Amanda Palmer + Brendan Maclean – On The Door



this is one of my most ridiculous Things to date. in terms of pure tongue-in-cheek dance-mania absurdity, it’s up there with “map of tasmania”, my last humorous attempt at making you laugh with a dance track….and i hope you enjoy the eff out of it. it’s a collaboration with australian singer-songwriter-trax-master brendan maclean and australian producer paul mac.

partly inspired by rule #20 from Thor Harris’ (of SWANS, Shearwater & Thor+Friends) now-famous “How To Tour in a Band or Whatever”….

#19-Fast food is Poison.

#20-The guestlist is for friends, family & people you might want to fuck. Everyone else can pay. They have day jobs.

#21- Don’t evaluate your whole life while you’re sitting in a janitor closet waiting to go on. You think you’re above having shitty days at work? Shut up & do your goddamn job.

…wise words, Thor. (let’s also not forget Rule #8: Masturbate. Duh… Where & when? Be creative. You’re an artist right?)

back in early 2014, i was backstage at the spiegeltent during my residency at the sydney festival. the amazing brendan was guesting with me every night (we were doing THIS) and one night we were joking about the absurdity of people over-asking for door list spaces FIVE MINUTES BEFORE THE SHOW….and a totally stupid joke in a stupid german accent was born. and soon after: “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T KNOW ‘WARM LEATHERETTE’”, i shrieked at brendan, and reached for my iPhone to search for a youtube clip. i schooled him in the ways of The Normal, one of my favorite tracks ever.


(RIP gene wilder. we love you so much)

a week or two later, we were in the studio recording our official cover version of “laura” and brendan handed me a piece of paper. “I wrote lyrics for ‘On The Door’” he said. “YOU DID NOT”. he had. i spit them into the microphone. that was like two and half years ago.

we kept thinking of ridiculous people to add to our absurd list of “obnoxious guest-list needing friends”.

one by one, they came. brendan worked with paul mac on ENDLESS iterations of the song and finally….finally….it is ready.

sometimes things take a long time. this one’s been cooking for EVER. in between, i wrote a book, put out a book, went on a book tour, got pregnant, had a baby, and RAISED A BABY. he’s ONE for christ’s sake. to everything, turn turn turn….it is, again, the wonderful thing about patreon. we do things the way we wanna do them. speaking of which, brendan has his own patreon (he has about 160 patrons and is charging “per recording”. go support).

in my defense, and so you know – this song is ironic. as in….in jest. i’m the opposite of the narrator in this song: i’m obnoxiously over-invite-y with my actual guest list. just ask any of the many aggrieved tour managers and venues who have given me 50 spaces and wound up needing to let 123 people in because all of my best friends and their girlfriends and ex-girlfriends and families and grandmas have shown up. i am known to invite random people on the street to see my show even when the guest list is full. THEY CAN FIT SOMEWHERE. THEY ARE SO NICE. THEY COULDN’T GET TICKETS. THEY ARE BROKE. yes….my general attitude is:


(yay allie brosh!)




1. if you can easily afford to pay for tickets, and the show isn’t sold out, buy tickets. it leaves space for actually broke people.

2. don’t bug the artist the day of the show. the day of the show already sucks, stress-wise. if you know you want to come, ask way ahead.

3. don’t forget that backstage access and guest-list are different things. guest-list doesn’t mean you get to go backstage, and you can be put on a backstage access list even if you’re already bought tickets. be nice and buy tickets. you can still go visit your artist backstage and eat their leftover hummus.

4. don’t bug the artist (especially on the day of the show) with calls or text in the vein of “uuuhhh…where’s the show? when does it start?” please google. that is why we have google.

5. also don’t bug the artist (especially on the day of the show) with “what should i do when i get there?” questions. 99.9% of the time, there is a door list at the main entrance and/or a will-call line at the box office. go stand in it with the other people on the guestlist. you will make some nice friends. do not call the artist asking where you should stand. ask a nice venue person.


i’m getting off topic here.

i love you.

so much.

see you on zee dance floor…..


p.s. IF YOU’RE A REMIXER…..IT’S YOUR LUCKY DAY. we made all the stems freely available HERE. go crazy, and if you come up with anything good, SEND IT TO US SO WE CAN CIRCLE BACK AND SHARE IT WITH THE FANBASE!! just email your remixes to so we can have a listen. feel free to supply your own overly obnoxious voicemail messages :)

p.s.s. as usual…this whole release was supported by funding from my patreon. the money will be split among all the creators. please consider supporting the patreon if you haven’t already:



Sitting in a sweaty little van somewhere in a Sydney summer, I vividly remember watching AFP’s phone blowing up ten minutes before every show. I imagined it had to be the Stage Manager, right? Surely everyone knew it was almost show time. But ten shows into Amanda’s season I realised it was much, much worse. It was people asking to be ON THE DOOR.

One day I turned to Amanda and said, “Just tell them they are on the door minus four.”

AFP paused, slowly twisted her head towards me like I’d uttered the words of an ancient spell,

“What did you just say?”

And so On The Door was born…

support brendan making art on Patreon!!


Amanda Palmer and Brendan Maclean – Composers/Vocals
Paul Mac in The Panic Room – Producer
Sebastian Andreassen – Artwork
Sameer Sengupta – Mastering


On the Door Guests - v5



Ben Folds

Ben Folds

Craig Ferguson

Craig Ferguson

Eugene Mirman_Shawn Brackbill

Eugene Mirman


Kirsten Vangsness

Kirsten Vangsness

Mike Posner

Mike Posner


Neil Gaiman


hillstock 2011 day three


Noah Britton

Patton Oswalt

Patton Oswalt




Reggie Watts

Sarah Jones Headshot_Tom Rauner

Sarah Jones (as Lorraine)


Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman


23 Responses to “Amanda Palmer + Brendan Maclean – On The Door”

  1. Pam

    Beautiful. Hilarious. Brilliant. Even better now that I know the story. I love y’all!

  2. manycolored

    It is so hard to laugh quietly at work that tears are coming out. I’m glad it’s just tears.

  3. Magdalene Moon

    Laughing so effing hard my migraine went away!!! (Yes, Amanda- for your Art I will listen to dance trax with a migraine because I know that it will be worth far more than the pain.) #puremagick

  4. William Morris

    We will always be happy to pay, drive, wait, and buy our own beer and boil in a church, just keep doing whatever it is you do, love.

  5. K.Loo

    Omg… This is great. You’re really gonna please your fans who also get down to Gaga!! Love you Amanda. I’d been out of touch for a little while and I had a really random dream 3 nights ago where you hugged me, and I woke up and dug up the Dresden Dolls show out of my inbox and played it while at work. It made my soul sing and reminded me that being a fucking awesome artist and inspirational human being will always be at your core. Please do Dresden Dolls shows forever everywhere and keep making all the awesome things, glad to support them. <3

  6. christina paulie

    Just can’t stop giggling at this. I feel like every ridiculous story I’ve heard at will-call about how “their name should be there” is now flashing back to me, and I’m wondering how many of those folks made phone calls like these before showing up… I won’t lie, my people watching brain totally imagined that they were all just making up crazy stories on the fly. I’m not sure which version is funnier.

    On the Golden Rules list: Long ago a friend starting dragging me to concerts and taught me four things to make the most of it: Always take the day off work/school/life and show up as early as the venue will tolerate. Bring snacks and pillows. Buy a pair of extra tickets if you can afford it (to give to the fun people who show up broke but are super cool and let them join you). And sit back and watch the band unload (if the venue is small enough) and get a front row seat to watch all folks who show up at will call window and make up crazy stories about why they should be “on the list”. By the time the show actually starts, we’ve already had a blast, met all kinds of new people, and had written dozens of people-watching stories. Also, we’ve never failed to find cool folks to give the extra tickets to and share our snacks with.

    • DmacG

      I don’t suppose you have some of your better stories of “but I’m on the list…” written down on the web do you? I think a top five or ten would be quite interesting.

      • christina paulie

        Mostly they just got told out loud. And get retold whenever we get together. Many of them just claim to have lost their e-ticket paper or that they’re not sure which friend’s name will be on the list or something along these lines.

        The one that remains the most memorable is probably a girl who attempted to actually pass herself off as Ani Difranco (never mind that the girl was a good 10-15 years younger Ani, or that this was about 5 or 6 years since Ani had sported pink braids). She totally got our attention for effort though and we gave her a ticket. The real story behind her was actually that she was supposed to come with her friend who committed suicide and she desperately wanted to come to the concert to feel connected with her friend. Her friend had purchased tickets, but she hadn’t had the heart to ask her friend’s parents to hunt for them. She knew it probably wouldn’t work, but had planned to hang out and listen from the alley (the doors back there were nearly always open for concerts in the summer and you could hear every note from there). We went to a few more shows together that summer, but eventually lost touch when I left DC.

        Our favorites though were usually the ones who claimed to have met the artist at some place prior to the show and been invited. Comes-on-too-strong guy (who did not get a ticket from us) said he’d met Brandi Carlisle at the coffee shop he works at and that she’d given him this note to prove it. He told the attendant how he’d made this drink special for her and she’d loved it (there was a lot of detail about that special mocha with breve…) and that she’d put him on the list to get in since he couldn’t afford the concert otherwise. I didn’t get a close look but it was written on a wrinkled napkin. When the will call attendant insisted he wasn’t on the list, he made a complete ass of himself, punching the window and throwing the napkin in the guy’s face. After this little show and then storming off, we decided that yeah, she’d totally written him a note, but just to get him to leave her alone because he was a total creeper. Then she’d gone to the venue staff and explicitly banned the dude from the show. We’re pretty sure he’s scared off a whole slew of women with his over-attention and inability to handle rejection. Probably only makes the whole problem worse. The harder he tries, the more the women are running.

        Probably the only one I ever remember with a crazy story that actually succeeded was a woman who said that she was part of the stage crew and had been sent off to get some replacement audio cables but had gotten lost, nearly gotten mugged and lost her door pass, finally found the cables she needed, and had been calling people all the way back in the cab but no one would answer. It took about half an hour before someone came out and verified that she indeed did belong inside.

        There are dozens more. The guy who just kept begging the attendant because he said he used to work with the artist back when they were teenagers in an ice cream shop (Just tell him Jaimie’s here! He’ll know me. Look, see? We’re facebook friends!) The woman who kept begging to get into the Melissa Ethridge concert because the music changed her life (at a Melissa Ferrick concert…) The super cool woman in her 70s who once worked for Wolf Trap back in the 80s and was positively shocked that there weren’t even any lawn seats left.

  7. d4niel_p

    I love it, even more so, because for some crazy reasons I was a ON THE DOOR guy on one of your gigs in Poland years ago.

  8. Ilana Masad

    Okay, so they’re not real like I thought and commented elsewhere but it’s almost better knowing that there are so many MORE real ones. Thank you, AFP.

  9. Fiona Robson

    Hi, Guys – I have a huge problem. I’m desperate to go to the Edinburgh show. However … because of money issues, we didn’t get our tickets on time and now it says it’s sold out. We DO have the money now, though. Please, please, please, does anyone know how my beautiful husband and I can go, please? My email address is Please, Amanda – if you’re listening … please help! We LOVE YOU!!! XXX

    • Discoverylover

      I stupidly didn’t check the dates (because when you’re only going to be in Edinburgh for 6 days, why would you assume it’s the same time :@) so am in a similar boat, BUT, there’s a group of us meeting for dinner/ninja gig before the show if you want to join us! And maybe we’ll manage to find tickets in the meantime :) (let me know if you’re not on fb and I can relay the details to you)

      • Fiona Robson

        Wow! Thanks! I’ve clicked “interested” on this event. Please feel free to send me a FB friendship request – thank you xxx


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