a grand hello from the inside of my head. (WARNING: DO NOT ROCK.)
hello my friends…..
this is It. this is the month that i’ve been mythically telling myself about for, oh, 5 or 6 years now: the month where i clean out my entire fucking boston apartment, make my computer be organized, get back to a few thousand people (i shit you not) who have emailed be between the years of 2008 and 2011, and finally nail down how i’m going to do the next phase of my life. pile on top of that the small task of figuring out when i’m going to cut this next record, with whom, and where, and add one dose of Who the Fuck Do I Think I Am Anyway. that about nails things at the moment.
june and july were supposed to be empty. empty to be filled, that is. like cleaning the kitchen in order to cook a meal for 32 dinner guests.
for me, there’s no such thing as empty empty. like, just sit around and watch TV empty. i can do that for a few hours, and then i get frantic.
i like to get empty enough to make decisions about where the hell i’m headed.
and i know now. i just need to figure out how to do it.
all is not work. we went to the lexington 4th of july carnival last night.
it was me, super kate, casey long, noah briton, mali sastri, and ants (who you old school boston people will remember as the cross-dressing singer from Cho Experiment). my publicist aleix and his boyfriend brandon came along, too. some drunk girls in the ferris wheel car above us were laughing wildly and shouting to our car that they were going to pee off the side of the car. we laughed with them until they peed IN THEIR CAR and the pee DRIPPED ON OUR CAR LIKE RAIN for the rest of the ferris wheel ride. but it was actually kind of awesome. i can’t explain why. as neil would say: “because it was an adventure.”
noah changed his shirt. here he is on the next ride, disagreeing with the mandate on the thunder bolt before the ride started:
we watched the fireworks from the high school.
i was so happy to be with the people i was with, i almost cried. casey took this:
but also, i missed neil. sometimes i get tired of not being around him for most of my life. i called at him and yelled at him about how i loved him over the fireworks. that’s what you do. i tried to win him a big tacky I Love You bear at the balloon dart stand but all i got was a toucan. i’ll give him the toucan. it’s good enough. i think he might even like it better than the tacky I Love You bear. the boy running the booth was drunk (and possibly stoned) and tried to scheist me out of ten dollars.
meanwhile, noah might have gotten me a gig at a prison, because his friend is locked away for a long time in a mental ward there and his friend is an amanda palmer fan. he was telling me about the footage of the cramps playing at a california state mental hospital. i started wondering aloud what the BEST BAND EVER would be to play a prison. a band right now. across the board. who would win?
and noah said the footage of Young At Heart (the old old people) playing at a prison possibly put them in the running for best prison band ever.
i was trying to imagine taylor swift playing a prison. i tried to picture kimya dawson. then lady gaga. not doing it for the PR. like: lady gaga, if she had to play a prison and NEVER TELL ANYBODY ABOUT IT. what would she play? how would she make them happy? probably nobody would care what she was (or wasn’t) wearing – or maybe they would. i dunno.
i imagined myself sitting there in a prison in front of a few hundred inmates, some of them certified insane, probably none of them not knowing or giving a fuck “who i am,” and i found myself thinking: could i make them happy? seriously? how would i do it? and why would they care? especially in you’re in for life. like – how much do the bragging rights actually matter?
i’ve been wondering shit like this a lot lately.
as i embark on Whatever’s Next, i really have been wondering what the fuck the right decisions are. is it good to make a lot of people happy a little? or a little people happy a lot? is it possible to make a lot of people happy a lot? does it even matter? am i even making music to make people happy? why the fuck am i making music? i think one has to go through this process every time one makes a record.
i was also talking to kate, in the studio the other day, about how i’ve never given very much consideration to the direction my art has gone in. seems crazy and counter-intuitive, but it’s true.
i tend to make small impulsive choices based on whatever i’m feeling in the moment, and whatever looks like it’s going to float my boat in the right emotional direction.
but then i try to commit to that impulse 1000%. because i figure there’s no point in half-assing anything, even if the idea was sort of a random idea to begin with. isn’t every idea random? i’ve never WANTED to sit down and strategize my career. that sounds not only boring, but terrifying. i feel like the reason i got into this whole rock n roll racket int he first place was so i NEVER HAD TO DO THAT.
and i have to say, it’s pretty much worked. it’s never left me in the best financial situation, but things tend to come out in the wash, and i’ve never regretted a single decision.
it’s more or less in keeping with the “plan a only”/”fuck plan b” mentality. once you pick a “plan a” – you fucking make it happen until you’ve exhausted yourself. you beg, borrow and improvise and fake it ‘til you make it, and when all is done, it almost doesn’t matter if the plan worked or not. if you had a good time doing it, you’re still going to enjoy your end-of-the-day beer. if your goal was to enjoy the process of creation, and you did, you and your friends and co-workers can still slap each other on the back and say “well, THAT didn’t work. we did it! cheers!” while the pile of failure in front of you burns brightly to illuminate your party. not everybody works this way. and it doesn’t work for everybody.
so anyway: the last few weeks happened by accident, they weren’t supposed to happen, but they did. here’s why.
i was hanging out with michael mcquilken (who i have been in the horrible habit as referring to as “my ex”, but i have to get used to just calling him “my bandmate”), around the end of april.
i was filling him in on my next steps. about finding a band, touring, the whole nine yards. he just finished grad school, and got the idea that him and chad raines – his friend from yale who was also graduating from the drama department – would make an ideal back-up band. both of them are multi-instrmentalists, drama freaks, sound engineers and (i have a taste for these people) in the school of what i like to call the renaissance hacks. they do everything. so it was decided that we’d give a shot at playing as a trio and that the guys would help me cut demos of my new songs.
most of the songs aren’t actually new. most of the songs were written in 2009, with a couple of newer ones sneaking in.
things effect things. in my self-managed life, business and the team has driven the art output. i’ve been trying for the last three years – since “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” came out – to put together a management team who will actually work well together and make the business Go. it’s been a tricky and tedious process: i’ve had almost 7 configurations of management and teams since going solo.
it’s been a haul. each album that i’ve released since the solo album (evelyn evelyn, the radiohead EP, the australian record) has been a test-run to see how to do things – what goes right, what goes wrong, how it works and how it doesn’t.
and i’m finally getting close – close enough to be ready to break ground on the record of real-ass songs that i’ve had piling up on the piano since “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” got recorded.
which is why, when michael suggested he & chad help me cut the demos, i said:
“yes: but in the fall”.
michael pressed me to do it this summer.
i said “no. in the fall. my apartment is a mess. my computer is a mess. my head is a mess. i know the deal. if i start cutting demos for a record, i’m going to start making a fucking record. i won’t be able to stop. i need the off time.”
he won. we did it. we did it last week. we cut demos. and before we went into record, we played three shows to tweak and test the material live.
and maybe i was wrong about the not being able to stop myself: i physically can’t do what i can’t do….i LITERALLY can’t start this record tomorrow. not with all of august booked in scotland for the fringe and a fall mini-tour with neil already in the works (more on that below).
so; the record can’t be made until later fall/early winter at the soonest – spring at the latest.
but i’m glad i did things this way, for lots of reasons.
one: i now know that my new songs, post-arranging, sounds as amazing as i thought they would. i don’t need to stress it in my brain. they sound BETTER. this feeds me and keeps me going like a ten-foot multivitamin battery. not to pat myself on the back or anything (too late) but i think these are some of the best songs i’ve ever written. some of the saddest. and happiest. and the danciest. all around…i’m proud, i feel like i’ve stretched and jumped and hurled myself over a pole vault pole. except nobody was watching. nobody will know until this album comes out. that’s such a bitch, i have to say.
two: i can now sally forth on my summer catch-up and off-time armed with my demos, which are going to create the template for the record itself, and they’ll be invaluable when talking to the producer-y engineer-y people about direction. we still don’t know exactly where we’re going to cut this record for real.
three: i have found a couple of musicians that rock the shit out of the park. we’ll be touring this summer as a trio, but we may add things later as needed. but my search is over, before it even began, actually.
four: amanda palmer fans actually do dance. hard. they just need permission. and warm-up exercises.
even if we cut this album in the late fall, i SHOULD get enough time to decompress & recompose my life in an organized manner, if i shake my ass. yesterday kate and i spent 4 solid hours finally clearing out, tagging and de-mystifying the old dresden dolls rehearsal space, which has held ghosts of tours past for going on ten years.
i now know how many kurzweil power adaptors i own. (8).
and how many male-to-female XLR cables (about a dozen).
and how many keyboard stands. (9).
and how many promotional australian “yes. virginia” posters. (don’t ask).
and how many old, moldy, cob-web-covered and slightly terrifying dresden-doll hyrda-heads that someone once sculpted and gave me that i simply could not bear to part with:
i do plan to put together a webcast to hock some of this odd promo-poster/random shit out of the basement. stay tuned for that.
and today we hit the email.
and in the next few days i’m going to post a blog with some pictures from the shows we need, and from the studio….i’m still compiling. i might even throw together a little teaser, using a snippet from one of the demos (we’ll see).
i got SUCKED into turntable.fm the other night. somebody (well, @meltinghalo to be exact) started a #LOFNOTC room and i’d heard so much about turntable.fm from my hip friends that i finally decided to go check it out. it addicted me instantly. i felt horrible that the international set (outside the US) couldn’t take part (plus – for the time being? – you need to use facebook to login)…apparently turntable.fm JUST got shut out of the ex-america markets.
WHEN WILL THE WORLD WAKE UP AND REALIZE SHIT LIKE THIS IS GOOD AND NOT BAD FOR THE MUSIC INDUSTRY? good lord. let’s pray for that to get sorted. meanwhile…neil got hooked too, and has been doing impromptu DJ parties over there that he posts likes to via his twitter, and i will be hitting that shit when i feel like it. it’s basically a virtual room where people trade DJing songs, comment, chat and rate the music. it took me about 15 minutes to figure out how it worked, and after a few hours of fun i closed the night out with my cover of rebecca black’s “friday” (recorded just last weekend at the bell house in brooklyn). if i organize anything non-impromptu, i’ll hit the blog with info so you can plan your own little dance party.
here’s a screen cap from all the little animals hopping and bopping to NIN’s cover of soft cell’s “memorabilia” (@trentvanegas was spinning, while we were trying to convince neil to join in on the fun):
and i asked on twitter if anybody had any questions. i cut and pasted and am answering HERE.
while i’m in mad-catch-up mode, this IS a good time to ask questions, so hit me in the comments, which i always read, and i’ll start formatting the blogs with more Q&A each time around…if i don’t get lazy.
@amandapalmer What are you up to when you’re in England in September?
i’m up to these shows:
AFP SOLO SHOW
FRI. AUGUST 26th
GLASGOW @ THE ARCHES
TIME: 7PM | AGES: 16+ | TIX: £14
TICKETS | RSVP
AFP SOLO SHOW
THURS. SEPTEMBER 1st
BRIGHTON @ CONCORDE 2
TIME: 7PM | AGES: 14+ | TIX: £14.50
TICKETS | RSVP
(under 16s with adults over 18)
AFP SOLO SHOW
FRI. SEPTEMBER 2nd
LONDON @ HEAVEN
TIME: 7PM | AGES: 14+ | TIX: £16.50
TICKETS | RSVP
(under 16s with adults over 18)
AFP SOLO SHOW
MON. SEPTEMBER 5th
LONDON @ ???
SAVE THE DATE (and the night before)
secret-mystery-gig info coming soon! RSVP for info
AFP SOLO SHOW
TUES. SEPTEMBER 6th
VIENNA, AUSTRIA @ ARENA
TIME: 7PM | AGES: ALL | TIX :€25
TICKETS | RSVP
AFP SOLO SHOW
WED SEPTEMBER 7th
AMSTERDAM, NL @ MELKWEG (Old Hall)
TIME: 8:30PM | AGES: ALL | TIX: :€16.50
TICKETS | RSVP
and apart from that, i’m planning on spending a few weeks OFF at the fringe in edinburgh. if you have any recommendations of bands or plays to see while at the fringe, HIT ME. i’m starting my list as we speak.
@amandapalmer if you can reveal anything about the visit to SF from you and @neilhimself this November, we’d love to hear about it.
neil and i are indeed plotting a little neil-and-amanda hit the west coast tour for early november. i’m about to announce a west coast halloween show with jason webley, too. neil and i will DEFINITELY be hitting san francisco, and i expect all these tickets will vanish soon after going on sale, so your best bet to get tickets, as always, is to get on the MAILING LIST, where we alway announce first.
@amandapalmer when do you expect the new album to be out?!
given all the x factors, it’ll be sometime as early as next spring and as late as summer/fall. i’ve learned my lesson…i ain’t saying anything fo shizzle.
when it does come out, i’ll probably be touring on it for the better part of a year, so i want to make sure everything is in ship fucking shape before i head out.
@amandapalmer you probably get this a lot.. but any more reunion things for the dresden dolls?
why funny you should ask. yes, indeed. we’re plotting something for this winter. but location is yet to be revealed. i just saw brian at our show in brooklyn and he was looking smashing as always.
@amandapalmer Whatever happened to the “No Surprises” video?
this one’s been a long time coming, i know. it got buried in the endless project chaos of last year, and we decided to hang onto it and wait for a special reason to release it instead of just dropping it randomly into the world. there’s a good chance we’re going to re-print and (finally) distribute the radiohead EP, and this’ll be a nice tie-in with that. so expect it in the not-too-distant future. it’s really a beautiful animated video, i’m sorry it’s been hiding under a rock for so long.
@amandapalmer Did you ever post the wedding blog?
no. i didn’t. and people keep asking me about it. if i had a dollar for every huge blog i got 95% finished and didn’t post, i’d have like forty-seven dollars.
it’s been an enigma, that blog. i’ve re-written in a few times now and it’s just sitting there in my drafts folder, unwilling to be launched into the internet.
i think it’s a combination of things. my relationship with neil is ever-evolving. daily. it seems like i always have something different to say. marriage itself, weddings, the ritual – its all symbolic. and i feel like i can never quite get a handle on how to explain the thing to people. you might be shocked to hear that not everybody in the world is supportive of the fact that i got married. sometimes i feel like i have to defend the action. i’ve looked at the blog and wondered if that defensiveness is informing at all. because it can’t. it shouldn’t. so i am wishy-washy. it’ll come out when the time is right. it’ll be the right time.
@amandapalmer Any plans to come to Greece any time soon? We kinda feel left out…
dude, i’d love to come to greece. i know there are lots of fans there.
i’ve been spending a lot of my mental calculations trying to figure out where i am going to tour when this new record drops, and how i can use the internet to figure out WHERE people are. it doesn’t hurt when you ask…so i know you’re there. when i get some sort of system running. there’s lots of online things like eventful.com and other platforms for collective voices about where artists are demanded, but i’ve yet to figure out what’s perfect for AFP-land. stay tuned. or if you have advice, hit me in the comments.
@amandapalmer when can we expect the @EvelynEvelyn graphic novel?
a HA! this is an easy one, and i’m so happy to announce it’s coming out in october. it looks BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!! cynthia von buhler NAILED the artwork: it’s really a gorgeous graphic novel and i can’t wait for you guys to see it. jason and cynthia and i will be shouting about it’s release from the rooftops as soon as we know exactly when it will be punch.
more soon, my loves.