Dresden Dolls Wiki

Amanda MacKinnon Palmer (born April 30, 1976) is a performer most noted for being the lead singer, pianist, and lyricist/composer of the "Brechtian Punk Cabaret" duo The Dresden Dolls.


Palmer grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts. She attended Lexington High School, where she was heavily involved in the drama department, and received her B.A. from Wesleyan University. She worked for some time at an ice cream shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts called Toscanini's. She staged performances based on work by the Legendary Pink Dots, an early influence, and was involved in the Legendary Pink Dots electronic mailing list, Cloud Zero. She then formed the Shadowbox Collective, devoted to putting on theatrical shows (such as the 2002 play, Hotel Blanc[1], which she directed) and street theatre, and busked as a living statue called "The Eight Foot Bride".

Despite the fact that Palmer never learned to read music (though she briefly took lessons at two different times), she started a solo effort, appropriately named "Amanda Palmer and the Void"


Solo career[]

Palmer's solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, was released on 16 September 2008.[3]Ben Folds produced and also played on the album.[4][5] The title is a play on an expression used by fans during Twin Peaks' original run, "Who killed Laura Palmer?" A companion book was released with the album featuring pictures of Amanda looking as if she were murdered with accompanying writing by Neil Gaiman.

In July 2007, Amanda played three sold out shows (Boston, Hoboken, and NYC) in rare "with band" performances. Her backing band was Boston alternative rock group Aberdeen City, who also opened along with Dixie Dirt. In August 2007, Amanda traveled to perform in the Spiegeltent and other venues at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, and also performed on BBC 2's The Edinburgh Show. She collaborated with Australian theater company, "The Danger Ensemble"; both again appeared at the Spiegeltent in Melbourne and at other venues around Australia in December 2007. In September 2007 Amanda collaborated with Jason Webley to release Evelyn Evelyn's debut EP "Elephant Elephant" via Jason's Eleven Records. In June 2008, Amanda established her solo career with two well-received performances with the Boston Pops.[6][7][8] In Autumn 2008, she toured Europe with Jason Webley, Zoe Keating and The Danger Ensemble, performing songs mostly from her debut solo album. She did most of the shows with a broken foot she had sustained in Ireland when a car – driving on the left side of the road, as cars in Ireland do – ran over her foot as she stepped out into a street.[9] She has amassed an online following of over 68,000 people.[10]

Personal life[]

Amanda's residence in Boston, the Cloud Club, was the subject of a 2006 Documentary on the Boston Channel website as well as YouTube.

Amanda practices meditation and has written an article Melody vs. Meditation,[11] for the Buddhist Publication Shambhala Sun on the struggle between being a songwriter and being able to clear one's mind in order to meditate.

She identifies as bisexual.[12] "I'm bisexual, but it's not the sort of thing I spent a lot of time thinking about," Palmer said. "I've slept with girls; I've slept with guys, so I guess that's what they call it! I'm not anti trying to use language to simplify our lives."[13] "I actually tend to like really femmey girls," Palmer said. "You can deconstruct this with armchair psychology and really nail me, but I like girls about my body type and about my mix of masculine and feminine."[14]

Awards and honors[]

  • 2008 – #6 on the Best Solo artist list in the the Guardian's Readers' Poll of 2008 [15]
  • 2007 – placed #6 on Spinner.com's Women Who Rock Right Now.[16]
  • 2006 – the Boston Globe named her the most stylish woman in Boston.[17]
  • 2006 – listed in Blender Magazine's hottest women of rock.[18]
  • 2005 – won Best Female Vocalist in the WFNX/Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll.[19][20]


  1. Boston Phoenix review of Hotel Blanc
  2. The Phoenix Media/Communications Group Dresden Dolls take the ART
  3. fish/people/belly The Dresden Dolls Diary
  4. spin.com Dresden Doll Preps Solo Debut
  5. here to dispel.
  6. Eichler, Jeremy (20 June 2008). "All dolled up at the Pops – Palmer brings the edge but the fest needs more". The Boston Globe. NY Times Co.. http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2008/06/20/all_dolled_up_at_the_pops/. Retrieved on 7 June 2008. "Last night in Symphony Hall, Amanda Palmer brought some spark and much-needed edge to the Boston Pops's EdgeFest. On her own terms, Palmer, in strong gravelly voice, gave a richly satisfying performance that had this crowd roaring far more than most in Symphony Hall. But even she couldn't overcome the deeper tensions that make the EdgeFest a strained format." 
  7. [|Smith, Rachel] (20 June 2008). "All Dolled up, Amanda Palmer and the Boston Pops, Symphony Hall, June 19, 2008". The Boston Phoenix. Phoenix Media/Communications Group. http://thephoenix.com/Boston/Music/63574-All-Dolled-up/. Retrieved on 28 June 2008. "Last night, Amanda Palmer kicked off this season of the Boston Pops EdgeFest, the orchestra’s collaboration with younger, “edgier” bands and performers drawing the iPod generation into Symphony Hall. The choice of pairing Palmer with the Pops lead me to wonder if the Pops had ever listened to a Dresden Dolls album or seen The Onion Cellar or, you know, met her." 
  8. Palmer, Amanda (1 April 2007). "The Dresden Doll's Forum". Speculation: Solo Album Title. The Dresden Dolls. http://theshadowbox.net/ddbb/viewtopic.php?p=356594#356594. Retrieved on 8 December 2007. "... i am recording the solo album....in nashville, at ben folds' studio, with ben, who is producing the record and playing on it." 
  9. "Amanda Palmer: broken foot explanation". http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=OCrO0aanSZ8. Retrieved on 7 November 2008. 
  10. "Amanda Palmer – Alternative / Rock / Other". myspace.com. http://www.myspace.com/whokilledamandapalmer. Retrieved on 29 November 2008.  This friend count is as of the access date, and is the number of distinct myspace accounts that have asked for regular bulletins from the artist.
  11. "Melody vs. Meditation". May 2008 Issue, Shambhala Sun. original publisher was Shambhala Sun Foundation, but the article can be found, with permission at, theworsthorse.blogspot.com. 19 September 2008. http://theworsthorse.com/amandapalmer/amandapalmer.html. Retrieved on 19 September 2008. 
  12. "Interview: Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer". 247Gay.com. GayWired.com. 17 July 2006. http://www.247gay.com/article.cfm?section=68&id=9942. Retrieved on 7 December 2007. "I figured out that I was bisexual when I was a teenager." 
  13. Bendix, Trish (18 July 2007). "Getting Real With Amanda Palmer". After Ellen (logonline.com): p. 1. Archived from the original on 2012-07-28. http://archive.is/0MT6. Retrieved on 4 December 2007. 
  14. Bendix, Trish (18 July 2007). "Getting Real With Amanda Palmer". After Ellen (logonline.com): p. 2. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. http://web.archive.org/20070929104425/www.afterellen.com/people/2007/7/amandapalmer?page=0,1. Retrieved on 4 December 2007. 
  15. Rosie Swash (23 December 2008). "Readers' Poll 2008: The results". Spinner. guardian.co.uk. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2008/dec/23/bon-iver-readers-poll. Retrieved on 27 December 2008. 
  16. Spinner Staff; [hoto by Sarah Komar, WireImage (15 July 2007). "Women Who Rock Right Now: No. 6". Spinner. Spinner.com. Archived from the original on 11 September 2012. http://archive.is/on85. Retrieved on 8 December 2007. "Who: Amanda Palmer Birthplace: Lexington, Mass. Sound: Cabaret punk Palmer – one-half of Boston's Brechtian punk cabaret duo the Dresden Dolls – ain't no damsel in distress. The former street artist chokeholds her demons, teetering between sinister screeches and whimsical whispers of alcohol, self-mutilation and sexual exploration, while discordantly pummeling the piano – stocking-clad legs akimbo – in a sultry, sinful self-deprecation exorcism." 
  17. Christopher Muther (2006). "Boston's Stylish 25". Boston Globe. The New York Times Company. http://www.boston.com/yourlife/fashion/gallery/1102_top25?pg=54. Retrieved on 8 December 2007. "Dresden Dolls lead singer Amanda Palmer, quite literally, has a rockstar wardrobe." 
  18. Mike Errico (December 2006). "Hottest Women of…Rock!". Blender.com. Dennis Digital, Inc.. http://www.blender.com/guide/articles.aspx?ID=2295&src=blender_ed. Retrieved on 8 December 2007. "Amanda Palmer - The pianist and singer of Brechtian Boston duo Dresden Dolls mashes up punk rock and cabaret, sings about transsexuals and explores the elaborate deceptions that alcoholics commit daily." 
  19. Half Jack. "Amanda Palmer". Bestuff. bestuff.com. http://bestuff.com/stuff/amanda-palmer. Retrieved on 8 December 2007. "In the 2005 WFNX /Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll, Palmer won Best Female Vocalist." 
  20. "The Dresden Dolls". ThoughtWorthy Media, Inc.. http://www.thoughtworthy.com/product.cgim?cookie_refresh=1&partner=twm&tab=ABOUT%20THE%20ARTIST&product_id=1383. Retrieved on 7 December 2007. "In the 2005 WFNX/Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll The Dresden Dolls won Best Local Act and Best Local Album. Amanda Palmer also won Best Female Vocalist."