Amanda Palmer's career since exiting her contract with Roadrunner Records is proving to be quite the transition.
For one, she now has the flexibility to be taking to the stage in a different way: stepping up as a star in the American Repertory Theater's production of "Cabaret" this fall. The Dresden Dolls singer will be filling the shoes as the Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub, a starring role that is no less than perfrect for Palmer, whose own music boasts the same dark, burlesque qualities that the musical possesses.
In an interview with Palmer, she expresses that her collaboration with director Steven Bogart this summer and fall will be one of her most exciting (and dark) yet... though she still has the Evelyn twins to deal with.
She is currently touring with singer-songwriter and (one) musical soulmate Jason Webley under the Evelyn Evelyn name; they perform under the guise as mediators and producers of musical, fictional conjoined twins Evelyn and Evelyn, born in 1985 and “sharing three legs, two arms, three lungs, two hearts and a single liver.”
“Those Evelyn sister are really shy,” Palmer explains in earnest. “So we needed to come up with some context for them.” The “context” here includes a production with shadow puppets, audience volunteers as props and a circus-like atmosphere to aid with the weird, genre-meandering music of the pair and their backers.
This show goes on the road in the U.S. starting May 17, tickets on sale now. The album features some interesting cameos, from Weird Al to Andrew W.K. to a vocal performance debut from Courtney Love/Kurt Cobain’s kid Francis Bean.
While “Evelyn Evelyn” so far is a one-off project, Palmer predicts that she and Webley will work together again in the future.
The same can be said of Brian Viglione, her drummer in Dresden Dolls. That coupling has been fairly quiet in the past few years, especially since Palmer had a falling-out with Roadrunner. The musician was very vocal in her distaste for the label, when its support of the band’s second “Yes, Virginia…” album was less than enthusiastic after the first week of release in 2006.
“Sales for the first week were sky high, because of the hardcore fanbase. And then by the second week the hardcore fans had gotten it already. We knew the way it worked, that it’d take some time for the excitement for the album to get out there, and then sales would pick back up as word of mouth did,” Palmer says. “But the label didn’t have any faith.”
Then there was a kerfuffle about Palmer’s appearance in the music video to "Leeds United." Personnel from the label that previously gave DD support were gone. The band was being asked to sign a 360 deal. Palmer was unhappy.
She announced that she was off the label – home to Nickelback – in early April. “will never regret signing with you…and i will never take for granted what you did to help my life,” she said in a blog post farewell.
For now, though, Palmer would weigh working with another label again, though she’s happy just to be distributing new music via the ‘net for now. She’ll be spending lots of time in Australia this fall/winter supporting a new effort Down Under, and when she gets back… the canvas is wide open.
“I have no f**king clue what I’m doing with my life,” Palmer laughs, noting the statement is “true and not true… I have a big backlog of collaborations I’d like to do, so who knows what comes next.”