home | sitemap | contact


Amanda and Brian respond ...

Question:
Why did you feel inclined to include nude pictures of yourselves in the  gallery section of your website?

Amanda responds:
good question. i've never thought about it. why do you feel inclined to put on clothes in the summer?


Question:
So I'm writing this because I'm in treatment for an eating disorder and we had to write about who we use to inspre us and I chose you so this is my letter..I apologize before hand on the grammer I always just write like how I talk...okay so.....I wanted to thank you so much for your amazing writing not only in your music but also in your blogs I admire you soooo much in the fact that you can put your thoughts and feelings out there like that I wish everyday that I had your confidence.....I lack in that soooo much but I always feel so much more elightened after reading your thoughts....and its wierd...not to sound toooo much like a bitch but you would be the kind of girl in high school that I would have hated in the past only because of politics ..... but secretely admired because you had the smarts and confidence I could only fake by cheating, ass kissing, and starving myself for that fake acceptence...which sucks because its many years later and those same insecurities are still there... and I still admire you and your talents and I use you as a daily inspiration to be the person I really want to be regardless of what anyone else thinks. thank you so much for all you do....your words are very important to so many people in many ways and I know you hear this all the time but it does feel nice to say....

Amanda responds:
rest assured, we're all faking it. the trick, i think, lies in believing that you're convincing everybody else :)


Question:
I was just listening to the first album and thinking how great the songs are. Being a musician myself and having writers block for the last 6 months I was wondering what you do when.or if you have this problem?

Question:
i have a million questions, but seeing as i don't want to be a general nag (i love your music so much, it inspired me to hope i could stem off and do something musical in my life, like i don't have to have an SUV and a toaster oven and two kids to be happy. like i don't need to fit in. also, the song 'bad habit' has helped me through a really fucked up period, with eating disorders and related. identification, i guess.) do you think a person can completely lose their ability to write, and poetically/lyrically/whatever, do you believe people are just born with it? seeing as you're one of the greatest songwriters around (right up with...other good ones, but you're my favorite by far) i thought i would ask you. is songwriting one of those skills you can develop, like a sport, or is it something you have to have a hendrix-esque flair for? is it something you can improve? and, if so, have you improved from when you were younger by a lot? i'm 13 now, i just want to be able to write much better lyrics as i'm get older.

Amanda responds:
i think that writer's block is kind of bullshit. i think that what people mean to say when they "can't write" is that they "can't write anything they consider good". i am a terrible critic of myself. i went through 4 years of college not writing a song, more or less, because i was simply depressed and despondent. i knew all along that there was nothing stopping me from getting up and going to the keyboard and banging some shit out, but i just coudn't do it, i was too lazy, too unhappy, too distracted, too drunk, whatever it happened to be, i would call it a period of "non-productivity" more than a period of "writer's block". i think there are certainly times when you're more tapped into the muse, the one, the great art god, whatever you want to call it, but that has simply to do with what position you are in in your life. my guess is: look around, if the environment isn;t adding up to inspire you, then change the environment. that doesn't mean move out. it means shift things around so that they are unfamliar. try doing whatever you do in a different place in a different way, not allowing your old tricks and habits to follow you there. that may work. if that doesnt work, heres another trick: go, go GO, make art because I SAID SO


Question:
I just bought your song book. I've been looking forward to it for a while now and was extra excited about how you said that "The book is bound with a strong spiral binding so it doesn't snap shut when laid on a piano, because Amanda knows how annoying that is." Mine doesn't have that and it snaps shut. What's up with that?!?! Is there anything I can do?

Amanda responds:
we're looking into a better binding for a second edition. if you want to trade it in, i think we'll come up with some sort of "no sheet music left behind" program, so keep an eye out for it. love


Question:
hey im a new fan and i wanted to know what your middle name was please tell me!!

Amanda responds:
my full name is Amanda MacKinnon Palmer. I am descended from a long and pretty incestuous line of scottish highland MacKinnons and MacInneses. My sister got the other one.


Question:
Hey first off i just wanted to say to you Amanda that you are one of  the most amazing pianists i know. I would love to say more but ill get  straight to the point instead of bore you. Are you guys going to come out  with sheet music for "Yes, Virginia"? 

Amanda responds:
why yes indeed we are. it's currently underway and may take up to about six months from now, or more, but i hope it'll be out by the spring of 2007. i know, i know.


Question:
Not to sound like a typical disgruntled fan but, WHAT THE FUCK?
Why are you on tour with that paltry, over-processed, under-developed piece of shit band, Panic! at the Disco? I remember coming upon their video, not too long ago on MTV  "and  thinking great, now they're gonna sell 'punk cabaret' to a myriad of infidels who shall be convinced its cool to dress up like a mime and be sad.  Thats exactly what we all need a typical throng of assholes in black and  white with stilts shoved through their anal fissures. All the while  completely omitting the art/poetry/sentiment of the movement...what a cheap knock-off of the dresden dolls!
And this indignant train of thought continued along within these lines, but you get the picture. Now I hear you are on tour with these pricks.  Why?  Its too early for you guys to sell out.  I like you too much.   Let your art remain pure even if it translates into the fact that youll  probably be cradling to a very select audience. But I guess thats just  my view of things youd rather degrade yourself. Its a tricky business investing faith into others, they never fail to disappoint. Therefore you owe me an explanation along with the rest of your true fans, why?

Amanda responds:
first of all, punk cabaret is a state of mind.
it starts with following your gut and not letting people tell you that there is a Right and Wrong way to get things done. you pick a path and forge it, your way, no matter how insane people think you are.
we were ourselves hesitant to tour with this band, seeing as we knew nothing about them, had never heard their music, and had no idea what their scene was actually like.
the possible cons: that the band would be full of shit, unartistic & arrogant, that the fans would be brainwashed mallrats, that there would be no love on the tour, that people would associate us with a seemingly inauthentic version of our own scene, that our fans would feel irritated by having to fork over money for a ticket to see us on an opening slot with a band they don't like.
the possible pros: that we could reach out to an entirely new demographic of younger people who were hungry for good music, that the band would be kind, that we could make an artful experience out of the tour no matter what happened, that some of our younger fans would be psyched by the double bill with a younger band they connect with.
the reality (one week into the tour): we genuinely like the kids in this band, and they are working their asses off on stage. they want to do the same thing we are doing: try to create something artful and bring something entertaining to the stage beyond shoe-gazing. i applaud them for that. you say they're under-developed, but they're incredibly young.  they've barely toured. their hearts are in exactly the right place and whether you give a shit about their style music or not, that's more than i can say for a boatload of bands on the road right now. without getting gossipy, the band themselves are, i think, overwhelmed by the lack of control and connection with their fans given their skyrocketing mainstream status. i don't envy that in the slightest. our band had years to find and refine itself before we took our show on the road, these guys haven't. a bunch of their fans ARE mallrats, but we sing to them with hope. it's a challenge. this was the same way with NIN, we knew we weren't preaching to the converted. we had to try to connect with whoever was out there.
this band isn't a cheap knock-off of us: their music sounds NOTHING FUCKING like ours. aesthetically, you could make a rip-off argument, but it's a little inane considering we're not re-inventing the wheel ourselves, my darling. everything about us is robbed from somewhere in history. it's the heart you put into it. ain't not much new under the sun. 
as far as the shows themselves and our fanbase goes, i took the initiative to create the Fuck The Back Row! film tour for precisely that reason: to give our fans an alternate place to go and connect in case they were appalled by the idea of showing up at the panic shows. 
there's always a creative solution for anything. you ask us to keep our art pure? we do. 
the company we keep will always change, nobody will ever approve 100% of the time (you should see the flack i'm getting from my UK pals for hanging out with the singer of the kaiser chiefs.....o my GOD, amanda, but they're a POP band!!!......who fucking cares?? jeez louise.....).
i may also remind you that hendrix opened up for the monkees.
i may also remind you that i love the monkees.....and hendrix.


Question:
There are two things I've been wondering about for a while.  The first is for Amanda specifically.  Amanda, you always use your Kurt Weill  keyboard when you perform and I'm sure The Dresden Dolls have enough clout at this point that you could get a real piano to play on if you wanted  to-- but obviously, you don't want to.  Besides the fact that the keyboard is clearly more portable than any piano would ever be and that I'm sure you and your keyboard are rather attached to each other, is there any musically aesthetic reason why you prefer your keyboard over a real piano? I myself am a beginning piano student and while I'm sure it's in part because I have a very inexpensive and unimpressive keyboard, I find there's something much more satisfying about the feel of real keys and the sound of actual strings and hammers.  This could, of course, just  be me.  Indulge my curiosity? 

Amanda responds:
we did indeed get to that point at which we could have chosen to rent pianos instead of using the kurtweill. i thought long and hard. in the end, there were two huge factors that prevented me from corssing over: sound and sightlines. first, given the rock n' roll-ness of rock n' roll, amplifying a new acoustic piano every night (especially when it needs to compete with an, a-hem, VERY LOUD drum kit) is a crapshoot. solo piano, fine, but you can't get that consistent bass sound that comes out of an electric cable. the second reason was the actual position of the keys. if you notice your average elton john, tori amos or billy joel, they are forced to face their audience sideways. it kinda works, but i prefer facing y'all head on if you know what i mean. there is also no possible way to play on a grand or upright and keep my hands visible to brian, who uses them for musical cues. add it all up, it's all about the kurtweill.


Question:
Hey guys, i loved your music ever since i saw u open for NIN  @ the orpheum. When i see you when you come back to boston i have a  question about your live shows on a floor. Would you be offended if there  was a mosh pit at your concerts becasue i just think im the kind of person who would start one of those.  

Brian responds:
you asked if we would be offended if you there was a mosh pit. well,  we've had them in the past with mixed feelings.
i would say all you can do is feel out the people around you and if you and others are moved in that way,  by all means have fun and just be respectful to those around you.
the thing that ruined mosh pits for me, were these big muscle bound dudes who didn't dance and just used it as a place to rough people up.  fuck that noise.  if you're gonna slam dance at a Dresden Dolls show, then DANCE!   don't push and punch.  that ruins it for us.
we get people of all ages, so we try to encourage a sense of self awareness for our crowd to all show respect for each other.
i guess that's it.


Question:
I was wondering if you're a fan of Morrissey.  Just a quick question.

Amanda responds:
morrissey is a god. even though he's such a bastard.

more on the matter:
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.  Although I'm not totally surprised to learn you're a fellow Morrissey lover, I am very pleased.  However, I don't know why he would be a bastard.  Please explain to me why the Last of the Famous International Playboys would qualify as a bastard.

Amanda responds:
oh, i mean it in the best way, don't worry. I also found myself saved by Mr Moz in high school. have you read saint morrissey? brilliant.  he does get a bad rap in the business for canceling an insane number of shows and being, um, very "particular". but you must him for  being this way, for he is MORRISSEY.


Question:
To start, and I'm sure you probably get this a lot, I love you guys to death. You seem to put together a lot of my feelings and are basicly what I'd love to be (doubt I ever will though). Well, believe it or not, there is a point to this email. I was curious amanda, how do you get your hair up like that (how it is in a lot of pictures in in the "girl anachronism video") and what is its actual length? Since my hair is  like a wild thing of its own, I need something fun to do with it, and I think doing something like yours would be, so I was curious. I love the music, and I love all the creativity you guys put out. It's the funnest thing yet to happen to music.

Amanda responds:
my hair is about chin length and cut shorter in the back.
for the look:
1. do not wash with shampoo. ever. sleep fitfully.
2. twist into knots. keep twisting. better than smoking or biting nails.
3. apply bobby pins (more the better).
that's about it. it comes down to two key concepts: randomness and low maintenance-ness.


Question:
Hello, I realize that Amanda usually responds but I have a question for Brian. I am learning to play the drums (and its not going  so well). Do you have any tips on playing?

Brian responds:
well, first:   make sure that you have good form.  that you're holding  the sticks properly,  that you are sitting at a comfortable height at  the kit and your drums are within a good, natural reach. second:  make sure to practice basic beats and rudiments slowly at  first.  this way you build up confidence and consistency when playing  more complex things. third:  try playing along to some of your favorite songs on your  practice pad, and then your kit.   start with simple songs like,  the  ramones, AC/DC, or some of the stuff from the Nirvana Unplugged album. playing along helps you learn how to keep steady time, listen for the  other instruments, and learn how to anticipate basic rhythmic cues for  drum fills and breaks. hope that helps a little!   good luck and just try to find ways to make  otherwise boring practice exercises fun.  use your imagination and do  what feels good for you.


Question:
I, as well as anyone else taking the time to message you, adore you and your music. I have listened to your cd's countless times since that sacred day I had the blessing of hearing your song on The  Buzz. Since then, I've fallen in love with your music (I've also fallen in love with the fact that you are one of few celebrities that actually sound intelligent.). However, I cannot help but feel that when you two  get more popular (..and you will.) I will lose taste in your music. Is their any tips or advice you can give me on how to stay obsessed, even  when you are popular and bathing yourself with $100's while your fans bust tables to afford cds?

Amanda responds:
yes. here is my advice. light some incense, take your dresden dolls cd and rub it around in a circle on your belly 834 times while chanting the mantra "i believe that success does not kill art" slowly  and deliberately. this should really help.


Question:
I must say that you are new to me, and I LOVE your music.  But, one of the things that always interests me in a band is the things they stand for.  What are your political views?

Amanda responds:
our political views, in my humble opinion, are not as important as the   artist's role in general, which i believe is may more important than any given artist waving a flag for a cause of a candidate. we may occasionally do things like play "war pigs" and dedicate it to the president george w. bush, but in   general I think we can have a far more profound impact on the political climate of our country and peers by encouraging   them to fucking feel free to express themselves. I feel very strongly about this: you can do a lot more for your   nation's soul by feeding it's creative urge and giving it art and music and feeling than anything else. most europeans seem to   understand this, this is why you rarely see arts budgets being as thoughtlessly slashed the way you do in america. art   is food for the soul, and an artistic climate is a healthy political climate because it breeds empathy.


Question:
i am a 47 year old man living in salem ma and i think you guys are the best band i have heard in decades! i don't know if i'm part of your "target market" but i love your sound. next time you play boston, i'll be the gray haired old fuck down front! 

Amanda responds:
47 is nothin'.   you need to hang in there and start the septuagenerian dresden dolls club when the time comes.


Question:
I'd like to send you a gift.. what would you like to get?

Amanda responds:
as my mother used to say at christmas time: "anything you made yourself".


Question:
yea, im sorry if im annoying you guys but this time its actually got a point...well, i have a problem;i have this HUGE case of   stagefright and the old "picture the audience in their underwear" trick either make me wanna throw up or doesnt work...and my friends know that   I can actually sing(i think i suck personally,but sometimes i can sound just like you!) but when i have a solo i just freak out!i really want to pursue a career in maybe caberet...so i need help on this issue.do you have any methods that help you out? please help!! Thanx a bunch!!!
ps. im starting to write a  story based on your song "Missed Me"! i'll send it when its finished if you're interested

Amanda responds:
having gone through my own bouts of stage fright, i feel for you. as  far as i know there is no trick that is foolproof; the best way to kick it is to just perform as often  as possible until it starts to melt away. sing for friends in your living room, sing at open mics, sing at   talent shows, sing to the mirror. trust me, you'll kick it. sometimes it helps me to remember how   human the audience are, how every single one of them have their own insecurities and fears just   like i do, and that none of them are taking the risk of getting on stage. that in itself is an accomplishment, before you even step under the lights. good luck my dear


Question:
I saw you guys live recently and Amanda's voice seems to have improved from the first full length cd. Alot of the singing on the cd sounds forced, but live it seems to come out very easily and doesn't sound like a different voice or person(especially with the lower notes). Would you attribute this to getting used to singing these songs alot or did you get vocal lessons after the cd came out. And if you didn't get vocal lessons you are improving very nicely. Great Job!. I couldn't find any flaws in your performance live and I am extremely picky. Any advice on how to improve a beginning female singers voice with your range?

Amanda responds:
Thanks for the compliment. My voice has improved a lot....due to voice lessons a bit but mostly due to gigging and just plain using it, like a muscle. I have been learning by doing. I used to blow my voice during every show (I mean EVERY show) and learning how to stop or hold back and when to scream (and how to scream when screaming) has been a long long road. The recording was a tough time for me, I had never demanded so much of my voice all at once and the stresses of the studio, the constant travel, the self-conscioussnes and my naïtivity with the microphone are all audible.
Live is certainly a different story. There are plenty of great shows that I hear recordings of and notice obvious “mistakes” and off-key notes, etc. that I didn't notice while playing....they just got swallowed up and magically washed over and lost in the heat of the moment. Live is very forgiving, the studio is forever.
As for advice....I would suggest spending time singing, period, and finding a coach who deals with rock singing and not classical....that was key for me. Our demands and schedules and lifestyles are way different than your average classical singer and a teacher needs to work with that. My vocal coach in boston wrote a great book geared towards rock singers and you can order it through his website www.voicelesson.com, there's lots of good general advice in there regarding how to take care of your vocal chords and body etc.


Question:
Some people have suggested that Half Jack is about a hermaphrodite. If this is true, my life will have no meaning. So what's   it really about?

Amanda responds:
take a deep breath. it's not about a hermaphrodite. not exactly. rest assured your life has meaning after all.


Question:
I noticed that you wore a dress with the letter A sewn on it. Is this a reference to The Scarlet Letter?

Amanda responds:
i had once fantasized (for a few days) that i would actually sew an A  onto every top and dress that i owned and be a kind of cross between Hester Prynne and a modern day Laverne from Laverne and Shirley. But even thoughI went out and bought handfuls of  A's at the fabric store, my plan melted like every other manic fucking plan I've ever had and  only the black dress remained. I wore it to the next gig that happened to be booked and it was  comfortable so it stuck. Not so romantic, but that;s the story. Sometimes I tell people it stands for Asshole, or Architecture.


Question:
So yea, I love your music and your live shows and ever since I first saw you at Hallowmas with the world inferno in 2003 I've been hooked. I too am a musician, hoping to one day achieve some of what you two have. My question is simple, what advice do you have for someone like me who wants to passionately devote their life to music? Are there tips and tricks of the trade?  This is one of those sit down and talk over lunch things, but given how busy and huge you guys are becoming, I dont think its going to happen, though it would be awesome.  Either way, you guys are great and  have inspired me to continue to work hard to achieve this goal and I'd like to say thank you as well.

Amanda responds:
here are my quick two cents. work incredibly hard. do not sleep unless you really need to. stay up  late on your computer and research the music industry and how it works. network relentlessly with other bands and always appreciate your few followers and nurture every relationship. above all, play from your heart, as cheesy as that sounds, it's  ultimately what separates the losers from the successes. there is a small still voice inside that will tell you if your music is  honestly you and coming from an authentic place, and if it is, keep playing it. if it's not, try hard to find it. if you can't ever  find it, give up and become an investment banker.


Question:
Are your lyrics satanic or are they just lyrics?

Amanda responds:
Everything I write, believe it or not, is about God.


Question:
your songs are amazing! i feel that i can really relate, i love "Half Jack", with songs like that and "Slide" i can't help but wonder if you are a fellow surviver of abuse?

Amanda responds:
well....lots of people have been asking me that lately. while a lot of my life is an open book, parts of it are not and all i can tell you is that i certainly know the  dark side of human sexual nature, having been through some really rough times in those areas when  i was a teenager. abuse comes in all shapes in sizes and varieties of physical  and mental nastiness and i firmly believe that everyone can relate to it at one  time or another....if that (sort of) answers your question. stay strong


Question:
Hi. I love music. It is my life and my passion. I've given up so much for my music and will do almost anything to be heard. In fact I am the purest form of human being you'd ever meet. I've never touched a drug, never smoked a cigarette, I'm prude, a virgin, and I'm 17. Why, because I'm afraid that it might get in the way of my music. My mom is a drug counselor and a christian budist. She does believe in reicarnation. She said that in a past life I wanted to be a musician but it never happened because I got heavy into drugs and temptations and that I chose her to be my parent because I knew she would help steer me away from all of that. I went to your show on the 4th of febuary and the both of you are some of the nicest and greatest performers I've ever had the priviledge to hear. On my way home that night I was beating myself up wishing I had taken the oppurtunity to meet you and play a song for you. I know you're busy and you probably get this alot...but! I'm not even going to ask you if I can open for you at a show or something but it would mean even more to me if I could play you a song just between the three of us. It doesn't matter where I live, I will climb the highest mountain and swim the deepest sea just to play you one song. Thank you and please write back.

Amanda responds:
music, as you can probably tell, is a huge part of my life as well. i'm glad you found us and that you wrote. some of what you say worries me a little bit, though. in my experience, none of the things that you list (like sex and drugs) can ever "get in the way" of music. on the contrary, some of the most powerful songs i know have been written about the struggle and beauty of such experiences. the only thing, i think, that can truly "get in the way" of music is yourself. we all know the horror stories of rock star addicts who overdose in dressing rooms, but that doesn't mean we run screaming from the club. i think it's actually more difficult to live a life of moderation, of balance and careful knowledge of yourself than it is to stay monk-like and pure. you obviously don't need to go around fucking like a bunny and getting your heart broken a million times to write a tragic love song, nor do you need to trip on five tabs of acid to feel the one-ness of the universe, but finding that "middle way" and truly living is what can help make you a great artist. when you experience all sorts of life, the insights that can come with love and sex and so forth, you learn to make the choices that set you free. and it's so hard. but then your music sounds human and people can relate to it, and can relate to that struggle and challenge. this may all sound confusing but hopefully it makes sense on some level. your mom sounds very wise, by the way, but only you can know what is right for you on this one. listen hard.
p.s. i would love to play too, but our schedule is usually pretty fucked. come find us when we come to your town to play....


Question:
It seems like its a very trying time for music right now. Any words of encouragement for aspiring musicians?

Amanda responds:
Yes. If it worked for us, there's still hope. Make music from your heart, work your ass off, love and respect those around you and do not give up. We need you.


Question:
I love your outfits so much and I think that its awesome as a band to have part of your act be appearance especially "vintage" but
not faux. To make this short, my friends and i have aquired some awesome dresses from 1940's ballroom gowns but have fallen in love and have a desperate need for more..and i was wondering where you get yours?

Amanda responds:
I tend to shop on the fly....I poke into used clothing stores all the time and try to hit every salvation army I pass. I've heard that ebay has great vintage stuff but I'm way too much of a tactile shopper (must touch and grope and try on and stick my muzzle in any item I may be sporting in the future) so I've never checked it out. If you're ever in boston you should check out the garment district, oona's and the great eastern trading company...all in cambridge and all boasting a shit-ton of good stuff.


Question:
I was wondering, how on earth do you end up with the follow through to create such great songs. Because I know like when I write, I have a great idea and I get out something great on whatever instrument, but I can't seem to think of a way to properly finish it, and build everyhting together with the different instruments on the song. Also I'm a very big fan of your music, and I think it's brilliant how even though you and Brian basically sit there most of the show while playing, you two still create such an amazing energy.

Amanda responds:
God, what a painful subject that one is. I've spent my life banging myself over the head with that question. Every writer is very different but I've found it just comes down to good old-fashioned, boring, irritating discipline. You just have to sit down and do it, and not fear that the end product might not be as brilliant as the original idea. Letting yourself throw away songs that turn out to be less-than-amazing is really liberating....it will free you to write more and more often, as you'll be able to forgive yourself in advance. I've thrown away hundreds of songs that couldve been incredible but just...weren't. It's ok. Just write. Just sit down and do it. There is no easy way. When blocked up, take a walk. It helps.


Question:
I am going to the show in Virginia on April 7th. I am 12 years old and i was wondering if i am too young to go to your show. And also, What should I wear to your show? p.s.- What things WONT you autograph?

Amanda responds:
1 - You are not too young. Not at all. We have fans who come to our shows who are way younger and they have a great time.
2 - The main rule is: wear whatever you want. If you want to dress up or wear weird make-up or create a cool costume, you're in a safe place. If you want to wear what you wear everyday, do it. No one will give you a hard time either way, so have fun with it.
3 - We do not/will not autograph
-loaded weapons
-any illegal substances or drugs
-anything dead AND offensive-smelling (ie frogs from biology are fine, but not fresh roadkill)
-pictures of hitler or any other facist rulers
- priceless works of art (esp by dead masters such as edvard munch)
-anything else we deem inappropriate on arrival (suspicious toys, ransom notes, etc)
Everything else is Fair Game


Question:
I am ten years old and a very big fan of yours! I have been playing the piano myself for about two years, but the sheet music I find isn't as cool as your stuff. I really want your sheet music when it comes out! Also, do you have any other recommendations for a young player? I have a recital and a competition this spring. I can't find anything cool to play and I'm pretty nervous to compete for the first time. Thanks! P.S. I think I might get to go to your show in New Haven this Thursday night! I am very excited!

Amanda responds:
That's wonderful that you're playing the piano and I hope you keep doing it forever....honestly, I was never very good at sight reading and I was often truly inspired more to play the things that I had heard a recording of, and loved.
Some of my favorite easy piano pieces are by Satie. Especially the Gymnopedies and Gnossienes. It's easy to find a cheap cd with those on there altogether....see if you like them then pick up the music if you do. I also love Chopin's nocturnes and many of those aren't too tough to figure out. And there's always Beethoven's moonlight sonata, which remains one of the simplest yet beautiful pieces in the history of piano music even though it's been played to death. Can't fail with that one.
Good luck my dear


Question:
Who says "Amanda, you're telling me a fairytale" at the end of Truce?

Amanda responds:
That sample is from a tape recording of a conversation between me and my grandmother, shortly before she died.


Question:
My girlfriend and I are arguing about the ending of "half jack". She says that the girl kills herself, and I say that she tries to kill Jack. Please tell me that she is wrong...! (By the way - your show in Dresden was MARVELLOUS! We love you...)

Amanda responds:
Who said anything about killing? Ain't nothing dead at the end of that song except the song.


Question:
What is used by Brian and Amanda on their faces? I'm a street performer and have spent a lot of money on different pale bases and have been dissatisfied with every one. Any help would be appreciated. I really enjoy the music and the art that the Dresden Dolls are gracing us all with.

Amanda responds:
For a while we were lucky and had a huge supply of really great waterbased cake makeup that my friend brett brought back from japan. I could never find out the brand or how to order it, so next time I'm there I'll hunt it down and kill it....but meanwhile we're making due with kryolan brand white cake, which is a standard theatrical cake make-up you can get anywhere. For years, when I was street performing for a living, I did the oil-based thing with finishing powder but making the switch to waterbased meant a) my face could breathe b) it washed off without petrolium jelly and c) it looked better over the course of an hour or so since it never cracked or bunched. It was not, however, as dramatic. Such is life. With waterbased, a lot of it comes down to the sponge you use. Cheap sponge, cheap look, streaks....all bad. Use a sea sponge. They're pricey but worth it.
Rock out with your strap on


Question:
Amanda, I've been dying to know since I read that you draw your eyebrows on every morning. Have you ever drawn a unibrow? (Sorry, I'm a bit weird. But just wanted to say, your music is fucking awesome.)

Amanda responds:
This is a very good question. The truth is yes. I have, in the late hours and in the privacy of my locked bathroom, drawn all manner of strange abstractions onto the place where eyebrows once grew. Occasionally these designs will shy-like venture out into public, but not often. It's sort of my artistic equivalent to those baffling songwriters who write music for themselves because they “have to write” and need no audience. Can't relate. Need audience. Eyebrows late at night...need no audience. That I can do for my amusement and my amusement only. But any song, at any time of night, is always grist for the mill.


Question:
i love your music. Why do you write music, anyway?

Amanda responds:
well, darling, louis armstrong once put it this way: "if you have to ask, you'll never know." but i'm not certain that's true. without going into a long psychological and philosophical diatribe, I could just as easily say that I write music so that I can play it. And I want to play music so people can hear it. as to why I want people to hear it, you may have to ask my mom. this is all her fault, anyway.


Question:
Hey i was wondering which kind of piano or keyboard would be best to buy? what would you recommend, since you play....

Amanda responds:
it really depends on what you need it for. i'm really fond of kurzweil keyboards and they're very  reliable, take a beating pretty well and sound wonderful (especially the piano sound, which is very full and the bass is very realistic).  as far as pianos go it really depnds again on the type of playing you're doing and the size of the thing. i play a yamaha grand, they sound very bright and rocking. i would go into a shop and play a bunch of different pianos just to get an idea, it's honestly a matter of taste unless you have thousands and thousands of dollars to spend. good luck


Question:
Do you recall a certain moment in time when you decided that music would be the means of your career?

Amanda responds:
well, not really. like brian, i knew from the time i could rememebr that this was What I Wanted To Do...this is one of the things that we have in common that i think is very important. I started writing my first songs when I was pretty young, around 11 or 12, and there was always an imaginary audience (and band, sometimes) in my head, waiting to be found or created. I never had a "plan B". I ended up doing a lot of things as I grew older in order to actaully make money, so that I could support myself while figuring out how to Do This Full Time: massage therapy (which I did in college, and no, i didn't give "happy endings"), street theater and performance art (which is how I made my living from about 1998 to 2003), naming products and companies (don't ask how I fell into that one, but it paid some rent for a while), working as a barista in the amazing toscanini's ice cream in harvard square, and on and on and on, light and dark days. the sordid details of the darker days will come out in the autobiography. though here's one: i once earned fifty marks in germany for posing my feet for a fetishist in back of the cologne cathedral. quickest and easiest money i've made in my life. i am still wondering to this day whether there was film in that camera...... There was also a short time in my early twenties when I started wondering if I wouldn't be happier committing myself to the theater, and acting and directing, but that lasted all of a few weeks. That's what happens to you when you date a fucking actor. don't ever date an actor.


Question:
I was just wondering...what were you like when you were fifteen? And you are amazing.

Amanda responds:
honestly, a lot like this. only younger and buckets more unhappy.


Question:
Hello! I hope you are doing well. First of all I just  wanted to say that I went to the Northampton show on Halloween, and it was  amazing. However the reason I am e-mailing you is because I just  started playing piano, and I was inspired by three  people. Paul McCartney. John Lennon. and Amanda. Whenever I watch A Hard Days Night or Help!  and see Paul playing the piano I dream and dream that someday I'll be  able to play...and whenever I hear Imagine I dream about playing that as  well (which I have still not learned...but hope to soon). And whenever I  listen to the Dresden Dolls I get even more inspired to play. And I  was just curious to know if anyone in particular inspired you to play the  piano? Thanks for taking the time to read my e-mail!

Amanda responds:
I never had a particular piano hero. I sang in the church choir for lots of years, and there was an incredible, wacky choir director at the shurch names jerry. He used to be able to bust out just about any kind of song, any style, and msuical quote during the rehearsals, which were otherwise very boring. I'd cite him as an early inspiration. But I didn't listen to many piano players growing up....I'm just finding them now. keep playing.


Question:
I must say, I'm not really a part of the scene you guys connect with, but I like your music alot. Just thought you'd like to know

Amanda responds:
just so you know, my friend, it may look from the outside like we have a "scene" to speak of, but it's mostly made up of people who have little to do with each other, it's very random and inclusive, and changes depending on who's in the room.  basically, to be a member of this scene you just need to show up and announce yourself.


Question:
Just saw your show in lawrence. Not to pry, but, amanda,  where the hell do you get your garters? I can't keep mine from breaking all the time

Amanda responds:
believe it or not, i've been wearing the same pair for four years on stage. they've just magically survived. i got them at a down closed shop in NYC, sad to say. victoria's secret makes some relateively long-lasting stuff. I had a bra from there that lasted a good ten years.


Question:
Why do you wear white theatric make-up?

Amanda responds:
I'd like to say there are many reasons, all of them very deep and artistic and important, but I won't. We wear make-up because it's fucking fun.


Question:
You guys are so creative in the way you take your pictures.DO you make the poses or does someone tell you how to possition yourself?

Amanda responds:
it really depends on the photographer. we always have our own ideas for how to pose, but often the photographer will come in with ideas of her own and we'll try them out. it's usually a combination. however, even if we're posing at our own pace, there's nothing more frustrating than a uninspired photographer who gives us no feedback about how things are looking. the best photoshoots, like any artistsic collaboration, are the ones where it feels like evryone in the room has some input..


Question:
You guys are so creative in the way you take your pictures.DO you make the poses or does someone tell you how to possition yourself?

Amanda responds:
it really depends on the photographer. we always have our own ideas for how to pose, but often the photographer will come in with ideas of her own and we'll try them out. it's usually a combination. however, even if we're posing at our own pace, there's nothing more frustrating than a uninspired photographer who gives us no feedback about how things are looking. the best photoshoots, like any artistsic collaboration, are the ones where it feels like evryone in the room has some input..


Question:
not to be gross (or annoy you with too many questions) but why is it that you dont shave your arm pits amanda? (not tyring to offend)

Amanda responds:
i asked this same question of Bono recently but he has yet to write me back.


Question:
Hey kids, just wanted to say i'll be at the El Ray show tonight, and i'm way excited for it.
Hopefully i'll get to meet ya, tell you about some cool instances i found involving the film Nosferatu and your newest album. They sync up insanely well, and i mean like, in one of the songs, when there's a sound effect of scribbling onto paper, Coin-Operate Boy i believe it was, the main character in Nosferatu, at the exact same time begins writing a note to send to his lady friend off far away. I imagine you a.) already know or b.) did it on purpose? or c.) would enjoy checking it out. See you guys tonight and have a great show!

Amanda responds:
I'll have to call my friends in Pink Floyd and see how they deal with this issue. I'm not sure I should reveal the truth at this point in time.


Question:
Who created this website and Amanda, have you always had that hairstyle?

Amanda responds:
What an interesting combination of questions. Well, first off, this website was created origianlly by an outstanding web designer/graphic artist names Thom Martin. He was living in the cloud club at the time (the arts collective where I live and the dolls practice) and we spent many a long night working on the images and the content together. Lots of the images that you see came form books about dollhouses and from old paper dollhouse books that I had as a child. As to the hairstyle; if you're asking if it's alwasy been a random mess the answer is pretty much yes. I shaved my head (and eyebrows, and everything, for that matter, all at one time.i was having a terrible day) when I was about 20, and when it was awkwardly gorwing back in i became addicted to bobby pins to keep it under control. I've never kicked the habit.


Question:
What age is your music appropiate for? My mom flips out if she thinks my music is ''inappropriate''.

Amanda responds:
hi darling. we have fans who range in age from 3 to 80. There are lots of kids, some of them seven or eight years old, whose parents bring them to shows. My suggestion to you is to listen to the music, determine for yourself if you like it. If your mom disapproves, tell her she's being a fascist, that you live in a free country and that you should be able to listen to whatever you want if it touches your soul. That never actually works, but as a young person with repressive parents it is a rite of passage that is simply unavoidable. take care & good luck


Question:
Do you guys ever get sick of all the hate mail?

Amanda responds:
no. highest form of flattery and all that.


Question:
A girlfriend did a striptease for my birthday on your song "Missed me". What do you think about that ?

Amanda responds:
i think I'm very happy.


Question:
There's one thing I wanna do before I die, and it is write a book. I wan't to make the title "The Dolls", and I want it to be about you and Brians relationship. Do you first of all think it's possible, and second of all would there be any problem with the basis of the story being about you guys!! And there's also another problem ... I'm only sixteen. But I wrote a short story about a suicidal couple and my teacher said it was great, she also said I could make a living with writing!! So, what do you think?? Sorry for wasting your time!!
p.s. I love your music, you two are very talented!!

Amanda responds:
there's no saying what will happen......but as long as you keep writing and writing you'll eventually be able to make a living out of it. the key, i find, is to be practical and creative at the same time and really work on what YOU want and people will respond. there's a serious need for great writers out there, from music journalists to novelists to screenplay writers...the list goes on and on. As for your Dolls' Biography idea, I wouldn't be surprised. Just wait til we're dead (or retired) so we're not too embarrassed.


Question:
So, I don't know if you guys could help or if you will reply or anything but I guess it's worth a try. I figure since I can relate to your songs and stuff maybe you could let me know something. How did you get motivated in school. I want so badly to do well in school but I just can't seem to get motivated. Like, before this year everything came naturally I was the smartest one in all my classes had a 4.0 GPA. But this year I'm taking chemistry and latin II and Algebra II and a bunch of stuff that I understand I just do badly because I can't make myself study or anything. I can't pay attention in class, I don't study, I can't make myself do my homework. And it's not like I'm always doing something. I don't have many friends so usually I'm in my room, on the computer, or watching t.v. it's just me procrastinating. It seems like I don't care, but I do. I live in Indiana and desperately want to go to an out-of-state college to get away from here, if I don't bring up my grades I'll never get into the schools I want to.Also the only thing I'll have after high school is college because I can't sing, dance, draw, much of anything really. I really don't know what I'm going to do.
But... anyways I was just wondering what kept you motivated through high school, if anything. Sorry this is so long and I understand if you don't reply or anything.

Amanda responds:
yi found myself often facing the same problem and it's really hard to deal with when you're unmotivated and there are distractions all around you. you're lucky in the first place to be naturally school-smart (maybe part of
the problem is that you're actually not being challenged by the work, which makes it dull and boring) and you should definitely give yourself a kick in the ass and get yourself into a decent school if that's what you're into.
sometimes saying "fuck it" and focusing your attention on other things you're genuinely interested in (go to the library, walk around, and say.....what do i WANT to learn today?...not what is the system shoving down my throat) can kickstart your perpective and re-awaken your general interest in studying.
if all you're taking in is other people's information, it can get stale. and for fuck's sake, turn the TV off altogether. i'm ' serious. try it for a week and see what happens. and one more thing, and this may sound crazy: exercise really helps. get into something that you can get into..jogging, yoga, squash, weightlifting in the basement...ANYTHING, but moving around actaully really helps this sort of general stagnation. when i exercise i feel about a thousand times more motivated and my energy and ability to focus both go through the roof compared to when i'm sitting around. give it a try, it might work.
one more thing: there are other ways to escape your hometown that don't involve college. keep your options open, darlin'.


Question:
Saw you guys in St. Petersburg, FL. You played "Pierre" as part of the encore, but I can't find a copy, nor any real mention of it anywhere. I know it's a Carol King cover, and that's about it. Could you help me out? Thanks.

Amanda responds:
you can find the original "pierre" on "really rosie" by Carole King. that was a great concept album/musical she did based in part on four little children's stories by Maurice Sendak ("where the wold things are", "in the night kitchen"....). our copy is proably floating around as a live mp3 somehwere
(check out the forum) and we're hoping to record it at some point......


Question:
I noticed a few song lyrics for songs that are not on your albums. Are they the songs that will be on the next album or available for download from your site?

Amanda responds:
most of these are old songs that have been played live but not recorded. many of the mp3s can found if you hunt around www.thebrigade.net or ask anyone on the forum (www.theshadowbox.net)......


Question:
can I give a you part of my soul? you deserve at least part.
I'll mail it to you and have you autograph it, now I just have to find the damn thing, where'd I put it...

Amanda responds:
I have a small collection of souls and I would be really happy to add yours.
the address is on the faq of the website. i recommend using bubblewrap or those new-fangled big air pillows for packaging.


Question:
i was just wondering if amanda and brian ever battle, and who wins.

Amanda responds:
Brian wins.

Brian responds:
Amanda wins.


Question:
I really enjoy your disc and the show in Montreal. It was an ideal thing to do instead of watching election result...
I notice that The Jeep song is a combination of 2 other songs. "Belle & Sebastian" by Belle & Sebastian and "I Have The Moon" by Magnetic Fields. I don't mind that you do cover or medley with other people songs, but you should give the credit when it's that obvious.

Amanda respnds:
funny that you didn't mention the actual song that i finally realized i stole the opening melody from: "skull" by sebedoh. go check it out.
i'd never deny borrowing, we all do it all the time. every songwriter (and writer, for that matter) is in essence, a thief of everything that's passed before. unfortunately, if every musician had to credit every borrowed influence and change, we'd have liner notes as long as tolstoy novels.


Question:
Hey! Loving the music, Where has it been hiding all my life?!?!
I, myself am a pianist but I suck so pfft. I was just wondering if there are any tips you can give me?

Amanda responds:
Pound on the piano like a percussion instrument until the fingers begin to bleed a bit. then sit back for a while, take a walk, start over. the key: get the aggression out first and then think about soft later. years from now. practice doesn't make perfect, it just makes technical. play what you want, think about it later.
at least, that's what worked for me.
maybe you dont' wnat to be me.
it depends. if you want to be the next glenn gould, i recommend 9 hours a day of sight-reading bach.


Question:
Don't know, if this is too personal, but.... well, as far as I got it right, 'Bad Habit' is about SI, isn't it?
Mmh.. I like how the text doesn't even tend to be pathetic and, well, probably also due to some identification matter, I find that song very great. Just to mention that. But I still wonder, what 'Half Jack' (which I find
even greater) actually is about... it reminds me on a multiple personality disorder, but is that really the case?
Anyways, it's not that long ago since I got your album, but I'm already waiting for the next tour leading you to Germany.. :)

Amanda responds:
Bad habit song is about self-inflicted injury on many levels. it could be interpreted to be about cutting, or biting the skin around your fingers, or the bad habit of turning your brain to pudding by letting the abysmal state of things in the world turn you off altogether. like most of the songs, i wrote it with ten things in mind. half jack is the same way. it's about my realtionship with my father, but it's also about the crisis of not knowing what makes you what you are. what identifies you...gender? sex? family? and the unfairness of that.