." 
  45. ^ "The Dresden Dolls". ThoughtWorthy Media, Inc.. Retrieved 7 December 2007. "In the 2005 WFNX/Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll The Dresden Dolls won Best Local Act and Best Local Album. Amanda Palmer also won Best Female Vocalist." 
  46. ^ "Billboard Album Charts – Top 200 Albums – Music Retail Sales". 
  47. ^ Evelyn Evelyn (2007). "Elephant Elephant". Eleven Records. Retrieved 8 December 2007. "About a year ago Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls and Jason Webley received Myspace messages from the most unusual profile either of them had ever seen – conjoined twin sisters, both named Evelyn. Intrigued and charmed, they began corresponding with the twins hoping to lure them into the studio. The result is an EP that sounds like something the Andrews Sisters might have recorded if they had grown up in the circus listening to new wave music." 
  48. ^ Evelyn Evelyn (2007). "Evelyn Evelyn". Retrieved 8 December 2007. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Amanda Palmer (born April 30, 1976) is the lead singer, keyboardist, and songwriter of the Brechtian punk cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls, as well as a solo performer and impresario.




  • Nothing is crueller than children who come from good homes.
    • "Night Recconaissance" Live (2006)
  • A turn, a screw, a pull, a twist, the drug that makes you prettiest.
    • "June is Busting Out All Over" Live (Date unknown)
  • I'm not gonna live my life on one side of an ampersand.
    • "Ampersand" Live (2006)
  • you're rich in love
    you're great bed
    you'll see the world
    you'll knock 'em dead
    and all the thick books that you've read
    will count for nothing in the end
    • "Straight" Live (2004)


  • BH: Your sound is quite refreshing, did it come naturally?
    AP: As natural as the day you were born, my love.
    • from Only Angels Have Wings (April 2004)

External links

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