Sunday, January 20, 2008

amanda at a poetry slam

well, it wasn't a poetry slam in the strict sense of the term.

we've been in the studio in boston literally non-stop since coming back from tour. a revelation, exactly what i was hoping would happen.
since there's no huge pressure to make this album some sort of definitive statement (what does that even MEAN anymore....i dunno) we just laid the tracks down, all in one day more or less.
i started with vocals yesterday, sucked because my voice was blown out from being out of practice in the studio, went back in today and nailed all five songs in under 5 hours. i'm happy now.
i would tell you the songs we're working on but i feel some (useless?) need to keep it SOMEWHAT of a surprise.

i realize as i spend more and more time in the studio that it's an actual skill set, and i've become better. i can walk into a studio and DO IT now. i know how things work, i understand how to prioritize and conserve, how to let certain things go and get stuck on certain other things. it was never my intention to learn how to do this. i always wanted to be able to go into a studio and with as little pain and effort as possible, re-emerge with a record. i've never been very process-oriented. that's changing. i'm enjoying it.

sheri hausey, one of our fav boston photographers, came by and took some pictures the other day.....

yours truly getting jiggy on the hot german mic

brian the intern of doom, sean slade, most well-edumucated producer in the west and benny the engineer in the control room

b-dog's kit

sponge bob squarepants presiding over the soundstage

tonight i finished vocals and sean (our esteemed producer) let me off the hook while they starting piecing together some takes and edits.
i hadn't checked my phone messages for as few days. i finally listened to them all while eating my thai food in the studio kitchen and i got a message from cormac from several days ago telling me that saul williams was doing a spoken-word show at brandeis (a university about 30 minutes outside of boston) tonight at 8 pm. i looked at the time and it was 7:45. i managed to get over there and i am so fucking glad i did.

saul williams is a fucking hero. if any of you are NIN fans, you probably know that trent reznor produced his latest record and they released it as a free internet-only download a few months ago (right after the radiohead campaign, same concept more or less, you can either download free or pay $5...hint: pay the fucking money)

i first saw saul a few years ago when we were on a bill together at the sundance film festival (random) in utah and i was just floored, blown away. we made fast friends. i remember pope being blown away too and us all pointing and going: PUNK ROCK! THE PUNK ROCK! this man is truly fucking PUNK ROCK!! fuck it! he's a steely and hilarious and passionate performer with poetry and music unparalleled. part spoken word, part hip-hop, all sharp as a razor, he's just THE SHIT. check out his site (and his new record "the inevitable rise and liberation of niggy tardust") here:

we showed up and the night was a long program of incredible, heavy, political/personal/bad-ass spoken-word, really well-known and insanely talented folks from all over the place. saul was headlining but the night had a fantastic family vibe. i found saul backstage and he asked if i wanted to do anything. i don't write poems. but wait, i remembered....i DID write one. back in edinburgh in august. i had it on my computer in cormac's car. so i went out, got it, copied it down onto a piece of paper backstage and all of a sudden i was up there, in front of 1000 strangers in a college auditorium on a saturday night, about to read a poem. saul let me cut into his set. it could've been way worse. i think it went well.

poetry and spoken word, as evidenced by the crowd tonight, is a fucking THING, man. it is it's own genre with it's own code. it's the same feeling when you go to a hardcore show and you realize there are all these unspoken but commonly understood rules about how the crowd and interactions will proceed. etiquette. this was a spoken word crowd at it's best...people shouting and standing up and hootin' and hollerin', REAL talent, searing words, hallelujah kinds poems and art jettisoning off that was a cross between a rock concert, a political rally and a kicking sunday gospel service.

people went nuts for saul and he delivered, starting his set from a balcony in the house, roaming the aisles while he spitted endless wonders out of his mouth, everybody's knuckles on their chair edges, screams of "YES!!!" inside and outside everybody's lips.
when i was got there, about to read my poem, i felt so out of place. i wasn't going to measure up to all of these performers. i started to make some sort of half-assed excuses about what was about to happen and people from the audience started yelling "FAMILY!" at me. as in: shut up with your excuses. read your shit, bare your soul, you're with family, you won't be judged.
i did. i wasn't. the whole experience was exhilarating and made me want to write poems. fuck this music shit. all i needs a mic, bitches! maybe i can beatbox.

as for saul, you gotta see it to believe it. i tried to dig up a good clip, here's one. this is saul doing "telegram to hip-hop", one of my favorites.
please watch it, so you can understand what i fucking mean:

then, go see him.
go see saul. he's touring all over this spring to support his new record.
if you see him, tell him i said hi.



eyecandy dept/more tour media:

here's an awesome clip of us doing a led zeppelin cover with two ton boa.
we decided to do this very last minute and it was a toss up between this ("immigrant song") and "ocean song"....thus the confusion at the start.
i forgot to tell brian what the rest of the band decided.
i had the lyrics written on my left arm and if you look closely you can see me desperately trying to rock out and read them at the same time
we got volunteers from the audience to play Rowing Vikings, The Ocean (and obviously, later in the song, Heaven), A Lonesome Tree and Moonshine.
serious 4th grade drama shit and how splendid it was!!!!

from comments:

natasha drake wrote:

Badass Prince thingamabob back there lady!
My mama gave me her Purple Rain tourbook as an apology for fibbing to me on that night in '85 when she was on her way to see the Revolution and told me children weren't allowed to go to concerts.

i am so glad someone noticed my prince poster. i just had to acknowledge that.

thanks all y'all for your continued feedback about release formats. all taken under advisement....



p.s. one more endorsement....sweeney todd = A+


Rachel said...

Amanda, I was Vocal last night at Brandeis. I was there to see Saul and I had already cried three times by the time he came out listening to everything that came before, and when I saw you come on stage I literally collapsed. I listened to your album every night as I went to sleep for weeks when I was sixteen. Thank you so much for coming, thank you so much for reading, thank you so much for being in Boston. Your piece was beautiful, and it made the night extraordinary.

andrea said...

I want to read your poem someday. Ya know, whenever you're ready to share. No rush.

I've never been to a poetry anything but I think I'd like it. I've flirted with Saul's material but probably haven't given it the proper time. I guess it's time I go and do that.

Have you seen The Shape of Things? It's actually a play but I've never seen it performed. My college is putting in on this spring. I'm planning to go then. But the movie, if you have not seen it, is very, very good. I'm pretty sure you'd like it. It raises some very interesting artistic questions.

Keep on enjoying the break.

All my love,


P.S. Full album

And thanks for bringing Two Ton Boa on tour with you. They were awesome and now I'm hooked to their music.

Chuculain said...

Its crazy. I feel so out of the loop. Man, I wish I could have been there.

There is literally nothing better for cutting stright to the quick of things. Its like stacking the right words on top of each other, until they just resonate at the right frequency. It gets right past your defenses and makes you just have to stop and think about whats being said, because you are too afraid you'll get completely washed away by it, and not remember enough.

I'm always afraid I'll forget things like that, when witnessing such... power... just the energy and passion as it happens in front of my.

Thinking that I'll forget the feeling as it happpens terrifies me. But its inevitable that I'll not remember some details. And thats when reminising with others who were there comes into its own, everyone has a different perception of an event, and piecing it back together can be a powerful and enjoyable experience also.

Sorry, thats enough rambling. I'm not quite sure if I got across what I meant to... I think you kow what I'm talking about though.




Melissa said...

Sweeney Todd is some as-yet-uninvented letter that comes even before A. Plus.

Ben said...

Spoken Word crowds are their own tribe.

"we might put it out on one whole album, make things available gradual-like online, or put out two EPs.
seeing as you are the audience, mofos, if you have thoughts please hit me. i'm clueless, (in dumb-ass italian voice, with glare) i just make-a-da-music.

thanks all y'all for your continued feedback about release formats. all taken under advisement...."

I always enjoyed EP's. There is still something to be said for holding an album (or albums) in your hand and enjoying the artwork. Come on, if you make releases online, you miss making some more album art.

Also, to address something you said a few posts ago: "what if i just GAVE AWAY THE RECORD FOR FREE with the catch that you PHYSICALLY HAD TO WREST IT FROM ME??
yes, you must meet me at 6 am, on the golden gate bridge the day i am playing san fran, at the eiffel tower plaza in paris, in tiergarten in berlin, on the docks near pier 51 in NYC, on the cliffs of dover the day of the london show.......i'll be there. with a box of records to give away. but you have to wake your ass up at 6 am (and so do i for the matter) and if you make it over, you get the record and a hug and my supreme admiration.
i wonder how many people will actually show. i wonder if this idea is even REMOTELY feasible."

There is no way I could pass up a chance to get an album handed over directly from you or Brian. Although I doubt "wresting" it from you would be necessary.

Keep creating, we'll keep listening.


BrassyCassy said...

Thought you might enjoy this guy, too, Amanda:

His name's Daniel Beaty and I saw his one-man show called "Emergen-SEE!"
This, I think, was my favorite one from his show ... :)

SO powerful!

Bdan said...

Sweeney Todd is delicious, this is true!

Hope you allow us to read some poetry sometime soon Miss.


Cas~ said...

It sounds like you are in high spirits. :) I love poetry and I'm glad you got the courage to go up and read your poem. that's a really hard thing to do most of the time. kudos.
and yes...
sweeny todd = love.
wonderfuly bloody fun!

take care amanda. enjoy your time off!


Andy Pants said...

Amanda, just record a whole fucking album!

It doesn't matter if you've got nothing written. Just go for it. You've already got five awesome songs (no doubt, I've been listening to your b-sides for the past week). Just go in unprepared and see what you come up with.

I can't wait long enough for another DD record to come out.

Melissa said...

You and Brian should do a cover of "A Little Priest." XD

Sarah said...

Music recommendation: Lemonwilde, I found these guys while helping work on a short film that the singer co-wrote. They don't have a CD but they have a myspace...please check them out, they're pretty rad.

Pari said...

thank you for bringing back saul williams to my memory! i saw his film slam ages ago but then i saw him live at the nuke festival in 2005, his gig was early in the afternoon and it was just him and a mc on stage but i was mesmerized and my only thought was:that's the way charisma is spelled.

June Miller said...

That was some powerful shit. I've only seen Saul Williams name and heard it from a few folks around here a couple times, but that was the first thing I've ever really heard of his. Very good.

I don't know if you've ever heard of this comic strip/cartoon called "The Boondocks," but you might want to check it out sometime. Aaron McGruder's wit is up there with Bill Watterson and "Calvin and Hobbes," in my opinion. Just with a bit more social commentary. He calls out bullshit and rips it to shreds, and I love him for it.

This one's just funny, though.

I sucked when I did a poetry slam, once. Luckily there was only like, three, four other people in the room? Weak. That's great yours was a better experience. Sounds like some shit the people 'round here wish they could duplicate. I don't think they've got enough soul in 'em, personally.


I was trying to figure out if the poster was Blondie or...yes. I knew it looked familiar.


This is piss. This is piss and ink.


A full-length, you say? Wonderful.

Bobbing_For_Applesx said...

ive noticed that sometimes you delete peoples comments. I know you don't hate us (and I personally think it's cool that you tell us that you love us) but I don't really understand. Did we say something wrong?

- please don't delete me -

Shauna said...

and she was beautifullll <3
that song from Sweeney Todd stuck in my head all night. hmm i'm hungry, i fancy a pie.

JonJon said...

I got to see the Dresden Dolls guys at the Norva last week and you guys kicked ass. That was the most fun shows that I have ever been to. Thanks for taking the time to sign some autographs (I even got to take a pic with Kattie Kay).
I would also like to thank you for exposing me to new artists that I might never had heard of.
I love the blog and cant wait for some new DD or WKAP material whenever it comes out.
Thanks again,
Portsmouth, VA

Ray said...

Hey Amanda, I noticed that your solo dates in the NW have been taken down off the calendar. Did that all fall through? We were planning on flying up from New Orleans to see it.

deda said...

dear dressden dolls, we are your gratest funs on the world. we love you.
we want byou to be our guests on premiere of our movie in belgrade. see invitation below, with answering adresses.


Proudly invites you to the long awaited world premiere of Uros Stojanovic's film


We will be happy to be your hosts of this wonderful event in Belgrade,Serbia, on January 30th 2008.
Our very special guest who will also welcome you and open the premiere is Mr. Luc Besson.

With "Charleston and Vendetta," Blue Pen Production and director Uros Stojanovic have given us a visually stunning, epic story of love and adventure set in the rarely seen 1920's Eastern Europe. With breathtaking Production Design, Art Direction, and Cinematography, another luscious score from Shigeru Umebayashi (In The Mood For Love), and a cast of beautiful Serbian actresses, the premiere of this ambitious project is not be missed.

Please, confirm us your presence at your earliest convenience in order to organize your flights and accommodation.

Looking forward to seeing you in Belgrade,

Jasna Ristovic
Distribution manager
cell +381. Mirjana Tomic
Executive producer
cell +381.

Blue Pen
Zmaj Jovina 26
Belgrade, Serbia
tel / fax +381. Marko Paljic
Executive producer
cell +381.

David said...

YOU'RE TEASING us again. It's OK take your time. I'm sure I will love it as much as I've loved all your other music. Take your time BUT I think I am getting a little impatient. But TAKE YOUR TIME, really.

So whaddya think of Leslie Feist? Try the Open Season disk of remixes. Track 5- Lonely, Lonely. I love that. Thought you should know.

Thanks for the Saul video. That was pretty amazing.

Elliot Coale said...

Really love the new black-and-white pic of you. Terrific. :)

.. Yeah, I know, this comment contains no constructive points about the blog entry itself. But, I thought I'd write /something/.

Joni said...

Check out Deaf School. Art rock cabaret from Liverpool, late 70s.

And yes, Sweeney Tod. A+

David Westway said...

hi amanda. i've been reading your blog for a long time now, but this is my first comment. i am a huge fan of yours and jason webley. so i bought a ticket to your portland show and a plane ticket and hotel reservations for february 23rd. i just got an email saying that the show is canceled.the email said it was cancelled because you are having surgery. i hope you are ok. i am not writing this to make you feel guilty, i just wanted to let you know im a big fan and how i found out about the surgery. i would send you an email, but i know you dont get to those for quite a while sometimes. please let us know how your health is. i wish you the best. maybe evelyn evelyn will play los angeles some day.


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

oh and:

1. if you're in boston this weekend and not sure whether or not to go see HUMANWINE and the beat circus again, let me say-- the band O'Death is AMAZING, impossible not to dance to, not to be missed.

2. the first beach scene shot in sweeney todd, with todd in stripes & lovett in a sailor dress, could be an very cute photo of you & brian.

Anna said...

I read "The Illustrated Man" by Ray Bradbury earlier this week. One story, 'The Visitor', begins:

"Saul Williams awoke to the still morning. He looked wearily out of his tent and thought about how far away Earth was." then I thought his name was a pseudonym, but Wiki says otherwise. Maybe his parents are big Bradbury fans? Who wanted to name their child after a character dying in exile on Mars of the bloody disease "rust lung"?

You might like local Boston slam poet Corrina Bain:

LeeG said...

Your rant on the apostrophe made me think you might appreciate this:


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