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extras needed for "rockstar" video shoot with wayne coyne!

hola comrades!!!

well, i've got some bad-ass news to share:

the band is about to shoot a video for "do it with a rockstar."

and it's going to be a collaboration with wayne coyne…yes, this wayne coyne:


and it's going to be shot in Oklahoma City in the psychedelic utopia of flaming-lips-land (where shit like this exists!!!!):


AND
we need EXTRAS!
me and The Grand Theft Orchestra will be performing live in a venue somewhere in the city, and we need a crowd made up of freaks, nerds, and weirdos such as your fine selves, dressed up in your finest Grand Theft Attire.

wayne & his team have put up a website to collect emails from all of who're interested in coming. the shoot will be on MONDAY AUGUST 6th from around 4pm-midnight(ish), but this type of thing can always run later…video shooting is always weird so be prepared for sitting around when shit breaks!!!
if you're interested, when you email, please list any acting, performing, modeling, or otherwise useful experience you've had (or why that's not important).

you can find more info/the email address at amandavswayne.com
there are a limited number of spaces, so act quick, and we will contact you as soon as possible.

LOVE,
from tour-land,
where i'm exhausted and sorry i haven't blogged in a while i will but trust me shit is awesome,
no, seriously,
AFP



that's a photo from UNDERWATER, last night at the very first kickstarter house party. it was hosted by @Weston_Verd and shit was BEAUTIFUL.
toldyah.

Cross-posted to the blog on amandapalmer.net

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FALL TOUR TICKETS on sale for EVERYONE (+ album pre-order!!!!)

The following blog is content from the mailer that went out to the AFP email list subscribers, LAST WEEK. If you received that, this is all pretty much stuff you've read. If you aren't on the email list yet, SIGN UP HERE/please read on.
_____________________

BIENVENUE COMRADES!

first, breaking news: neil and i will be doing ONE NIGHT and ONE NIGHT ONLY of "an evening with neil gaiman & amanda palmer" on august 12th in edinburgh. it's ages 14+ and tickets are onsale and flying.
grab them quick right HERE (and then make sure to RSVP) before it's too late. IMPORTANT: ticketmaster's telling some people that the show's sold out, but those same people called the box office and got tickets. if you try that link and don't have any luck, you can get the phone number for the venue HERE. always worth a shot.

and now...THE YEAR AHEAD.

our direct-to-you ticketing experiment (which accounted for about 10% of all the tickets available) worked quite well last monday (with some minor hiccups and learning experiences for next time). NOW, the whole tour's on sale for the public. that means: if you got shut out last week, NOW'S THE TIME TO TRY AGAIN. these tickets are all moving VERY FAST and will likely sell out SOON, so DON'T WAIT.

ALSO, the new album - "THEATRE IS EVIL" - is still available for pre-order, from me, direct...and it's available in ALLLLLLLLLL sorts of formats (hopefully every which way you could possible desire).

Pre-Order HERE!

so, if you or anyone you know missed out on the kickstarter and has been waiting…pre-order it NOW! the digital-download starts at ONE DOLLAR (but you can choose to donate more if you'd like) and it includes bonus content and stuff you won't get anywhere else (like iTunes, i mean - if you were a kickstarter backer, you WILL get all that cool shit and more). also...you can get the vinyl and CD. it's HERE. go look!

THE TOUR

Photo by Andreas Beck
Photo by Andreas Beck

this will not be your run-of-the-mill rock show. expect miracles. expect dancing. expect LOUDNESS. and expect to be called upon to participate...a bunch of what we're planning is going to need YOU, the audience, to work. you'll see. but that means: once you buy your ticket, please stay tuned in.
we'll be hunting you down and asking you for...help.
following the twitter will help: @amandapalmer | @AFPwire
as for us?
i just spent two days in paris and milan doing flash-press for the record. now we're in san fransicso, where we did our kickstarter backer party and rock show, then to LA, then boston. THEN we hole up at bard college for a few weeks to build our touring show. there WILL be a few small preview-the-tour shows at bard - we'll announce those through the blog, so keep your eyes peeled if your'e in that area. the ticket info will be coming soon.

Photo by Andrzej Liguz
Photo by Andrzej Liguz

HERE ARE THE UPCOMING SHOWS & EVENTS:

PORTLAND, OR
A LIFETIME OF OPPORTUNITY (BENEFIT SHOW)
SAT. JULY 21
Q CENTER
w/ The Doubleclicks, and Alameda
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

EDINBURGH, UK
AN EVENING WITH NEIL GAIMAN & AMANDA PALMER
SUN. AUGUST 12
THE QUEEN'S HALL
TICKETS (BOX OFFICE INFO) | 14+ | RSVP

(ALL DATES BELOW THIS POINT ARE)
AMANDA PALMER & THE GRAND THEFT ORCHESTRA

PHILADELPHIA, PA
MON. SEPTEMBER 10
THEATRE OF LIVING ARTS
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

NEW YORK, NY
TUE. SEPTEMBER 11
WEBSTER HALL
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | 18+ | RSVP

WASHINGTON, DC
WED. SEPTEMBER 12
9:30 CLUB
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

CARRBORO, NC
FRI. SEPTEMBER 14
CAT'S CRADLE
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

ATLANTA, GA
SAT. SEPTEMBER 15
VARIETY PLAYHOUSE
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

NEW ORLEANS, LA
MON. SEPTEMBER 17
TIPITINA'S UPTOWN
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | 18+ | RSVP

HOUSTON, TX
TUE. SEPTEMBER 18
FITZGERALD'S - UPSTAIRS
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

AUSTIN, TX
WED. SEPTEMBER 19
STUBB'S (OUTSIDE)
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

DENVER, CO
FRI. SEPTEMBER 21
GOTHIC THEATRE
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

PHOENIX, AZ
SAT. SEPTEMBER 22
CRESCENT BALLROOM
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | 16+ | RSVP

SAN DIEGO, CA
MON. SEPTEMBER 24
HOUSE OF BLUES
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | under 18s w/ parent or guardian | RSVP

LOS ANGELES, CA
TUE. SEPTEMBER 25
THE MUSIC BOX / THE FONDA THEATRE
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

SAN FRANCISCO, CA
WED. SEPTEMBER 26
THE FILLMORE
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

PORTLAND, OR
FRI. SEPTEMBER 28
WONDER BALLROOM
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

VANCOUVER, BC
SAT. SEPTEMBER 29
COMMODORE BALLROOM
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | 19+ | RSVP

SEATTLE, WA
SUN. SEPTEMBER 30
NEPTUNE BALLROOM
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

MINNEAPOLIS, MN
WED. OCTOBER 3
FIRST AVENUE
w/ Jherek Bischoff, The Simple Pleasure, and Ronald Reagan
TICKETS | 18+ | RSVP

LONDON, UK
TUE. OCTOBER 23
KOKO
TICKETS | 14+ | RSVP

MANCHESTER, UK
WED. OCTOBER 24
CATHEDRAL
TICKETS | under 14s w/ adult | RSVP

GLASGOW, UK
THU. OCTOBER 25
ORAN MOR
TICKETS | 14+ | RSVP

AMSTERDAM, NL
SAT. OCTOBER 27
MELKWEG
TICKETS | 14+ | RSVP

BERLIN, DE
SUN. OCTOBER 28
FESTSAAL KREUZBERG
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

PRAGUE, CZ
MON. OCTOBER 29
PALÁC AKROPOLIS
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

ZURICH, CH
TUE. OCTOBER 30

ABART
TICKETS | 16+ | RSVP

ANTWERP, BE
THU. NOVEMBER 1
TRIX CLUB
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

PARIS, FR
FRI. NOVEMBER 2
LA MAROQUINERIE
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

COLOGNE, DE
SAT. NOVEMBER 3
GEBÄUDE 9
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

VIENNA, AT
MON. NOVEMBER 5
ARENA
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

TORONTO, ON
FRI. NOVEMBER 9
PHOENIX THEATRE
TICKETS | 19+ | RSVP

CHICAGO, IL
SAT. NOVEMBER 10
METRO
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

MILWAUKEE, WI
SUN. NOVEMBER 11
TURNER HALL
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

DETROIT, MI
TUE. NOVEMBER 13
SAINT ANDREW'S HALL
TICKETS | ALL AGES | RSVP

BOSTON, MA
THU. NOVEMBER 15
PARADISE ROCK CLUB
TICKETS | 18+ | RSVP

BOSTON, MA
FRI. NOVEMBER 16
PARADISE ROCK CLUB
TICKETS | 18+ | RSVP

BOSTON, MA
SAT. NOVEMBER 17
PARADISE ROCK CLUB
TICKETS | 18+ | RSVP

Photo by Lucid Revolution
Photo by Lucid Revolution



"WANT IT BACK" - THE FIRST OFFICIAL GRAND THEFT ORCHESTRA MUSIC VIDEO

not safe for work: contains stop-motion, paint, nipples, and unlawful consumption of australian candy bars. in just a few days it had over 100,000 hits on youtube (which makes me and jim batt, the director/animator, super happy). people really seem to love it...a couple might not, and they're being sure to talk about it in the comments. my evil plan of postmodern deconstruction worked! people on youtube are yelling at each other about the nature of art. jim's currently working on a more in-depth blog about the making of it all……if you wanna know when it goes up, go HERE and subscribe to the blog updates/follow via tumblr.

here it is (the link is below if the embed doesn't show up for you):


unless you have a cool job that doesn't mind inky-artsy-nudey-goodness, i suggest you wait 'till you're home to watch. or go hide in the bathroom for four minutes.
but have a look, and as always, please SHARE THE LINK: http://youtu.be/cZCadqQY-Lw
WE ARE THE MEDIA, MOFOS.

AFP

p.s. i have a SECRET....and it's this: we're going to making a NEW MUSIC VIDEO in early august (around the 5th/6th) in OKLAHOMA CITY. maybe with someone awesome. like wayne coyne of the flaming lips. maybe. if you're in the area...we NEED EXTRAS! we will post info on the blog and twitter, so keep your eyes peeled. i can reveal no more about this matter.

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ben folds gives "theatre is evil" its first review

i don't know who fed him a few dozen tabs of ecstasy (and as far as I know he's generally not a drug abuser) but ben folds posted the first review of the record to his Facebook.

for those not on Facebook, I'll just paste it here. (it starts below after the picture)

ben and I have been co-birthing our new albums. and we just sent each other downloads to our not-yet-released songs. if you're wondering, his is absolutely incredible. my favorite thing he's ever done, the most honest and deep and funny and rocking, and I'm not just saying that because of his ecstasy post. and I'll say more later. 

anyway, thank you ben. good lord. imma come draw some dicks on your wall. 
_____________________



Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra
THEATRE IS EVIL

AFP and I recently traded our unreleased new albums, as artist friends often do. I am listening to "Theatre Is Evil" everyday, more than once. It's good. It's really good.

I'd like to brag that I'm writing the first review of this album, but I don't write reviews. i leave that to the experts. My expertise is in music. ; )

Straight up! This album is a classic. It's inventive, expressive, free, dangerous, sad, funny, outrageous, well executed, full of accidents and intention, unique, beautiful, ugly, loud, quiet. Every once in a while somebody puts out an album like this, but it's rare. I'm very proud of my friend, and that's not just because she's said nice things about my new album.

I have said, when asked about Amanda's Kickstarter campaign, that the real news will be how great the record is when it comes out. The way she sold it will be a footnote. I was speaking on the strengths of the demo's I'd heard. I didn't realize how right I would be until I heard the finished album.

This record picks a fight and I wouldn't suggest you accept it as such because you will lose. Eventually. I'm telling you boys and girls, you'll later kick yourself for having been jaded or for missing it, or for being threatened by it if you happen to have an allergic reaction on first listen. This is the often the case with truly brilliant works of art isn't it? I miss records on first listen sometimes and I'm just giving you a heads up in case you might embarrass yourself for eternity.

That's not to say it's not lovable on the first listen, as it probably will be to many. I expect hits out of this record. Real big ones, but I don't know shit about that stuff, so don't take my word for that part. If I were the boss of everyone, this album would have five major hits on it. Aw hell, I'll go on a limb and say I'll let her draw a penis on my bathroom wall if I'm wrong and she doesn't have a big hit. She'll deserve that consolation prize and I'll deserve a reminder of why I'm not in the radio business…I still think there are hits..I digress.

She's really come into her own. I say this having put in a lot of hours making music with Amanda and hanging out over many a drink or a pumpkin loaf. I have always felt she was my sister from another mister. The mailman, if I recall, painted his eyebrows on and often delivered the mail in the nude. I'm suspicious.

A few years ago when we made "Who Killed Amanda Palmer" she came to the sessions with pieces that she'd gathered post Dresden Dolls split. She had only just struck out on her own and didn't quite know how she wanted to proceed if not framed within the band of two she'd become known for. One day we'd be making a solo piano record, the next it was a full blown pop record, an experimental EP and so on. She was complete when she played these pieces on piano alone and she was not in a place that was much more defined than that at that moment. And so the record was built around the moments that she sang and played her songs by herself. I love that record but I can say that with "Theatre Is Evil," she has taken a leap. Right over the damn fence. She's fuckin' outa here. She's created a musical world to live and play in. She made her own planet and populated it.

"Theatre Is Evil" soars. Will it sail over your head? Yeah, parts of it may for a while. It's coming more into focus for me after 15 listens as I catch new things I missed. I suppose it may do the same for Amanda for years to come. She will hear things in this record years from now that she didn't even know were there. It's transcendental. My favorite records are like this.

I love the web of contradictions woven into this record. They're chilling sometimes. The name of the band (Grand Theft Orchestra - and they're amazing) and the album set it all up as well. While you'll hear the 80's - that's part of the evil theatre - this album comes from NOW. The music that defines our time sits with and gave birth to this record. She's spitting bullets like the best contemporary rappers. We live in a time where people just put it right the hell out there - business in the street. Try to imagine when you hear this album, or Eminem or JayZ or Kanye (yes, he is brilliant) that any of this music was made in the seventies. You can't. We didn't make songs that were as direct in those times. We skirted the issue with formality, beautifully with grace and heart, but we are much more direct now often to the point of gross. This is what defines the good lyrics of our day. It's not better or worse than other eras. Great new music of our era is what I often call "emotionally lewd". It's an art form to burden a listener so and yet give so much. As a person, Amanda is extremely generous. She also asks for a lot. This is the way this record is and its the rare combination of the proficiency of times gone by with the raw honesty of now. Plus it's poetic - true poetry doesn't happen in songs much and that's okay. Amanda is genetically a writer. She can't help it.

As an artist, I am most critical of myself. Unfortunately, I'm nearly as critical of my few friend/peers. Yes, I want to pick Amanda's new record apart but it can't be touched! Hell, I was supposed to make this record with her but I couldn't in the end as I had to make the new Ben Folds Five album. I'm glad she did it with John Congleton - I want to be jealous of it and I want to regret not having helped make it but it's a beautiful album and that's all I feel when I hear it. I can delete the demo's now. She's dunnit.

If I had produced I'd have cut some songs, verses. I'd be compelled to edit her - make her hush sometimes. I'd want her to take breaths. I'd want her to give us a breather too. But she's all grows up and she's decided not to play by rules and I gladly capitulate and surrender because it's art and she did it - And she's right. When "Theatre Is Evil" is over I start it again. So I guess I didn't really want the breather. Someday she might want to tackle the challenge of not saying it all, of taking a breath. Or not. She's beaten the rules and I think that's what it takes sometimes when someone makes an important piece of art.

Not that she doesn't know the rules. The forms of these songs are are art unto themselves. Check out the absolutely stunning six measure phrase in the verse of "The Killing Type" about mercy killing a bird. I get goosebumps when that phrase dies two bars short of its expected life span. And and and! The verse about stepping off the cliff daaaaamn! And I'm not the crying type but I thought I was going to tell my daughter I'd gotten something in my eye somewhere around 'exhibit B' in "The Bed Song". There are intense moments on this record that don't just come from her identity and her point of view, or how she fits in with the record that came out last week. These moments also happen because she's GOOD. She's a technical monster, a hard worker and courageous. And I'm not worried about giving her a big head - she fuckin' high fives herself after every take anyway haha. I'm just giving her shit in an attempt to re-establish just a hint of dignity after gushing for 2000 words. Actually I love that she's inspired and that she loves what she does. If artists don't love music how are we supposed to?

In summary:
*This record is as good as it gets.
*You're going to shit when you hear it.
*It's going to be around for ages.
*Otherwise it's total crap.

I could go on. You get the point.

"Theatre Is Evil" comes out September 11th.

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The Descent of Band (re-post from mike doughty) AND forum update (SORRY GUYS!)

HOLA

i just finished signing 4,000 books. 

neil and i are heading to CAPE COD of all wholesome places and soaking up the family vibe with my stepsister lisa & her man todd, my nephew ronan, my wicked-awesome college-bound stepdaughter miss maddy gaiman, and my parents....all frolicking on the beach and eating american foods. i am bringing books on how to regain your brain (including an amazing one recommended to me by the awesome folks at McNally Jackson bookstore in NYC, "moonwalking with einstein" by joshua foer).



the feedback on this blog about memory-loss was astounding....you guys are amazing and it always pains me that you're generally more articulate writers than i am.
and the stories. jesus. someone on twitter told me they lost their uncle to ambien, he drove off in his sleep. lots of bad bad (and funny) ambien stories. seems like a good time to dump that shit out (or sell it for street value once i get to the beach to some local cape cod teenagers looking to snort ANYTHING. just.....kidding).

anyway. things just got worse. since posting i've forgotten who pretty much everybody is upon meeting them.
i ate a cherry and couldn't place what it was. i knew what the taste was. but my brain couldn't think of the word. it was terrifying.
i also walked out into traffic. neil, thinking i knew what i was doing - followed along. i'm very happy we didn't get killed by a cab.

we have a new rule, literally and figuratively: if one of us walks into traffic, the other one should not blithely follow.
bonus points for shouting I LOVE YOU YOU'RE ABOUT TO GET HIT BY A CAR.

i'm going to probably hit a doctor - i'm already emailing with one - but a few things have been isolated: 
- hormone change/i've switched birth control methods after 7 months of being on a pill. a LOT of women claim they experience panic attacks an depression after doing that. could be related.
- ambien (i'm going to try to switch to melatonin + wine. anyone else have sleep-tricks? i ONLY use it to regulate jetlag, so fellow international frequent flyers not using ambien: WHAT DO YOU DO? my american-australian ass found SALVATION in ambien and the long-flight jetlag problem. i'm loath to give it up.)
- general stress (even with all the good things happening, my little brain is on overload).

we'll see.

*stares out train window, holds husbands hand*

*sparse, poignant piano music*

*goes back to blogging furiously*

in other news....everyone curious about the future of music and bands and money should read this blog.

day after day i keep meaning to blog about the david lowery/emily-white-at-NPR hubbub....(this hubbub)

....and then i keep seeing other musicians saying EXACTLY what i would.
this doesn't cover all the ground, but mike doughty (soul coughing) nailed a LOT of facts about bands/business/touring life here:
http://mkdo.co/post/26352263455/radiohead-wouldnt-exist-without-early-major-label

yay mike. truth speaker.
i'll try to weight in with my own two cents over the july 4th break as my inbox stops exploding....

if my tumblr was functioning as an actual tumblr, i'd have just posted this via tumblr, but i'm currently working on making a 
NEW HOME FOR THIS BLOG so that i can stop using tumblr as my blog-platform.

MEANWHILE....you may have noticed that the forum has been BLACK for going on 6 days.

this is due to simply.....fucking up. we thought we had control over the domain name and in the giant scramble and filing cabinets and digital paperwork...we didn't. sometimes we fuck up, and this is one of those times.
we should have solved this problem years ago but we simply ambled along in ignorant blissfulness until one day BAM we woke up and the forum was down and nobody had the keys. OOPS.

luckily we're sorting it out with the domain holders AND all the content is intact AND the timing actually isn't as horrible as all that because we  were just about to move the forum over to amandapalmer.net anyway.....so, Sign From Dog.

we should have it back up in a jiffy, more news and links coming soon when we sort the shit out.

and sorry all you shadowbox people - i know a lot of you connect there on a daily basis. hang tight.

here's a great photo (via @Katers_Potaters) from the benefit i did saturday night for the NYC seaport museum...which was a BLAST.






and


neil and i learned a SEA SHANTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

click at your own risk: http://youtu.be/Rgw9Z_S2T0U



BAM




xxx
AFP

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if found please return to owner

neil wrote a piece about it: "the man who forgot ray bradbury."

that was only a few months ago...i think.
but something's happening to my brain.

it happened overnight. literally.

i can't remember names anymore.

not so much the names of the people i bump into a parties, and shows....i was always rubbish at that.

and that felt natural.

i figure: if i gig or do an event 6 times a week and meet about 100 new people a night by name, that's 600 names a week.
2400 names a month. tens of thousands a year (i'm not going to bother to do the math).

i don't think anyone holds it against me if i can't remember all those names.

actually: someone once did and it wrecked me. a girl in boston once came up to me in a movie theater after the movie was over.
her face looked familiar. had we worked on a project together? did she date someone at pan 9? was she a dolls fan? i had no idea.
i did what i do: greeted her friend-ily and ask her how she was. she grasped that i didn't know her name.

"you don't know my name??"
"no - i'm sorry - what was it again" i asked - beaming guilt and politeness.

and she said something like
"amanda palmer, i've worked with you 4 times. i can't believe you can't remember my fucking name."
and she turned her back on me and stormed out of the theater, leaving me speechless.

i still don't know who she was...i clearly never got the chance to find out.

but that's not what i'm talking about.
 
i've lost the names of people I ACTUALLY, REALLY KNOW. people i've worked with for years. people i've had many dinners with.
massage therapists i've been going to for ages.

it started happening about a week ago. and then it kept happening.

in bed this morning i played a game with myself and started trying to remember names of people in my past, and it was as if someone had come into my brain in the middle of the night and erected electric fences around my memory. or a dump truck had come and carried all my names off in a trash compactor. things just aren't working.

and it's not like it was before, when a name would vanish but all i'd have to do was give it 2 seconds and something would tip my brain back into place. a thought, a memory, a little workaround, an image.
all those systems seem to have broken down.

it's actually really scary.

there are only two explanations:
i'm too busy and too tired and too overworked and my brain is using all of it's RAM. and the names will come back.
OR
i'm going senile at 36.

neil. neil. neil gaiman. can't forget his name. that would be bad.
but i actually did, once, about 6 months ago. i found myself staring at his face and just seeing a face with no name attached. i played a game with myself and didn't go searching. i wondered how long it would take for it to just drop out of the sky. like that game you play when you wake up in the morning and keep your eyes closed not knowing where you are, but sort of luxuriating in the feeling.

milliseconds, seconds, it came. neil. his name is neil.

i told him in bed this morning that if i start forgetting his name on a daily basis, i'll call him Man I Love.

it sounds russian.

Manilov.

Manilov Hedkomoff.


love,

some chick




Cross-posted to amandapalmer.net

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my earth-shattering news, by amanda fucking palmer

hola comrades!


first of all....thank you all SO so very much for all the positive response to the "polly" video. holy shit. it had more impact than i'd imagined, for real.
thank you all, deeply, for sharing the link and tweeting it around and generally helping us spread it far and wide....it's getting tons of views and love online. 
nirvana posted it to their official facebook page (which in my opinion is a seal of approval far superior to getting it played on MTV). thank you, thank you.

now for the news: yes, you guessed it. 

all signs were pointing this way for ages.


i'm pregnant.

not with a child, but....


....WITH A MOTHERFUCKING RECORD ALBUM!!!!!!!

that's right: i'm about to give birth to a COLLECTION OF SONG-SPAWN that's going to blow your domepiece off.
me and the new band (the grand theft orchestra) are going to hit the studio in almost exactly one month, in melbourne. 

i have about 20+ songs ready to record. 

almost all of them have never been heard.

they've all been written, slowly and in secret, over the past 3 years.
i've never made a record anything like this. it will be like....me. but different. the songs are amazing. i'm really, really incredibly proud of them.

the producer/engineer is going to be the fabulous john congleton, who's produced a ton of amazing indie stuff...including the past few st. vincent records.
(you can geek out/drool over his production credits HERE)

i hope he forgives me for stealing this particular photo from his fan-run tumblr:


i've been waiting to make this new record for a long, long, LONG, LONG time.
not the run the pregnancy metaphor into the ground, but it does feel like i've been carrying this thing around for longer than is necessary or comfortable.

the last time i went into the studio and made a "proper" studio album was back in 2008 when i recorded "Who Killed Amanda Palmer" in nashville with ben folds wearing the producer hat.

since then, my life has been a mishy-mashy wonderland of bizarre side-projects, theater detours and...other things. 
like finding my wonderful husband (he's nice) and getting married (several times). 

and writing songs when they came, and tucking them away....sometimes playing them live and testing them out, mostly not.

waiting for certain things to settle. trying to put the right band together. 

and, knowing that this time would eventually come (and that i'd have to work on this record for about two years solid): running full force in my own free, random ninja directions (which is my version of "resting").

and most importantly (and kind of most boringly; i never talk about this shit) i've been re-configuring my behind-the-scenes team and management until i felt i had a team capable of helping me BIRTH this BEAST. and i do now, and we're ready.

you might have seen one of the little under-the-radar shows i did (when i didn't allow ANY FOOTAGE to be taken) this last spring or summer with the new band...michael mcquilken on drums (and bass, and more) and chad on guitar and synths and trumpet (and more), with a variety of guest musicians on stage with us.....

here we is (photo by Rene Huemer):



and then on stage, with superkate leading us in AEROBICS (photo by chrisdonia via flickr):


breaking the sound barrier of DANCE with superkate (photo by Bryndís Blackadder):


drew forrest - who filmed us lots in the UK last summer - put this together:



(visit youtu.be/ZZMgRyKDK_c if that embed doesn't work…)

the edinburgh iteration of the grand theft orchestra before taking stage at the HMV picturehouse......with DREW on camera duty:


AND AND AND…
we've added a new thief!!
under cover of night, Jherek Bischoff has joined the band....he'll be mostly on bass guitar duty, but he plays a ton of instruments:


jherek is a true musical genius....he's been jason's touring bassist for years, and i had the pleasure of playing onstage with him and michael at the pre-halloween LA show.
a lot of you already know him. in impressive news: he just finished up a huge night at the ecstatic music festival presenting his own incredible avant-garde-beautiful-classical compositions....with collaborators no less fancy than David Byrne and the dude from Deerhoof. 

so that's the band: me, michael, chad and jherek. and one more thing:

you.

all y'all.

we're calling this band AMANDA PALMER & THE GRAND THEFT ORCHESTRA because we plan ALL YEAR on doing what we did over the summer: stealing local musicians everywhere we go and getting them onstage with us. besides the fact that it's impossibly expensive to tour around with a string section and a ton of horn players....WHY WOULD WE when we can STEAL THEM? so be prepared: we are coming for you. once we cut this record, we'll be seeking musicians EVERYWHERE WE GO. it may not be limited to brass and strings.

we also want to push the limits of HOW WE CAN INCLUDE people in our art-making as part of the live experience. it's exciting. we have PLANS. well....maybe not real plans. 
we have IDEAS. (there is also an INCREDIBLE ALBUM ART PROJECT secretly underway....and i'll tell you all about that soon.)

tour dates, release dates, and everything else will all be in the pipeline in the coming months....the first glimpses of tour will be starting late spring/early summer, once the album's totally finished.

ho my god.

.........................


as you know, i'm independent, free of my major label, tra la la!

i don't have a stock-pile of capital hidden away, and i am going to have to crowd-fund huge parts of the record and the tour....and given everything that's been going on in internet-land, i'm excited to do it. 
anything we make: the recording, the videos, the costumes, the strange live internet tools, the touring engine, it's ALL going to have to be either crowd-funded or covered by loans from people who have the spare cash to front me: the scope of the process and the size/scale of the tour will truly be dictated by the fanbase and how much money we can come up with.

i have a good feeling about it, but who the fuck knows: it feels like the first moment of sticking out your thumb when you decided to hitchhike A LONG DISTANCE. terrifying and exhilarating. no idea where this is going to take you, but you're ready to jump.

we'll be crowdfunding the majority of the money we need around april by doing a giant outreach and pre-order for the album.

so i'm not asking for anything now, except just....be happy for us!

i sure the fuck am.

.................

and yes....MELBOURNE, you win.

we thought about making the record in a few other cities (mostly in the states), but i decided, hell....i'm already over here from the dolls tour, and there's a ton of resources here for the band.
we've already had 3 different people volunteer to make us dinner. (if you want to...email us@amandapalmer.net. we'll take it. no joke.)

the band is meeting up in melbourne in two weeks. we're going to REHEARSE OUR ASSES OFF, then play run of small shows to get the songs perfect perfect perfect in front of a crowd before putting them down on tape.

thus, our UPCOMING MELBOURNE RESIDENCY at the NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB!



we're going to do FIVE shows. audio/video recording will be forbidden at all show. 
special guests will be rampant (and unconfirmed at the moment).

we tried to make the shows as CHEAP as humanly possible. 
they're all $10 ($15 day of show). they're all 18+ and doors are 7pm.

tickets for all five shows are on sale NOW! here's the info:

• FEBRUARY 28th
BUY TICKETSRSVP on facebook
w/ DJ DAMEZA (one half of ACUMEN/@dameza on twitter)
DJ DAMEZA is my favorite new DJ - i danced my ASS OFF to one of his late night sets at the MONA FOMA festival a few weeks ago, and i've manged to convince him to come up and DJ us into a dancing FRENZY for these two show. hopefully we can convince him to come to some other nights, too...he's checking. 

• FEBRUARY 29th
BUY TICKETSRSVP on facebook
also w/ DJ DAMEZA

• MARCH 6th
BUY TICKETSRSVP on facebook
guests TBA

• MARCH 7th
BUY TICKETSRSVP on facebook
guests TBA

• MARCH 12th
BUY TICKETSRSVP on facebook
w/ DIE ROTEN PUNKTE and more TBA
die rotten punkte are one of my absolute favorite fucking acts, and i've been trying to do a show together with them for AGES!!!
here's a clip of me joining them for a very bizarre song/interpretive dance in edinburgh a few summers ago:




do not fret, every single night is going to be UBER-SPECIAL...these are bascially open rehearsals with the band...anything goes.


dress to impress....your mom.


if you want to help spread the word about these shows, here's how...
i am personally going to be wandering around melbourne, handing out these flyers and leaving them on the benches of many an unsuspecting vegan record shop.

i've missed doing that. i'm never in town long enough before a gig to be able to.

but i could always use help…we put up a download link for the poster (and handbills) up on the shadowbox, so please: grab the assets HERE (or click the thumbnails below), go get some printer ink and tape, and hit the streets……and if you don't live in the area but know people who do, let them know? just link 'em to http://bit.ly/NorthcotePromo

 
....................................

also, MELBOURNE (and this is getting dorky) if you have any of this GEAR or a music shop/rental hook-up, we need you!!!!
you can save us tons of money if you have any of the following we can borrow (or rent for cheap or barter!):

- a Kurzweill PC3 keyboard
- a Nord Electro 3
- really, ANY kind of sequential-circuit synthesizer 
 
- a Juno 106 synthesizer
- a Moog Voyager
or
- a Korg ms20 synthesizer

and maybe maybe maybe one of you has…
- 2 x Technics 1200/1210 turntables

(would definitely also need the cables, etc to all of the above, but we could source our own in a pinch.)

and this one i really need NOW (before the shows):
- a digital piano (of any kind), with a stand and some sort of speakers for practicing. anyone? we'll happily trade you show tickets and get you a coffee. or tea. or water…whatever your little heart desires.

if you're in melbourne have leads on any of this gear, or you think you know someone who can help us....email! us@amandapalmer.net.
(& if you think you have something comparable, talk to us! we're open)

.............................

yes, virginia....there are going to be synthesizers on the album.

...........................

i am so excited.

i am so, so, so excited.

i am more excited than rebecca black on a thursday night.

i am so excited i just rubbed one of my eyebrows off by accident.



THAT'S HOW EXCITED I AM

here we go, here we go, here we go

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


LOVE,
AFP

Cross-posted to amandapalmer.net

Twitter Face

new video for "polly" (nirvana cover)...with some explaining.

hola dear comrades......

greetings from sunny melbourne, I've decamped here for the next few months and have some incredible news forthcoming about my new record, stay tuned...will be letting the magic shit hit the fan in the next week or so. 


better yet, get the blog emailed straight to your inbox: HERE.


SO…

i already wrote a blog about the recording of this song back in june, but the video is another matter, and i'd like to do some explaining.
 
first of all, the reason we decided to make a video for this song AT ALL was because we were so fucking thrilled with the way it came out...and it got a hugely positive response when SPIN magazine released it on their "nevermind" tribute compilation. i cut a deal with SPIN that we could release the song ourselves (HOORAY NO LABEL) after a few months went by, and that time has come. so we're releasing it - a brand new master with some cleanups to the mix thanks to chad and michael - direct through my website/bandcamp for cost + donation. this is always the deal with cover songs since we need to pay about 50¢ a song for royalty rates plus the paypal fees to charge ANYTHING AT ALL (which is, indeed, weird). and yes, it's also up on iTunes, amazon, etc. but i won't see as much from any of those places so as always, DIRECT=the best way.
 
when i was first asked to do a cover of a song from "nevermind," SPIN sent me a list of tracks that were still available (i think there were 5 left) and eric sussman, in my management, wrote back immediately saying "WTF NOBODY'S TAKEN POLLY???" and that set my brain on the track to think about how the band could possibly cover the song.
 
the band is an important part of this....
 
 ....i'm about to make a huge, new solo record with these guys (chad, michael, and jherek) under the moniker of AMANDA PALMER & THE GRAND THEFT ORCHESTRA and this cover song was a chance for us (minus jherek, who hadn't come on board yet) to get into the studio and start feeling each other out. everyone in the band plays a variety of instruments....chad plays guitar, keys, and trumpet, but for the "polly" cover he picked up a banjo. jherek's going to be playing the bass (mostly), and michael will generally be on the drums (but for this "polly" recording michael played bass, and you can see him doing so for about .96 seconds in the video). michael's also (among other things, he's a total renaissance hack) a great director and an engineer. 
 
rule number one of modern bands: make sure everyone can do AT LEAST FIVE JOBS (seriously, look at the credits on this thing when you watch the video). 
    
so, i decided it might be a fun idea to make a low-budget video for "polly" with michael in the director's chair & his pal sarah lasley behind the camera.
 
i wrote the treatment one night in san francisco, while i was on tour with neil (and, coincidentally, waiting in a bar for noah briton to bring me my passport, which i'd left in.....boston.....long story...dude saved my ASS) and emailed it over to michael. he got a crew together on a shoestring budget, cast the actors, and we were good to go.

...........................................................  
 
here are some of the best stills & behind-the scenes shots from the day we shot…
 
getting The Face done, by the incredible make-up artist justin tyme, at a gas station:


blake getting done up out of the back of a truck:

 
sarah shooting the escape (click to enlarge):


before we got to new haven, we were trying to twitter-source a rad vintage car…
then we get to the gas station we're shooting some of the video at, and michael noticed THIS:


…AND THEY LET US BORROW IT. I DIED.

look at 'er…she's gorgeous (click to enlarge):


and it's just PERFECT in the video…you'll see.

here are some gorgeous stills from the video (which if-you-so-choose, you can use as alternate cover artwork when you download the song):









 
...........................................................
 
before we recorded the song itself, at yale, where michael had free access to a studio, i had a couple chats with him beforehand about the direction of the cover.
 
i'd been googling and found out things about the song i'd never known…
from wiki:
Bass player Krist Novoselic remembers Kurt Cobain writing "Polly" after reading a newspaper article about the abduction, torture, and rape of a 14-year-old girl who had just finished attending a rock show in Tacoma, Washington. In June 1987 Gerald Arthur Friend picked up a 14-year-old female friend after leaving a concert at the Tacoma Dome. Upon trying to exit the car the girl was handcuffed and held hostage at knife point. The girl was taken to a mobile home where she was tortured and raped with various objects for two days. She was also threatened with a blowtorch.
 
the story continued and the google trail led to strange places....
apparently there was a guy (a nirvana fan) who bragged about raping a girl while the song played, and kurt spoke out against it publicly.
kurt was, after all, a feminist.
 
i wanted the song, and later, the video, to focus on the terrifying experience of being....trapped like that.
the video, seen without any knowledge of the backstory, would probably come across differently, and i wondered for a while whether to spread the story behind the song along with the clip.
i think it makes it better.
i'd recommend watching this when you have a quiet moment, and with headphones (trust me):



(if the embed gives you trouble, click HERE to watch it on youtube)
 
and if you want the song, go download it HERE.
 
& as always....please share if you dig it. you are my record label. thanks.
 

love
AFP
 
  
p.s. yes, that’s blake in the woods. THE blake. if you're a-twtitter: he's @electroblake. michael is @quilken & chad is @radchaines. follow the thickening plot.


Cross-posted from amandapalmer.net
Twitter Face

threw my bad fortune

hola hola.


in quick melbourne show news: about 500 of you in Melbourne got an email yesterday from The Wheeler Centre telling you that this friday's talk with meow meow ("FRANK") was cancelled & that you'd be refunded. lots of people tweeted asking what was up...there was confusion, and i'm sorry you didn't hear it straight from me. meow is sick but alive; no alarm. we're definitely going to reschedule; just not sure when.

i'm so sorry about it; nothing to be done EXCEPT...
for those of you who were flying to the event, i've added a ninja gig Saturday morning unlike any other!!! i'm going to play AT A GARAGE SALE at ROSE CHONG'S costume shop where my friends Antony and Jess work. come, sift through elvis jackets, buy koala suits, try on powdered wigs, and hear ukulele. what could be better on a Saturday afternoon in melbourne? the event/more deets are on FB (RSVP here). i'll be on around 1pm.
come play…?



also: stay tuned to the twitter feed for a possible show to be added Sunday night (the 26th) - it's looking probable.


SO……………


it's been a busy week in melbourne, gigging and working my ass off while simultaneously quieting my head and voice down and getting ready to record the album. some of the things i've been doing have been deliberately chosen to prep my album brain...like the songwriting talk to mac.robertson girl's school in melbourne:



...the public letter-writing-and-reading forum held every few months in melbourne called "women of letters," curated by the incredible marieke hardy...at which i wrote and read aloud a letter that made me cry....here we are (wendy harmer, virginia triolli, georgia fields, moi, and nicki greenberg):


...or the foreward that i crammed out last night for a book called "live through this," about art and self-destruction, about to go into its second edition. the more i try to write the more respect i have for neil. Jesus it's hard. 

but some things have just been sheer abstract distraction...like the random idea i had to collaborate with chipmusic artist Dot_AY to sing Lana Del Rey's "video games" with my wrists tied up at the BLIP festival a few nights ago. i don't know what it is about that song...but ever since the first time i heard it i've wanted to sing it tied up. it just seemed like the right thing to do. i fucked up the first entry and some of the lyrics. but it's still pretty awesome.



(click here for the vimeo upload)

the band is all in town and we're getting bikes for everyone...and getting settled, and getting ready to create what i want to believe is going to be the best and most creative record i've ever made. we picked the right city. 

melbourne loves us, and we love melbourne. i've never felt so much love for a city in my life...not quite this way. introducing my band to the city and watching them fall in love as i nervously coax them from spot to spot is like the feeling of introducing the person you've fallen madly in love with to your friends. you want them to fall in love too. you want to know it's not just you. you want them to feel the same fever. they do. 

pj said it perfect :

and i feel like
some bird of paradise
my bad fortune
slipping away
and i feel the innocence of a child
everybody's got something good to say



g'night people of the world
afp

Cross-posted to amandapalmer.net

Twitter Face

finding peter jefferies (a long story, with a soundtrack to guide you)

hola comrades!

i'm gong to embed some songs for you to listen to while you read this one. try it.

.................

newses & shows first........skip this if you're not in melbourne/australia.


it's you, it's you, it's all for you, you citizens of melbourne:

i semi-apologize, but you're about to get REALLY SICK OF ME.
i'm moving in for a few months. i got my visa.
you will not be able to get rid of me....i am going to do so much shit in your town that avoiding me will be as difficult as avoiding that steve jobs biography in an airport bookstore.

here's all the random melbourne events i've just announced, and there's another big surprise coming, so don't get too bored yet:

feb 17th: FREE & SUSTAINABLE
i'm playing in FEDERATION SQUARE, all ages, FREE show as part of the sustainable living festival at 9:30 pm...more info/RSVP HERE on facebook.
the same night, a few hours later at 11:45, i'll be popping on-stage for ONE song in the spiegeltent as part of club spiegel. if you've never been to the tent, use this an an excuse, and make a night out of this whole deal. federation square and the spiegeltent (in front of the arts centre) are about a 5 minute walk from each other. the club spiegel show is $10 at door (HERE are pre-book tix with supper/HERE's the RSVP).

feb 19: WOMEN OF LETTERS
i'm doing WOMEN of LETTERS with the wonderful marieke hardy, which is a series of events in which people get together, drink wine, and write postal letters to people. it sold out immediately, but if you can score a ticket through illicit means, i recommend it.

feb 24th: ME & MEOW MEOW GET "FRANK" IN A SIT-DOWN THEATER
me and my long lost cabaret friend MEOW MEOW are TAKING OVER THE ATHENAEUM THEATER and doing a live, on-stage "talk about everything in our lives night"....
we've decided to call it AMANDA PALMER & MEOW MEOW ARE: FRANK.
it was inspired when i saw neil and tom stoppard doing the same venue presented by the wheeler center and they told me they'd love to have me as a speaking guest. i saw meow for dinner the next night....and since meow and i have the habit of staying up and talking about life until 3 am ANYWAY, i figured we might has well get on stage and share.
come and talk with us. we're going to banter back and forth about love, life, relationships, touring, being women, and then take questions from and chat with the audience. the venue is BEAUTIFUL, and the tickets will go fast. we kept them as cheap as we possibly could, and the event is all ages. buy tickets and spread the word. it's all ages and $20.
go HERE for tickets.

...........................................


so....

i found peter jefferies.

i'd been looking for a long time.

this past few weeks has been such a strange and ongoing musical christmas. i've been meeting and playing with so many heroes & big influences in my life.

peter is different. peter is different pretty much nobody knows him. he affords no bragging rights.
but he's the biggest one to me.
his music did something important to me, something hard to explain.

i was 18. i was walking down a cold winter harvard square street on christmas break from my freshman year at college, where i was miserable and alone.

here. play this while you read....




...and i was wearing a tri-cornered hat.

this one...it's seen a lot of use. this was a dolls photo shoot with scott irvine from about 10 years later:

 


i remember.

there was snow on the ground and i was walking quickly, with my head down, along mount auburn street in front of schoenhof's foreign bookstore.
frozen brick beneath my feet. probably feeling relatively depressed and friendless, because if memory serves me correctly, i was.

a man with dark hair passed me.
he turned around. i turned around.

he said: "you poor girl, who made you wear that hat?"

i raised my hair-full eyebrows, started him down, and said: "it's MY hat."

we chatted and exchanged numbers. we parted. i called him that night.

by 2 in the morning we were having the sort of sex i'd never had before....and still can't forget.
he had walls and walls of CDs. thousands of them. he was a dark-eyed, keen-eared, super-opinionated and obsessive music listener, collector, reviewer, and small indie-label-starter.
he had a fanzine. he drew ridiculous comics about his manic mind. my favorite of all was a cartoon of a handwritten "list of things to do today" which looked like this:
REPRESS
DENY
REPRESS
DENY
REPRESS
DENY

REPRESS
DENY
REPRESS
DENY
REPRESS
DENY

he turned me onto the magnetic fields, a UK band called statuesque (i've always wondered what happened to them...they were good) and all sorts of other teeny indie bands i hadn't known. he not only fucked me, he fucked the dresses i would wear. he said things to me in bed i'd never heard. i was beside myself; it was a passionate affair. i trusted him.

i played him my demo tape...i didn't do that with most people. i'd just recorded it.

he heard the way i sang and heard the way i pounded the piano and he said: "you need to hear peter jefferies." 
and i said "who's that?"
and he lent me (back when we lent music....ha) copies of "the last great challenge in a dull world" and "electricity"… 



....and my head exploded/expanded. it was like when i heard kurt weill for the first time: i thought I'M NOT ALONE HERE....someone else thinks about and plays music the way i do.
his music was a cross between atonal punk and song-melody, a simple, energetic missive of emotion and commentary, with every note unapologetic. the songs sounded so fucking honest.
i felt like i was hearing a kindred soul-brother. he sounded like a distorted, male version of how envisioned myself.

this was 1994...way before the internetz.

it's hard to remember when there was no information. just what was on the back of the CD.

i knew nothing about him. nothing. (i didn't even know where new zealand was, i was a fucking idiot...but i knew that's where he was from.)

i collected his music disc by disc, as i could find it in the indie/import sections of the record stores. i collected the other projects he was related to: this kind of punishment, the music of his guitar-playing brother graeme jefferies.

he was the heavy soundtrack for those years....1994 and 1995 were filled with peter jefferies, those two albums, on constant repeat (along with philip glass, swans, current 93, death in june, and a few other records). "electricity," "dear boss," "by small degrees," and "on an unknown beach" provided the backdrop to my whole difficult and pained life in a cement dorm surrounded by strangers. somewhere in new zealand, someone was playing like me. things would be fine.

here's "electricity". play it:


.......................

the passionate affair ended quickly.

i moved on to a painter boyfriend with glasses who didn't fuck my dresses and was shy about sex.

at least he also had excellent taste in music.

i feel like that's always a deal-breaker.
i got an idea for a song the other day called "i'm thinking about breaking up with you because you don't like elliot smith." 

it would be a truly sad song.

................................................

anyway

about 15 years later, i was a Real Musician, touring in new zealand.

everywhere i went, i started asking around for him.

does anyone know peter jefferies?

i sort of expected peter jefferies to be a new zealand indie rock hero, known to every radio personality and promotor.

i mean, if i knew him in america and i wasn't all that plugged in, clearly he'd be huge over here.

untrue.

almost nobody had heard of him.....but those who knew him....understood.
piece by piece, gossip by gossip, i gathered that he had pulled a total syd barrett/JD salinger move and completely removed himself from the world of music.

google was useless. there was no trace of him on the internet. his music wasn't available anywhere either (and still isn't).

someone told me that he'd moved back to where he'd grown up and was teaching music in a local school.
figuring that would be an easy way to track him down, i emailed the school where i found out he was teaching.

i never heard anything back.

i blogged about my love for him when i released my cover of his song "on an unknown beach" on the "amanda palmer goes down under" album.

then i sort of gave up.

i almost took a strange pleasure in the fact that there was a final frontier. just the fact that there was Someone Who Was Not On the Internet gave me some strange hope for mankind.

and then last year, i was at the webstock conference opening dinner in wellington, NZ. i mentioned my epic peter jefferies search to the dude sitting next to me; someone overheard me and told me he knew how to get a hold of him...that they'd been roommates. one thing led to another and a got a hold of an email address and dropped him a line, including a link to the video for "on an unknown beach." i included my eternal gratitude and phone number. i didn't expect him to ever write back. i kind of imagined him living in an internet-less cave of solitude with a tea kettle and a cat, listening to old records on a crank record player and reading books by dead authors and never conversing with a single human.

he called the next day. he told me about leaving music. he told me that he never answered anyone, ever, but that my blog and my cover song had convinced him that i was worth answering.
he told me he loved the cover, and the video, and that he loved galveston texas, where we'd shot it.

he told me that the only music he ever played live anymore was to the special needs kids at his school, once a week.

he told me he didn't regret his decision.

i was still touring in new zealand at the time, but he couldn't come to any of my upcoming gigs but he did say that if i was ever in new zealand again i should stop by and visit him in new plymouth (which is in the middle of nowhere, on the west coast of the north island). i said i would come.

so this year, i went.

(if you're done with "by small degrees" for your blog-reading soundtrack, move on to this:

it's called "the fate of the human carbine")

i told peter i'd love to see him for a meal...and told him i'd probably do a ninja gig somewhere outside while i as there, because that's what i do...and i figured i'd have at least 6 fans in town (i was about right, actually).

a new record store called vinyl countdown had just opened up in peter's town (new plymouth is a teeny-weeny place) and peter mentioned i was coming and maybe gigging. they offered up the store. peter wrote and asked if i'd not the ninja gig there, to which the answer was a hell yes of course.

then he asked "am i playing?", to which i answered "of course, if you want to, i'd freak."

when he responded and told me he hadn't played out in 9 years, i felt a stab of weird accomplishment.
so me, i thought, and my musical hero are going to appear in a record store and play in front of a bunch of random new zealanders. it's perfect, kind of.
i suggested we do something together.
a cover song or something.
he suggested a bunch of covers that started with W:

• wonderwall (oasis)
• walk on the wild side (lou reed)
• working class hero (john lennon)
• whole wide world (wreckless eric)

...all of which i magically knew and had covered before (some really recently, as some of you who saw the neil tour know....it was uncanny).

he didn't seem to notice that he'd picked all W songs.

i pointed this out and he suggested we add "wild thing."

then i suggested we add "we're happy little vegemites."

that's 6.

i drove up to his house from wellington and over that night and the next day, he told me his story.
it's his to tell, not mine, but i'm glad i heard it, and i'm glad, for everybody's sakes, that he decided, after about 8 years of non-performing, to return to the light.

talking to him was almost surreal. i'm so attached to the stage. talking to someone who's deliberately given up what i live and breathe…
talking to someone who would quit touring and performing is like discussing with someone why they chose to....i don't know...amputate that useless arm.
there's a level of suspending disbelief for me.

but.

he'd been at it a long time, he pointed out....longer than i have. you hit a point.....

other people have hit the point. i've met them. i know them.

i wonder if i'll ever hit it. i suppose you don't know that you're going to hit it, you just do one day, and then you're done.
everybody either stops - or dies - eventually. things change.

we talked about our songs. he asked me about the story behind "the point of it all" and i told him.
he picked up a guitar and told me about the night the power went out and he picked up his girlfriend's guitar, figured out some strange chords and wrote "electricity." 
he showed me how to play it. now i know a guitar song.

he took me for a walk by the water in new plymouth, and told me about the story behind writing "on an unknown beach."

i took a picture of him standing in front of the ocean.
he looked out.

then he took a picture of me standing in front of the ocean.
i looked up.

he told me a lot of things...about writing, about touring, about music in general. he told me funny stories about opening up for HIS hero, john cale. neil would have loved it.
i wanted to listen. everywhere i go lately, i feel like the universe is conspiring to educate me, in a deep way, about music and what it does to us and why we do it.

he took me to his school and i hung out with some of his students, including hayley and bailey, who played us a song they'd written on the ukulele. 

we made them watch our Band Rehearsal. peter agreed to play tambourine on "we're happy little vegemites." i agreed to play drums on "wild thing."


he asked me to play "astronaut." he said he wanted to see how i played it.
and he played some of his songs for me. 


i watched his hands and he watched mine. he says he liked the way the three fingers on my right hand shot up into the air when i did octaves. 


can you understand why this guy was my hero?


he plays like THIS:



meanwhile, on my buzzing iphone, a nice gal named felice from the govett-brewster museum/ in new plymouth tweeted an invite for us to stop by.
new plymouth being the booming, sprawling metropolis that it is, the museum was about a 2 minute walk from the record shop.

i told peter over lunch that we could go. he didn't get it. "she twittered," i said.

he seemed slightly baffled as to what we were doing. who? why?

it was in that moment that i realized how much weird normalcy i've found in my constant, virtual crowdsurfing via the internet. i literally take for granted the fact that i survive on the road through these little 140-character invitations....invitations to enjoy life in all its various shapes and sizes, from food to accommodation to museum visits to ninja gigs to beers to spare guitars, it just makes obvious sense to me. someone invites: you go. you need: you ask.
it's gotten to the point where i feel like nothing is unobtainable. if we don't have it: we twitter for it. and it appears.
this is how i live now.

to peter, who doesn't have a website, much less a social networking obsession, this must have seemed very strange.

we waltzed up to the gallery and got a quick private tour of the joint, including the beautiful and disturbing underwater vincent ward photos
(for size perspective, the photos are on a wall about 30 feet away from the balcony we're standing on):


here's one of my favorites...."rebirth":


.....and then we left, and played our record-store gig. 

the store, vinyl countdown, was perfect and full of old records and shirts and children and good feelings. full of lots of people came and we had a blast. peter played a handful of his songs on guitar and i played a handful of uke songs, and we played our set of silly cover songs....brought to you by the letter W. i'll tweet the only video footage i got once the time is right. peter killed it.
watching him play the songs i knew so well felt so powerful in so many ways. just knowing that this was his first outing in that many years and that our random collision had made it happen felt like something beyond my comprehension.

when we were done, peter's wife stef told me she'd never seen him happier. peter looked like he was....in a dazed and happy state. we hugged a lot.
then we all went back to their homestead for drinks, but peter stopped me in the driveway before we went into the house. he asked if i wanted to hear one last song.

yes.

it was getting chilly out....in the dim light of the bug-clustered driveway lamp, he pulled out his guitar from its case and played "don't look down," a song that i knew from the "electricity" record as a solo piano number. i found the words spilling onto my brain-tip, that same motor mechanism that was running when i played the violent femmes gig. the music and words all in my blood & veins, even if i haven't heard the song in years. it's etched on some permanent card catalogue of emotions in the recess of my soul. i sang along, quietly, in awe of the moment. i watched myself in that dark driveway from age 18....there you are amanda, getting a private concert from your soul brother. yes. you've found him.

inside, there was a small, warm celebration of the day going on, beers being opened, laughter and cigarettes...a half dozen people gathered on peter and stef's porch.

peter picked up his guitar and i followed him inside. we walked through the house and found everybody.
then, for the collection of people sitting on the porch, he played the song again.
this time, i asked him i could film.....it was too dark to get an image, but i almost like it like that. it's an audio recording only, which is better. you can hear the cars passing by.
it's not until now, listening to the lyrics and thinking about everything that was happening in that very moment....peter sharing his stories with me, his playing in public for the first time after 8 years of silence, the collisions, coming home.....that i realize how fucking perfect and profound this song was.

maybe he knew, too.

in reverse, it feels like the question to which "in my mind" was the answer that came....15 years later.






"don't look down"

i've been drifting round this circle for so long
and now i'm not sure what it means to me

i thought this kind of shelter would be strong
but nothing stays unchanged indefinitely

and we're home now
there's so many faces
it's so hard to see

and what would you like yourself to be

there's fire in the field but it doesn't try to come inside the door
and anything it yields casts a shadow on whatever's gone before


and we're home now
so many faces
it's so hard to see


and what would you like yourself to be


.........................................


peter asked me to play "astronaut" one more time for everybody at the end of the night, on the upright in their bedroom. 
i did. my voice was broken, but i don't think i've ever been happier to deliver a request.


then i left. i drove back to my crashpad in the middle of rural new zealand nowhere, with my brights on...feeling a sort of feeling i'd never felt before.
different than playing with heroes, different from meeting mentors, different from being acknowledged.



like.....
.....i'm doing what i'm supposed to do, and maybe for the first time i feel like i'm doing it right.


the beach is ever changing



love
AFP

p.s. if you want to hear the studio version of "don't look down", here you go:





Cross-posted to amandapalmer.net
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rocky horror, church, and abortion. (and new plymouth ninja in-store gig w/ peter jefferies.)

hola comrades....quickie-hot-of-the-presses-info for MELBOURNE: this february (sunday the 19th), i'll be joining MEOW MEOW, georgia fields, wendy harmer, and virginia trioli for Women of Letters' LAST-EVER show at the beautiful Thornbury Theatre before their big move to Northcote’s REGAL BALLROOM!!!



it's an afternoon celebrating female talent whilst simultaneously raising funds for an animal rescue shelter. $15 in advance, $20 at the door (but it will probably sell out early go GET YOUR TICKETS NOW)…RSVP on facebook, tell your peoples, and we'll see you there………

now, ze blog… 


________________

this morning i woke up and rolled around in bed grinning like an idiot and went back to sleep and woke up again and went back to sleep again and repeated this action approximately 6 more times and thought, every time i woke:

fuck i'm happy.

tour's over, and i'm starting a new music chapter. here we go.

closing show of the dolls in wellington last night and it could not have possibly been better....i swear, it's like someone dug into the deep fantasy area of my brain and tried its best to deliver everything in there on a fucking platter with rainbow edible garnishes in the past week or so.

playing the violent femmes with brian ritchie, john parish, and mick harvey. meeting PJ.

running into richard o'brien in a juice bar and duetting "time warp" and "science fiction" with him on stage that same night. yes, it happened, there's proof on youtube....



jonathan, the bassist from the opening band (princess chelsea - who were stunning) learned the song in record time and also joined us for a rousing version of "fight for your right (to party)" by the beastie boys, which we've been doing almost every night on tour with a borrowed bassist (the best one was in adelaide, when a shy girl showed up to lend us her bass and we wound up coaxing her to play the part. magic.)

i'm only sad that youtube will never contain the rest of our night with richard o'brien, holy creator of rocky horror, which included him dropping non-stop wisdom and anecdotes about everything from the history of women's suffrage in new zealand to his stance on the music history importance of "rawhide" to his theories about how "the rocky horror picture show" follows the form of a classic fairy tale; frank-n-furter as wicked queen, brad and janet as goldilocks. my god. the blessed man is almost 70, rocking STRETCH PANTS and absolutely rock and rolling through life, non-stop embracement of joy.

hero worship. except i want to be rocking kimonos and not stretch pants when i'm that age. who knows, maybe i'll change my mind. here's me and richard and brian backstage at the powerstation in auckland before the show.....



richard as riff raff in the original movie, 1975:


and no small feat: i got to make neil gaiman jealous, which i NEVER get to do. he's a total fanboy for richard, and had interviewed him 25 years ago back when he was a teeny weeny unknown journalist writing for any porn magazine that would have him. i told richard that, and he beamed with joy....he's a neil gaiman reader. life=love=life.

the next night in wellington, we decided to rip through "time warp" a final time, now that we knew it.

no richard to sing the part of riff raff, i took over, but we had about 50 people on stage time-warping-out and it was absolute heaven. holy christ i love my job.

here's a clip of the mayhem:




and we made national news in the new zealand herald, whoo. photo by Roger Grauwmeijer:




......


and from the Hero Department: i have one more thing to kick off the bucket list.

peter jefferies (another teenage hero of mine who belongs to the POUND YOUR PIANO TO PIECES club....



is coming into my life. i finally got in touch with him Last Year in new zealand...he wrote "on an uknown beach" which i covered for the "amanda palmer goes down under" record.

long story short, he quit making music and touring about 10 years ago and became a teacher. i reached out to him when i booked this new zealand tour, and he invited me to do a workshop with the kids he works with at a music school in new plymouth, new zealand. so i'm renting a car and driving up to meet him in person for the first time.

he also chatted with a new local record store (yes, that is what i said. a NEW record store. a NEW. record. store. those are about as rare nowadays as a NEW rotary phone installation company) called Vinyl Countdown...and they thought it would be fun to organize a ninja gig, so i'm going to be playing there on tuesday at 5 pm. 109 Devon St. West, New Plymouth. COME. it's FREE. click HERE for directions from the google.

peter and i have been emailing back and forth about it and he sent me an email saying "am i playing?" and i wrote back saying "holy shit, of course, if you want to, i would die."
i've never gotten to see him play live. i know him only from my two beloved and played-to-death-as-a-college-student albums "electricity" and "the last great challenge in a dull world." 

if you're interested in grabbing those two albums, sean suggests:
amazon
musicstack
cduniverse
ebay


unfortunately, there's not an easy way to get the records wherein peter will actually see some money from 'em, most everything out there for sale is second hand...whatever you do, just make sure to listen and spread the word.

SO, he said he'd play with me at the record store.

he hasn't played live in 9 years.

what the fuck is going on around here?

just kill me.

something astounding happened in auckland as well.

zanni.

zanni's a beautiful free-style-style-rapper girl who's accosted me at every signing and gig i've done in auckland to the point where i'd be sad if she DIDN'T show up and do a beautifully filthy dirty little rap for me at the end of the signing line. we saw her at the library ninja gig, where, by the by, i crowd surfed for the first time on top of a group of SEATED people. I discovered that while it WORKS, it doesn't work QUITE AS WELL as doing it with a group of sweaty-crowded-standing people, as people aren't able to shift and use their legs to support your weight. (LIBRARY NINJA GIGS ARE EDUCATIONAL…photo by sarahisinsane):



zanni found me at signing and delivered a very disturbing but very hilarious and well-executed one-minute song (think le tigre meets die antwoord) and i told her she should perform on stage with us, that i'd just slip her in-between songs during our set. then she pulled me and her friend aside; said she wanted to talk. she thanked me for my support of occupy. and she told me that in three days she was getting an abortion. i felt a deep connection with her and we talked a while, me about my experiences, her about hers.

and this would all be a brutal breach of trust if she hadn't down something absolutely astounding: she took the stage that same night and by way of introducing her song, told the assembled crowd of 700 people what she was about to go through.

it didn't smack of attention-getting or poor-me drama, it just felt like a bold statement, and she mentioned how the song "oasis" had helped her. then she delivered her song to the crowd. bam. i felt so many things in that moment. proud of her, because it takes extreme fucking guts to get up in front of a group of 700 people and say something so personal, but also proud of the band, and proud of the audience....because we've collectively created a space where something like that can happen. this really is a special fucking things we have, it's a collective of people who really trust each other. i see it again and again at the shows....people take care of each other JUST BECAUSE they're THERE, and they're dolls/amanda palmer fans, and there's a moral code of honesty and sharing and awesomeness.

also, it was thrilling and profound to have richard o'brien in the audience for that moment.

if you don't know anything about "the rocky horror show" or the community, it's hard to explain. but that film and the tangled, ongoing community are unlike anything else. and it was HUGE to me as a kid. i remember watching my older brother and sisters putting crazy make-up on in the bathroom to "go to rocky." they were teenagers. i was 9, and too young to go. and as far as i was concerned, they were headed to xanadu, to paradise, to heaven, to whatever place there was where people get made-up and dressed-up all crazy-like and bring bags of toast and rice stuff to a movie in order to throw shit at the screen. i knew who i was, i knew what i wanted, and i knew it was THAT. i couldn't fucking wait to join a world where shit like that happened. one of the most devasting moments of my life was convincing my parents to let me out alone at night on our family summer vacation to london when i was 15. i'd been fantasizing about going to the live, LONDON, rocky horror picture show for MONTHS. in fact, it was the only thing that excited me about going to london, because other than robert smith, it was the only thing i really cared about in the UK. i took the tube by myself, found my way to the theater....and the show was fucking sold out. i was, as they say, GUTTED.

rocky horror has been a universal umbrella under which generations of punk rock theater freaks have bonded in weird solidarity.

it's the closest we get to a religious experience, a shared myth, the epic story we know by hear...it's church.

more importantly: a haven where all is possible....where you don't dream it, you be it.

when zanni got up and told her story at our show, with richard there to bear witness, making her statement and singing her crazy song, i felt it all coming together.

the church gets passed down, finds its own soundtrack, but the general rules and regulations stay the same: a space where the outsider is the insider, where the unusual is celebrated instead of judged and mocked, where we crush fear and worship at the altar of Get Your Freak On. all the shit of life, the pain, the sorrow, the loves lost, the health issues, the relationship problems, the jobs lost, the friends and families dying before our very eyes, we don't come to this holy place to FORGET about it.

on the contrary, we come to celebrate, to yell at the top of our lungs about it, scream-share it, throw the burden on the ground and dance around it....finding solace there among our brethren.

all the pain and all the joy all together in one beautiful mishmash puddle of This Is Life and We're All In It Fucking Together.

and this is why we do what we do.

do i sound like a hippie?

let me fix that



FUCK YOU.



this is it.



x
AFP.

Cross-posted to amandapalmer.net