Amanda Palmer has been spreading her unique sound and art across the world for decades, but she believes there's nowhere quite like New Orleans. Not only does she enjoy visiting here regularly, she likes to put on multi-faceted shows here often. She will bring her show full of fun, fashion, and mutiple types of artistic interludes to Tipitina's on Sunday, January 21. You can check out the show details and buy tickets here!
She spoke to WYAT about her upcoming show and exactly what keeps bringing her back to this city.
WYAT: What's your history with New Orleans?
Amanda: My history with the city of New Orleans started with the romantic fantasy that every street performer has that I would go down there and the streets would be paved with busking gold. My older sister got married in New Orleans in 1999. I flew myself down a week early. I was flat f**king broke, and I brought my street performance rig down with me hoping I would be able to at least cover my room and board with what I could make in the street.
I had the most harrowing, hilarious experiences as a street performer in New Orleans. I had been street performing for a long time. Even though it was so ruckus as a street performer, I absolutely fell in love with the city. I stayed in this place called The Faubourg that I found just by asking people in the street where I could find a place to sleep that was really cheap. It was $12 a night. It was an empty warehouse filled with handmade plywood boxes like large coffins, and you were just handed a key to the padlock to lock the door. No windows and no amenities. It was so exciting because it was like my bohemian life was on fire. I’m sleeping in a wooden box in a warehouse with all these crazy artists and drug addicts. I loved it.
My husband Neil Gaiman also has a special relationship with New Orleans. I was only dating him for about a year when I put his 50th birthday party together which he wanted to have in New Orleans. We had gotten engaged right before his birthday so I staged this crazy fake flash wedding for him in Jackson Square. It’s a good place for the theater of life.
One of the things that really attracted me to coming to New Orleans was to spend with Ani Difranco who is one of my heroes, musical, motherhood, and political.
WYAT: What can we expect at this particular show?
Amanda: I’ve been struggling a lot this month because I’ve had some heavy personal stuff happen. So I played a show on New Years, and it was really visceral. My shows are usually pretty emotional, but I have a feeling that this show’s going to be more emotional than usual because I need it. My therapy happens on the stage.
WYAT: What do you feel is the state of music today?
Amanda: With the Millennial bands coming up, it’s interesting because they have a completely different relationship to music. They weren’t brought up with physical music. They’ve got a completely different sense of what it means to be a musician and have a relationship with a bunch of people who are helping you through that path. I find it fascinating. I feel like I’m sandwiched because of my age between all of these grumpy 90s rockstars who don’t want physical music to die and these Millennials who don’t understand really why physical things need to exist. My generation… we’re the only ones who grew up non-digital natives. The minute we started our careers, we started our conversation with the world through the internet. We’re a peculiar bunch. That makes us bizarre because we’re not like the oldsters, but we’re not like the youngsters.
WYAT: How has the changing landscape of the internet impacted your career?
Amanda: I have only recently come to appreciate how profound an effect the internet had on my artwork and my life’s path. Now with the perspective looking back on the last 20 years, I started my blog in 2000. It’s a bizarre anniversary because my blog has jumped from platform to platform, it hasn’t lived in one spot. The core fact that I’ve been writing an endless novel of experiences on the internet that’s been read by millions of people is not something I take for granted. It’s a big part of what brought my audience to me. I’m kind of upset about some of the turns the internet has taken in the last few years. Losing net neutrality is really upsetting. Because of that tool, I’ve changed the way I go into the studio, write material, record it, distribute it.