The Dresden Dolls are not your ordinary rock band. For starters it’s just two members, lyricist & vocalist Amanda Palmer on keyboards and drummer Brian Viglione on drums. Their style of music takes its starting point from Weimar era cabaret and then continues the tradition of female rock icons like Joan Jett, Patty Smith, PJ Harvey and Tori Amos. But it’s the dynamics between Palmer and Viglione that make the Dolls unique and in an age of manufactured pop and heavy guitars that dominates the American charts they have carved an impressive niche that looks set to boost them to stardom. It’s taken them four years of pretty relentless touring, promotion and dedication to get this far and 2004 has been their breakthrough year getting to support the likes of Beck, Jane’s Addiction, Sonic Youth, Mission of Burma & the Legendary Pink Dots. With America starting to fall, they thought they’d come to Europe which seems like a more natural place for a band like the Dresden Dolls.
Speaking to Amanda in December before their show at London’s Cargo on this short tour of Europe she points out the difference between America and Europe is the scepticism of the American music industry. “The problem in America is getting people to listen. But things in America have been taking off like wild-fire now. We'll have a track being played in a city in the mid-west, and we do a show there and there's 1,200 people. So really it's been a matter of convincing people that other people will be open to this style of music, it just needs to get out there.” In Europe as Amanda says you can just “send it to a DJ and they are like ‘this is great, let’s play it’. It’s not like ‘oh I’m not sure what genre this is, I’m not sure what I can do with this.’ Just emotionally and mentally we think the band makes more sense to people over here. In America they need to be sold and convinced.”
‘So coming to Europe must be great for you, all the history and culture?’
Amanda: “I feel strangely at home here. I am so entranced and turned on by things that are old and things with a sense of history. I would just so much rather be in a place like this than in a modern club that was built in the 50s. I'm sure I have some sort of emotional counterpart here, some French guy who really really is into country and western is travelling the south saying 'ah finally I’ve come back to my roots'.”
‘So are you getting to see a lot of Europe?’
Amanda: “You are not really allowed much to emerge much from the world of the band. What I do is try to take chunks of time and just wander out on my own and just soak up what the city looks like. But this entire trip I haven't had any time to go into a single building or do a single touristy thing. But that's kind of the paradox of what we are doing, we're travelling the world, but we're also very contained in our own little world of inside the club inside the bus, inside the pub doing press but that's part of the job I think.”
‘Maybe you should come back and spend some time here when you don’t have to tour?’
Amanda: “I would love to come here and just stop instead of just rush around. Pick a city and discover it. London, Berlin, Paris, I’ve heard great things about Barcelona. My fantasy is to rent an empty room and put nothing in it but a bed, a desk and a piano for 3 months and wander around the streets sitting in different cafes reading books and soaking it up, being all Bohemian.”
‘So is touring in Europe quite different to America?’
Amanda: “The whole atmosphere in Europe is very very different. The quality of the clubs, people’s professionalism is just a step up from the way it is in the States.”
One other thing that marks the Dolls apart from most other bands is their desire to nurture performance in other people. At their re
|Comments On This Review|
|On 12/01/2005 16:09 Kitten said:|
This was originally written for the Spanish version Rock Sound magazine which is why I've put in more background about the band as the Spanish audience haven't really heard about them yet.
|On 13/01/2005 14:56 A.U.B said:|
she mentioned "bohemian"... well done.
|On 24/01/2005 20:04 smallblackflower said:|
ahh i love them
|On 07/02/2005 13:31 Kitten said:|
Thanks to Poem for the photos.
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