Published Jan 01, 2006Sometimes it's all about finding the right one. For pianist Amanda Palmer and drummer Brian Viglione, it happened at her ramshackle artist digs in Boston, where her debauched parties were becoming the stuff of legend.
"Sometimes we'd get 200 or 300 people a night. We'd have a band playing in the attic and another in the garden, and crazy performance art downstairs naked in the kitchen. It was complete mayhem. It was heaven." A mutual friend dragged Viglione over for a Halloween salon, and the sprawling house set the stage for what she describes as "falling in rock love."
"If you've ever felt this sort of unfulfilled longing to find someone with whom to make music, and then that person comes along, it's like fireworks exploding in the night." Words tumble out of Amanda Palmer as fast and furious as the Dresden Dolls' unhinged cabaret pop songs. "From an early age we'd both had this feeling of inevitability, that we would [be musicians] and there was no need for a backup plan. The minute we played together, it was like a thunderclap from heaven."
Their songs are creepily seductive; Palmer's overwrought voice and piano riffs collide with Viglione's crashing enthusiasm. On stage, they both don white face paint and lingerie, a low-budget remounting of the Rocky Horror Stage Show with music by Kurt Weill.
"It all came about by accident," Palmer insists. "I was actually making my living as a statue, so I was painting myself white on a daily basis. And Brian was into the lingerie as a wee boy. One night we had a show with a burlesque stripper troupe, playing in this sexy red velvet lounge, and I thought this would be a great opportunity for us to get dolled up."
Their presence on MTV has unnerved some family members. "He's constantly having to do battle with his mom. She'll call him up and say "It's really fine, I'm happy and I've accepted the fact that you're gay.' And he says, No, I'm not. I'm really not. I just like to be pretty like a girl."