Monday, December 08, 2003

12/08/03 - The dresden Dolls Face the Long Winter

writing in a diary like this has become as frustrating as trying to write in my own journal lately, i feel like i have too much to say, so i just don't.
it's a typical night. the snow today has lost it's initial glory and stands piled hip-high in front of the door. walking along the sidewalk i have an angle into michael pope's window i never had before. brian and i sludged through the snow to the roxy to go the the newbury comics annual staff ball, ate a few pieces of shrimp, and left.
i saw a squirrel having a hard time on an icy vine outside the foyer.

i tried to resurrect an old song tonight and think i may have succeeded. the original title was "WWW.WWWIII" (clever, eh?)
the lyrics address a weird cross between stating frustration at the over-connectedness of the nation, the idea that the surface of the moon may become a battling ground for competing advertisers, and a call to arms for some mythical army of frustrated children who will cut every wire in the world so we can start the whole thing over again.
.....a passing aquaintance at the time i write it asked "what are you, a fucking luddite?"
in spirit only, i would be pretty lost without elecricity.
but it's fun to fantasize. it's not the electircity, it's the disconnection it forces.

i spend hours looking at the piles that are accumulating on the floor of my apartment and wonder if they'll maybe go away magically.

the piano's out of tune.

i have found some really really good music lately, however:

"stellastarr*" are fantastic....totally retro eighties/pixies/cure stuff dripping with hooks.

"iron and wine" gets my vote for most beautiful cd of the month. i'm not sure which disc it is, but there are only two, i think.
it's gorgeous guitar songwriting with almost cohen-brilliant melodies and lyrics.

i've also been digging this band from the south called "the fatales", the website is
the cd is nowhere to be found, you'd need to order it off the web.
it really grows on you, almost NYCcool meets Radiohead meets Cabaret.
they seem lonely and i think we're going to play with them sometime.

bed is near

12/08/03 - The dresden Dolls Face the Long Winter

Friday, October 24, 2003

10/23/03 - The Dresden Dolls play CMJ and see Marylin Manson

Another journey down to New York City in our beloved Ludwig Van....
Brian and I got into a discussion about god-knows-what and missed the exit for 84 off the Mass Pike. Not only did we miss the exit, but we continued on for quite some time without realizing our stupid mistake, even we stopped for gas at a rest stop we had NEVER seen, and I know, because it had no pac-man, and all of the rest-stops on the pike between Boston and the 84 exit have pac-man, and I know, because I always play a game, and I'm getting very good. The club we played in in cleveland had a pac-man and i got to the 10th level and the club in st. louis had a pac-man (but with no sound) and i didn't do as well, but it was really nice that they had it, anyway...

anyway, we missed the exit something terrible and wound up all the way in new york, up north. we realized out stupid mistake and hit a full-on bad accident and calculated that it was very possible that we might miss our show. we spent the next harrowing few hours going completely ballistic in the van (we made up several good songs: "I want a Ludwig Van" to the tune of "I wanna hold your hand" was the most memorable) and arrived at the Mercury Lounge exactly ten minutes before we were supposed to hit stage. we barrelled in, set up, got dressed and were on stage, playing, fifteen minutes after coming in the door. not bad.

after the set we were given four free tickets to the marylin manson show across town. we simply had to go, there was no way around it.
I had never heard a Marylin Manson record album but Brian had, and I was very curious.
pope and manta were with us, so we piled in an automobile and headed to the roseland ballroom, to see what had become of The Youth of America.

surprisingly, the crowd there was not very Youthful, it seems that Mr. Manson has a devoted crowd of older fans but the young youth aren't very excited. he was a very good performer, full of energy he was, but the music was forgettable and the dancers weren't very inspired (though they were sexy, and had o.k. bellies, on the stout side, the way i like).
we secured a nice balcony table up top, due to our lucky special tickets, and manta brought out his large notebook and started to write, and gave me a nice marker and i got to draw on the other side, so i made some sketches of marylin manson and his dancers and another picture of the rock world, which was a sort of globe with flowers sprouting out of it interspersed with some searching, aching, war-weary hands stretching to some unknown goal. it was a nice set of pictures, brian admired them, and we were very cold up there and a little bored, as the music was monotonous and marylin manson wasn't very interesting anymore.

i explained to brian and manta the significance of the deaths-head skull that decorated mr. manson's stage podium (it was an insignia used by an especially brutal and bloodthirsty subsection of the nazi SS, called the "todeskopf" in manson's version had imposed mickey mouse ears atop the skull of the head. about as tasteless as you could get, and sort of funny, i thought, though had i been someone killed in a concentration camp, I probably would have been deathly offended). neither of them knew the significance of the deaths-head, and it made me wonder how many in the audience understood mr. manson's disturbing joke. he also arrived behind his podium in blackface, wearing a set of mickeymouse ears, i wonder if this was lost on anyone as well.

Brian and I came down from the balcony, fought our way through the crowd to the front, and made a kind of wild love among the crowd.
Then we left and went back to the mercury, where i promtly forgot to get paid for the show and we left behind more cool short black haircuts then we've ever seen in one small place in our lives.

i stayed up until five in the morning in the safety of my dear friends' house in hoboken, NJ, working on the details of our halloween show, which i am very excited about, we will be performing a little play based on popular culture.

Monday, October 06, 2003

10/06/03 - the long road....

with only a few minutes to spare, i must be brief...but suffice it to say that the tour has been unbelievable. opening up for edward & entourage was a complete godsend, as we got to play for large crowds of pre-disposed doll-like-music enthusiasts. the responses from people have been fantastic, and we've sold a ton of records. we're very happy, and a bit sore and tried.

the road itself is long and full of bad, bad, bad coffee and little healthy nourishment. i long for the day when america's health craze finally makes it's way into it's extensive collection of seedy gas stations.

we have been blessed every single night with a story and a place to stay... philadelphia we landed at a friend-of-a-friend's place, a wonderful photographer who just happened to live next to a manse that got destroyed in a hurricane just days before. photo shoot opportunity galore, and our lovely michael pope (filmmaker in residence in the dresden dolls van) took some super 8 footage. we'll see....

speaking of the van, ludwig has been fine, spewing some unknown smoky phlegm from the tailpipe every once in a while but otherwise just dandy.

we've got a few days off now, staying in st. louis with brian's aunt judy and uncle stan and their large doberman. they have a victrola and a spinet piano, and titus on videotape. it'll be a fine few days.

no other news of huge lovely little anecdote, though...
a few days ago we went (cringe, gulp) to the rock and roll hall of fame and museum in cleveland, where we had a show that night...our fine friends in world/inferno had mentioned that they waive the $18 admission fee if you're in a touring band, which they indeed did. (however, they wouldnt let us videotape and pope couldn't stomach it and went around the block for a drink.)
we ran around like idiots for an hour and worshipped at the altar of david bowie's coats, the zz top car, jimi's guitars, jeff buckley's diary, etc....and then had to rush out to make soundcheck in time.
on our way out the door, the white-haired spinstery lady at the admission desk hollered and waved us down ...they had found a press clipping and photo of the dresden dolls in the cleveland weekly paper and laid it out for us to autograph and leave with them.
apparently, we'll be eligible in 2028.

Monday, September 29, 2003

09/29/03 - aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh

we are going on tour tomorrow.
the last week has spun my head and i am not even remotely focused on what i am doing at this moment,
because i have 457 things in my head, all wanting to be thought about.

we have a nice blue tour van, we named him ludwig. ludwig van.
i am leaving The Machine at home, but if we're in the vicinity of a computer i'll check in and write about
what is happening to our little band out in the Big World.


Saturday, September 20, 2003


i feel like an old, tired, dying sea sponge.

there has been no time for Fun.....all work, no play, not even any time to stop and wonder whether there will be a time later.
how difficult it is to be continually excited about everything that's going on with the band when all it amounts to at the moment is more and more work that seems less and less creative.

everybody keeps telling me that this is the artist's plight.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003


late at night, again, and i am here, sitting behind The Machine.

i had another one of my rare freak-outs this evening, where i look at the schedule, the list of things to do, and the reality of the next few weeks and say
"good lord jesus, i am not going to sleep much less have time to do things that aren't priorities like...sleeping." and playing the piano.
all of this business crap has dented the creative process in a nasty way.
instead of musical ideas floating through my head, there are income statement inconsistancies. something, i think, is Not Right.

Friday, August 15, 2003

08/15/03 - The story of The Dresden Dolls & The Great Blackout in New York City

never have the dresden dolls endured such a night.

in order to understand the irony of the events that am i about to relate, you need the sordid history of the past few weeks.
there are several labels who have taken an interest in maybe signing our little band.
all of these labels have headquarters down in new york, so we have to do what is called "showcasing" - meaning, basically, that we will play our next show down in NYC knowing that these suits will be there.
we had this show booked down in NYC, on the 14th, with our fine friend World/Inferno Friendship Society at the knitting factory there we went.

so here we are, holding our fragile little record in our hands, our record release date set, no label.....and we decide (goddammit) that we are going to put it our ourselves. money is the only issue, so we hit up everybody we know for a loan. and lo and behold: Eight Foot Records in born.

this means many scary things: we need distribution (to get the thing into stores....and this is VERY difficult for an indie band to get without a label). we need our own booking agent. we need our own publicist. we need a radio publicist. we need help.

so i spend about 15 hours a day on the phone and at the computer trying to figure out, once and for all, the key to unlocking the mystery that is the music industry (no answers yet, but give me a few more weeks, i'm working on it).
(on the side: we hired two part-time employees, got an amazing office space in chinatown for practically free, and will be putting out the call for interns - stay tuned).

so all these folks that i'm talking to all day on the telephone all want to see the band. and they're all from new york. and we have this impending show on the 14th at the knitting factory. how convenient! so our guest list ends up housing the potential radio promoter, the potential booking agent, the potential record reviewers and two representatives from major labels. (no pressure).

MEANWHILE, the artwork for The Album is done. done, that is, but not at the printer. the printer is down in new york city, on broadway, very far from our hometown of boston. and everything is wrong. the bleed is fucked up. the bleed? they can't download the files our designer uploaded to the web. we fedex the artwork on disc. they can't open the files. it takes forver. they make proofs. they need to be fed-exed up to boston. we are going down to new york anyway, for our Very Important Show at which Many Important People will be. so we'll just swing by the printers at 4 p.m. on the way to soundcheck and approve the artwork? sure.

at 4:15 p.m., after an unevetful drive down to the city, we pull up in front of 611 broadway, where our printer should be waiting, proofs in hand, for us to check out and approve for printing (the whole album , by the by, is now coming out 3 weeks behind schedule anyway, because of all the other fuckups and the deal with the label falling through.)

at 4:15 p.m. the fucking blackout hits new york. we double park in front of the printers and i assume that it's a fire alarm, and that's why there are mad heads standing out in front of the building. but nay. we find out about the blackout but assume it's a block-wide or even neighborhood-wide thing and at worst, a small pain in the ass. so we wait at the car, double-parked, for the power to come back on.

which it doesn't, and we eventually hear a "GET OUT OF THE WAY" coming from the loudspeakers of a police bus behind us.

so we do, and we find ourselves swimming through the chaos (no working traffic signals, lots of impatient new yorkers) in our trusty blue volvo station wagon, through throngs of people who have all been ejected from their placid air-conditioned a large blue trout in a sea of well-dressed minnows.

traffic is at a standstill, and we are mere block from the knitting factory. there is no cellular service so we can't get through to the other bands, the club, or greg and andrew, or guitar and bass player for this show.
i suggest to brian that he pull over and i go on foot to the club to see what's what.

the scene is chaotic, broadway is packed with people, traffic isn't moving and sirens are wailing from every direction. i must look very interesting to most commuters, running at breakneck speed in my slip and flapping sandals, eybrows running down my cheeks.

and there, lo, by candlelight in the front bar of the knitting factory, are sitting the 9 dignified members of the world/inferno friendship society, drinking ciders and chatting merrily, surrounded by the Good People of the Neighbourhood and lots of The Ejectees from nearby offices. it's a beautiful sight.
the beer is cold and plentiful and i run back to brian at top speed to tell him of the wonders i have witnessed.

we drive through the chaotic crowd at a snail's pace and eventually get back to the club. there's nothing to do but wait, we're pretty sure the show will be cancelled unless the power comes on damn soon, so we just drink and commisserate with our fellow musicians.
brian breaks out the acoustic guitar and the tambourine and we play through Side A of the first violent femmes record. then we move on to ramones songs, people join in and we move on to black sabbath and other miscellaneous covers.

we set brian's bowler hat on the ground and make a grand total of sixty-five cents from passing youngsters, whose mothers find us charming and send their children to us with alms.

it seems more and more likely that the power ain't coming back on, so we confer with wolrd/inferno.....shall we set up a street show?

so we set up a street show...brian drags his drum kit into the middle of leonard street and
accordians, saxophones, acoustic guitars and screaming vocalists jam out without the benefit of a public address system. world/inferno plays a good half hour set, we dance wildly. we discover that franz, the accordian player from inferno, knows "port of amsterdam", which brian and i had planned on brian tunes up the guitar, we clear off the make-shift merchandise table and i stand aloft, staggering slightly from the warm beer and penetrating sunlight & ruining my voice in one screetchy but heartfelt performance, successfully entertaining the crowd on the street, which has at this point grown to a sizeable 150 folks or so.

we sell 4 cds and a few people sign the mailing list, so we happily cut our losses and start
planning our escape from this dark pit of hell. mind you, it's 90 degrees and the car has no air conditioning.

it takes us close to 2 hours to get to the bridge - which is about 12 blocks from the club. the fumes are horrific, the traffic is at a standstill and we have no idea whether we'll run out of gas or not.

we stop saying "god, this sucks" after a while and just give each other pained but peaceful
looks, probably much like the looks of the terminally ill after they've completely comes to grips.

we eventually break out of the city at around 10:30....and we cavalierly pass by the first gas station we see because there is a line like a funeral procession and we figure we have enough to last us til the next one.

one hour later: we are stranded in the middle of connecticut, not an open gas station to be had, and approximately one tablespoon of gas in our tank.
so we pull over, put the drums in the front seats of the trusty blue volvo, and sleep in the back, on top of brian's suits and padded trap cases.

we wake, sore and covered with dew, at 5:30 a.m., fill the car, hit the road and head back to boston.....bleary-eyed, exhausted, aching, frustrated but strangely content.

so our Very Important Show For Music Industry Suits ended up being a Steet Fair For Children and Ejected Office Workers, and we don't know when, but hopefully it will be rescheduled.

funny, but oren (a good friend and fan of the dolls) was chatting with me the night before at my solo show at the zeitgesit. i was telling him of the nervewracking show in new york, what with all the suits and all, and he said "amanda, make sure you play for us, not the suits, please." and then he gave me a rock from the beach in glouscester. if he had only been on leonard street last night, he'd have been a very proud man.

it's possible that this was a sign from god that the dresden dolls are destined to run their own record label for ever and ever. who knows. anyway, no matter what it means, we still need a fax machine and a van.


now, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday, July 05, 2003


it's been a crazy time for the dresden dolls.
last tuesday's sold-out bill att he middle east was a historic moment of bands colliding. World Inferno Friendship/Society made us dance and
i would like to personally hail Sleepytime Gorilla Museum as possibly one of the BEST BANDS EVER. amazing music, amazing people, amazing light show, amazing everything. sadly, we have one more show with them (tomorrow) and then they are going along on their merry way.
the knitting factory show (6/30) was wonderful, our friends Barbez were in top form and we played to a packed house.

last night i went to a family affair on beacon street to see the fireworks. there was a little girl there, 9 years old, who i decided was my new favorite person. she writes songs for piano (according to her, all in d minor) and stared of into space while we were talking to her father and said "dad....i'm feeling blank". her name is erica and i want to take piano lessons from her.

there is the upcoming show with the b52s to be excited about....the shelley winetrs project (the other opener) is fantastic, so we hope at least 5 or 10 people can afford the ticket price.

brian is sadly going bye-bye until mid-august but i'm scheduling some solo shows. i have no idea what i am going to play. some dolls songs, some yet-to-be dolls songs and some covers....i am taking requests.

we just scheduled our record release date!!!! (secret secret, so i'm only wirting about it here). it's going to be Sept. 26th at the paradise and the support is still getting worked out. we are jumping up and down!!!! we finally get to give our fucking record out!!!! yayyyyy!!!!!! (we love our record.)

i am also fantasizing about organizing a dance in the fall. at a high school gym. with streamers and local bands playing only early sixties dance music. we will play all girl-group covers. with back-up singers.

currently i am very much diggin' the Yeah Yeah Yeah's "fever to tell". i bought it to see what all hype was about. it's brilliant. go spend your money on it.

i wrote a good new song today. for the first time in ages. that's why i'm allowing myself to whack off in front of the computer all evening. i am also rewarding myself with a night out, the Fall is playing at the middle east tonight....

Wednesday, June 04, 2003


brian and i had a nice rehearsal tonight.
a record company sent us some airheads in the mail.

Friday, May 30, 2003


true to form, i've ignored this for a while.

winnning the rock and roll rumble was the most surprising event of the month.

who'd have thought.

i spent a few days lurking on the noise message board, reading the horrible things the old boston rockers were writing about me and our band. bummed out for a day or so, and finally decided that it was nice to have some local critics.

it's been months since i wrote a song.

every day is filled with endless busiwork.

brian and i sit across from each other, eating fish and vegetables in my kitchen, and muse about what the fuck is happening to our band.

we played at the tweeter center on was astounding. i've gotten so used to playing in clubs and bars, where everyone is over twenty-one, that it was a shocking revelation to learn that teenagers liked our music. i hadn't given it that much thought.

we gave our studio disc to perry farrell and dave navarro. they said they'd listen to it.
we think they'll like it.

it's depressing, though. my arms were out of commission for a while, so i decided to just not think about the fact that i couldn't work on new stuff and focused on the management of the band. well, that worked....and here i am, uncomfortably used to not being a writer. this, i am told, happens to everyone.
i have 50 unfinished songs and ideas and very little pateince.

tonight, i am going to listen to the many new cds i've accumulated over the week (johnny cash live at san quentin, laura nyro, talking heads, many others....) and try to find some things to sell at the yard sale tomorrow.

i'm reading an excellent, excellent book. for anyone interested in the music industry (especially if you're from boston), i'd say it's a must-read: The Mansion On The Hill, by Fred Goodman.

the song of the week is by this excellent group from new york, melomane, and band we will hopefully play with in the fall. it's called "fighting guitars" and may prove to be the soundtrack song of the summer.
it's a slow, dreary, carnival-esque waltz with double male/female vocals:

"she was the corporal at arms
of the fighting guitars
nobody wins
in these weaponless wars..."

Monday, April 28, 2003

04/28/04 - The Dresden Dolls Diary is now officially up

the dresden dolls diary is now officially up.
cheers and beers for the infambulous martin brothers!
in my opinion, one of two things will happen.
a) out of sheer laziness, i will only post news when ground-breaking things happen with the band (like we get scurvy, or a world tour booked opening up for the spice girls reunion, or we break up and start doing solo projects and film scores, or brian finally gets the cover of modern drummer)
b) i will trash my paper-bound diary and just start posting my mundane woes about life here for the general public to read. given my paper-bound predilection to write for some fictional audience anyway, this might actually happen.

amanda palmer