News: Amanda Palmer v Steve Albini
Former Dresden Doll hits back at furore over use of unpaid musicians on tour
AMANDA Palmer has responded to criticism of her decision to use unpaid musicians on her forthcoming live tour.
The former Dresden Doll drew angry responses for her recruitment of string, saxophone and brass musicians who would receive zero recompense save the satisfaction of performing onstage with their hero (tour costs, we might add, were listed as one of the areas the Kickstarter cash would be ploughed into — cheeky!).
In particular, Palmer’s latest ruse — she also made a million bucks off the back of a Kickstarter album campaign earlier this year — moved Shellac man and recording engineer Steve Albini to write the following blog post:
I have no fundamental problem with either asking your fans to pay you to make your record or go on tour or play for free in your band or gather at a mud pit downstate and sell meth and blowjobs to each other. I wouldn’t stoop to doing any of them myself, but horses for courses. The reason I don’t appeal to other people in this manner is that all those things can easily pay for themselves, and I value self-sufficiency and independence, even (or especially) from an audience.
If your position is that you aren’t able to figure out how to do that, that you are forced by your ignorance into pleading for donations and charity work, you are then publicly admitting you are an idiot, and demonstrably not as good at your profession as Jandek, Moondog, GG Allin, every band ever to go on tour without a slush fund or the kids who play on buckets downtown.
Pretty much everybody on earth has a threshold for how much to indulge an idiot who doesn’t know how to conduct herself, and I think Ms Palmer has found her audience’s threshold.
But Palmer has hit back at her detractors, addressing a response to musician Amy Vaillancourt-Sals, whose letter of complaint kicked off the whole debate.
An extract reads:
YOU HAVE TO LET ARTISTS MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS ABOUT HOW THEY SHARE THEIR TALENT AND TIME.
especially in this day and age, it’s becoming more and more essential that artists allow each other space to figure out their own systems.
the minute YOU make black and white rules about how other artists should value their own art and time, you disempower them.
anyone is allowed to crowdfund a record. and anyone is allowed to crowdsource a musician. or a pair of socks. or a place to crash. or a meal. anyone. the band at the local pub can do it, i can do it, tom waits can do it, and justin bieber can do it (his fans would FLIP to be up on that stage making music with him. i’m imagining a crowdsourced belieber playing violin on “boyfriend” right now and loving the image, truly. it’s also fun to think of tom waits wearing fan-knit-socks.)
i could ramble on about my million-dollar Kickstarter and where that million dollars actually went (actually, i already did that, in a blog over here)…and i could tell you that i wish i had enough money to hire a second tour bus and put eight full-time musicians on salaries. but the funny thing is: i actually don’t. i don’t wish that. not right now.
because this isn’t about money. for me, this is about freedom. and about choices.
Not everyone is outraged by Palmer’s crowdsourcing antics, however. One musician who signed up for the scheme, called Erica Mulvey, wrote an article for SFWeekly explaining how she was “overjoyed” to play with Amanda for doodly squat.
You can read The Stool Pigeon’s interview with Palmer HERE.