Interview: Dresden Dolls Leading Lady Amanda Palmer
Amanda Palmer plays late on New Years Eve at the Bowery Ballroom. Tickets are still available.
2008 has been an up-and-down year for Dresden Dolls leading lady Amanda Palmer. Her first foray into solo work appeared this past September in the form of Who Killed Amanda Palmer?, a twelve song set of quirky piano rock. She's currently collaborating with science-fiction author Neil Gaimon on a story-book companion, due sometime in 2009. But Palmer's had a fraught relationship with her record label, Roadrunner Records. Roadrunner's parent company, Warner Bros, recently pulled all of her videos from YouTube in a squabble with the online video behemoth. And in one of the oddest forms of spontaneous protest of this year, after a meeting with her A&R person went sour over Palmer's exposed midriff, her fans snapped up pictures of their own stomachs: More than a few read "Fuck Roadrunner."--Michael D. Ayers
How've the holidays been?
The holidays completely blew. I've had a really, really terrible Christmas, which has never happened to me before.
[laughs] Oh, well...really dramatic relationship problems coupled with dramatic family problems coupled with total exhaustion from tour equals one really depressing Christmas.
No fun gifts or anything?
No, I got some good stuff. But the material excitement doesn't overshadow the emotional agony [laughs].
This whole year seems to have been so drama filled for you. With the record label stuff, and now this, you can't seem to escape it.
It has definitely been a heavy-duty year. When I was on tour, it felt like a week could not go by where something dramatic did not happen. I don't know why that is. But a lot of people have told me that it's been like that for a lot of people. I think it's been a hard couple of months for everyone around.
What are your hopes for 2009?
I'm actually looking forward to it. I'm actually planning on starting from scratch after I get dropped from the label, which will hopefully happen in June. I'm planning on completely starting over with this record; I think it's too good to just let it go. One of the most depressing things over the last month is watching myself pop up on all these year-end lists. But all of these year-end lists that I'm popping up on are "Most Overlooked Record of 2008." And I'm like, "God, the record is so good and nobody knows about it." I feel totally powerless. And I'm just thinking, "the music industry has totally changed, the way the game is played has totally changed. I'm just going to sit here and bide my time and just wait." And come next year, I'm just going to start from scratch. And it feels rather liberating to give yourself permission to do that.
Looking back, why do you think your record wound up in the overlooked category?
The label did absolutely nothing to promote the record. They barely got it into the stores. They just did nothing. I'd hate to think I live in a world where I think things will magically happen. I know that it needs to be promoted. But it's kind of cool now, the record is growing. It's spreading and word of mouth is causing awesome things. But that's a slow process. The record didn't get sent to radio, there was no postering, and no campaigns.