Getting Real With Amanda Palmer


Palmer said she has a lot of forward female fans ("When a girl comes on to you really strong and grabs you and tries to make out with you, it’s not as strange as when a guy does that. I’m much more wanting to when it’s a really hot chick trying to kiss me versus anything else"), and she’s not shy about what she wants in a girl.

"I actually tend to like really femmey girls," Palmer said. "You can deconstruct this with armchair psychology and really nail me, but I like girls about my body type and about my mix of masculine and feminine. I really don’t dig high-maintenance girls who are really into hair and nails and waxing and coifing, but I also really love girls who aren’t afraid to be sexy."

Palmer brings her queer aesthetic to the stage as a strong, powerful front woman. Viglione is a great drummer, but Palmer carries the show. A gifted musician, her on-point vocals are a throwback to Liza Minnelli in Cabaret — something truly refreshing now that so many other artists have resorted to synthesizers and overproduction.

She is currently recording a solo album titled Who Killed Amanda Palmer? which will be released in spring 2008. She characterized the album as "like the Dresden Dolls but without Brian on drums — and more ballad-type stuff."

As the band’s songwriter, it will be interesting to see what Palmer comes up with in a separate project, though she certainly keeps busy otherwise when off the road. She has written plays and the book The Dresden Dolls Companion, a guide and semiautobiography of the band and its music. She also keeps up a blog on the band’s website and has no inhibitions when it comes to letting fans into her space. However, she does worry that some have her pegged wrong.

"I think the biggest misconception is that I’m actually as unbalanced and crazy as I sound in some of my songs," Palmer said. "I’m a pretty well-balanced person, I think, and writing a song makes me as balanced as possible."

Perhaps it’s her erratic song-and-dance stage skills that originally brought gay fans to the Dolls. Or, as Palmer suggested, perhaps it is the realness that she brings.

"There’s just a very simple quality of authenticity," she explained. "We work from impulse. … This is what I want to do, this is the song I wrote and that’s how I hear it in my head. It’s a truly authentic expression of yourself."

She continued: "When you’re able to do that, it resonates with people. They can identify that you’re working with your heart, not trying to cash in and please somebody."

Everybody who has tried "to live authentically" has had to struggle with that, Palmer said. "When you’re gay, you’ve got a whole lot of noise coming from the outside, and it’s also very possibly [true that] you are arguing with your inner impulses. It’s just something people can relate to."

And if anyone can relate to that struggle, it would be the Dolls’ True Colors tour companions. "We’re just nuts about all of them," Palmer said. "We’ve been getting along so well." Over the course of the tour, she grew close to her mates and even threw birthday parties for Cyndi Lauper and Debbie Harry.

"It was Cyndi’s birthday two weeks ago in Texas, and I set up a private performance of ‘The Rainbow Connection’ from the Muppets," she said.

How does Palmer feel about the tour coming to an end?" I’m not sad or happy," she said. "I’m used to accepting s— as it gets thrown at me."

Watch the video for The Dresden Dolls’ “Girl Anachronism” here:

For more on the Dresden Dolls, visit their official website.

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