Fringe interview: Amanda Palmer

The unpindownable musical force known as Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls, Eveyln Evelyn) returns to the Fringe, this time armed with only a piano and a ukulele.

Amanda’s shows are a combination of uplifting, humorous and tear-jerking, often all in the same song.

Expect special guests ranging from local musicians to celebrity friends and husbands (her author husband, Neil Gaiman, occasionally duets).

AAA caught up with Amanda for a chat ahead of her four-night stint at the Queen’s Hall…

You’re doing four nights at the Fringe this month – what can fans expect from the shows material-wise?

It’s a very stripped-down show, just me and the piano. But I’m also working very hard on crafting it – the stories, the setlist. It’s incredibly personal, the material I’ve been working on lately. Incredibly sad but often hilarious in the same moment. I’ll also scatter some older songs into the mix, but mostly, I’m playing the new collection that I’m rehearsing to turn into a recording this fall.

What can you tell us about your new album? What things influenced the writing?

What’s so funny is that I don’t usually have a good answer to that question, because I usually write about “everything” and there’s usually 5-6 strange topics crammed into one song. But this new album is the polar opposite of that. This album chronicles the last seven years of my life and deals very literally and directly with abortion, cancer, death, birth and miscarriage. Sounds like a riot, doesn’t it?

You’ve said that every show in the Fringe will be different – in what way?

I’ll be experimenting with the setlist and the stories every night – framing the songs differently, shifting things around to see how they work. This run of shows is kind of like a safe laboratory for when I take his sucker on tour next year in theatres around the globe.

You’ve been to the Fringe a few times before – what do you love about it?

i just adore the feeling of ART being so totally normal and acceptable, and everywhere. That’s my general idea of utopia. Art and wine everywhere. The Fringe is also where I catch up with a lot of my touring and performing friends: it’s our hub.

Will you be going to see any other Fringe shows when you’re here?

Oh hell yes. I’m starting a list. I really want to see Home at the festival, and my friend Paul Nathan is doing a show called I Hate Children that I plan to attend with my two-year-old. I’m going to be sharing a flat with Lady Rizo – and I’ll definitely be showing up at her gig.

You’ll be taking young Anthony to see some kids stuff in Edinburgh – what is he into?

He’s into puppets! And weirdly, classical music, which isn’t something I forced on him, he just really likes Vivaldi, apparently. And I’ve never taken him to anything live and classical, so I’m going to hunt down some classical music aimed at the wee ones.

How are you managing to juggle being a mother and a performer?

Sorry, I don’t have time to answer that question… I am too busy wiping poo off my arm.

An Evening With Amanda Palmer, Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street, Thu 9 Aug, Fri 10 Aug, Fri 17 Aug, Sat 18 Aug, 7pm, £26.50, 0131-668 2019

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