done! THANKS GUYS. amazing as usual...if you want to keep up with me, i'm on twitter and facebook constantly.... and have an email list that i lovingly tend and don't abuse if you want book ("the art of asking", it's out in nov) info when it's ready:


hola....i just put the finishing proof-read touches on the book i have coming out in november called "The Art of Asking" and i thought i'd reward myself with a nice little AMA here on reddit. ask away. anything at all. if you don't know me, i'm a musician who writes and sings and i did a TED talk last year about the connections between street-performing (i did, for five years), and the music business. hit me.

(proof: c'est moi)

Comments: 706 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

RichHoey175 karma

You have to make a set list of 10 cover songs, spanning 3 artists. Which songs and by who?

amanda_palmer379 karma

  1. king of carrot flowers - neutral milk hotel
  2. everybody knows - leonard cohen
  3. apres moi - regina spektor
  4. two-headed boy, part 1 - neutral milk hotel
  5. daniel cowman - regina spektor
  6. famous blue raincoat - leonard cohen
  7. holland 1945 - neutral milk hotel
  8. chemo limo - regina spektor
  9. hallelujah - leonard cohen
  10. two headed-boy, part 2 - neutral milk hotel

lo-li-ta102 karma

Oh man, I'd kill to see you perform Chemo Limo.

amanda_palmer110 karma

i've done it. such a great song.

daermonn46 karma

I am so glad that neutral milk hotel made it on here four times.

I gotta ask: why no 'in the aeroplane over the sea'? I think that's my favorite song on that album.

amanda_palmer89 karma

good call. that's the encore.

nicole_lynn14 karma

I'd love some Kate Bush covers. Any chance?

amanda_palmer36 karma

did you see this kate bush doc? just watched it this morning. AMAZING:

didtheytouch4 karma

Neutral Mill Hotel?

amanda_palmer4 karma

typo. fixed.

FrankManic113 karma

Dear Amanda Fucking Palmer,

Do you have any life hacks or tips for dealing with ongoing stress? It seems like touring all the time would take a lot out.



PS - Will you be visiting Minneapolis any time soon?

amanda_palmer119 karma

yoga. meditation. helps. a lot. (and i'll be in minny in november to promote the book)

NosferatuJaxx109 karma

Were you a fan of Neil's before you ended up together? And likewise was he a fan of you before he met you? Or were you both just oblivious to the other until you were surprised that you were both pretty rad people?

amanda_palmer207 karma

ha. good question. neil and i agree that it was really lucky that we didn't really know each other's work all that well. i'd never read anything he'd written (really....nothing....though i had once thumbed through a copy of anansi boys when i was crashing at a friend's house). he had one song (the jeep song) on his ipod. other than that, we just knew "about" each other. i knew he was Sandman Dude and he knew I was The Chick From The Dresden Dolls.

i still haven't read all of neil's work. i haven't read all of sandman, less than half of it, and i haven't read every novel. i love reading the man more than the work, and have spent years doing that, and then, when i go to read the work, it just works like a piece of the story know that i know the author behind the story-mask. i keep meaning to go back and read american gods (i didn't love it the first time round) because i think i finally understand what the book was for him, at that age, in his life, dealing with what he was dealing with.

as for neil and my work - it's easier to catch up on albums than on books, and i think neil's heard most of what i've done, and he gets fed the material when he comes to gigs. he doesn't love all of it (he hated my "friday" paraody when he first heard it, but we recently figured out that it had more to do with the fact that he'd never seen the rebecca black version - so the irony mostly fell flat).....

stephidermis78 karma

Amanda! I live in Hobart, Tasmania. I know you like to couch surf when you're staying away from home. What's your most memorable time couch surfing?

amanda_palmer142 karma

ha...i write about a few memorable moments in the book...but there's been so many. one that i wrote about and deleted (related: what the fuck am i going to do with the 60,000 words i deleted?) was about a TERRIBLE night in france...i was on tour with the danger ensemble - there were 7 of us total and we were in a remote part of the countryside. this girl had managed to convince friends of hers in a squat to let us stay there - and it was literally a cement room with blankets on the floor - no bathroom, no heat - really awful. but that wasn't actually all that bad: what was bad was the girl who'd tried to host us. i say tried because...she was such a botched definition of host. she attached herself to my side like a barnacle and kept trying to tell me the stories of her depression. it was realllly weird. my friends tried to save me by waving shiny things at her and distracting her away but she literally wouldn't leave my side the entire time we were there. this is how bad it was: when one of the french punks offered me some ketamine, i almost took it. my drugs days are mostly behind me, but that's how bad it was. i was like...TAKE ME ANYWHERE BUT HERE. GIVE ME THE KETAMINE. ANYTHING.

ColoradoSunrise76 karma

What's the most difficult thing you ever had to ask someone for?

amanda_palmer127 karma

oof. forgiveness, probably. i've been a right dick in some of my relationships. asking for forgiveness for having done something selfish is probably right up there. can't think of anything specific at the moment.

neurosojourn68 karma

Hi again! A year ago you did an AMA and gave me/us some really wonderful advice on non-monogamy and I'm curious to know a bit more if you're willing to share. Do you and Neil have any other partners that are consistent (or even committed), or is it mostly take-it-or-leave-it/spontaneous stuff that you guys do with other people? Also, have you or Neil ever met / hung out with each other's other partners while they were an active thing?

Thanks again. You being a public figure that's open about non-monogamy helped give me the courage to try it for myself and be open about it too, my life's forever been the better :)

amanda_palmer112 karma

you know, it changes as we change. funny enough i've found that over the years, i actually get PICKIER about neil's choice of partners...but mostly because i now know enough about him to know what all his kinks and his girl-blindspots are....and sometimes knowing that can drive a person crazy.

our number one rule remains total disclosure and no drama-games. and when those rules get cracked or pushed, things get ugly.

we ask each other details if we want to know. we try to give each other space to be with other people without prying too much, but there are no secrets allowed. if asked, you gotta answer truthfully.

as far as meeting people... we generally wind up meeting each other's lovers a matter of general nice-etiquette, but it doesn't always happen due to one of us putting up the "you know what? i don't wanna" hand or geography just getting in the way.

the hardest thing about being in an open marriage is, at the end of the day, dealing with everybody else's feelings and needs. all lovers are people with their own sets of hopes and dreams and (sometimes) delusions. managing all of that is enough work in one relationship, and any additional person you add - there you go, more time, more energy. so a lot of it is, for me, a mathematical equation. as sad as that sounds. going to bed with someone can often come down to: do actually have time for this in my life? it's why i found/find myself almost never sleeping with people on tour, even though there are people everywhere. i'm too BUSY. and TIRED. mostly on tour i just want my neck rubbed.

anyway. i hope that helps you a little. being in an open relationship is hard work. both people gotta wanna do the work, be honest, deal with the messiness. it's not for everybody.

Marionette2665 karma

What do you think about the massive celebrity nude drop that's been going on?

amanda_palmer295 karma

funny you should ask, i was just catching up on my news-reading (during Book Writing i was pretty much out of All Loops) and that seems to be everywhere. i think it's pretty awful, on so many levels. one of the levels that isn't getting discussed a ton is WHY we as a culture are so obsessed with women's naked bodies and why it is that we go "ooh! ooh!!! naked!!! naughty!!! giggle!!! when, in fact, naked bodies are perfectly normal and we all have one. i found myself sort of fantasizing that all these women would just bind together - they have the power, for sure - and be like: "ok, that's the way you want it, you fucked-culture?? WE WILL SIMPLY WALK AROUND NAKED FOR A WHILE AND LET YOU FUCKING DEAL WITH YOUR OWN BULLSHIT. HOW'S THAT FOR YOU?"

that's one solution. however, I don't think it's likely to happen.


GoddamnSusanBoyle54 karma

AMANDA. Oh my goodness I am such a huge fan, i can't even tell you. I was Zombie AFP for Halloween one year and I did The Jeep Song for so many talent shows and oh my god I hope you answer my question.

Now that my fangirling is over, I have a sort of serious question and it's kind of a sensitive subject.

When I first listened to the song The Point of It All, I thought of a girl I had gone to school with for years who died of ALS when we were 17. She wasn't the most popular girl and people who were not nice or outright made fun of her seemed to pour out of the woodwork to claim how she was their best friend once she was sick and long after she died. So the line "and you're learning that just cause they call themselves friends doesn't mean they'll call" really hit home about that. Also the whole "stare at the wall" thing.

Then I found out you had a brother who had ALS, and I was wondering if what you went through and witness with him influenced you to write The Point of It All?

amanda_palmer70 karma

i'm sorry to hear all that.

my brohter karl dies of ALS when i was about 21. it was a fast decline...he was sick for about a year and then bam, gone. i missed a lot of his illness because i was at college. i still feel weird about that. the last time i saw him alive was when i went to visit him for a week knowing that i might never see him again and the reality of it was so hard for me to take that i watched the entire first season of Twin Peaks (he had it on VHS) over a four night marathon because i wanted my brain off.

the song isn't about it or inspired by him. it's inspired by the exact same time in my life, though. i had a boyfriend, matt, who died. it's more about him than anything.

partint54 karma

How did you have the breath control for Runs in the Family? i'm guessing you don't smoke

amanda_palmer106 karma the studio i cheated. i did multiple vocal takes and layered them (i did the same thing when i recorded the studio version of "girl anachronism") and live i cut out certain lines...if you go see footage you'll notice there are lyrics i have to lose in order to breathe :)

asteroidfish47 karma

I loved your Do It With A Rockstar Video (and have been a fan since the Dresden days)- how was working with a similarly beautiful feminist and role-model Stoya?

amanda_palmer46 karma

incredible. stoya is a force...being around powerful women always inspires me and reminds me to try be more awesome.

dreadpiraterose45 karma

Loved it when you did Science Fiction Double Feature at some shows. Can we get a cover of something from Shock Treatment? :-)

amanda_palmer51 karma

neil would LOVE that. he's a huge shock treatment fan. i'll see what i can do.

PatrickAnimi36 karma

Do you like the Mountain Goats?

amanda_palmer46 karma

fuck yeah i do. i actually saw john live for the first time when i was about 20m in germany, in a cellar bar. he's amazing. songwriter from my planet. we played back to back at newport folk last year - and neil's also a fan.

mryan15029 karma

What is the worst food you've eaten on tour?

amanda_palmer76 karma

hummus in a can. thanks, UK.

greenelise27 karma

AMANDA! hi! First off, when I was young, my father was very controlling, and very strict. My siblings and I liken our childhood to living in a cult, because thats what it was like. When we finally got away from him, I remember listening to your music, and dancing. For once in my life I felt LIBERATED! It was simply fantastic, I cried when I found out you would be playing in my city, and I was too young, at 13, to go.
SO my question is, how do you feel, knowing that you have and will continue to inspire so many people, who you've never met? Has it ever freaked you out or scared you? How are you so brave? And if you made banana bread, what 'extras' (nuts, candy, what have yous) would you put in it?

amanda_palmer42 karma


and it doesn't freak me out, mostly because i was so inspired by other musicians growing up...edward ka-spel, robyn hitchcock, the cure, those musicians saved me without knowing it. they didn't need to know how much they impacted me. the impact was enough. so it's just like a karmic trade. i still find myself feeling really moved by music sometimes and i hope my heart never shuts down to the point where songs can't make me cry.

i wept at this fucker by kimya dawson a few months ago. FUCK:

right? fuck.

PfQ26 karma

Hello Amanda!

I just wanted to ask you the following: You once mentioned, at an event with Neil, I think, that after reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane you had asked him a question about the book or a doubt you had with the story. His answer, from what I remember you saying, blew you away because you realized that the book had tricked you, and for a moment you knew what it felt like to be a Neil Gaiman fan. What did you ask, and what was it he said? It's been on my mind for the longest time and I'm dying to know.

Thank you!

amanda_palmer28 karma

i asked where he got the idea for lettie hempstock - or who she represented.

he thought it was so obvious.

and he called me a twit for not seeing it.

gloomduckie26 karma

I loved your TED talk. You seem really genuine and quirky without trying too hard, like you feel comfortable in your own skin. You and Neil Gaiman make an adorable couple, like an eccentric artsy power couple. Your song "the bed song" makes me cry ugly tears but "map of tasmania" always puts me in a good mood. I just wanted to get that out there, I'm always too late when one of my favorite celebrities posts an AMA but was lucky enough to see your status on fb a few minutes ago. Good luck with your book! I've been a fan since the dresden dolls and I'm so happy to see your success expanding.

*Edit. AMA removed my post because it didn't contain a question. That's fair. So... What was the hardest part of writing your book? I've been daydreaming of writing a book for years but always feel intimidated and overwhelmed when I try to put pen to paper.

amanda_palmer22 karma

honestly....the hardest part was all the editing and editing and checking and re-editing and cutting and adding back and more editing. i lost my mind. so boring. so important. but so boring.

CarlHannah25 karma

Leonard Cohen turns 80 right before his next album comes out. Can you imagine yourself continuing to kick ass for the next 40-50 years?

amanda_palmer48 karma

i must imagine that, or i'll collapse.

doodoodleylou24 karma

Hey Amanda, I was wondering, there seems to be in some your work a theme of discussing mental illness. "Dear Jenny" is one of my favorite songs. I always interpreted it to be about a girl who is sent to an institution and the others she encounters there. I related to this a lot because I myself was sent to an institution as a teenager and have been struggling with bipolar disorder for nearly a decade now. I was curious where you found your inspiration to write about it? "Girl Anachronism" and "Runs in the Family" also come to mind. Hope its not too personal to ask.

PS. I saw you in Portland in what must have been 2008 when you toured with the Danger Ensemble. You were lovely, and I have idolized you since.

amanda_palmer30 karma

yep, that was more or less the idea.

if it makes you feel better, that's one of those songs where even I'M not sure exactly what it's about. i wrote it without totally knowing, if you know what i mean. rorschach song.

cultmovie23 karma

Who is Melody Dean?

amanda_palmer29 karma

she's an amalgam.

NorbitGorbit22 karma

what's the best place to eat on tour?

amanda_palmer42 karma

in someone's home. especially if they know how to cook.

imbecile21 karma

Was there a time when you really wanted to get someone's attention, and it just didn't work?

amanda_palmer61 karma

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha most of junior high.

PullingUpDaisies19 karma

How often do you walk around the house naked?

amanda_palmer34 karma

pretty much 100%. unless it's cold.

LoraxCeci19 karma

Do you think you will do any ninja gigs while on your book tour?

amanda_palmer23 karma

i hope so....

jonny_boy2719 karma

Are you writing anything at the moment? Can't wait to here some new material :)

amanda_palmer51 karma

music? actually....yes. i just spent two weeks at bard college. i'm working a new musical, we're writing the plot from scratch and i'm heading into a little song-cave once a day to write tunes for the show. it's really fun - i like working FAST, i write best that way. and it's nice to write for characters. i feel free-er. i blogged about the show today, it just went on sale - only 5 performances. any songs that wind up on the reject pile for the show itself will just wind up being....songs i wrote. so hooray for that.

MarlbyWeaver14 karma

Hi, Amanda. What are your favorite horror movies, with Halloween around the corner?

amanda_palmer26 karma

oooh. "the shining" is tops. big "exorcist" fan as well. and it's more of a thriller, but "don't look now". a classic and most people don't know about it.

i also have a weird soft soft for "flatliners".

Sephirath14 karma

Your personal favourite from Neil Gaiman's books? :-)

amanda_palmer33 karma

the ocean at the end of the lane. by a landslide. so far, that is. i haven;t read everything.

MrOrange4814 karma

Did you spend much time talking with Trent R when touring with him in 2005?

amanda_palmer35 karma

very, very little. a few conversations. trent was very hide-y on that tour. he almost never came out of his dressing room. it was his first tour back, and first tour sober. i think he was just trying desperately to focus on getting it right. but he was really nice to us. i felt so honored that he'd invited us.

RegularIrregular13 karma

Congrats on the book. A bunch of us academic types are looking forward to reading it. Question: What key blog post, video, etc. would you want undergrads to read/watch so that they can better understand new funding models for artists? We're covering this topic this semester (wisely using the internet to reach audiences and collaborate with fans).

Allforthe2nd11 karma

I love the music you did as part of the Dresden Dolls! What instruments do you know how to play?

amanda_palmer45 karma

i'm predominantly a pianist, but i can play the ukulele (badly and proudly).

singularstep10 karma

Hey Amanda! Since I know you're a fan of The Cure: Did you ever have the opportunity to actually meet Robert Smith? What would/did you say/do?

amanda_palmer13 karma

sadly, no. he's like The Last Hero. i keep wondering if i'll ever meet him...i've met pretty much all my other idols.

aechiu9 karma

Hi Amanda! I've been a fan for years and had a great time seeing you in a little Manchester (UK) venue a little while ago. You were fantastic!

I've been trying to write a book, and seeing as you've just finished yours, I'll ask a question about that. Are there any books you found particularly useful while writing your book (to help you with the writing process), or did you make it up as you went along? Also do you have a favourite author, and if so, who is it?

Thanks so much for your AMA!

amanda_palmer18 karma

mmmmm....i'm currently reading recommending laurie penny's new book "unspeakable things". brave, loud writing about feminism. she's got a strong voice even if you don't agree with all her politics.

before i started writing - like, literally the week before - i re-read "eat, pray, love". i fucking love elizabeth gilbert's writing voice in that book and i read it as a reminder to myself to dig deep and be as honest as possible - not preachy, not didactic, just human. show don't tell. it helped. it also helped when i confessed that to elizabeth gilbert and i think it made her feel guilty enough to blurb my book. hooray for that.

hannahisariot8 karma


amanda_palmer13 karma

yeah. i'm definitely going to come over - probably in early 2015. i'm at bard for this musical until november then doing a US book'll be feb/march, maybe april.

thebichedder7 karma

Hey Amanda!

Why did you rerecord the Bed Song for the video? The album version feels definitive to me.

amanda_palmer14 karma

it was too fast. it lost the feeling. i'd done so many takes of it that i lost the vibe. and when i listened, it didn't give me chills. the re-record does.