Machete

-POWERED BY PATRONS -

I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you….

-Walt Whitman “Song of Myself”

 machete800

photo by allan amato, machete care of erin routson.

my dear comrades,

it is with great, great joy that i give you this latest Thing.
this song is sort of the opposite of my release a few weeks ago (“a mother’s confession”) – i’d rather you read the story and then listen to the song. it’ll make more sense that way. baths, again, are always recommended, as is bath salt, wine, tea, and a hanky. a small warning: this song is much…louder. please wear headphones or listen on a pair of separated stereo speakers if possible. a lot will be lost if you listen on laptop speakers.

 

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HERE’S AN 8-MIN DOCUMENTARY FROM THE STUDIO, INCLUDING INTERVIEWS W/ ME, BEN FOLDS, JHEREK…

WARNING: CONTAINS BOOBS, BUTTFLAPS AND MICHAEL BUBLÉ

 

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first of all: this is the 11th Thing (and fourth song) that i’m releasing on the patreon, and it’s been *exactly a year* since the patreon launched (that wasn’t planned, and i just realized because someone tweeted me…march 9th! can you believe it? ONE YEAR.)

i often take things for granted, but the patreon has now shown itself to be not only a clever and sustainable way to pay for what i was already doing. it’s literally shaping my life, the course of my days, it’s making possible the fantasy i always had: that i could get inspired by a crowd, make art at my own pace, work without a label and still get paid, and not have to compromise anything. i did it. we did it. that time has come, it’s now.

bigger on the inside” (Patreon Thing #1) and “the thing about things” (Patreon Thing #3) felt like simple songs with heavy meaning, they were both recorded for solo voice and ukulele with a minimal budget but a lot of emotion.

this song is the first full-scale band-and-strings production i’m putting out using the patreon, and the style of songwriting and production match the best of the best songs on “who killed amanda palmer” and “theatre is evil”. simply put: i’m putting my real shit out here, i’m not hoarding it for some later moment when a label might take it to some fictional higher place. this is the higher place.

and now, i’d like to tell you the story of this song.

many of you (especially if you follow my blog here and have read “the art of asking”) are already acquainted with anthony (the elder, not my son).

anthony was my best friend in the world.

instead of repeating here what i’ve already done, i’ll quote from a relevant passage in “the art of asking”:

Anthony made me feel real.

He was born in 1948, and he regaled me with tales from the ‘60s that made my heart ache to turn back the clock and live in a time when everybody hitchhiked and smoked hash while listening to Joni Mitchell on crackly vinyl records. Anthony’s stories drew pictures in my own teenage mind of wild, vital human beings creating a new reality in an upheaved world, dodging a draft, running around with feathers in their hair and knives in their boots, tearing down the system and trying to score as many girls, drugs, and adventures as they could. I was jealous.

Anthony was raised in a big Italian-American family who’d made their fortune in the liquor and real estate business. The combination of his calm, Buddhist approach to life (he taught and introduced me to yoga, meditation, and the general concept of mindfulness) and the facts that he had a black belt in karate, would arm me with pepper spray before I went on long trips alone, and displayed an arsenal of exotic self-defense weapons in the study above the office where he saw his patients, never struck me as strange.

In my Hollywood biopic, he’d be Mr. Miyagi from “The Karate Kid,” but as played by Robert DeNiro. In an over-dramatic teenage flashback scene, I would confide in him that I’d been raped by a boy from the high school. He would then narrow his eyes, make an Italian gesture in which he bit his folded tongue in half while wrinkling his nose and say:

I’m going to find that guy and beat him to a pulp…
then he’d put his hands in yoga prayer position over his heart, bow his head and calmly add…with compassion.

We shared our stories on the phone, in long letters, sometimes typewritten, sometimes handwritten, and eventually (once it existed) over email. Whenever we could, we connected in person, on long walks, over food, over coffee.

We made up absurd, fictional skits and scenarios about my lovers, our neighbors, our families, ourselves. One of the skits involved a particularly skinny and effeminate boyfriend of mine hitchhiking a ride on an eighteen-wheel truck to visit me in college and getting forcibly ejected from the passenger seat when the truck-driver realized he wasn’t a girl, then being blown into the breeze by the blast of tail-pipe exhaust as the truck pulled away, and being picked up by a passing breeze for a few hundred miles and floating through the metal grate above my basement dorm window. We would tack on details of these skits over dozens of phone calls, making up absurd new characters, cracking each other up. We were ridiculous.

But as I got older, he shared more of the real things. Not just the entertaining stories, but the sad ones. The mean ones. The embarrassing ones. The scary ones. He told me his whole life, and I told him mine.

Anthony was also one of my patrons. He gifted me books on Buddhism and cans of mace. Occasionally, when he knew I was broke, he’d include a crisp $100 bill in a letter. When I was just out of college, surviving from statue-paycheck to stripper-paycheck, making my living in one- dollar bills, Anthony would cover my rent if I were tight on cash. I was once wiped out by a $300- dollar speeding ticket I got on the Massachusetts Turnpike, racing to a gig as an artist’s model at a local art college. I had $250 in my bank account and my $350 rent was due. I borrowed the money from Anthony.

I swear I’ll pay you back, I promised. I know you will, he answered

We used to talk about what would happen if he died. He’s more than twenty-five years older than me, and I worried about it. I once asked him, while we were lying on the couches of his study, what I should say at his funeral, since I’d probably have to say something.

He gave this some thought. He said he’d like me to walk up to the front of the wake or memorial or whatever, carrying a stick.
What kind of stick?

Whatever kind of stick, he said. You know, a branch, a stick. A big one. One you can hold and everyone can see.
So you mean, like, a NATURAL stick. Not like … a martial arts stick. You mean like a…. WHATEVER kind of stick. he said, sounding annoyed. A stick from a tree. An ALL-PURPOSE stick. I’m trying to tell you something important here.

Okay. I said, breathing out. You’re dead, I’m at the funeral. What do I do with the stick?
Don’t say anything, he told me. Just hold that sucker up in the air, break it in half, and throw it on the floor.

Everything breaks.
…………

everything broke.

anthony died, in our arms, in the arms of all his beloveds, when i was seven months pregnant with his namesake.
neil held me and my belly, i held anthony. nothing in my life had felt quite that big, ever.

we did get to tell him, before we took him home from the hospital to die in peace, that we were naming the baby after him.

he said “you don’t have to do that”.

it was the last thing he said to me.

i’m looking at the baby right now. he’s asleep. little anthony. little ash.

there’s a thunderstorm, lightning, and it’s slamming rain down on thor’s beautiful handmade house, where i’m staying in austin tonight, alone.
it’s just me, the baby, four dogs, and eleven cats. everyone is alarmed by the sounds and the blasts of light.
the old gods are with us.

anthony is ash now. they cremated him, they split him him into twenty plastic boxes. i have two of them, in a closet in boston next to my meditation cushion and the bottle of holy water given to me by a monk when i was in china. the two boxes are tall and plastic and blank-white. two twin towers, filled with the remains of the person i loved most.

maybe i’ll give a box of ash to ash.

it makes me incredibly sad, sadder than any sad i’ve ever felt, that they won’t meet.

and in a selfish way…it’s not even that they won’t meet.
it’s that anthony won’t get to see me be a mother.
he taught me so much of what i know about love, the core curriculum of human kindness and compassion.
and here i am, in my final exam, and he’s not here to grade me.

……………

anthony always told me not to forget how flawed he was.

it was his greatest lesson to me, and the lesson that didn’t come until much later in our friendship, i don’t think i truly understood that part until i was in my thirties. and it was driven home, hard and painfully, while he went through cancer-times. he was such an asshole. the steroids, mostly, were the asshole. but my friend…where was my friend?

he used to say: a true friend is someone who loves you despite knowing you.

he wasn’t perfect. he was so imperfect. i knew that. but he was so honest about grappling with his imperfectness, and that was why i loved him so much. he fought, in his own flawed way, his own demons, out in an open field for everyone to see. he made no bones about that fact that he, like all of us, was totally. fucked. up. his fetishes, his OCD, his fear of flying on planes, his hatred of parties, his love of self-protection…it was all fodder for conversation over walks and groks. it was the thing, i think, that i loved most about when we would be us together. walking and talking about big, real things.

he writes a lot about his childhood in his two short story collections, lunatic heroes and beloved demons… it wasn’t a pretty place.

i’ll let him speak for himself in that realm, but suffice to say that he dealt with enough abuse to justify a pretty rough relationship with fear and self-protection, and he lived with that until the end, until the cancer won the final round and knocked him out, and he just couldn’t get up anymore.

he had so many knives. dozens of them. i even started collecting knives for him when i traveled. exotic knives from asia, morocco. little knives from switzerland. it was our joke. he’d armed me with mace as a teenager. now i was paying him back. i asked nivi, our mutual friend, to go into anthony’s study today and take a picture of one of the knife-shelves. laura still hasn’t touched the contents of his study. here:

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he told me for many years that he would leave the contents of the study to me, if he ever died. i didn’t like thinking about him dying.

he has no children.

all the books, the poetry, the jung and the jesus and the ramm dass and the statues of buddha, all the rosaries and rudraksha beads he prayed on every day for five years when he was a devotee of da free john, living a life of total sobriety with no alcohol or sugar or meat.

and all the knives and the rifles.

i love books.

i hate guns.
i hate knives.
i hate violence.

i love anthony.

we contain multitudes.

a hate sandwich with love bread.

………………………………………

and then anthony died.

i wrote this, one of the hardest blogs i’ve ever written:
http://blog.amandapalmer.net/20150622/

about five months after anthony died, and two months after little anthony-and-ash-for-short was born, there was a memorial of sorts, a reading of anthony’s books held at a church in lexington. a bunch of friends were gathering to pay him homage by reading selections from his short story collections, and nicolas and i, who were both at his deathbed, were asked to come and play.

i’d never written an anthony song, and i knew this occasion needed one.
i’d already played my share of “hallelujah”s and “i will follow you into the dark”s for his two funeral-type-things and other peoples’ funerals and somber occasions.
anthony deserved his own song.

but i didn’t have one.
moreover, i had a baby, and i was exhausted and the thought of writing a song seemed sort of unthinkable. those parts of my brain just weren’t getting used.

i woke up the day before the memorial, alone in danny and taylor’s house in cambridge, where neil and i sometimes stay when we’re in boston.
(that’s right, i’ve taken couch-surfing to its ultimate extreme and EVEN WHEN I AM IN MY OWN CITY, WITH MY OWN APARTMENT, I STAY AT OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES).

it was an unusually warm day for november in cambridge, the day before the memorial – it was walkable weather, and there was a misty rain and a strange, strong wind blowing. nicolas wanted to get together and practice the song that we were going to play together (a sufjan stevens song, “for the widows in paradise for the fatherless in ypsilanti”) and i’d suggested he catch up with me during the day. i decided to walk to cafe pamplona, via harvard yard, where i figured i would sit with the baby and read.

i thought, as i walked the stroller over the brick streets, my heart swollen and happy because of the warm unseasonable wind, that anthony never got his song. i didn’t even know what song he didn’t get. something about his contradiction, probably. something about how he was everything to so many people and so flawed. something about his knives. something about a machete.

two blocks later, i realized what was happening. the song was already writing itself in my head.

it took the walk, the weather, and the expanse of free time. sometimes you have to make space for things to come. had i been with neil, i wouldn’t have written it. if i’d been cold and trying to get indoors, i wouldn’t have written it. this isn’t a prescription for a husband-less life in bali. but maybe there’s something to be said for being in motion when i write (i almost always am. the climate may be more agreeable to change than the marriage, and i’ll keep it all in mind as i plan my life to come.)

i decided to give it a go. i had a third of a song in my head. i was a block or two from harvard yard and the leaves were pouring down in swirls. i set the baby down on the grass and took out my notebook, and wrote the first lines. i took a picture of him. he looked beautiful, there in the yellow leaves.

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nicolas came, and i played him the very start of my song. we practiced for the memorial.

004

…and the spell of writing was broken i went home to the cloud club.

neil was off in his own life in upstate new york, getting ready to do his own event and catching up on work.

i’d wanted him to come so badly, and now i’m so glad he didn’t, even though that sounds awful.

i kept the third-finished song in my head, i went home that night and before i knew it, it was late. it was midnight.

i don’t really write in the mornings. and i knew that i’d blown my chance. unless i decided to stay up into the night.
the baby was hanging out, quite cheerfully, in a suitcase, because i had no crib.

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it was at this point that i gave myself what i’d call an enforced crossroads. a fictional ultimatum.

i was like: ok. you are going to have one of two lives. you are either going to be the person who stayed up and wrote the song, or you’re going to be the person who went to bed and didn’t write the song. you are either going to be a songwriter, or a boring fucking parent. which would you like?

once i did that to myself, it was curtains. i stayed up and i wrote the song, just to prove to my terrified parent-self that i could. i left the baby in the suitcase, and when he croaked and cried and complained too much, i snuggled him into a wrap against my chest and kept writing. sometimes i had to stop and feed him. i stopped and fed him. then i kept writing. by four in the morning, i had a song.

the next night, i played it in its sloppy first-draft form, on a church piano, at anthony’s memorial for about a hundred people. it was much slower.

then i let it be.

i didn’t even think about recording it.

it had served its purpose.

i had written something real, and i had done it with a baby, and so i was fine. i wasn’t going to die an artistic death.

…………….

about six weeks later, neil and i were in LA over christmas (in a rental, yes,where the baby fell off the changing-shelf https://amandapalmer.net/amothersconfession/).

our baby ash-tony was now starting to flesh out as a small human being, and we’d had no help, no babysitters or nanny-types….just us taking care of a baby by ourselves for three and a half months.
neil was starting to go a little crazy. and i was starting to go a little crazy, though i was having a hard time admitting it.

after we’d had about twenty relatives over to our LA rental for christmas day, and the dishes were piled up, we both started breaking. also, holidays.

jherek and his girlfriend mayumi came over to say hello and have a vegan eggnog, and we started talking about how we were. and just talking to jherek made me homesick for music, and for making, and for tour, and for being a musician.

i have a song, i said. it could probably sound great with strings.

we should do it, said jherek.

we should, i said, like, tomorrow. like right now.

jherek said: sure.

and i said, i mean it. let’s just get a band together and go into the studio. i have to make something and not just change a diaper and wash a dish or i am going to go mental and eat this couch and the people are going to come take me away.

and jherek said, sure. i’ll play bass and do the strings.

and the next day i texted ben folds, and ben folds said he’d play drums, and ben had a friend ryan who played guitar.
and i sent them all my shittily-recorded phone recording of the song that i made in my apartment the night before the memorial, and i told them to learn it but expect it to be much faster.
and we decided we’d tweak it in a rehearsal, and spend one day rehearsing and recording, that was it.
and a week later…we did it. we used the patreon budget, rented a bunch of gear, loaded into east west studio in LA, took four hours to learn and rehearse and arrange the song (ben and jherek and ryan all had great input and wrote their own parts), and about three hours to do a bunch of takes.

east west is a big studio and has several rooms. we were in the smallest room, where, historically, “california dreamin’” was recorded.
in the other two studios were john legend and michael buble. we felt very punk rock.

jaron and bebe:

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me and my fate:

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me and ben and baby (photo by jaron luksa)

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jherek and ryan:

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ash-duties were shared by mayumi, ben’s daughter gracie, and neil. neil took the last shift.

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jherek stayed up until 3 am working on the string arrangement, i went home to rest my voice, and the next day we recorded strings and vocals at my old friend jaron luksa’s home studio.

the strings: aniela marie perry on cello, lauren elizabeth baba on viola, crystal brooke alforque on violin (photo by nicole lemberg):

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making things work….

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jaron’s mixing lair:

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jherek’s sheet music:

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strings and a jherek and a baby:

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(all the above photos by nicole lemberg)

and that, as they say, was that.

jherek got to work mixing, and i got to work thinking about what kind of image might be appropriate for a cover.

a week later, at the crack of dawn, i found myself on the beach outside my cousins house in hermosa beach, holding a naked baby and crowdsourced machete (thanks to erin routson, who not only came at six a.m. with a machete but also held photo lights).

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yes. it was cold.
the dress was brought by allan.
i was planning on being naked, but he thought i might want it just in case.
the naked photos didn’t quite work.
but the dress photos did. the dress was designed by Rachel Freire!!

allan amato, the photographer (who has to be commended on his ability to think that clearly at 6 am), also came to the studio sessions with olga nunes, and together they captured a bunch of documentary footage of the song-making, which i’ll post here tomorrow, after which point it will live forever on this page.

and that, they say, was that.

i wanted to put the song out right way, but then, while we were working on the mix, david bowie died, so we switched our attention to the covers of his songs.
and now, fatefully and accidentally chosen, it’s coming out exactly one year, to the day, after i launched the patreon.
it doesn’t feel like a coincidence.
none of it does.

i miss my friend.

i miss him so much.

everything changes, everything breaks, everything slowly gets put back together.

………….

i did break a stick, by the way.
two sticks, actually.
one for each funeral.

i burned one of them, and one i kept.
it’s already a new relic in my collection of Things.

he always told me not to get attached to Things.

……………..

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….Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

-Walt, as often quoted to me, by Anthony.

 

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the end.

………

i love you all so much.
thank you for listening. thanks for being my patrons and making this possible.
this one wouldn’t have happened without you. the song, yes. the recording… no. not like this.

Please, please wear headphones, there’s panning.

the band:
amanda palmer – piano and vocals
jherek bischoff – electric bass, string arrangement, mixing & mastering engineer, bad-ass
ben folds – drums, spiritual editor
ryan lerman – electric guitar
aniela marie perry –  cello
lauren elizabeth baba –  viola
crystal brooke alforque –  violin

sound engineers:
chris kahn at eastwest studio LA (band)
jaron luksa at the rattle room (vocals and strings)

thanks to mayumi heider for cat-herding, to mayumi, risa luksa, and gracie folds for childcare, to allan and olga for photo and video, to nicole for photos at jaron’s, and to erin….for a machete.

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—LYRICS—

MACHETE.

i have never liked the box of knives
you said was a paradox because you’re kind
but withstood a childhood that robbed you blind
of love that was safe and so you learned to fight
x3

what do i do with this stuff?
it seems like yesterday i called you up
i had a terrible case of the past
i didn’t know how to get it off
i didn’t know how to get it off

and you took
your machete
and you sliced through the vines that wrapped around me
and you said
i don’t know what i’m doing
so i’ll just keep on cutting
it’s worth a little blood to get your arms free

i have never liked the box of knives
you said was a paradox because you’re kind
but withstood a childhood that robbed you blind
of love that was safe and so you learned to fight
x2

what do i do with this stuff?
it seems like yesterday i was in love
i kept of covering the soft parts up
i didn’t know how to get them off
i didn’t know how to get them off

and you took your machete
and you hacked through the woods in the surrounding
and you said
i don’t know where i’m going
i just know that i’m heading from
the dead things piling up behind me

and you took
your machete
and you carved out a path to my chest and you said see
there’s nothing not worth keeping
you’ve felt so many beatings
but
nothing’s going to work if you believe me
nothing’s going to work if you believe me

i have never liked the box of knives
you said was a paradox because you’re kind
but withstood a childhood that robbed you blind
of love that was safe and so you learned to fight
x2

i have never liked the box of knives
i took it to the oceanside the day you died
i stood out on the dock
no matter how hard i tried
i couldn’t drop them in
and i collapsed and cried:

what do i do with this stuff?
it seems like yesterday you were alive
and it’s as if you never really died
and it’s as if you never really died.

and you took
your machete
and you said boo guess who
but seriously, beauty
you said
see ?
you get the drill now don’t you
it’s not a will or won’t
you can’t keep making symbols out of nothing

so i took your machete
and i sliced off your head and you laughed
and you said see
it’s just like anti matter
it’s dumbo’s magic feather
you don’t need me here to cut you
you don’t need me here to cut you
you don’t need me here to cut you
you don’t need me here to cut you

free.

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 —POSTER INFO—

p.s. – if you are a patron you will have received an email with a link to download the song in your choice of MP3 or WAV. all current & future patrons will also have access to a link to the poster which is already selling fast!

the easiest way to make sure you don’t miss out on these awesome things in the future is to become a patron, for as little patronage as $1/thing! join the growing patreon community at https://www.patreon.com/amandapalmer.

PLEASE SUPPORT INDEPENDENT MUSIC AND SHARE THIS SONG EVERYWHERE YOU CAN. HERE IS THE LINK TO SHARE: http://bit.ly/AFPMachete

76 Responses to “Machete”

  1. David Dawson

    I always want to thank you, for the way you can make me cry with joy at loss and finding

    And now I know to thank Anthony, too, so I do.

    Reply
  2. Autumn Hedonia

    Since there are no comments here, I’m kind of live blogging my impressions into this box on my second listen. I really like the electric guitar in this. Which I’ve never felt fitted too well into your songs, but this works. The layering is wonderfully lush and yet perfectly disorienting and confronting. That piano downturn before “what do I do with this stuff” is lovely. The song has great momentum by the second chorus. A touch of Strength Through Music in that second string interlude. “the dead things piling up behind me” is such a powerful lyric. The third verse is wonderfully naked and evocative. The way you say “beauty” is so emotive and wonderful. It’s like I can hear you remembering him say it to you. Like I can hear him saying it to you. The conclusion is perfect. Absolutely raw and sublime. Definite tears. Thank you Amanda.

    Reply
  3. Kate Michmerhuizen

    ARG! I’m at work! I can’t read or listen yet. Tempted to headphone it but then I can’t read and there’s no tub or wine and I’ll cry at work. BUT that photograph is brilliant!!! It epitomizes Mother! We saw Lillith (http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/lilith-35875) at the MFA this weekend and I was reminded of how much this piece speaks to feminine strength. That’s what I see just in the image. I’m DYING to get home!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  4. Maria

    The last repeating lines gave me chills. How you manage to do that to me still after how many years baffles me. Thank you for the wonderful song. I wish I could have known Anthony, but you help us to know him through your tributes. I’m glad you had such a wonderful mentor and friend to support you and help you learn about life and love. And now you’re passing his lessons onto us in your own unique way. Thank you. <3

    Reply
  5. Nanc MacLeslie

    Crying and smiling, as usual. I recently lost my own “Anthony” to pancreatic cancer. His name was Dan. He was 49. He could play any instrument known to man. He loved people and music. We were musical partners and he was my best friend. It’s easier knowing you know how it is. Thank you for that.

    Reply
  6. TheDeadUnicorn

    It felt so good to read this.It’s like a mix of everything you are and are learning to be.I mean,you’ve always been a beautiful collage,but in this blog-post it shows so much (parent/musician/friend/etc),and it’s so human.And it’s so beautiful.

    Reply
  7. Sarah R. Bloom

    So fucking proud to be a supporter. I really love you. Thanks for being so wonderfully un-apologetically and imperfectly you. <3

    Reply
  8. LostStar

    Beautiful. Thank you for an amazing song and for making me so glad and proud to support you in making music like this.

    Reply
  9. kristyn7

    I haven’t wanted to choreograph in months, over a year. This gave me visions. Thank you for that. Beautiful and powerful.

    Reply
  10. Jen Hackenholt Mont

    So. Words. Fail. Beauty. Richness. Depth. I feel your story and my own is pulled from its depth. Thank you for being you and doing what you do. So joyful that I can support it! I am awe struck.

    Reply
  11. Janet R

    Thank you for sharing this Amanda. This strikes so many chords with me – so much that you share does. Someday… I hope I get to share my home with you, your family, your companions, whoever, when you’re in Australia. Meantime, love to you and all of them both here and gone.

    Reply
  12. Stephanie Brockway

    Wow, the lyrics are really beautiful. It was the ending that really sealed it. “it’s dumbo’s magic feather. you don’t need me to cut you free” Love it.

    Reply
  13. Mary Layton

    Beautiful. And, I don’t know if it was intentional, but in the photo of Ash with the yellow leaves – he’s on a sort of heart-shaped section of grass, where the leaf density is thinner. SO EFFING BEAUTIFUL!

    Reply
  14. Carolina Cárcamo

    Amanda, this post is so moving…
    Before I knew what you were talking about in the song, I started to think a lot about my best friend, how much he does for me every day, and how much I love him.
    So I think you made your point… You transmitted perfectly your feelings for Anthony in Machete. I knew what the song was about, before I read the lyrics (English is not my native language).
    When I read the post, I broke into tears. Definitly one of the songs that is hardest for me to listen, it’s really sad, but also beautiful in it’s own sublime way.
    Thank you for sharing this story with us, it’s not only about a song to listen; it’s about sharing a piece of you with other people, and about teaching stuff to others too.
    Thanks for your art. Thank you for making me feel so much.
    Thanks for this.
    Love you, Caroline.

    Reply
  15. Lisa Bonnice

    Only for you, Amanda, would I go to the other side of the house and find my headphones. I’m glad I did. What a magnificent song! Thank you for sharing it with us and for allowing us to be your patrons. <3

    Reply
  16. Dee Romesburg

    Beautiful and heart-rending. Thank you for making this.

    Reply
  17. Amy Meyer

    brilliant! woven strata – strings & stories.
    thank you.
    honored to participate.
    deep bow to you, amanda, and to all your patrons!

    Reply
  18. Cyn McCollum

    And I’m bawling my eyes out again. My dog is really upset. I didn’t know any of that about Anthony, I’ll go read after I write this. I love you for sharing all your talent and emotion with us. Thank you.

    Reply
  19. Michele M

    Listened before I read – and sat sobbing halfway through the song. Then, I read this backstory and listened to the song again (with headphones this time) Still a sobbing mess, such a hauntingly beautiful song. I ache for your loss.. and for mine. Thank you. Thank you.

    Reply
  20. Jenna

    <3 This is beautiful, thank you Amanda. I didn't know I needed to be broken open until you broke me open with this.
    I shared it with my brother, who runs a small internet radio station. He's going to play it tomorrow night. Thank you again.

    Reply
  21. parts per million

    The phenomenon that involves epiphanies while walking has been written about in length by Rebecca Solnit (men explain things to me, wanderlust, and the art of getting lost) and Virginia Woolf. Two great women whom I liken Amanda Palmer to. (Among others I am sure)
    This was beautifully writte . And the music (with headphones!) was brilliantly executed. The photograph was expertly imagines. All of this art, I truly appreciate it.

    Reply
  22. Orit

    You’ve put out some wonderful Things in this past year on Patreon, but this one is, hands down, my favorite. Love it.

    Reply
  23. Dresden Linde

    Holy crap. I finally got to listen to this. I am so very glad that I am supporting you. THANK YOU FOR THIS!

    Reply
  24. NativeWit

    Happy sad ending new beginning, Amanda.

    Thank you for sharing this – its beautiful – and for sharing Anthony (and Anthony0, sharing your experiences as you’ve lived this journey. I have learnt and continue to learn so much from you.

    And also, a music-geeky-tech-tip-of-my-hat- to you and your motely crew: this is by far the best production I’ve yet heard you craft.

    Love.

    Reply
  25. JohnG

    Machete is beautiful and perfect. I don’t have any fucking money to be a patron but I swear I will someday.

    Reply
  26. Katt

    I have finally realised what it is about the Amanda/Anthony dynamic that has haunted me through all of your exploration, through reading his books and your Art of Asking and your blogs and messages and beautiful tributes. I have identified with your lyrics through the years, though mostly in retrospect as you are younger than me and your immediate reality was closer to my past memories.
    I kept empathising with you and tied it to my experiences of grief but that wasn’t it and I couldn’t articulate what I felt properly. I finally had that flash of connection that illuminates a landscape and exposes the true shape of things, a genuine revelation: I am not like you in this, I am an Anthony.
    I have never had someone to cut me free, I have had to do that myself but I have wielded many a scalpel/dagger/machete/hatchet for others. The greatest feeling for a person like me is to see the ones they have cared for pick up their own machete, I believe Anthony would be so proud of you.
    This is a beautiful and fully realised piece of art: Excellent song-craft, musically engaging and lyrically connective. You have chosen the right people with obviously extraordinary talents that complement your own aesthetic and creative choices and the synthesis creates something rather more than the sum of its parts. I love so much of your work but I feel you are truly coming into your own as a mature and full-fledged artist able to add control and craft to existing depth of emotion and passionate expression. You are certainly not less of an artist, if anything you are more.

    Reply
  27. Ronda Collins

    My mom passed away very unexpectedly 2 weeks ago. And this song hits and it hurts and it also makes me feel okay. It doesn’t feel like a coincidence that you released this song today and that I hear it for the first time exactly when I need to. With headphones and alone so the tears held back for 14 days could come.

    I snatched up a signed Machete poster before I was able to get home to read the story and have the first listen. I bought it before I even knew what it meant. It doesn’t feel like a coincidence. None of it does.

    Thank you for making and sharing this beautiful song. <3

    Reply
    • Michelle Peck

      Can I ask how much the poster was? The song has touched my soul and I really want to get one, but I don’t know if I can fit it in my budget. Thank you!

      Reply
  28. lentower

    Anthony graded your life a long time ago.

    A conditional A+.

    The condition is to not take it for granted.

    Reply
  29. Russty

    The song is so beautiful. I sat here listening in my studio, crying so hard. I understand so much how you feel. 13 years ago in a horrible accident my Anthony who was named, Jack was killed. I didn’t have him for long enough. I met Jack when I started dating my husband. Jack was a friend of his fathers and some how he just worked his way into my heart. He was this big guy who looked like Ron Pearlman and rode a big motorcycle all the time. But under all the biker gruff was this heart that taught me what it really means to love someone. When my father in law called to tell me that Jack was gone I couldn’t believe it. Jack was the man who rode his bike 700 miles to see me and who cried when I told him I was going to have our first child. How was I going to live my life without Jack there to guide me? At his funeral his wife took me aside and told me this beautiful and hysterically funny story about her life with Jack. It really summed him up. Later when we were having a private mourning for Jack with just loved ones sitting around watching old home videos of Jack and everyone together, I told them I was pregnant again very unexpectedly. Jack had left us, but here was this little one coming now. I told them the babies name was Jack, that some how I needed some way to still have him in my life. Jack is 11 now. She’s passed out on the couch, while I listen. We tell her all the time that her namesake would have loved her. They are both such funny loving amazing people. I really want to hug you so hard. And give that beautiful baby some love. Thank you so much for sharing this song, sitting here listening to it I felt like we made it through another day. It’s going to be okay. Huge love to you, Amanda.

    Reply
  30. Deniz Bevan

    Gorgeous. Congratulations Amanda and the band! Jherek’s strings are always awesome.
    Now I feel like rereading Anthony’s stories. I hope those who haven’t read them yet discover them too!

    Reply
  31. xunk16

    Thank you for this pure piece of emotion you shared with us. Since the first time I heard you sing, the voice of an angel murdering a piano in the Dresden Dolls, few songs have been as sharp as this one. Again, I felt travelling 120 km/h siting in my chair. The past and the future, all quantum states compressed as one. Alone, and loved. Thank you. It felt good to feel again.

    Reply
  32. cut-but-healing

    This song is a song of multitudes so I would like to share mine. I broke the rules and listened to the song, reading along with the lyrics, before I read this blog and wow did I get a different image. It just goes to show the “primacy of context” I guess. Full disclosure: not a happy story.

    The box of knives was a thing that my ex-boyfriend had in his room. It was his “play” box (yes, it had real knives in). I was 16, he was too old. My childhood (well, technically late adolescence) was “robbed blind” by him. It was not a good time in my life, it destroyed my relationship with my parents who are only just beginning to understand. Being constantly made to perform broke my self-confidence and made me hyper conscious of my body. This song to me is an anthem for my lost self that I’m starting to get back.

    “what do i do with this stuff?
    it seems like yesterday i called you up
    i had a terrible case of the past
    i didn’t know how to get it off”

    That verse sounds to me the sound of one of my flashbacks.

    “there’s nothing not worth keeping
    you’ve felt so many beatings
    but
    nothing’s going to work if you believe me”

    I can just hear this in his voice, I think he knew deep down that he was breaking me and he knew that I knew.

    Basically, I just wanted to write this down because writing things helps me understand. Songs contain multitudes, context is everything.

    Reply
  33. Jas Wong SY

    I’ve been listening to this song in the office, but it was a bit of a distracted listening. Sorry about that.
    I am home now, and TRULY savouring it!
    Much as I love your raw vocals with the trademark ukulele, I very much miss the Rock and Roll songs that I first fell in love with.
    Thank you for this song, and the write up. It’s indeed a wonderful tribute to Anthony.
    P.S. I love knives. They’re such elegant and skilful weapons. Thank you for sharing Anthony’s private collection! Love!

    Reply
  34. Varina Sidley

    Thank you Amanda, that was beautiful. Your music always touches me to my core. I recently lost a friend who I knew for too little time, and it’s impacted my life in a big way. Thank you for sharing this.

    Also, yes headphones! I listened on stereo speakers (somewhat quietly) first. Prior to reading the blog. Then I read the blog and put on headphones and wow, full experience.

    Reply
  35. Jess(t)BeTrue

    FML… I made the mistake of reading this in the middle of my work day and it’s turned me into a blubbering mess. This is a beautiful, touching, lovely gift. Thank you so so much for sharing such a deep part of your being. This is one of the bravest things I’ve ever had the privilege of experiencing.
    Lovely Saudade…

    Reply
  36. Chub Rub

    This song is so wonderful, even on a first play. What a beautiful tribute to your dear, lost friend.

    Reply
  37. Nicole Potts Mack

    This is your best work. I’m crying. I’m heartbroken. I’m free.

    Reply
  38. Southpaw211

    I’m going to be honest – when I first listened to the song yesterday, I wasn’t warm to it. It made me feel a little anxious and disjointed because I couldn’t find the rhythm. But then, I was sitting at my desk at work – the last place in the world that I ever want to be – so it’s hard to find comfort when you’re not comfortable. It takes so much energy. But now I’m home, I’m sitting by the fire tonight and taking some quiet time to listen again. And I listened, listened and listened once more. I love it. Each listen brought me a little closer into your relationship, each listen made it clearer what you were trying to say to him, what he was saying to you – “you don’t need me to cut you free.” It sounds as though you gained the wisdom he was trying to pass on to you over the years, a once in a lifetime relationship.

    Reply
  39. Rebekah Johnson

    Amazing. You never cease to inspire. I sat down to listen to the song but ended up reading your story first and I am so glad I did. Thank you for sharing. :)

    Reply
  40. Christine Marie Thomas

    “there’s nothing not worth keeping
    you’ve felt so many beatings
    but
    nothing’s going to work if you believe me”

    I’d love to read/hear/see the story within the story, so if you ever feel like elaborating on this section of the song… I’ll be on the lookout. :) Thank you for sharing, always.

    Reply
  41. Nicola M

    This song is so amazing, beautiful, heartbreaking and comforting in equal measure. Basically, when it is not on repeat on my laptop it is on repeat running through my head! So much wisdom and hard won awareness, not just in the song, but in how it came to be. And even more poignant having read The Art of Asking and understood your relationship with Anthony. Good job guys! Looking forward to another year of Patreon-fuelled creativity from you Amanda. Big love.

    Reply
  42. Dana Bennett

    Amanda, I’m a member of your Patreon but I had to pay for Machete. Why? BTW love love love Machete!

    Reply
  43. Dana Bennett

    Also, bandcamp shows I’m signed up but it’s not in my app store (Mac), not in my Downloads, iTunes or anywhere else. I tried signing up with Disqus but they’re a worthless piece of shit and won’t let me login or even sign up. Is there anyone on your team who can help me? Please?

    Reply
  44. incoherentsanity

    I’m a little drunk at the moment, but yet I enjoy the first stanza. However I cannot hear the rest of the music, besides the stanza’s about not liking the box of knives. I may have to give this another listen to whilest being sober. :)

    Reply
  45. Soraya Coelho

    This is my first time in there (and I’m sorry for my poor english, I hope you understanding me)… I swear, I dont know how to explain what I fell with this song… I sat here, listening and crying and I’m so grateful to you for introducing us Anthony… Thanks Amanda. For sharing with us your life and your art.

    Reply
  46. Richard Brewster

    stunning, powerful, moving, different but also classic AFP. Also a great collection of people on this project :-D Purchased

    Reply
  47. Tamara Tomorrow

    beautiful song. reminds me of one of my favourite song off “Theatre is Evil”, “Want it Back” in terms of rhythm; love it when your voice is looped that way!

    having recently read both “The Art of Asking” and Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”, it sounded like a farewell to Anthony as well as a love song to the two other ‘men’ in your life…

    Reply
  48. Marina Ander

    Creo que soy la única que te escribe en español, no voy a forzar mi inglés.

    Siento que te conozco, escuchar tus canciones es como escucharte hablar, escucharte contar tu historia, fragmentos de tu vida. Siento que somos amigas, que sos una especie de tía/prima/amiga alocada a la que admiro y amo.
    Gracias por todo, por tu voz, tus canciones, por regalarnos cuatro minutos de gloria cada tanto, significa mucho para mi que nos confíes (a quienes te seguimos) esos pedazos de corazón, de vida, de alma o como quieras llamarles, que dejas en tus canciones.
    No voy a analizar “Machete” desde lo musical como veo que otros han hecho, yo me quedo con el sentimiento y lo que significa.

    Muchas gracias por regalarnos esto. Marina

    - Córdoba, Argentina

    Reply
  49. Helen Russell

    Thank you for writing Machette, and for recording it for uus too. Along with the Bowie stuff, it’s really making me miss my Dad. He was my Anthony, yes, I know how lucky I was for that.
    Dad played his records every Sunday while we were all getting the dinner ready (I would occasionally get a sip of his grown up drink, if he’d poured too much in “by accident”!).
    We listened to Bowie, Queen, the stones, small faces, moody blues… It meant that when a man loving another man, or a man wearing makeup was explained to me, I was young enough to just get it and understand without question.
    So my reaction on hearing about Bowie’s death was immediately “how will I tell dad”. Then I remembered. He died five years ago. Five fucking years ago and I still forget!
    I cried so much all the way to work that morning.
    So now I have your Bowie tribute playing in my brain, and along comes Machette.
    Talk about sucker punch.
    I’m not there yet. I still have days when I idiotically think “this wouldn’t be happening if dad was here to look after me” or “I could cope with this if I had dad to talk it through with”.
    I’m 38, so frankly I should probably have grown out of this long years ago, but dad was my closest ally in this world.
    He started cutting and showed me what to do, but I can’t quite finish the job off yet.

    Reply
  50. Lari AtLarge

    I’m trying to buy the song but PayPal doesn’t accept my birthday in any form :( What now?

    Reply
  51. David Green

    That’s such an amazing song. “I had a terrible case of the past…”

    Reply
  52. graziela drago

    amanda, youre so meaning to me. this image, this song, this story, this feeling, i felt here as a part of me that was lost somewhere else…so strong, so beautiful, so honest, so brave. i shared with some friends and strangers all of them understood the magical power on it… best wishes, kisses for you and the baby <3
    ps: sorry about my english i maybe did mistakes, im brazilian (in fact you could come some day =D)

    Reply
  53. Rachel Elkins

    Just listened to this for the third time in a row (headphones really do change everything!) Thank you for sharing your life with us, beautiful is not nearly an apt enough word for your art and the magic it brings to my life. I was so inspired by the entire Machete post that I finally joined the Patreon as well! It was a matter of time, I’m honored to be a part of your community.

    Reply
  54. John D Williams

    I donated and downloaded the song before reading anything about it, I just said fuck new AP! and got it. I grab the phones, slam them into the mind numbing smartphone and hit play. I get this wonderful panning on my phone, just was incredibly beautiful sounding, everything wraps you in layers and layers. Lyrics are rolling through my head…..I had a terrible case of the past…..this one line weakened my knees, it’s what I would normally call feeling nostalgic, not anymore. This one line has so altered my emotional state that the rest of it has me crying and we are not to the middle of the song yet! You hit me so hard with that line. Now every tine machete comes in I am already streaming tears. I’m bouncing along to the incredible piano, voice, overlays, just bouncing to it all. I am prepared fr machete, but not ….yesterday and alive. Now I am holding my hand over my mouth trying to maintain some kind of emotional control. Yet I am shaking, crying and know exactly who inspired this, I know where my surprise journey of deep sorrow is going (interlaced with the bouncing during box of knives). You don’t need me here to cut you….again knees are gone, I am holding myself up with a wall now.

    It does not take tons of wordage to convey feeling. Great songs can take a phrase, wrapped in a beautifully put together bit of sound, gracefully thought out within timing, pace, beat, in order to transform everything about you. This is why I love you, your gift to us, your music. What you give with such feather handed force in your music, lyrics transforms us into your heart, mind so that we feel more, understand more, just more.

    Thank you for this song and the journey you gave me. This is incredible. This is something my mind, my heart needed oh so much.

    ❤️

    Reply
  55. Marlene Tholl

    Lead the way, sweet mama. Lead the way, Amanda F’in Pama. What an inspiration.

    Reply
  56. Caroline Wiman

    The headphones did all the difference, beautiful song, magical, thank you for sharing.
    I´ve never heard your music until the other day, but I just finished reading your book and loved it. What can I say, you inspire me to be more of who I am. Thank you beautiful soul for being you <3

    Reply

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