Monday, December 31, 2007

US tour day 3&4

i made it through the boston show with half a voice.

i always feel so shitful (to use a meow adjective i've picked up)
when i can't sing, which is most of the time.
why does this happen?

being sick didn't help. not having a trained voice doesn't help.
i really am going out there and making shit up every night. believe
me, i do NOT have a plan nor know what i'm doing. period. i've gotten
really well-practiced at i-got-no-clue-how-to-really-do-this-well-here-
i can sort of play piano, and i can sort of sing. i've been figuring
this out as i go along. blindly hoping i'll get it right most of the
time and assuming i'll mess up approximately 27% of the time.
i completely spaced the lyrics to "girl anachronism", which we played
second, because my brain simply went haywire. its always interesting
to see what comes out of my mouth at those times.
it's not quite english, it's not quite gibberish. brian commented
that last night it sounded sort of swedish. WHATEVER IT TAKES.
the fact that the shows was still stupendous makes me realize, once
again, it ain't the tools, it's the delivery. but i almost don't want
it to be true. i don't want to be able to get away with it. i was
talking with melissa (aka meow) about this. she can do shows in
character (ie as Meow Meow) with a broken voice, no problem. whatevs.
it's cabaret, it's punk, it;s rock, there's no rules. but if she's
doing an opera gig: all bets are off. the voice has to be there or
the gig doesn't go off. what do those fucking people do?

i want an understudy.

strangely, four or five different people (all girls, actually), have
told me over the last few days of shows that i inspired them to learn
how to play piano.
that inspires ME to learn how to actually play the piano, because now
i feel guilty. it's all relative.

after the orpheum show (sold out, to our amazement....over 2300
people in our hometown....we were very excited by that) i entouraged
home because meow, lance, katie kay and all the members of the
luminescent orchestrii were staying at my house, some in beds, some
on floors. beer and wine and assorted folks found their way over and
though i should have gone straight to bed, i stayed up, drank
(resPONSIBLY, wine only and two glasses at that, i hear it kills
germs) and chatted for an hour with my brothers and sisters. was it
worth it? fuck yeah. still. i woke up with no voice. i spent the day
stuck crusted to bed in my apartment, still feeling flu-like and
unable to cope with the realities of life (like packing for the
upcoming two weeks of tour...i'll have to do that tomorrow morning).
many cups of tea later, i am still wondering if i'll have a voice for
the new york show.

if you're coming, cross your fingers. i am already plotting an
elaborate hand-drawn dresden-dolls karaoke machine and i'll have to
find someone to run it.

i took this picture outside the philadelphia show since the marquis
on south street was so pretty right at dusk

.....and as i was standing on a newspaper box making a fool of myself
trying to get the perfect shot sxip and sarah from lumii showed up in
the frame.
i ran down and said hello right after that, it was our first reunion
in a while...and sxip said that at that very moment i caught the
photo he'd been saying to sarah
"someone should get a picture of this marquis"...then they turned
around and saw mah ass.

love it

did you know you can take an online colorblind test?:

i tested normal. thank god, now i can be a pilot if i want to.

last but not least, here is a very kinky looking Evelyn Evelyn-
inspired "bondage Elephant Elephant" that showed up at the boston show:


have a safe new years....they're CRAZY out there, those fucking people.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

USA tour day 2

In philadelphia, still ill with the Sickness. I'm waitin it out, man. I
have a remarkable cold sore under my left nostril and a magazine cover
shoot today. Time to bust out the fake hitler moustache and create
some controversy. Like rammstein.

Yesterday was a bruiser of a day, we had two shows back-to-back in DC
and baltimore, the first in an honest-to-god (no pun) synagogue and the
second in a club. The gigs were great, brian and I rejoiced in being
back on stage with each other and just played our asses off and enjoyed
being back in full dresden formation. Meow Meow blew the crowds away as
I knew she would and sat in with us on delilah. Her hot pianist lance
guested on mandy goes to med school. Our crew is back in full-force.

I'm not superstitious. But things have been happening. music,
especially certain songs, has been speaking from the beyond and indicating my
path like those emergency lights embedded in airplane aisles.

The point was.
I have a favorite Again cafe in philadelphia. I'm in it right now, its
called the chapterhouse; I stumbled across it the last time we played
here. I went out of my way to walk here for some thinking and writing
before soundcheck and as I entered I heard the sound of something I knew
coming from the speakers but I couldn't place it..... Sounded like low
air-raid sirens. Then the guitar started and it was "two-headed boy part
II" and I melted a bit.

When I was in scotland in august I went to my edinburgh Again cafe
(the forest) one afternoon and there was a girl (autumn ayers )from
philadelphia singing "oh comely" on a little stage with an acoustic

I'm starting to think that my life is just strung together moments
against the backdrop of this record album. If you don't know the record,
this is harder to explain. The record: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by
Neutral Milk Hotel and its music and songwriting: without equal. I had
been discussing with my favorite director-friend the possibility of
creating a stage production inspired by the record (it seems like getting
the rights might be impossible) but we agreed on one thing: the album
and songs have an internally magical power.

Wherever you go, you will meet people who know and love this record
with a passion that may seem unreasonable. The literally extra-ordinary
thing is that the album was never hyped in the mainstream, there was no
giant promotion. It was hyped for a while in the indie community (I
remember discovering the record, through brian, about a year after it came
out and mentioning it excitedly to one of my hip indie musician friends
who was like: yes amanda, that record is amazing but sooo last year),
but that means nothing to 99% of the american music-listening
population. So its ENTIRELY word of mouth outside of the indie-cult. And not
unlike the way the dolls grew in certain communities, the word-of-mouth on
this record has carried it year after year further and further. It
didn't hurt the magical momentum that jeff mangum, the creator of the
record, supposedly cracked immediately under the impending success and
disappeared, barely ever to be heard from again (rumors abound, I have no
idea what the actual deal is). But ask your average person and they'll
have no clue about this album. I'm still shocked when I talk with some
huge music fan or record industry heavyweight and they have never even
HEARD the bands name.

What makes this record so perfect? I heard someone say, or maybe I said
once, can't remember (I'm getting old): the record is like mainlining.
Its a direct transmission of soul through sound. That said, you might
listen to it and hate it. But watch the comments on this blog. That
will tell you everything.

Have to go to soundcheck.


Show was fantastic, we're in for a 6-hour van drive to boston. And
we're tirrrrred. These two angelic people, michael and shonda, brought us,
luminescnet and meow and the whole crew a gigantic vegan feast after
the show, complete with absinthe (which we're saving for new years). Food
Love. Bring it on. This tour is a perfect bill. Meow the anarchist
cabaret singer, luminscent the insane klezmer dance band and us. I wish
bills like this would last forever. Sxip played with us (I played drums!!
I love the drums.) And brian and I sat in with lumii. Meow and lance
both sang and played during our set. Its a full-on lovefest.

Festing more, Jenny owen youngs showed up and we snuck her on the bill
right before us to play "fuck was I" on brians acoustic. She's amazing.
I piggybacked her onto stage.

The photoshoot was fine. We ripped the long red curtains down from the
windows, got naked (poor brian has finally caught the Sickness too,
neither of us were feeling sexy so we figured we go for a weird naked art
photoshoot....) and wrapped ourselves up in them. I found a hat. The
shoot worked. Pictures are weird.

Autumn, the girl who I referred to in the above ramble - the one I stumbled upon singing neutral milk in edinburgh - she magically appeared at the end
of the show with her two sisters. When I told about my happy cafe
experience and the welcome song I got there this afternoon, her sister said:
that's so weird. I haven't listened to that album in years and I put
it on today.

You are starting to see what I mean.

Here's a link to some great photos of last night.

Here's a link to the neutral milk hotel CD.

Tomorrow: hometown throwdown in bosstown.

Goodnight, elephant.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

US tour: day one

well, it doesnt really count because we havent officially started
yet. tomorrow. two shows.

do you ever wonder:
if someone were to place a real cap on your mortal,
really just give you a concrete date: "your number is going to be up
when you hit 45"
that you would live your life that much differently. fight club
examined this for as split second. i'm in baltimore, i just took a
bath, and i found myself wondering.
if someone were to tell me i had ten years (exactly) - what would i do?
would i tour? stay put? travel unknown?
help the needy? stuff my face?
really hard to say. i think i'd spend a while figuring out, for sure.
the problem with this sci-fi fantasy is that knowing your number does
more than igve you a limit, it also gives you immortality for an
unlimited time period. this is irritating.
maybe what we need is a maximum. you have, maximum, 23 more years to


23 is no fun.

what if

ok, you have 13 months to live.
really. you're not impervious to obvious pitfalls (if you walk in
front of a bus, you LOSE) but as soon as those 13 months are up,
you're out.


what do you do?

i took this photo tonight.
i captured everything i feel about being on tour again. i am feeling
better but not amazing. i have still have snot flowing out of my nose

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

on this x-mas eve

i've noticed i'm getting into a really nasty habit.
i'm not posting when i feel like it because i keep stock-piling photos and long, complicated blogs involving all this media - and much like tons of other shit in my life, i lose the forest for the trees, get sidetracked and leave the shit hanging.

so fuck it. i'm just writing with no plan. i'm just writing because it's xmas eve and i'm feeling reflective. and just took a two-hour bath, which gave me time to think. it's 3 am and i'm still a little jetlagged from australia.
i'm at my parents house, the house i grew up in. i love coming here. i know the sound of every door latch and every floor creak, i am overly familiar with the rattle of the bannister (which i incidentally fell over, 13 feet, when i was 7) and the ticking of the clocks and - my favorite sound - the gurgling banging of the radiators. i've tried to explain this many times to many people: the only way i can describe the relationship i have with this house is to say that i had very few friends when i was little, and that the closest thing i had to a consistent "best friend", who protected me and played with me and guided and amused me, was this house. some kids had a dog. whatever it takes.

the bath, unbeknownst to me, hadn't been used as a bathtub in some time covered in Cat Hair, presumably because the Cat (and affectionate jet-black boy named shadow, he's on my lap right now) likes to hang out in there and sleep. and shed. by the time i was fully immersed and noticed it, it was too absurd. there were thick clumps of it floating everywhere. instead of being grossed out it was sort of fun, i played a game to see how much floating Cat Hair i could wrest out of the tub and ball into a giant collection on the side of the tub. then i got the idea to go outside and feel the snow on the ground, sort of like when you run from a hot tub to a cold plunge. so i ran the shower as hot as possible, scalded myself, then wrapped myself in a blanket and ran (quietly, as to not wake my sleeping family) out to the back porch steps. they overlook a totally isolated wooded area, and i went for as long a walk in the 1-foot snow as my burning little pink feet could bear. i only got about 6 feet from the porch, the snow was very cold, and icy-sharp at the top, and my little feet froze. i waled back up the the porch and felt the relatively warm planks of wood under my feet. the blanket was keeping me warm and there was a very, very slight wind. the sky was crystal clear. the moon was casting really stark, bold shadows off of the bare craggly trees onto the blank-with-snow yard. it was a really astonishing sight. dead quiet.

i've canceled my life.

i'm leaving in two days for a short, killer dolls tour in cities where we know we can just rock out and have fun, and then i'm coming home with absolutely nothing on my schedule. i had a spring tour planned, i just canceled it. i was going to put the record out this spring; i canceled that too. everything around me has suggested that it's time to stop, assess, re-start and then blast off.
i'm not going to go live in an ashram somewhere, don't worry. i'm going to take an Actual Break. a real one, this time. not that fake shit where i say i'm going to do it and it turns into a five-day affair at home. this is It. i'm stopping., i swear. for at least two months. my apartment, my apartment is crying for it. it's crying Amanddaaaaaaaaa pleeeeease clean meeeee. i've been dumping all this tour shit in it for 5 years and never sorting through it. i've done a dozen photoshoots int he past 6 months and havent gone through the shots. i have emails waiting to be answered that were sent to me in august. so it will be a cleaning, sorting, re-vamping, re-structuring the framework of my life and business kind of break.

the minute i decided all this, things changed. that saying about Jump and the Net Will Appear?
the moment i realized that i had my own decisions in my hands, that i could plan my life the way i needed....that i could stop depending on my old blueprint for life: Bam. not only did my head clear and the realization that a break was truly in order really hit me, but the possibilities of how i can re-structure my life also appeared. the right things and people appear when you start trusting yourself. that's exactly what's happening. it's the exact same way with love-relationships. you can say that you want to start dating again in theory, but if you're hung up, you can wander through life for YEARS and it's not until you truly get over someone. then that the new lover walks into the party and your eyes meet. life is astounding that way, but it certainly makes sense. the phone starts ringing when you get off your ass and start doing dishes.


i just finished reading anthony kiedis' (the lead singer from the red hot chili peppers) autobiography. what a fucking frightening life. i had no idea that up until really recently he was such a junkie. terrifying and the stories of how poorly treated everyone in that lifestyle gets when there's drugs just ruling. to me the idea of not showing up to rehearsal because i'm out getting loaded is just simply unimaginable. my brain doesn't even go there, neither does brian's. we simply rely on each other in a way that excludes shit like that. i said to him today: we may argue, but at least we're sober when we do. arguing with someone who's been in and out of rehab 6 times over 15 years and just happens to be trying to kick that day after a week-long smack-and-coke binge. not quite fun. it's enlightening reading how other people Do This Life. it's the same lifestyle, give or take a mansion, motorcycle and tattoo or two. tour, band, rehearse, write, interview, assess, fight, make-up,'s a grind. but everybody find a different way of turning it into a Life of some sort. there's so many different ways of doing it. but the similarities between bands are becoming more and more apparent to me. for the record, in most cases: i am anthony (minus the smack habit) and brian is flea (minus the mohawk).

they were so like us in their early days, though, just total freaks excited about being freaks and doing crazy action for no reason other than....they could. i had always assumed that their early fanbase must've been a real skate-punk crowd but from the way anthony describes it it was really similar to the early dolls crowds...a punk here, a goth here, a total rag-tag motley crew of whoever was into these crazy cats getting up on stage and being total clowns. the first tape i had was in 7th grade, i remember distinctly buying it at newbury comics, it was the self-titled album and i bought it because my best friend holly young and i had had a cafeteria discussion about how you could Just Tell if a band was Cool and Alternative from their name. we tried to think of good examples and we came up with Nine Inch Nails and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. but i actually had no idea what either of those bands sounded like. so in order to inform myself i went out and bought the tape and was hooked. blood sugar sex magik came out the year of 9th grade, and it was our summer theme CD. we would go to the meadows, smoke pot and blast that shit. that same bunch of friends and i went to see them play on new years eve. they blew me away with their live energy. we were crammed right up against the stage at some sports arena, about 20 people in from the front, really close.

the most memorable events of that new years eve, however, weren't during the chili peppers set. the two opening bands were at that time totally unknown: Pearl Jam and The Smashing Pumpkins. Eddie Vedder crowd-surfed from the stage to the sound-desk and i remember grabbing his leg and making a mental note to remember about that in case he became famous and i could claim leg-touching bragging rights. the circle is now complete. the other very memorable moment was when we were waiting for the chili peppers to take the stage and this song came on over the PA. this guy in a baseball hat turned to me and said, "i love this song. this songs fucking rocks." what is it? i asked. he said, "it's this band called nirvana. they're the shit." the song was smells like teen spirit. i was witnessing the birth of grunge.


i am going to try to post my complicated blog about australia (i still have my fall blog, getting more obsolete by the second, sitting in my drafts folder with 25 pictures attached) within the next week or so. i can summarize the trip: FUCKING AMAZING. what a beautiful place filled with beautiful people. the fans in australia are unbelievable. the theater group o worked with, the danger ensemble, was a total fantasy come true. i'm hoping we can do more shows in more places together. and seeing everybody and talking with all our fellow made me hungry to get back on the road and re-connect with everyone on this upcoming tour, i had forgotten how much i miss it until i did it. this upcoming tour is going to be such a perfect love-fest with all our friends on stage with us...sxip and luminescent, my new soul-mate meow meow, our trusty crew....we're so excited.

it's time to go to bed. i have a flu to kick and exactly two days to do it.
please send garlic vibes my way.

i can't wait

merry xmas, happy everything, be safe, drink lots of water...i love you guys.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

australia, day one

Today I saw two kangaroos fucking. For real.

Monday, December 03, 2007

fuck packing

it's officially winter and it's cold and it is 4 am and i have not
started packing for australia. obviously i must blog.

i still don't know where i'm going to stay. that is, we've picked a
joint in melbourne with some freak types who sound right up our
alley, but we've got no address.
so i think i may land in melbourne many hours from now, suitcase in
each hand, and look forlornly at upside-down street signs while
dingos eat my baby.

actually i plan to take a cab straight to the spiegeltent and hug it.
i've missed it so since edinburgh.

i didn't pack because a string of people happened tonight....andrew
called and said there was a jazz band at a place in cambridge, so i
went there, thinking i'd have time to pack after, then geeta was next
door and i haven't seen her much lately and i shared a bottle of
lambic with her, thinking i'd have time to pack after, then my old
friend from elementary school, fred, came to visit nick at around 1
am downstairs and started telling us about converting to judaism and
the three branches of judaism, and i needed to absorb myself in that
for a while, thinking i'd have time to pack after, then i needed to
talk to katie kay about post-war trade and she's on LA time, so we
talked for a while (we're making POST-WAR TRADE UKULELES....i'm so
happy), thinking i'd have time to pack after, then i started cutting
my fingernails. and took some self-portraits with my furry cat hat.

i am so excited to go back to ozland. everyone there is magic,
there's a friendly syrup in the air. i am so excited to see steven
and the other performers in the danger ensemble. i am excited to
drive the aussie coast with them as we groove tunes and talk butoh
and plans for our bizarro stage antics. i am even excited to have a
10-day slumber art party with them on somebody's floor.

i am also very very more than psyched for the upcoming dolls tour.
brian and i have been practicing and it's soul food to play with each
other again. we had the traditional every-song-we-could-think-of-on-
the-violent-femmes-first-record jam, this time with brian on guitar
and me on drums. meg white watch out. and i have better sex tapes
too. oh wait.

film recommendation:
the lives of others. we watched it the other night after rehearsal.
german. recent. long. starts a little slow. but GOOD GOD it's fine.
can't do much more justice than to say holy shit, perfect movie.

best reply from the last blog:
a web of safety benefits only a spider. all rewards come from risk.

i sat next to a man in the cafe pamplona tonight (yes, thinking i
would pack later) and he was translating papers.
he made a phone call and to the other person on the line he said:
"oh, just sitting her, working on papers and having some coffee. and
happy to be alive."
he told me he'd been coming to the cafe pamplona since 1959.

it started snowing today in big fat gorgeous chunks. it's still
coming down.
i think this calls for a picture, let's outside.

post-script: 6:52 am: completed packing mission, compacted vitamin collection, created many fingerless gloves. snow switched to rain, sun has risen.