jetlag, butterfly club & chapters
the stray cats show was depressing.
they were great, they brought it…they played from their hearts, they put on a solid show. but the audience would not move. they just stood there. doing nothing.
it killed me. it made me angry. it made me fearful. it made me want to play gigs for 5 years with not a single night off and then go hide and retire so that that never happens to me.
it made me thankful. if i ever feel like my audience is tuning out that much, i swear to god i’ll quit.
it made me really think about the ephemeral quality of bands, and rock, and roll.
something about being OF THE MOMENT and how that moment can never fully be recaptured. if you miss it, it’s gone. forever.
recreating it can lead to pain and emptiness beyond the pale. that’s how i felt, standing there. that this was all an illusion.
everybody was waiting for the radio hits, the crowd wasn’t a tribe, it was a just a random selection of people, all vaguely distrustful of each other.
hotel room in melbourne, jetlagged as shit, having barely seen the sun for 2 days, except sometimes through the window and even then i don’t believe it’s real because my body is telling me it’s dark out.
after the private slumber-party gig at the butterfly club, i collapsed and slept the jetlagged sleep that only the dead or jetlagged do and managed to miss a whole day. i don’t know where that day went. i remember waking up a dozen times and going back to sleep a dozen times and i remember answering emails and reading in bed and i remember doing laundry in the sink and leaving once to get sushi and whacking off, not all in that order. i still hate that i know that my mom reads my blog.
the slumber party was amazing, in a way that words can’t capture, but i’ll try.
i knew i was going to be taking time off in melbourne and i can never be anywhere and not play. (is it a problem? i dunno. it’s a good problem to have, better than smack or some other awful thing.)
and i knew that i wanted to do something special at the butterfly club, which is the most amazing place in the world.
the butterfly club is basically an old victorian house that’s been transformed into a little bar and theater, and every room feels like a living room….the walls are covered in art and kitsch and there’s not a blank space to be seen….total antique shop explosion covered in chandelier remnant gold-frame broken-doll fake flower oriental rug psychedelic mash-up wonderland.
stolen from internetz:
(photos from flickr.com)
i went there last winter and had a crazy night with steven and the danger ensemble….we hung out in the empty little theater and we sang and we drank and before too long it was 7 am and we were all huddled outside the front door, waiting for a taxi that wouldn’t come, watching people going to work. it was the kind of night that i think people assume i have all the time. in reality, i have nights like that about twice a year at best.
anyway, the club is run by two amazing men, david and neville, and they’d invited me to come back.
however, booking a legit show in a 40-seat theater seemed unrealistic.
and i didn’t want to make people pay. so i held a contest, had people draw their dreams and email them in, and 20 people were chosen. they could all bring one guest.
and everybody wore pajamas and looked sleepy-hot.
and we started at midnight and i was ready to fall asleep because i was so fucking jetlagged. but i didn’t.
instead i just took requests, sang on a upright piano with no micropohne, and drank vodkas and redbulls and i felt like i was in my own house.
i want every show to feel like that show felt. it was just…completely real. when we got hot and tired, we took a break.
there were no times, no schedules, there were no plans. there was just me and a room of people. i spent most of the set talking, actually.
occasionally someone would just say something, and i would go off on a random tangent. we spent a long time talking about the music industry and how things are changing.
people shouted out songs and i played them. sometimes i really fucked them up.
tom dickins opened the whole night with a few of his songs (he was amazing) and then i made him sing “point of it all” while i did the piano part because he’d been driving me crazy with the fact that “point of it all” was his cellphone ringtone and i figured it was just punishment. he killed it. i hope a video surfaces….the kid has a huge future and a gorgeous fucking voice.
and at the end of the night i put out an empty champagne bucket and took donations, since the show was free and i’m still bordering on broke.
people gave money.
i wish i could always do that. i wish all tickets were free. i wish my poor fans could always just come and my rich fans could just pick up the tab and never feel the sting.
and you know:
this brings up a really interesting topic, and i’ll go off on it in another blog, about how i think that if we musicians are going to survive, we’re going to have to return to a faith-based
system of patronage.
i got home that night at 5:30, as it was just starting to get light.
i took a bath. as i soaked there, barely alive, i thought about how incredible life is. and about how i can create anything, write anything, do anything.
about how there are no rules.
about how all you have to do is imagine something into existence to make it exist.
i listened to some boards of canada. then i slept the sleep of the dead that i was referring to earlier, and lost yesterday.
now, pictures, all mostly stolen off a thread from the shadowbox: http://www.theshadowbox.net/forum/index.php?topic=7467.0
this is a drawing that i did right before the show for one of my favorite dreams, submitted by lyndon (not the violin-playing lyndon…another one).
my original plan was to draw every single dream and then hand them out at the party, but i got too jetlagged and took a nap instead.
lyndon’s dream involved a sequence in which his head was shaved and he melted cheese and chocolate on it and couldn’t stop thinking about how attractive it was:
photo care of lyndon, who also had an awesome polaroid camera and took these….
(mr lyndon himself:)
yes, there was a fireplace….
as i said….butterfly club….most amazing place on earth.
if you’re in melbourne, go see something, anything, there. they put on shows constantly:
meanwhile….footage and stuff is starting to surface from the reading/signing/singing that mr. neil “reluctant literary sex symbol” gaiman & i did in dublin the day after my show….
if you want a sneak peek at some of the stories from the book, you can hear neil reading them aloud and see video of some of the photos from the book….
there’s a list of links up at
this clip is great….it’s neil reading two stories from the book, back-to-back…..
he reads two excerpts….one is “the two of them”, about the florally-dressed palmer twins drinking tea in their living room and the other is “the sword”, about 2008 amanda palmer slaying 2003 amanda palmer with a parry and a thrust. neil explains it better.
we did a q&a, trading off talking, and i also played the ukulele, you can troll youtube with a search for amanda/neil/chapters and find the best clips, they’re just surfacing.
then we signed for about 4 hours. neil is a powerhouse pro of singage and puts me to shame.
some photos from chapters, stolen from coraline73’s flickr….
neil gets ready to read from the book….
time to go find lunch.
leaving for sydney tonight.
for those of you coming to the opera house gigs, by the by, special treats in store….we got a string quartet together, featuring zoe keating, lyndon chester (yes, violin lyndon) and two of lyndon’s friends.
practicing all day tomorrow at the opera house, and it should be fucking beautiful….we’re hoping to do a radiohead cover (a surprise one), truce, girl a and a bunch of stuff from who killed amanda palmer.
all three shows are almost sold out. melbourne is sold out.
adelaide and perth and brisbane aren’t sold out, which reminds me…if you know ANYBODY in those cities, tell them to come.
and if you live there and want to trade tickets for flyering, e-mail katrina, who will send you stuff to promote with and hook you up with tickets in exchange.
if you know of any perth/brisbane/adelaide forums or blogs, spread the words.
when i die, destroy this first
February 25th Sydney – Sydney Opera House / The Studio
February 26th Sydney – Sydney Opera House / The Studio
February 27th Sydney – Sydney Opera House / The Studio
March 1st Brisbane – The Tivoli
March 3rd Melbourne – The Corner
March 4th Adelaide – The Gov
March 6th Perth – Fly By Night
March 7th Perth – Fly By Night
March 10th Auckland (New Zealand) – The Studio
March 12th Wellington (New Zealand) – Bodega Bar
March 14th Hobart – The Brisbane Hotel