Wednesday, July 18, 2007

ella ella eh eh eh

i got home this morning. early; i took the red-eye from san francisco.

i'm back in my apartment. drinking some weird vanilla-infused vodka that pope must have left here, because i certainly don't drink this shit.
but right now it's perfect all watered down with tap water and no ice to be found ion the house it's boiling hot. cathode is on the stereo, i am finally landing. i haven't been home for seven weeks.

the true colors tour went off without a hitch and we had a relatively awesome fucking time. we got to sing happy birthday to cyndi lauper backstage (rainbow connection) and a week later, to debbie harry (space oddity). we made new friends, we got to see first-hand what our lives could possibly be like if we're still touring 25 years from now. the tour seems like a long time ago because of all thats happened since. i took one day off in LA and went to Santa Cruz to visit with jason webley and Evelyn and Evelyn. sandy fishnets stopped by ( which was pretty awesome. she Always wears sunglasses.

while we were there, my mother emailed me that my beloved cat from childhood, govinda, passed away. i loved her a lot and was sad.
she was my mostly companion and a very smart cat. there was a cat named poo-roo at the house and poo-roo would cuddle with me every night and so i felt there was some sort of cosmic cat-happening.
jason comforted me by pointing out: Cat Still Exists. that somehow made me feel better. wouldn't it be wonderful if it worked that way with people. for instance, if your loved one suddenly died but you could just walk outside and see another person on the sidewalk and say: "wow. look! another Person. how handy."

i went to LA for a live interview/conversation with henry rollins, which went splendidly, he's an amazing man. very neurotic and very black and very white and very passionate about everything he talks about. he talked alot and i listened and tried to get him to probe deeper into his intimacy issues. he said he simply didn't hug. i gave him grief for that repeatedly over the course of the night ( we were in a beautiful outdoor courtyard at the hammer museum and as we talked the sun set). we wrapped up the talk and both greeted fans and i noticed that every time henry would go to do a photograph with a fan he would do this trés military stance with his person, whereas i would sort of melt into my person like a polyamorous barnacle. a photographer came by at the end of night to get shot of us together and henry grabbed he in a great big bear hug and everybody applauded. there is hope yet for breaking down his intimacy barrier. maybe i will crochet him a little Black Flag throw pillow to hug in the meantime.

then i flew back up to santa cruz to work on my some music. we did a day of pre-production in the house behind the strip mall then we drove up to a chicken ranch studio north of san francisco where tom waits recorded most of his stuff up until 1999. it was quiet and covered in hay and just stunningly beautiful. the piano was a massive baldwin grand from the 60's that had just been re-strung and restored and it sang. i wrote a brand new song in a studio that was empty and painted with corn stalks.

we recorded it the next day. i've read about people doing this i never believed it was possible. but music doesn't need to be so precious when you're not thinking about it. so i just didnt think about it. we cooked omelets in the morning and worked into the nights. there was nothing else to do but make music. we just played. i pulled out some of the old stuff, provanity, another year, point of it all and we did new basics because the piano sound was just perfect perfect. i don't even know yet what happened. i'm going to have to decide when i listen back. but i think it was amazing. i was just on this weird Make Music autopilot. i only answered what email was essential (my inbox right now is at 519) and jogged. i tried one morning to get into laura nyro and failed.

there were huge blackberry bushes across the street from the studio and i picked them and my hand turned all purple and i came back to the ranch all smiling and holding my hands up and the studio interns thought i had murdered someone or been in some awful accident.

i was in LA for a few visits. on one visit i saw the world's only live mash-up band Smash-Up Derby play at safari sams and danced til i was devastated (go go go: i recommend "smells like billie jean", but "closer to rock and roll" was pretty excellent as well, especially for you NIN fans). i drank on an empty stomach one might with zoe and ariel and only vaguely remember spending the end of the evening in ariels bathroom getting really fascinated with the micro-zoom feature on my digital camera and taking a lot of pictures of my teeth. on another visit i met with this incredible string arranger, paul buckmaster, that ben introduced me to who i think is going to work on the record. he told me all about the mag-lev train in shanghai and katie kay came over to pick me up and he made us strawberries with creme fraiche and sake sauce. i found a film agent. i'd like to do soap operas where i can play somebody named Alexis or Chandra or be in the color remake of eraserhead (and play the deformed infant).

i went back to san fran to play at paul's absynthe party. a few hundred people and a truly fantastic space. i saw a colorful collage of girls in powdered white wigs, silver paintings on the wall and huge day-glo mannequins and the rest is kind of a blur. i remember dancing topless at a pole in the dancing room and eating an extraordinarily delicious pad thai. then i got on a plane and came home.

somewhere along the way i finished reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. i mentioned it in the last blog and now that i'm done all i can do is say please read this book. it ties it all together.
we were lying there one night and jason's friend had just died and we talked about the way that Here We Are. how it all happened is totally random and very soon, we're going to be gone. Cat Still Exists, on a grand plane. all you can do is not take it too seriously, try to enjoy yourself and this confluence of coincidences and laugh at the fact that you happen to exist RIGHT NOW. now now now.

i read the part about the buildings coming down when i was on the plane to come back to santa cruz to see jason. i knew he had read it. i cried the whole way, i had just finished tour and i was raw as shit anyway. nine eleven, dresden, love death and finishing and everything old and dying and everything new and not understanding. people falling in reverse from the floor to the sky and back up into the smoke and making the last call where we who are still standing standing can only imagine, the way you have toif you stop for a half second to think about it. who hasn't imagined that.

i have a few days to gather myself, see my family and rehearse with aberdeen city for our three shows and then head to scotland to be with my people at the fringe.


all i know is that "umbrella" is haunting me like a crackwhore i owe money & i have to deconstruct it and destroy it to find peace.

ella ella eh eh eh eh. ella ella eh eh eh eh.
ella ella eh eh eh eh. ella ella eh eh eh eh.
ella ella eh eh eh eh. ella ella eh eh eh eh.
ella ella eh eh eh eh. ella ella eh eh eh eh.
ella ella eh eh eh eh. ella ella eh eh eh eh.
ella ella eh eh eh eh. ella ella eh eh eh eh.
ella ella eh eh eh eh. ella ella eh eh eh eh.
ella ella eh eh eh eh. ella ella eh eh eh eh.

sometime in my lifetime i will find the answer to the peaceful between pop schlock and freedom.



Goran said...

"wow. look! another Person. how handy."

Loved this, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Man, I want to read that book again.

I have another recommendation for you (tho you may have read it). It's called 'The Art of Looking Sideways'. I've written about it in my blog. Basically, it's a book of random thoughts, quotes, information and art. It gives no reason, no narrative ... (other than having weird 'chapters') it just is.

It doesn't tell you how to think, but lets you wander off into thought on your own.

Damn that catchy Umbrella song! Next thing you know you'll be singing "Hey hey you you I don't like your girlfrienddd!"

malte said...

Cat Still Exist. I can hear this song right now in my ear. Somehow like "672", but more insanity and a more raw pain - combined with sheer happiness.

The instrumental part should be played on cello!

Scotty Swastika said...

I wonder, did Henry Rollins smell like cottage cheese? Please, do inform.

Amanda, cover Bowie's 'China Girl'. I bet you could make it sex.

I am sorry to hear about your cat.

J. Taylor said...


I am going to do my best to go see the show in Hoboken. Also, I finally had the chance to go to a real record store and buy The Dresden Dolls and Yes, Virginia. And they are absolutely beautiful.
I have so much to say that won't fit in a comment. Also sorry to hear about cat.


juey said...

provanity! jipie!.....

I'm sad you come back from tour all raw inside, hope you feel better now. Good your home.

Enjoy the fringe! I'd love to be there! (All the "not going by the rules of society" people (in an artistic, non-destructive-way)
"außergewöhnliche Leute" (some things I can't really say in your language).


Konsumkind said...

Wow, the dentist made a great job at last years fringe. Can't see the part where it is glued together.
Hope you're more careful this time while beatboxing.
Would love to see it but can't afford the travel... Also it's during my exams =/
Have fun A.!

i said...

I actually emailed you about the discussion with Henry Rollins at the Hammer Museum (but since you currently have 519, I'm sure you haven't gotten to it..... also, I don't know which email you're referring to, obviously). Although I disagreed a bit with your opinion on blogging, I did enjoyed listening to your thoughts on it and meeting you after the show. You're a cool cat. ;)

As far as the book, I'm actually reading it now and am about half way through it. Even so, it's already in my top three favorites of all time.

"all i know is that "umbrella" is haunting me like a crackwhore i owe money"

That just made me laugh. :) Gotta love songs about umbrellas and lip gloss.

Anonymous said...

maybe i will crochet him a little Black Flag throw pillow to hug in the meantime.

Do Eeeeeet!

no, really, that's awesome.

ElliotManning said...

polyamorous barnacle
I love it.

And, that picture is simply fierce. So, I guess it fits magnificently, eh?

michelle said...

yeah, you melted into me a bit. it was comforting.

i would love to meet henry and would also like a hug. hugs from large/tall men are the best. they make me feel abnormally small and protected.

also, so excited to hear about "provanity."


David said...

Relieved to read that piano still sings to you.

Where can I find this Umbrella song?

Sorry about cat, but yeah jason is so right! Good one jason!

Your teeth look pretty good "Incredibly Close".

Rob Chalfen said...

for Nyro try Christmas and the Beads of Sweat (late at night with candles)

catch you 'round campus, sport!

Ramsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zabet said...

Ahahaha - if you make crochet a Black Flag throw pillow I'll totally publish the pattern on my website if you want! (

Also, my sympathies on losing your cat. I still miss Ulysses, who always slept with me under my comforter but over the sheet and it's been 10 years since he's gone.

SullivanChris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SullivanChris said...

Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud... so great... FYI the author's wife (Nicole Krauss) wrote an amazing book named The History of Love ... a must read too...

the_skyisfalling said...

Hey a,
glad to hear that TCT went well. I'd have killed to have gone, but I guess that's what I get for being a)underage and b)broke.
I know you're uber busy, but I hope you end up reading this and smiling at this lame little comment.

Take care.

Beautiful_Wretched_Liar said...

I don't know what to make of sour patch kids.

I am sorry for the lost of your cat.

Everything seems to be changing right now. I don't know if that is good or bad. I kinda like it.

I am so excited that you are playing with Aberdeen City. Not only will I get to see a favorite band of mine (Thanks to your karaoke!) but also it will be my first time seeing you perform solo! Excitement! I meant to go see you at that sudden Lily Pad show but I got horribly lost and missed it. I think I can find the middle east, though! ;)

As always your words give me inspiration to create. Someday I hope to maybe show you some of my work. Maybe a sketchbook or two?
I dunno...

Oh and you just gave me another chance to site you on echoing the sound! Check your random NIN spottings!!!!

David said...

Reading recommendation: New Yorker magazine, July 23 issue. Article by Oliver Sacks, neurologist, about a guy who gets struck by lightning and develops "musicophilia". No shit. He starts playing the piano compulsively and hearing music in his head all the time.

MattyJ20 said...

Ok, I'm sure it will say it somewhere in your blog, but I don't really have the patience to sift through all the writings. Basically, I heard through the grapevine that you're making a solo album. From what I know of the Dresden Dolls (one album I own), your solo should be ridiculously good (no pressure). And in my certainly finite wisdom, I have decided that you should come play in Toronto. Couldn't find a show you're playing up here, so email me (mattyj20@hotmail) since I don't know how to use anything but, and either: a) tell me when you're going to play a show here, or b) let me down gently.

June Miller said...

I'll fess up: I kinda dig on that "Umbrella" song. Deep down, I'm just a dirty pop whore. I can't help myself. Don't get me started on "Fergalicious," and if you aren't familiar with that song, stay with that. It's the purest form of audio crack. Hear it just once and you're hooked.

Sorry about your cat. I like her name.

I think everyone's life would be a little better if they had a Black Flag throw pillow, to be honest.

'then we drove up to a chicken ranch studio north of san francisco where tom waits recorded most of his stuff up until 1999.'

Around Sonoma County? Nice. The place you were in sounds like somewhere around here/there, but then again there isn't too much variety in the wine country. Those blackberry bushes can be a pain sometimes, man. I have to deal with them daily where I work and I've lost count of the times I've A: Gotten tangled up by their vines, and B: Proceeded to yell 'Fucking blackberries!' afterward. The damned plant is out to get me.

I really do quite look forward to your solo record.

My friend and I were wanting to attend your solo show in SF, but our small-town asses got lost far too easily down in the city at night. Okay, and the fog fucked our day right up. It ain't all that bad, though. We still had our laughs. Plus, driving over the Golden Gate at night kind of makes up for any mishaps. Quite a lovely sight to see.

Good luck out there.

andrea said...

All seems relatively well in the land of Amanda Palmer. This is great to hear.

Your berry story makes me want to go to my grandmother's house and raid her berry patches in the pasture. Mix them with some ice cream, yummy.

Your words on the book have intrigued me. I'm currently trying to finish 3 books right now so it's going to have to wait a short while, but I'll definitely get around to it.

I don't think I've heard the Umbrella song all the way through but I hear people singing it all the time so I don't honestly know if I like it or not. But it is definitely a get-stuck-in-your-head-for-days type of song.

I'm jealous of you going to the fringe. I'm hoping to go next year. Saving my money.

I'm glad the tour went well for you this time around. Slay your upcoming shows and enjoy the rest of your summer.

All my love,


Anonymous said...

my cousin from france visited for about three weeks and he really likes popular american music. so for most of the time he spent here in boston, we listened to Kiss 108's horrible r&b, rap, and hip-hop.


I completely forgot how Bad the radio was. I mean, the last time I actually listened to it was when Avril's Complicated was being overplayed.

Anyway, Umbrella has been playing basically everyday in my head for 3 fucking weeks.

I feel your pain, darling.

daleomite said...

I really hope they don't remake eraserhead in color, it wouldn't make any sense.

Michael Oberon said...

Well you know what they say. If you've gone over the cliff, as we all do once we struggle out of the womb, you can do one of two things:

1. Enjoy the view
2. Scream the whole way down

Life is what you make of it, and even death in an odd way.

Every time you never see someone again isn't much different than them dying. The only differences I can think of are the ones I make up in my own head to make me feel better about "believing" I might see someone again. So, make the most of who you see, every time, all the time. The "now" is the only time that really matters, the only time you can really do anything about what is soon to be the past.

Hunger For The Great Light said...

I am planning an incredibly low budget trip to Boston for some time in mid-August and was wondering if you could recommend any cheap hotels or hostels with in walking distance of a T station that will take me into the city. I've been in love with the town for years and have been longing to return if only for a day or two.

Kevin Doran said...

Your teeth resemble your toes. =)

rh said...

I think you should make a point to come back to Toronto and flush the city of this Rhianna (sp?) curse. Sit in the back row with us again!!!

Musings said...

oh dearness, you did not title your blog after the umbrella song even if you it was because you were having the same issues with it as i am. i do love you (as you will see in the disjointed emails sent, if you get to them), and if you check out my blog, Story Under the Influence of Music (best section so far is the first one, written to Dirty Business, it's being crap since then), but i simply cannot escape that song and it's driving me nuts. please do a cover so i stop hating and start loving -- also i think the best way to conquer and destroy. enjoy scotland, it'll heal you.

Shannon said...

Last night was amazing. Thanks for putting together such a killer show. You were right: Dixie Dirt is fucking amazing. And, of course, Aberdeen City rocked the place. Duh. Love all the new material especially "The Newest Song in the World" TTFN!

David said...

Amanda, I have some lyrics that I think you might appreciate. Bet you get that a lot. Probably they're just crap. It's stuff that goes through my head while riding my bicycle, when your lyrics aren't ...

Shannon said...

I still can't get your solo show out of my head! That was one of the very best concerts I have ever been to. Just behind my first NIN concert and probably tied with my first Dresden show at Lupo's. Thank you so much for putting together a great show! I adored Dixie Dirt! And as much Aberdeen City I knew, I just wasn't expecting such an incredible and raw performance from them! I am still embarrass from being such a dork afterwards but oh well. I mean I am just a nervous wreck when I talk to people I know let alone a person whose work I admire so much. I think I am getting better though! I at least breathed and went up and had the courage to ask every artist I could find to sign my beautiful poster. :D I missed two of the lovely lads from Dixie Dirt though... I think you will just have to invite them up to do another show!

I just don't know what I am going to do in the coming months! Living in Virginia is NOT the same as living just about an hour or so from Boston! I am going to be missing your live performances so much! If you decide to do a solo tour please head down to the Virgina area. Cause I know that you have a rather large fan group at my school. And that comforts me more than you can even imagine! I mean living 700 miles away from home and Boston is bad but if I can find local Virginians who can appreciate some of my favorite Bostonians then I'll be happy!

I really shouldn't try and do comments when I am tired....

I hope something really special happens to you today.

Ellaquent said...

My name is Ella. You have no idea how much I hate that song.


It's worse when you're working with sixty 4-to-5-year-olds who sing it to you, convinced that Ella-Eh-Eh-Eh is somehow your name.

sexy said...