By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
By Chaz Kangas
By Allison Babka
By Bob McMahon
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By Mabel Suen
It's been three years since Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione last worked together as the Dresden Dolls. The pair spent this time apart padding its musical résumés with tours, collaborations, solo work and writing books. However, they always planned to reunite on Halloween 2010 — a.k.a. the tenth anniversary of the night they met during a party at Palmer's house. That celebration turned into a twelve-date tour, beginning with a sold-out show at New York's Irving Plaza. Before the pair's St. Louis appearance, Palmer took time in between tweets to talk about the Dresden Dolls' legacy. For more outtakes, head to www.rftmusic.com.
B-Sides: Brian hasn't been as visible as you have been in the past three years.
Amanda Palmer: Well, Brian was never that way. Brian was never a blogger, you know, and a crazy connector. That was always more my thing. It makes sense, on a level. One of us had to be a good musician, and that was Brian. [Laughs] I dealt with the social networking, and he dealt with making us practice. [Laughs]
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Well, you can't really knock your musical chops, though.
We have our specialties. Brian's specialty was being an incredible drummer, and my specialty was being an incredible promoter. We met halfway. I would convince him to do promoting things, and he would convince me to practice, and there you have the magic of the Dresden Dolls.
What prompted the reunion tour, aside from the tenth anniversary of your meeting?
Oh, it was really that. We'd always talked about, as the years wore on, we always talked about doing something for our tenth anniversary. It was just about the right time to get back together and play. It was just a matter of putting two and two together and saying, "It's our tenth anniversary. It's time to do a handful of shows. Let's just center on that."
I was surprised to read on your blog the other day that people were saying that they love your music but had never listened to the Dresden Dolls.
Crazy, isn't it?
How is that even possible? Do you think that, because of what you've done on the Internet over the past couple of years, it's pulled in people who might not have realized what happened for the seven years before that?
Yeah. Obviously my first wave of fans were followers of the Dresden Dolls who hopped onto my bandwagon. But then gradually that grew and grew. The word of mouth [grew], and it wasn't, "Amanda Palmer from the Dresden Dolls." It was "Amanda Palmer. She's crazy. You should go see her show." Those people, unless they really educated themselves, wouldn't necessarily know from whence I came. And that's just been more and more true as the years have gone on. People from Neil's [Gaiman, author and Palmer's fiancé] fan base are finding out about me, and people from Twitter and the other collaborations I've been doing. I think there are probably still people out there who don't know that Björk was in the Sugarcubes. But the Sugarcubes were an amazing fucking act and made it possible for Bjork to exist.
What can we expect to see and hear at the show?
The Dresden Dolls. [Laughs] We're just going to be doing classic Dresden Dolls. The hits of the Dresden Dolls, plus a bunch of crazy stuff, as usual. We're more or less picking up where we left off. The whole purpose of this tour is to have fun. So we're going to have fun. It's not going to be anything more or less than that. That's the point at the end of the day.
So it's not going to be "The Dresden Dolls Featuring Amanda Palmer." It's going to be both of you.
The Dresden Dolls is, and was, and will always be the name for what happens when Brian Viglione and Amanda Palmer get together and bash the shit out of their instruments. I think any other musical formation I take will probably have its own moniker. Same with Brian. But what he and I have together is irreplaceable and insanely special. It's incredibly healing, too. We'd burned ourselves out so hard on the road. It feels wonderful to be back in the saddle and revisiting this stuff from a new perspective. It's great.