The Dresden Dolls: Wikis


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The Dresden Dolls

The Dresden Dolls: Amanda Palmer (left) and Brian Viglione (right)
Background information
Origin Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Genres punk cabaret, Dark cabaret
Years active 2001–2008 (indefinite hiatus)
Website Official website
Amanda Palmer
Brian Viglione

The Dresden Dolls[1] are an American musical duo from Boston, Massachusetts. Formed in 2000, the group consists of Amanda Palmer (vocals, piano, harmonica, ukelele) and Brian Viglione (drums, percussion, guitar, bass guitar, vocals). The two describe their style as "Brechtian punk cabaret", a phrase invented by Palmer because she was "terrified" that the press would invent a name that "would involve the word gothic."[2] The Dresden Dolls are part of an underground dark cabaret movement that started gaining momentum in the early 1990s.



Band formation and name

The duo formed a week after Brian Viglione witnessed Amanda Palmer perform solo at a Halloween party in 2000. Their live performances soon gained them a cult following. During these performances the two band members often wear dramatic make-up and fancy clothing that push their cabaret/theater aesthetic. They encourage fans to become involved at their shows, with the fans' own stilt walking, living statues, fire breathers and other performance art becoming an integral part of the show. The Dirty Business Brigade coordinates the fans' performances.[3]

The band's first name was Out of Arms.[4] At some point, the name became The Dresden Dolls. The name, according to Palmer, was "inspired by a combination of things," including the firebombing of Dresden, Germany and the porcelain dolls that were a hallmark of pre-war Dresden industry; an early song of the same name by The Fall; and a reference to the V. C. Andrews novel Flowers in the Attic, where the classically blond-haired and blue-eyed protagonists are called "the Dresden dolls." The name also evokes Weimar Germany and its cabaret culture. Additionally, Palmer "liked the parallel between Dresden (destruction) and Dolls (innocence, delicacy), because it is very much in keeping with the dynamics of the music, which sometimes goes from a childlike whisper to a banshee scream within a few seconds."[5]

Growing fame and performances

The duo was featured in a webcast performance at the 2002 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[6] After a self-promoted demo recorded and released in 2001, their first release was the mostly live compilation A Is for Accident (Important Records), followed in 2003 by a self-titled debut produced and recorded by Martin Bisi (Swans, Sonic Youth) at The Old American Can Factory in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The album features fellow Boston-area musicians Ad Frank (guitar on "Good Day") and Shawn Setaro (bass on "Good Day," "Gravity" and "Jeep Song").[7] Two songs off the album ranked in the Triple J Hottest 100, 2004: "Girl Anachronism" at #30 and "Coin-Operated Boy" at #12.[8] In 2003 they were crowned the winners of Boston's long-running WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble.

On October 6, 2005 The Dresden Dolls were interviewed by the subject of one of their songs, Christopher Lydon, on the radio show Open Source.[9]

Tours, festivals, books, and theater

In March 2005, the duo supported Nine Inch Nails on tour. On June 5, 2005, The Dresden Dolls hosted a free concert at the Paradise Club in Boston. When a power outage unexpectedly delayed their performance, city streets became a temporary stage for some of the many performers (living statues, stilt-walkers, and fire-breathers) who had come from across the world to entertain audiences. The entire event — concert and street performances — was filmed and the resulting DVD, Live: In Paradise, was released in Europe on Oct. 10, 2005 and in North America on November 22, 2005, shortly after the band's fall 2005 tour.[10]

The Dresden Dolls' second studio album, Yes, Virginia..., was released on April 18, 2006.[11] Over the summer of that year, the duo performed at South by Southwest, Bonnaroo, Britain's Reading and Leeds Festivals, and Lollapalooza, in addition to touring with Panic! at the Disco as their opening act. During the support tour, the band presented "Fuck the Back Row — A Night of Celluloid Vaudeville." The events consisted of screenings of short films from friends and fans, performances by local artists, and a solo show by Palmer who performed mostly cover songs inspired from film soundtracks.[12]

In June 2006, The Dresden Dolls Companion[13] was released by Amanda Palmer. The book contains a history of the band and their first album — The Dresden Dolls — as well as a partial autobiography. The book also contains the lyrics, sheet music, and notes on each song on the album, as well as a DVD featuring a 20-minute interview with Palmer about the origins of the band and the first LP. The interview was conducted by a friend while Palmer compiled the artwork for the first LP.

On August 16, 2006, the East Providence Community Theatre in East Providence, Rhode Island premiered a full-length, fan-written jukebox musical, The Clockwork Waltz, featuring songs from The Dresden Dolls' three albums. The show was encouraged by the band and their management.[14]

In December 2006 and January 2007, the music of The Dresden Dolls was featured in an original production — The Onion Cellar — at the American Repertory Theatre's Zero Arrow Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[15][16] The play is co-authored by Amanda Palmer, from her original concept.

On January 14, 2007, the duo took a temporary hiatus. Palmer worked on her solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, while Brian Viglione toured with Boston-based HUMANWINE[17] and other local Boston acts, along with touring with Jesse Malin and offering drum clinics.

In June 2007, they joined the True Colors Tour 2007,[18] including their debut in New York City's Radio City Music Hall[19] and their first review in the New York Times.[19]

On July 10, 2007, the DVD, Live at the Roundhouse, was released in the U.S.

From December 27, 2007 to January 13, 2008 their Winter Tour started at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington, DC, and ending at The Norva in Norfolk, Virginia.[20]

On January 15, 2008, they entered the studio to record new material for their fourth album, No, Virginia... Released on May 20, 2008, it is a collection of B-sides and rarities, along with new recordings of old favorites and cover songs that were previously only available as live versions. The album has spawned a single, "Night Reconnaissance."

July 2008 saw the release of the second Dresden Dolls book, the Virginia Companion.[21] It is a follow-up to the Dresden Dolls Companion, featuring the music and lyrics from the Yes, Virginia... and No, Virginia... albums.


In September 2008, rumors began to circulate about the future of the band. Brian confirmed that the band is currently on hiatus but emphasized that he and Amanda are on good terms and that they will get together again when it feels right for both of them.[22] In late July and early August 2009, a rumor began to spread that the band was "reuniting for performances in 2010" but Amanda clarified in her blog on August 7: "There’s been a ton of press lately re-printing an old quote from an old interview that’s now blown up into a full-fledged press rumour that Brian and I have planned Dresden Dolls’ shows for 2010. Not true. We aren’t planning any shows. sorry about that, blame the gossip whores."[23]


Studio albums

EPs, live albums and compilations




Music videos

Year Video Album Director
2003 "Girl Anachronism" The Dresden Dolls Michael Pope
2004 "Coin-Operated Boy" Michael Pope
2006 "Sing (The Alternate Cut)" Yes, Virginia... Michael Pope
2006 "Sing (Chapter II / Original)" Michael Pope
2006 Backstabber" Michael Pope
2006 "Backstabber: The Dresden Dolls vs. Panic! at the Disco" Michael Pope
2007 "Shores of California" Andrew Bennett
2008 "Night Reconnaissance" No, Virginia... Michael Pope

Awards and honors

See also


External links


  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 has audio and a transcript of the interview, and links to several of their songs.
  2. ^ Speer, Deborah (April 03, 2006). "The Dresden Dolls". Pollstar. Retrieved 21 Aug 2006. 
  3. ^ Dirty Business Brigade website.
  4. ^ Amanda Palmer's biography on the Dresden Dolls official website
  5. ^ Peck, Stacey (n.d.). "Undressing The Dresden Dolls". Newbury Comics. Retrieved 12 Sep 2006. 
  6. ^ "Not-so-Nobel Laureates". ScienceNOW (Washington, DC: 2007 American Association for the Advancement of Science) 4 (3). 4 October 2002. 
  7. ^ The Dresden Dolls album liner notes.
  8. ^ "Hottest 100 2004". Triple J. Retrieved 11 Jun 2007. 
  9. ^ "Open Source » Blog Archive » The Dresden Dolls". Open Source Media, Inc.. October 6, 2005. Retrieved 21 Aug 2006. 
  10. ^ Bill H. (September 25, 2005). "Update on The Dresden Dolls "Paradise" DVD Pre-Ord". Retrieved 21 Aug 2006. 
  11. ^ Amanda Palmer (2005-09-08). "Out of the Closet and into the Studio". Retrieved 16 Dec 2007. 
  12. ^ The Dresden Dolls (2007-11-27). "Fuck the Back Row". Retrieved 16 Dec 2007. 
  13. ^ The Dresden Dolls Companion, by Amanda Palmer, eight foot music publishing, June, 2006, ISBN 157560888X ISBN 978-1575608884
  14. ^ "The Clockwork Waltz". web site of the East Providence Community Theatre. East Providence Community Theatre. August 2006. Retrieved 7 Dec 2007. "The Clockwork Waltz is an original concept and story, based on and including thirteen songs written by Boston-based punk cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls. The story is that of a school aged girl named Amanda, living with her overworked single mother, Jill. At first, Amanda seems like a typical girl with typical problems... but a freak accident at her doctor’s office starts to turn her life upside-down, inside-out, and sideways." 
  15. ^ "THE ONION CELLAR". Web site of the American Repertory Theatre. American Repertory Theatre. Retrieved 3 Dec 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.
  16. ^ 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 Aug 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." 
  17. ^ HUMANWINE website.
  18. ^ True Colors Tour website.
  19. ^ a b Chinen, Nate; photos by Hiroyuki Ito (June 20, 2007). "Power to the People (and Some Pop Too)". The New York Times (The New York Times Company): pp. B1,B5. Retrieved 9 November 2007. 
  20. ^ The Dresden Dolls Show History
  21. ^ Virginia Companion, by Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione, Cherry Lane Music Company, July 2008, ISBN 1603780793 ISBN 978-1603780797
  22. ^ Brian Viglione (2008-09-23). "Re: Brian wrote this on a youtube video yesterday...". Retrieved 23 Sep 2008. 
  23. ^ Amanda Palmer (2009-08-07). "russia, puppet-lynchings & church-tractors". Retrieved 07 Aug 2009. 
  24. ^ "The Dresden Dolls". ThoughtWorthy Media, Inc.. Retrieved 7 Dec 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." 


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Dresden Dolls are a duo from Boston, formed after a Halloween party in 2000, composed of singer/keyboardist/songwriter Amanda Palmer and drummer/occasional guitarist and vocalist Brian Viglione. They describe their style as "Brechtian punk cabaret", and have exposed an underground dark cabaret movement that started gaining momentum in the early '90s with artists like Salon Betty and Gavin Friday.


  • We all know
    There's no Hitler and no Holocaust
    No winter and no Santa Claus
    And yes, Virginia, all because
    The truth won't save you now
  • So don't tell me what to write
    And don't tell me that I'm wrong
    And don't tell me not to reference my songs within my songs
  • All of my blind ambition left me deaf with perfect vision.
  • And you thought you could change the world by opening your legs
    Well, it isn't very hard
    Try kicking them instead.
    And you thought you could change his mind
    by changing your perfume to the kind his mother wore
    Oh God, Delilah, why?
    I never met a more impossible girl.
  • If you did it, say you did it. If you didn't, suck it up and say you did.

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