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Amanda Palmer Biography

Last updated: 05/27/2012 12:00:00 PM

Amanda Palmer, also known as Amanda Fucking Palmer (born Amanda MacKinnon Palmer April 30, 1976) is a performer who first rose to prominence as the lead singer, pianist, and lyricist/composer of the "Brechtian punk cabaret" duo The Dresden Dolls. She has since started a successful solo career, and is also one half of the Evelyn Evelyn duo. Palmer grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts.She staged performances based on work by the Legendary Pink Dots, an early influence, and was involved in the Legendary Pink Dots electronic mailing list, Cloud Zero. She then formed the Shadowbox Collective, devoted to putting on theatrical shows (such as the 2002 play, Hotel Blanc,which she directed) and street theatre, and performed as a living statue called "The Eight Foot Bride" in Harvard Square, Cambridge; Edinburgh, Scotland; Australia (where she met Jason Webley);as well as many other locations. Palmer's solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, was released on 16 September 2008.Ben Folds produced and also played on the album.The title is a play on an expression used by fans during Twin Peaks' original run, "Who killed Laura Palmer?" A companion book of photos of Palmer looking as if she were murdered was released in July 2009 featuring photography by Kyle Cassidy and accompanying writing by Neil Gaiman. August Strindberg was indirectly referenced in a song by Palmer titled "Strength Through Music", which contains an audio clip of a web cartoon called Strindberg and Helium. The cartoon almost exclusively quotes Strindberg's work. In July 2007, Palmer played three sold out shows (Boston, Hoboken, and NYC) in rare "with band" performances. Her backing band was Boston alternative rock group Aberdeen City, who also opened along with Dixie Dirt. In August 2007, Amanda traveled to perform in the Spiegeltent and other venues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, and also performed on BBC Two's The Edinburgh Show. She collaborated with Australian theater company, "The Danger Ensemble"; both again appeared at the Spiegeltent in Melbourne and at other venues around Australia in December 2007. In September 2007 Palmer collaborated with Jason Webley to release Evelyn Evelyn's debut EP "Elephant Elephant" via Jason's Eleven Records. In June 2008, Palmer established her solo career with two well-received performances with the Boston Pops.In Autumn 2008, she toured Europe with Jason Webley, Zoe Keating and The Danger Ensemble, performing songs mostly from her debut solo album. She did most of the shows with a broken foot she had sustained in Ireland when a car ran over her foot as she stepped out into a street.In April 2009, she played at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. In 2009, Palmer went back to her alma mater, Lexington High School in Massachusetts to collaborate with her old director and mentor Steven Bogart on a workshop piece for the department's spring production. The play, With the Needle that Sings in Her Heart was inspired by Neutral Milk Hotel's album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and The Diary of Anne Frank. It received an overwhelmingly positive response from the Lexington community and abroad. NPR's Avishay Artsy interviewed the cast in a piece featured on All Things Considered on closing night of the production.Amanda described this process as "what it's all about" in her blog.