It’s been a busy year for Dresden Dolls’ front woman, Amanda (fucking) Palmer but arriving in Melbourne to enjoy Christmas and New Year in the sweltering heat with writer husband Neil Gaiman, she couldn’t be happier. Tone Deaf spoke to Palmer about the timing of their upcoming tour (their first Down Under in six years), clashing with age-restricted venues, and what’s on the table for 2012.
The morning after driving the Great Ocean Road with Gaiman, Amanda Palmer is getting ready for Christmas. “This is my first Christmas in Australia. I’ve spent every other one of my conscious life in New England where it’s beautiful, but completely fucking freezing. I’m ready for the change. I’m so happy to be back here, all is as well as it could possibly fucking get.”
The Dolls’ second half, drummer and singer Brian Viglione, will be arriving shortly after New Year to begin the tour. On hiatus since 2008, Amanda and Brian got together for some shows in 2010, quashing rumours of a break up. They are simply two very busy people. Amanda has put out two solo records, toured them extensively, created another musical outfit in Evelyn Evelyn, released a graphic novel, put together an EP of Radiohead covers and is learning how to balance marriage throughout it all. Brian has been dabbling in a dizzying amount of solo projects, including drumming on the latest album from Nine Inch Nails and has four more album releases and numerous tours planned for 2012. The Dresden Dolls is Palmer’s favourite.
“The weird thing is that I’ve spent so much time solo in Australia that I have a lot of fans here who have never seen The Dresden Dolls. Like, before you die you have to see The Dresden Dolls. I’m great solo but The Dresden Dolls is an experience. There’s just nothing else like it, so it was definitely time (to return to Australia),” Palmer vehemently explains.
Although the latest release from the punk cabaret duo was Yes, Virginia in 2008, their fan base continues to grow and Palmer is still inundated with pleas of all-age shows.
“I have an ongoing battle with certain cities in Australia that refuse to bend their 18+ laws. In Melbourne it’s constantly a problem but I try to constantly get around the rule.”
It may not be the same as an explosive live Dresden Dolls show but what’s Palmer’s solution? “I’ll definitely be doing some weird ninja gigs and other last minute stuff in almost every city so follow that shit; it’s the only way it’ll be announced.”
Despite the six years since they’ve played together in Australia and over a year since they’ve played a live gig at all, fans are not to be worried they’ve lost their magic.
“Doing what I do like with Brian, it’s sort of its own thing. The Dresden Dolls is this incredible combination of me and Brian psychically mind-melding and playing music on stage and we never get sick of it, we never get sick of playing with each other. We were certainly sick of touring like we did but the live shows; they’re fantastic, the live energy hasn’t changed at all.”
A New Year may bring a Dresden Dolls tour, but no new record from the duo has been announced. Palmer’s resolutions are set, though. ‘I’ve been gearing up to actually make my next solo record which I haven’t really announced the details for but will be doing this spring. And I think I’ll just be trying to find that balance of touring and being married. I haven’t figured out how to do that one yet but I’ll be figuring it out next year!” she laughs.
Palmer elaborates further on how she sees The Dresden Dolls. “The thing about The Dresden Dolls is that we’ve always been, and always will be, a fundamentally great live band. That’s really where the band shone and that’s true to this day. It’s kind of how I look at the band. The band exists when we play together and it’s always been a beautiful, beautiful thing. I’ve had solo shows that were up and down but when you stick me and Brian up on a stage anywhere around the world, it’s going to work. It’s a perfect alchemy. So, figuring out how to balance our solo careers and when to tour with the band has been a little sticky but we’re figuring it out.”
The Dresden Dolls will be touring nationally with The Bedroom Philosopher, (“I think they’re going to love him!” Palmer laughs. “His sense of humour is right up my fucking alley so I assume it will be right up my fans alley!”), and The Jane Austen Argument.
– Louie Hill