July 6, 2009
“God, I hope my mother doesn’t read this interview!” Amanda Palmer, as interrogated by Lesbilicious readers
A while back, we told you about our plans to interview former Dresden Doll (and now solo punk-cabaret queen) Amanda Palmer, writes Jane Bradley.
We asked you what you wanted to know, and you obliged with an assortment of penetrating questions on topics from holidays and haircuts to time travel, shaving and Jessica Simpson. Read on for Amanda’s answers…
You are openly bisexual, but in all of your blogs/songs/relationships you’ve shared with your fans – it seems like you don’t really partake in full-on relationships with women. So, the question is: Am I right or wrong? And what does it mean to you to be bisexual?
“I’m turned on by women, and I love to use them for whack-off fodder…. God only knows how many women I’ve fucked to death in my mind! And in reality, I love sleeping with them, but I don’t chase them around.
I tend to chase boys. I love sleeping with boys. But, truth be told, I really love it when they tell me about the women they fuck. In detail. You know. It’s complicated.
I’ve never had a serious relationship with a woman; I’ve never been compelled to. Which probably makes me, I don’t know, a 7.46 on the gay-straight scale? God, I hope my mother doesn’t read this interview!”
So, what was your first lesbian experience?
“If you don’t count all the french-kissing at slumber parties when I was in grade school, the first time I slept with a girl was in high school, the summer before I went to college.
She was so beautiful, like a little flower pixie. And smart, and strong, and she didn’t give a fuck about anything. It was wonderful. I never saw her after that.”
Do you think gay and lesbian relationships have a better or worse chance of lasting than straight relationships?
“I think relationships are relationships. They’re as good or bad as the people in them, and they’ll last if the people in them don’t end them. I don’t think that all relationships that last are necessarily good ones, so statistics won’t tell you anything.”
On creativity and identity:
How do you think you would have ended up if you didn’t have the theatre program at your high school?
“Probably not as awesome. The drama director I had showed me the power of making strange art as an emotional cleanser.”
A lot of the topics you cover in your songs, from rape to abortion to gender identity and sexuality, are topics that young feminists are actively grappling with whether through blogs, activism, education, or other means. You often address these issues in a tongue-in-cheek way. Do you consider art to be a medium for change, or more of an outlet to express anger about the things that don’t change?
“Art is a very, very important – essential actually – medium for these issues to be dealt with. No question. But I don’t feel like there’s an artistic imperative to be political, or opinionated. I find myself trying very hard to avoid having a “message” in my songs – other than the large message: Express yourself. Don’t be afraid of who you are.”
You write and sing about subjects that many people wouldn’t talk to their parents about privately; but you put yourself right out there for everyone to see – including your family. It’s hard for many people to break away from their fears of what their family would think of them if they were open about their ideas and beliefs. Is that something you can relate to, or does it all come naturally?
“Oh, if only people knew how terrified I was when my father first heard ‘Half Jack’, or when my mother hears lyrics like ‘I love you like a mother, even after all she’s done’.
But since I spend a lot of personal time healing and growing my relationships with my parents, it’s actually good grist for the mill. It forces my emotions out and up, so they can heal and leave. I think my parents understand that. They’ve had to.
And you know what? I wouldn’t be able to talk directly to my parents about those things. It’s way too intense. Thanks, art.”
Obviously it’s difficult to be a smart and independent woman in the music industry, are there ever days or even moments when you wish that you were just a Jessica Simpson type who could smile and do what you were told to and still rake in the cash?
“Hell, no! God, I’d be so unhappy. And all that cash would be useless. What would I buy with it that I could possibly need more than peace of mind?”
On feminism and femininity:
What’s your personal opinion of being feminine and feminism? And finding the line in between them?
“I could write a book about that. Feminism is a trap lately – it’s very hard for girls to negotiate it. I love making random choices every day. I love the feminine power of “I CAN MAKE YOU ORGASM WITH MY HIGH HEELS,” and I love the feminine power of “YOU CANNOT TELL ME WHAT TO SHAVE, YOU FUCKER.”
I love the feminine power of sex in bed and sex in the street, and the choice to play with it when I want it. I get very sad when I see women trapped inside the 2-inch ideas of what they have to be and buy and look like to be acceptable and happy. But it’s not just women trapped in that damn box. It’s just a smaller box. Men, they got the big box. They’re psyched. But still fucked.”
And the rest:
If you had a time machine, what period of time would you want to visit, and why?
“Ooooh. I’d like to do the 1920s. Berlin, or Prague. Or 1965, anywhere in America. I’d hitch to San Fran.”
What’s the one item of clothing you couldn’t be without?
“I’d be really sad without my favourite Trail Of The Dead t-shirt.”
Have you ever considered taking a holiday, in the same manner in which you go on tour, i.e. relying on people’s generosity to house and feed you?
“You know, I might do that. But I like to be alone on holiday. It can get tricky.”
Are you ever intimidated by the intensity of your fans? Have you ever had a stalker, or have you ever been one?
“No, luckily I’ve never had a stalker. I have this theory that the more open you are, the less likely you are to attract that kind of evil. If you’re already twittering pictures of your bathroom garbage can content, nobody is going to find your address so they can look through your trash on the street.”
What’s the worst haircut you’ve ever had?
“Shaved. Bald. With no eyebrows. I looked like an alien. I shaved every hair off my body. I was 20. It looked so bad.”
So when did you stop shaving?
“I’ve been shaving on and off since I was 15. I stopped for good in college, and I’ve been a jungle pretty much ever since, except a brief stint in my mid twenties when I had to shave for…. work. But that’s another story.”
A collection of music videos filmed in conjunction with Amanda’s debut solo album Who Killed Amanda Palmer is released on DVD last week. Directed by Michael Pope, Amanda Palmer – Who Killed Amanda Palmer – A Collection Of Music Videos includes an interview with Amanda and live footage from her recent world tour.
Amanda Palmer will be back in the UK later this year, performing intimate solo shows in Edinburgh (HMV Picture House, 22 August 2009) and London (Union Chapel, 12 September 2009). For more info, including details of how to get free tickets, see the tour section of Amanda’s website.
Tegan and Sara interview Kate Moenning
Tegan and Sara interview Kate Moening aka Shane from the L Word. This video is also directed by Clea Du Vall. What a lovely, Lesbilicious bunch of women all crammed into one little video.
February 6, 2013