Q&A with Amanda Palmer

MC: Country music artists have typically spent time with their fans after shows, and of course you mention doing signings yourself. Will this become more common in the modern age?

Palmer: That’s also something the music business missed the boat on. Putting a star up on a stage and whisking them away. It scratches one itch for people, the idea of collectively worshiping a person on stage. It’s sexy and exciting, but it doesn’t bring a community together, not always, and not necessarily.

MC: What additional perspective do you have on the artist/performer dynamic?

Palmer: In my band and my career I’ve always been more interested in what’s going to happen in a room with all of these people. I happen to be on stage, I brought them together through a lot of hard work and writing the right kind of songs, but is everyone in this room going to feel something and leave happier, or changed? That’s why I got into this shit in the first place. If I was ever in-terested in fame it was only so I could be a more effective vessel. It wasn’t so I could have a house in the hills.

MC: What live shows changed you when you were growing up?

Palmer: A lot of theater, actually. I was touched and changed, and had my mind pried wider open by some of the theater I saw as a teenager and in college. My favorite band of all time? The Legendary Pink Dots. Their live show changed me, and I probably saw them two dozen times. Their performance and music were both so authentic while still being slightly weird and theatrical.

They were a small indie band—they had no fancy stage, a club of a few hundred people in the audience maybe, but they were hugely influential and still are. I had them open for the Dresden Dolls. If you had told me that at 15 I would have shit a brick!

MC: What else did you vibe on at age 15?

Palmer: I was really influenced by MTV. I don’t know if artists talk about it. I lived in suburban Massachusetts. I didn’t go to a lot of rock shows. I can name the bands I saw in high school on two hands.. But I would come home from school, get a bowl of cereal, and watch MTV for two hours no matter what was on.

These early fucked-up MTV videos with everyone being really wild and creative and creating stories out of these songs and doing this wild theatrical stuff––that really affected me. Prince, Cindy Lauper and Peter Gabriel looked like they were having a blast. Making music, writing music and running around in costumes—that’s the job I want.

MC: Are you incorporating any of these influences into your upcoming shows? 

Palmer: We’re bringing spandex back on this tour—we just ordered gold spandex pants for our guitarist and, I must say, they are fine. Really great ass pants.

MC: As a journalist I have to ask you this last question: are you ever concerned that the story of the making of your new record might overwhelm the music of that record?

Palmer: I hope not. I don’t think so. I think if the record was subpar and boring that would be the case. But the record is so good I think it will stand easily on its own. I like to think that Kickstarter and the buzz will serve as a booster rocket for a longer flight.


Contact Sarah Avrin, Girlie Action Media, 212-989-2222 ext. 118, [email protected]

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