Brechtian Punk Cabaret
The Life & Times Of The Dresden Dolls – Chapter 1: So Far…
Rock bands are pigeonholed into ever-increasingly minuscule sub-categorizations, but The Dresden Dolls continue to defy explanation and classification. While some have called it theatrical rock, punk cabaret, manic-musical, neo-glam-torch…eventually even the most clever and creative describers shrug and say: “You just have to hear it to believe it.”
Living in a two-faced, popular culture built on artifice that demands authenticity; The Dresden Dolls take the world stage, tear down the curtain, rip holes in the veneer and create their own rules, rhymes and reason. For eight years, the duo climbed steadily out of the artistic trenches and into the mainstream of rock on their own terms. The Dolls thrive on their inherent juxtapositions. The musical-theater and new-wave background of writer/singer/pianist Amanda Palmer mixed with drummer Brian Viglione’s heavy metal roots created a sonic smear of unclassifiable rock. Palmer wailed; Viglione cackled. It is this dichotomy that supplied the band with a yin-yang quality that kept them hurtling through space, pulling each other to and fro in an endless – and highly entertaining – match of musical wits.
After signing with Roadrunner Records in early 2004, the band enjoyed a whirlwind schedule that included sold-out headlining tours on four continents, an opening slot for Nine Inch Nails (after being hand-picked by Trent Reznor), performances at the world’s largest music festivals (including Coachella, Fuji Rock, Roskilde, and Glastonbury), writing and performing in an original musical (“The Onion Cellar”) at the prestigious American Repertory Theater, and releasing two innovative & acclaimed live DVDs. For many years, The Dolls’ self-titled debut sold strong, steadily scanning 100,000+ copies in the United States alone. Initially released on Palmer’s own 8ft. records in the fall of 2003, the album was subsequently re-released upon the band’s signing with Roadrunner. The release of two wildly different singles – the manic-punk “Girl Anachronism” and the cabaret-tinged and bittersweet “Coin-Operated Boy” – helped solidify the band’s presence on the internet, national radio, and MTV2 (wherein they received an MTVU award nomination for the “Coin-Op Boy” video).
In 2006, the band released their highly anticipated sophomore record – “Yes, Virginia” – to immediate worldwide acclaim. “Yes, Virginia” marked the band’s Billboard chart debut in the United States, and also charted nationally in various European countries.
In January 2007, The Dolls wrapped up a string of 40 sold-out shows in an original piece of musical theatre, “The Onion Cellar”, which was written and performed in by the band, and produced with the distinguished American Repertory Theatre.
Long-time supporters of the GLBTQQ community, Amanda and Brian proudly brought their bittersweet, smart, and gender-role-defying music to Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors tour the following summer. In addition to Lauper and The Dolls, the tour consisted of Deborah Harry, Erasure, Margaret Cho, and Rufus Wainwright amongst others.
Over the course of the next year, the band released a collection of previously un-heard studio recordings (“No, Virginia”) and trekked through North America and Europe, playing their final shows together by summer’s end.
The Life & Times Of The Dresden Dolls – Chapter 2: New Beginnings…
In early September 2010, fans around the world rejoiced upon receiving a video recorded in Amanda Palmer’s backyard, wherein The Dresden Dolls announced plans for a 10th “Bandiversary” show at Irving Plaza in New York City followed by a smattering of shows across the United States through New Year’s Eve in San Francisco, CA.
Since then, The Dresden Dolls have returned to the stage a handful of times to celebrate band milestones and bring Punk Cabaret back to the masses. In April 2015 they slayed New York’s Rough Trade where they performed a free Record Store Day show to celebrate their RSD exclusive release, The Virginia Monologues, which featured the band’s YES, VIRGINIA and NO, VIRGINIA albums pressed together as a double-vinyl. A year later, The Dresden Dolls played their biggest headlining shows to date during the inaugural season of Coney Island’s new Ford Amphitheatre at the Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn and a date at the Blue Bank Hills Pavilion in Boston.
Continuing to honor the band’s history, Fall 2017 sees The Dresden Dolls return to the stage to celebrate the band’s 17th birthday with a special Halloween show at Washington DC’s 9:30 Club, followed by a trio of shows to honor the 40th anniversary of the beloved Paradise Rock Club in Boston in early November.