Fireworks

Fireworks Magazine

Fireworks Magazine Online 39 - Brainstorm

BRAINSTORM

20 years into their highly successful career, Brainstorm have released what is probably their most complete album yet that brings together musical elements from all stages of their existence.  Roland Oei talked to founder and guitarist Torsten Ihlenfeld about the band’s latest release, ‘Memorial Roots’ and to find out more about the bands history.

 

How long has the band been together?

We started the band back in ’89 and we released our first album in ’97, ‘Hungry’, and now we have released 8 albums to date and we have toured a lot, played a lot.

 

Why did it take so long to put the first album out?

There was no Heavy Metal in the 90s because of Grunge but we grew up with Heavy Metal so we never did anything else.

 

Didn’t you feel like challenging the grunge scene at the time?

We would have but we didn’t get a record contract at that time.  Heavy Metal was what we always wanted to do so we waited.

 

Can you remember your first gig as Brainstorm?

It was an unofficial first concert in what was our rehearsal room and so we printed flyers and had about 150 people in the rehearsal room so it was really packed and we had the drums set up on beer cases so that was the beginning.  It was first of January in ’88.

 

Andy joined you on vocals 10 years ago.  What was it about his voice that you liked?

I knew him before and we talked about doing something together someday and so when we had our vocalist leave I phoned Andy and he was the perfect choice.  I like almost everything about him.  He has a very powerful voice and he can sing whatever he wants so there is no limit to lows and highs and he is an amazing live performer and I think especially for Heavy Metal this is very important.

 

He is also part of Symphorce, and vocals make bands unique.  How does he keep that separate from what he sounds like in Brainstorm?

It’s not that difficult.  In Brainstorm it is me and Milan that write the music and I think even his voice is a little different when he sings for Symphorce compared to Brainstorm.  Definitely his main focus is on Brainstorm.  Brainstorm is the bigger band so every time we take a break or we do song writing he is free to do something with Symphorce.

 

Have you ever thought of doing a tour with Brainstorm and Symphorce together?

No.  We won’t do that.  Even Andy won’t do that.  There is no reason for it, that’s how we see it.  It makes no sense going on tour and having the same vocalist on stage the whole evening.  First off it is very challenging and I don’t think it would work out well especially for the people.

 

Do the two bands share the same fan base?

I think they are the same fans but the music is different enough to have different listeners.  I think Symphorce is a little bit darker and more progressive and we are more traditional Heavy Metal and we have more melodic influences than what Symphorce do.  So I think the difference is big enough and Andy has been in Brainstorm for over 10 years now and so we never had any problems or issues with fans or whatever.  There are always fans that ask why don’t you go on tour with Symphorce opening for Brainstorm.  I don’t think it would work, I haven’t tried it.  King Diamond tried it with Mercyful Fate and King Diamond and I love both bands but I don’t think it was the right experience for the band.

 

The new album is called 'Memorial Roots'. Where does the name come from?

There are several meanings for the title.  First off we wanted to have roots in the album title because everybody has roots where we come from but we are building new roots with a new record label and so we thought about something that makes a whole picture for us and Memorial Roots does express exactly what we wanted to with the album

 

You mentioned you changed labels, you went from Metal Blade to AFM.  Why did you make that jump?

We were with Metal Blade for 8 years and 5 albums so the record deal was over and of course we were free to look at the offers that came in and AFM simply did a very good offer and so we decided it was time to start something new.

 

In these days of Myspace etc, did you not think that you could self release the album and go it alone?

No.  Why should we?  Having a label in the back that supports you is important especially in a band of our size and status.  It is more helpful than to do everything on your own.  I think when a band is smaller and not as established as Brainstorm is, it could be helpful but it is important when you go on tour and you need tour support but to do everything on your own it has to be way bigger than what Brainstorm is, especially to have the financial backing.

 

What do you feel are the highlights of the new album?

The whole album in total I would say because almost every song turned out the way we wanted them to turn out and I think 'Memorial Roots' is a very good reflection of what Brainstorm is all about.  It’s got heavy riffs, big melodies and fast songs, epic songs and I think there is everything in this album that defines Brainstorm.

 

Your DVD release called ‘Honey From the Bees, Beasting Around the Bush’ is a weird title.  How did you come up with that and what is on that DVD?

Well we had been thinking of doing a different title than what people expect from a regular Brainstorm album and so especially the front covers, you often have monsters on the covers so we are well known as a good live band that has a lot of fun when we go on stage and we enjoy ourselves a lot when we play and we wanted to express that with the DVD, that’s why we did the comic paintings for the DVD and that’s why we searched for an unusual title and we thought 'honey from the bees' is something like a gift for the fans like honey is for bees. 'Beasting Around the Bush' was added because we like it very much, the expression, so that’s why we used it.  The main focus is the honey.  There are many live shows on the DVD.   We have Wacken 2004 in front of 30000 people and we have a headlining show from the Liquid Monster tour in Budapest and also the Progpower show from Atlanta in the USA from 2004 and some small bits of concerts from the very beginning.  Its two DVDs that run for 5 hours and we have new clips on there as well and an overview of some festivals where we did 2 or 3 songs to give the fans a big overview of what Brainstorm is all about.

 

What do you like and hate about touring?

What we like of course is to play live every evening, meet the fans and this is the greatest thing a band can do and there’s not that much to hate.  Of course you are away from home but that is the price that you pay.  We are very lucky to have such a dedicated and loyal fan base and it is always a big pleasure to meet them when we go on tour and do club shows because they are more intimate than when you play festivals so usually when time allows it we hang out with the fans after the show, because that’s how we are and what we are.

 

How does your profile and popularity compare in Germany, the UK and the US?

I think Germany is the biggest market for Brainstorm.  The albums do get in the National charts.  The first album that was in the charts was ‘Soul Temptation’ in2003 which was 73 in the official album charts and Liquid Monster was 72 and the last one was at 53.  Even in Switzerland and Hungary it is usually top 10 for us.  We are in front of Madonna when we release a single over there.  The last single we did, ‘Fire Walk with Me’ was #1 in Hungary in the singles chart.

 

What else do you want to achieve with Brainstorm?

We take it as it comes.  We do it with all our heart and a lot of fun and as long as we can do that and the fans love it we will go on.  We want to write and release good music and go on tour and then we will see what happens.  Of course if it goes up we will not say no.

 

Any message for your UK fans?

Yeah, it feels very good to be back in the UK.  It took us a long time.  I guess 2006 was the last time and now we are here and we are looking forward to it because we had such a warm welcome the first time we were here.  We played at the Astoria opening for Nightwish and that was great.

Fireworks Magazine Online 39 - Belladonna

BELLADONNA

For a band that have been described as "the most listened to Italian band on MySpace" it really is surprising that Rome-based Belladonna still remain unsigned. Formed by guitarist Dani and sensual lead vocalist Luana back in 2005, the band played a recent promotional show in London to promote their second album release, 'The Noir Album', where Roland Oei caught up with Dani to get some more details.

 

Can you give us a brief history of the band and the highlights of your career so far?

Me and Luana put the band together in early 2005 and at the first we were writing all these songs and we just wanted to record them and play them live.  There was no master plan.  We started doing demos in a rehearsal room and then when we opened our myspace page in 2005 all hell broke loose.  There was this huge word of mouth thing that happened around us so we were forced to release those demos and from there one thing led to another.  One of the songs made it into the ballot of the Grammy Awards in 2008 and it was a big thing for us that lead to many other major things like playing on the same stage as Nine Inch Nails, Korn an Duff McKagan and then we went to the states to record our second album with Sylvia Massy who produced Tool and System of a Down and she was really into our band so we went to her studio in California and recorded our second album there which has just come out in England.

 

What do you think caused the popularity on myspace? Did you have someone actively adding your profile to key sites?

What made it all snowball was when we put our first video on youtube which was Black Swan.  It became really big and this was in early 2006.  One of our fans was saying on her website in a blog, this is just to give you an example, she was saying oh I have taken some videos off my myspace page, including the Belladonna one like Swan, not because I don’t like it but because everybody has it.  It was like everybody on MySpace seemed to have our video.  For no particular reason, I mean I don’t know.  I guess it’s a combination of luck and our music striking a certain chord at that moment in time with so many people.  So we started receiving all these emails and comments from all these people and me and Luana, we don’t have anybody working on it - we do it ourselves, we always take great care in answering every single mail and we still do.  We always answer everybody personally.

 

You are on your own label Belladonna records.  Are you happy to stay that way or are you looking for a major label to back you?

We are very happy to stay on our own.  Belladonna records is just a name.  We had to say something so we just wanted to make it clear that it is our own operation.  It’s not a label as such, we are not signed with anybody.  I mean we would love to be with a label if we find one that is good enough but it’s like we are happy being single and when we receive an offer we will consider it.

 

Did you finance your videos yourself and who came up with the ideas for them?

Some of them are zero budget.  The 'Foreverland' video for the song off our first album we just did it on the mountains in the snow and me and Luana had the idea for the story and we just shot it ourselves and edited it at home.  It didn’t cost anything and most of the videos are done that way.  We are not video makers you know, we are musicians but we know it is necessary like people want to know what you look like and videos are a standard way to present your band and we had a great time doing them.  We prefer to do them ourselves and present the band the way we want to present ourselves.

 

You have come up with your own genre which you have called Rock Noir.  Can you explain what that sounds like?

Yeah sure, when we started recording our songs, we realised that they didn’t sound like anybody that we knew so we felt it was necessary to give it a term, to define it, to describe it in some way.  It’s certainly rock.  It’s not Metal or anything but it is certainly rock.  The Noir thing comes from the mystery, the erotic element that we have in our songs and the fact that many of our songs are like tales, they are stories with characters and something happens in the song like in old folk music.  There’s a big element of story-telling and all the stories have elements of mysteries so that’s pretty much a Noir thing and some stories are like short films and they are very Noir in their content so we thought Rock Noir is an apt way of describing it.

 

What else do you think the music has in it, besides the Rock elements, that makes you stand out from other bands?

For me when I hear a record that I love, I hear the personalities of the musicians that recorded it.  So when someone is doing something that comes from the heart then it becomes unique because the purer you are the closer you are to your own self and the more peculiar it will be, so I guess that’s what makes us unique.  That’s actually the most frequent comment that people tell us, that we are unique, so people don’t really put us in the same record space and we take it as a compliment because it means what we are doing is pure and true to what we are.  We go out of our way not to sound like anybody else.

 

When you recorded the album you didn’t use pro-tools and you recorded the songs live.

Yes, that is something that we really wanted to do.  We did try you know, with Sylvia Massy with click tracks and pro-tools with a lot of overdubs, and she did a great job but then when we heard it, it sounded like an American band. I mean it sounded great but it didn’t sound like us so we spoke with her and said that we would prefer to record it live and she said well I am not sure, so we tried, we just stood in a circle and recorded it live with no click tracks live and it just worked and she was like yeah, this is great, let’s do it this way.

 

Was it harder to record it live?  Were there many mistakes that needed to be sorted out?

It was easier, it was more fun.  If there was a mistake ... like on 'Stairway to Heaven' there is a mistake that Jimmy Page does half way through the song.  It’s on the right channel about half way through the song.  I never noticed until I really studied the song.  When you do a mistake like that it doesn’t really matter.  People don’t really hear it and it makes it more human.  Like our faces are not really perfect, not even Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie are perfect, and it’s the imperfections that make us unique and beautiful.  That is what I believe.

 

You say that you have more fans abroad than in Italy.  Why do you think that is?

I am not sure, maybe it has something to do with the fact that our lyrics are in English?  So they are more easily understood abroad.  In Italy we don’t have a Rock tradition as such, I mean people love Rock n' Roll but they seem to like bands only when they are really big, like Metallica and Iron Maiden, that play big arenas but new bands always have a hard time in getting themselves known.  This is because in Italy the TV is so powerful that unless you are on TV you are not on the map so it’s just a completely different set up media-wise and so people get influenced in a different way to the rest of the world where the TV is not unimportant but the printed media and radios still have a big influence as well.

 

You do most of the writing with Luana.  How does that partnership work as far as writing is concerned.

It varies depending on the song.  What happens is one of us has a snippet of something and then we develop it together.  We do it with guitar and voice or with piano and voice and we finish the song that way, lyrics and everything before we even play it to the band.  If we feel it is strong enough then we go ahead.  But it is all done in a stream of consciousness sort of way.

 

What are the plans for the next year?

Our plans are to do lots of gigs and we are already working on songs for our next album and we plan to record it in the summer for a late 2010 release or early 2011.  We will have to see.

 

Any message for your fans in the UK?

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for their support which has been incredible and very important for us because we are a do it yourself band and I know it sounds very corny but without our fans we would be nothing.  So we are very grateful and honoured.  I would like to say to everybody go to www.belladonna.tv and they get directed to our MySpace or look for us on twitter or Facebook where we are easy to find and just drop us a line.  We answer to everybody and keep in touch.

Fireworks Magazine Online 39 - 101 SOUTH

101 SOUTH

Interview with Roger Scott Craig by Dean Pedley

 

101 South have recently returned with their third release, No U Turn, which marks the first album from the band since 2002’s Roll of the Dice. No U Turn once again reunites the songwriting and keyboards of Roger Scott Craig (also of Fortune and Harlan Cage) with the vocals of Gregory Lyn Hall and features some special guest appearances from Ian Bairnson (Alan Parsons Project) and Chris Thompson. I spoke with Roger to find out why it had been some seven years since their last release and also about his views on the current state of the music industry.

 

Hi there and thanks for talking to us here at Fireworks magazine, Roger. It’s been seven years since the last 101 South album, why did you take the break and why was now the right time to resurrect the band?

Well Dean, I’d moved on to doing other things for a bit and lost interest in making music that radio stations etc. just will not play. Plus, so many people now want their music for free that the incentive for the artist to work for months on creating a great album only to have everybody steal it using an illegal file sharing site, means that you have to have a really good reason to record. This just seemed that time?

 

Was the material all freshly written or do some of these songs date back a few years?

“There’s a mixture of old and new songs on this new CD.  I always keep any and all song ideas when I am writing and occasionally look in my vaults to see if there is anything good worth finishing off. One of the songs on this album is called ‘Blue Skies’. It was an old idea from 2003 which I listened to again and then decided to complete with a few interesting key changes. Several of the new songs were just sitting on hard drives and that helped me get back to where I’d left off in 2002!! Never throw anything away – you never know when it might be right for the moment!”

 

How was it working with Gregory again in the studio. He has turned in another amazing vocal performance.

“He is one amazing vocalist and we work really well together. It’s just a pity we have not gone on tour really, as he is really good and people deserve to hear his wonderful talents sometime in the future. But he doesn’t like spending too many hours in the studio with me; he prefers to work hard for one or two hours so he doesn’t ‘blow’ his voice!”

 

What would you say were the main differences between 101 South and your other band, Harlan Cage?

“Well, the bands are pretty similar in many ways, but for the first two 101 South CDs I wrote almost all the songs on my own and that is what is significantly different from Harlan Cage where Larry Greene prefers to write his own lyrics (even though I come up with the main hooks etc). All my bands are pretty similar I guess, because I am doing the writing, arrangements and the production, ha! ha!!”

 

How do you think “No U Turn” compares with some of the other albums from your career?

“I have no idea really although I thought we did a pretty good job considering the very small advance I got to make this one. People have no clue how small budgets are getting to make these melodic albums these days. I will make no money whatsoever on this release – rather it will cost me money! After paying all the musicians and the expenses in making this album, there isn’t much left.

“The distributors complain that so much music is downloaded illegally that they cannot afford to give us much money these days and yet people now expect the same quality of production and songs whilst the budgets are one tenth of what they used to be? I don’t know. It is time to do something about this and I am working hard to raise awareness about how the theft of our music will cause the standards of quality to diminish if people do not pay us for our work. Just look on Google for <101south No U Turn> and see how many illegal sites there are giving my new album away for free – pages and pages of Bit torrent and Rapidshare sites giving all my hard work away for free ? Do people ever consider how fair this is to the artist?”

 

Tell us about some of the guest appearances on this album. Chris Thompson turns in a great vocal on ‘Blue Skies’

“Well, I had just written the song ‘Blue Skies’ when I thought of Chris and I’m so glad he decided to do it when I sent the song off to him! He actually did his vocals in Belgium and sent them back to me in California and it worked perfectly with Gregory Lynn Hall who sang the second verse and doubled up the vocals in the chorus making up a ‘duo’ (and a new 101 South song) sung by two of my very favourite singers in the world! Then I was lucky enough to get Ian Bairnson, for me the best guitarist in the world, from the Alan Parsons Project to do the guitars and play a wonderful solo – what a moment!”

 

What’s your view on the whole melodic rock scene right now, are there any other artists who have impressed you recently?

“I hate to admit this but I have lost touch with the whole melodic rock world these days, Dean! I have been running a Real Estate company for so many years now and am out of touch with what is going on! But then, I was never really into reading reviews and following other bands. I tended to just focus on my own stuff and hope that people like what I do rather than follow others!”

“The whole music scene is in turmoil these days with so many bootlegs and illegal sites operating that we’ll be lucky if anybody is able to be making good new music in ten years! We really need to encourage people to support the musician by not stealing our work. Don’t burn copies or buy bootlegs; try to enthuse your friends into buying music for sure, but don’t give it to them! This is going on in so many countries now.”

 

Could it ever be commercially viable for you to take 101 South on the road or would the budgets simply not allow you to do so?

“I don’t think there is any chance for us to go out on tour although we would love to! Then, I sometimes ask myself, who would show up to see any of my bands? It would be interesting to put the old Fortune band together and do some gigs; or even Harlan Cage or 101 South but I seriously doubt we would have anybody show up to see us!! Maybe I am wrong? It would be cool if somebody could find a way to pay for one of my bands to come over to Europe but it’s probably not cost effective at the moment.

“The whole problem is radio. So many bands like 101 South are just not played on the radio because we are too old and we refuse to pay the radio stations to play our stuff. The music you hear on radio generally is paid for by the larger corporate record companies and they totally control what people get to hear and then what they buy. ‘PAYOLA’ is what killing the business of radio really - so many people out there might actually like my bands if radio stations would just start playing the music? But they won’t and that is the problem with the music business and radio – no matter how great a song I write, nobody will play it unless they are paid to play it!! Full-stop!”

 

You’ve had some strong reviews over the years both with 101 South, Fortune and Harlan Cage – is it frustrating that these don’t always translate into increased sales figures?

“You can never really believe sales figures since most accounting practices at record companies are a total joke and most bands I know feel they have been ripped off and raped over so many decades. My first band Liverpool Express had many number ones all over South America and yet we never saw one dollar from that success. People think we are all rock stars living on the beach in Malibu when in reality we are all struggling with nobody wanting to pay us for our music. 95% of music is now stolen. How do the fans expect us to make new music if they expect this same music for free?? ‘FREE’ is not a business model any industry can support and that is why I am asking real music fans to come together and not to burn illegal copies or to use the illegal sites. Hopefully, one day, someone will listen!”

 

What does the future hold for 101 South and what other projects are you working on right now?  Do you still work on film and TV music?

“I have two projects I am trying to finish up soon – one is an R&B project which includes performances from both Michael McDonald and Christopher Cross – it’s nothing like melodic rock. The other project is called No Category Music and it is very zany and totally crazy! Not something your readers would enjoy, Dean -  with songs full of tempo changes and drastic changes in musical direction. One song is called “88 beats Per Minute” - it starts at 88 beats per minute but speeds up gradually until it gets to 144 BPMs!!”

 

Can you tell us more about the Support Musicians website that you are involved with?

“Sure. We’re trying to make people aware of just how serious the threat to our livelihoods is. I went quite recently to many of my old friends in the Beatles camp and others and told them that, now we have 95% of our music stolen, quite literally, we need to do something to help. Thankfully, they all offered to help.

“We are asking people to support musicians by not stealing our music but sadly so many people just do not care about the welfare and well being of musicians and think we are all wealthy and don’t need the money, that they think it’s fine to carry on with the status quo. Folks, the musicians you love are all going bankrupt and driving around in cars with bald tyres! Wake up! 97% of music releases make no money. Stop dwelling on the very few (3%!!) of musicians who make money. Record releases have a 97% failure rate and yet people have no clue about the business of music. They need to be educated so they understand why we are now asking them to pay us for our music and recognise how much the artist is dependent on the fan, otherwise we may soon all say “forget it, good riddance and see you later”. The site will soon be operational and it is called www.supportmusicians.org… Please check it out; it’s for your benefit too!”

 

I’ve heard that the band you were in during the 70’s, Liverpool Express, have been playing the occasional gig. Are you ever tempted to hop on a plane from California and join them for a couple of shows around Merseyside?

“I did, in 2003 actually, and we all got together in Liverpool for a reunion show which was a lot of fun and very emotional too for me. It was great to have all my old friends together again and we all enjoyed catching up and seeing each other.

“I’m not a great fan of that ‘old cabaret’ circuit, but I think we would also love to go back out on the road, especially to Brazil where we toured in 1977 and where we had three number ones! That would be a real blast. I am not sure how we would find a Promoter to sponsor us and bring us back down there in 2010, but you never know. We shall see.”

 

And finally, do you have a message for our readers...

“I’ve been saying it all afternoon Dean, but it’ really down to the fans, readers and listeners. Please support musicians by buying their music and not stealing it using an illegal site. If you do, this music can still be around for the next generation.

Please support musicians by telling your friends about us and ask them not to burn copies of our hard work! It’s a simple choice! Thanks for listening!”

Fireworks Magazine Online 39 - Amanda Palmer

AMANDA PALMER

Amanda Palmer is/was, (it’s still not totally clear), half of the duo the Dresden Dolls, and since releasing her first solo album ‘Who Killed Amanda Palmer’ her profile has risen considerably.  She is, first and foremost, a performer, rather than just a musician, which is reflected in all the offshoots that have come along with the album.  People are starting to catch on to this lady, and I was lucky enough to get to speak with her before her show at the Union Chapel in Islington in September.

So, I’ve seen the new DVD. When I first watched it, and I’ve seen all the ones you’ve put up on YouTube, I was thinking some of these are different to the ones I saw on YouTube.

“They wouldn’t be different edits but the quality was vastly different.”

I couldn’t believe it when you said not to buy it from Amazon and the likes, because you don’t get a penny out of it. How does that happen?

“Well that’s a classic major label thing where I’m ‘not recouped’ so until I recoup – which means they’d have to make back all the money they spent on the Dresden Dolls and all the money they’ve spent on me, before I see anything. The irony is even if I was recouped I would be getting a terrible royalty rate on things like this. I was very naive when I signed that record contract, that’s what it comes down to.”

It mystifies me that they’re not giving you support. There was a link for tickets for these shows on the net - £14 face price going for £150!

“And I’m broooooke!! [laughs]. Let’s scalp some tickets! Fuck ...it’s not too late, haha!  But you know, that’s very typical – a lot of artists are scalping their own tickets nowadays. They don’t do it openly but it’s a fucking racket and a half, it’s so bad.”

Am I right in thinking you’re doing a free show tomorrow night?

“No. It’s £10, which is close to free. I like keeping it cheap [laughs]. I don’t mind being broke with all my fans – I kinda like it. I always had a huge amount of respect for Fugazi, who famously would only play $5 shows. They were just so politically minded, they didn’t want anyone not to be able to come.”

Are you doing ‘Please Drop Me’ tonight?

“[laughs] You know, I think that song was a time and a place and I did it for YouTube – I was, like, I’ll play this song once, I’ll get my message out to the label. This doesn’t need to become an Amanda Palmer staple, haha.”

Has it made any difference?

“No. I think they think I’m cute and annoying, when they see stuff like that.”

So what does it actually mean for the future? You’ve just done this album, and you’ve obviously got irons in the fire. So what does all this controversy mean for you now?

“It means that I feel incredibly unsettled in my life. I’m just kind of floating very blindly right now – I don’t really know what I’m doing next.  I’ve amassed a sizable debt on this project and this record, and these past few tours and I have a lot of available income and ways of making money that are blocked off to me because of the label, and since I’m not actively out touring and supporting this record right now, I’m not really making a lot of money. So it’s a weird time for me right now. I’m sort of looking around every day going like ‘What am I doing?’ But I feel like right now it’s kind of a waiting game and I’ve been locked into the waiting game since June and it’s just protracting and protracting, so it’s frustrating but also the past few months have been really healthy for me because I’ve finally let go of my resistance and allowed myself to bounce around and enjoy life a little more impulsively, and I’ve finally caught up a little bit emotionally, where I started to lag when I was on tour with the Dolls endlessly, and I’ve reconnected with friends and family that had just disintegrated, because after years and years on the road and you come through town enough times saying ‘I don’t have time to see you, I’m way too busy, I have to do press, I’ve gotta do shows etc’ the building blocks of your relationships start to turn to dust, and you have to stop, and actually spend real time repairing those relationships.”

Is it fair to say the ‘Who Killed Amanda Palmer’ project is bigger than the Dresden Dolls, because you’ve got all this, you had the book. I look at things and you have more people into your music than you did when you were doing the Dresden Dolls stuff.

“I think it’s all relative. To me, whatever I’m working on at the time is the biggest project of my life and I never really measure things one against the other. It’s funny, I can’t think of the Dresden Dolls as an entity. To me, it’s my band, my songs – it’s all me, and when Brian was a part of it he was a huge part of it, and it was all us. But it certainly doesn’t feel like part of the past – everything feels like it comes with me.  And it’s interesting – because it was all of my song-writing, I’m playing as many Dresden Dolls songs tonight as I am originals and covers. And none of it feels like back catalogue – everything feels like it part of the same menu.  The first Dresden Dolls record continues to outsell everything, and I’ve noticed when I look at my set-list, some of those songs live really stand the test of time: songs like ‘Destiny’, ‘Half Jack’ and ‘Coin Operated Boy’, and I love the second Dolls record – some of those songs are my favourite, but as live songs they haven’t persisted as much as that first album.”

As well as the album and the DVD that came out under the Who Killed Amanda Palmer heading, there is also a book, filled with elaborate photographs of yourself, killed in many different ways, and also stories written by your partner, well known author Neil Gaiman. So was that your concept, or was that Neil’s idea, after you two hooked up?

“It was my idea. It was originally sort of glorified album artwork because I was given no packaging budget from Roadrunner so I decided I would just put out an autonomous piece of album artwork and then the book grew and grew and grew and I invited Neil to write the stories, thinking that he would shoot me off an email with a couple of clever things, never knowing that we would get as involved as we did, nor knowing it would spawn a relationship either. So that was just one thing leading to another.”

So about this acting thing – you’ve been doing a short movie?

“Yeah, I just saw the rough cut today. It looked amazing.  It’s fun, I kind of got to play an alternate version of my old self – I play a bad living statue. It’s so great! I play the saddest, shittiest, loneliest little living statue. She’s just awful and no-one gives her any money and it’s a great, sort of bizarre love-triangle between two living statues and a lonely old guy. That will be airing on Sky Arts and there’s one silent film per day on the 12 days leading up to Christmas.”

Fireworks Magazine

Fireworks Magazine

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Latest Message: 2 days, 4 hours ago
  • Martykelly : Just purchased issue 89 hoping its going to be in my download soon.
  • Johns Band : Will "Watch & Listen" music videos make a comeback. Just order H.E.A.T. "Live In London" CD.
  • Berny : @the trapps: Apologies for the delay in processing your order. The magazine is now available in your downloads section.
  • the trapps : waiting for the issue 89 which we purchased to be in our downloads section ???
  • Berny : @tomandpam: Many thanks for your purchase. The download instructions were sent yesterday, please contact me at «email» should you haven't received the email.
  • tomandpam : I paid for a download on issue 89 and didn't receive the download. Please let me know when I can get it. Thanks
  • Berny : @zom414: Fireworks Magazine #89 will be available at selected UK based newsagents on December 16th. The digital version can already be purchased in our Download Store.
  • zom414 : When's the next mag due for release?
  • Berny : @el nowy: Apologies for the delay in processing your order. Pls. check your mail!
  • el nowy : Hi, how long does it take for my download license to be available? I purchased it 3 days ago. Thanks!
  • Rocktopia Te : @l.thijs: Apologies for the delay, your digital copy can now be downloaded from your "My Downloads" section.
  • l.thijs : Hi Fireworks Magazine. I made a purchase on 10 nov and I paid by Paypall. I bought the #85 fireworks mag download for GBP3,50. But I didn,t receive anything. Please can you find out what's going on?
  • kazooba : I have digital versions of every issue from 27 thru 88, any way I can get issues 1 - 26 with cd's digitally?
  • Berny : @SeaDog57: The links are in the Fireworks menu. Have you tried scrolling down? Maybe your screen size is too small...
  • SeaDog57 : Berny; there are only links up to Fireworks 86. Which is kinda strange because i already downloaded CD 87 but i'm looking for the link to CD 88...Chris
  • Rocktopia Te : @Johns Band: Can you please contact us here: «email»
  • Johns Band : Fireworks Magazine 88 did not arrive by post. paid by PayPal. Any Suggestion.
  • Berny : @bpomper: Can you pls. contact the Rocktopia team here: «email»
  • bpomper : i found the problem..old email i can not access.i have tried to change it by editing my info but it wont allow. any suggestions
  • Berny : @bpomper: A reply was sent yesterday, We recommend checking your spam/junk mail to see if our message was filtered there. The magazine was already sent to your shipping address. Please let me know if you do not receive it within the next couple of days. Thanks for your patience!
  • bpomper : Thanks didnt of that. I still have not heard about fireworks 88 was it sent out. Thankyou
  • Rocktopia Te : @bpomper: For security reasons, we removed your previous message. Please do not post your private e - mail address. Many thanks for your understanding.
  • bpomper : Thanks for the reply. I see download but can you confirm that hardcopy was or is sent ou .thanks.the email i used is inder the contact me info of the website
  • Berny : @bpomper: Apologies for your troubles. Where did you send the email to? We haven't received anything. I will send you a longer reply via mail. Also, you can download the free CD from the "Fireworks" menu on top, but the CD links are only shown if you are logged in.
  • bpomper : 3rd email inquiring about my purchase of fireworks #88. i purchased on the 2oth of sept and today is the 24 with no response...paypal has taken the payment. should i have a down load of the cd for mu usa magazine. Looking forward to an answer
  • bpomper : hello i purchased fireworks #88 through paypal on9/23 and have not recieved an email from rocktopia. purchase is for a hard copy of the mag. should i have cd download instructions.when should i expect it
  • Berny : @Johns Band: I've just sent you an e - mail. Best regards, B.
  • Johns Band : I have ordered FM Live video and £1.99 taken from my PayPal account. How do I download video. Something gone wrong at processing with Fireworks. The links to report it do not work.
  • Berny : @kevinw01: Have you received the mail containing the donwload instructions? It seems as if you are downloading the bonus CDs from the "Fireworks" menu, those are meant for our readers in the USA and Canada whose copies do not come with the CD. I will send you a mail now. Thanks, B.
  • kevinw01 : I have ordered several issues of Fireworks but when I press the download button I only get a copy of the MP3 but not the PDF files. I have an iPad. Am I doing something wrong? Kevin

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Quote of the day

“So I'm in the shower washing me hair, then I feel this stinging pain and hear this sudden plop. And I see this lump of flesh going down the plug-hole. Fucking ‘ell, my nose has fallen off!” (Status Quo’s Francis Rossi rues nostril-related cocaine damage) - Quotes collected by Dave Ling (www.daveling.co.uk)

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