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  • Interview: The Dresden Dolls

    Thu, 05 Jun 2008 11:52:55

    Interview: The Dresden Dolls - The Boston musician searches for a scene and the voice in his drums

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    The Dresden Dolls are all about community. Right now, drummer Brian Viglione is engaged in a special project for the Dresden faithful. "I'm sitting in my apartment here in Boston, Massachusetts signing little note cards for the No Virginia pre-order—1000 of them, to be exact." Brian dwells in one of the more untouched, less corporate sectors of the city, and he's definitely happy to be home for the moment. "It's a beautiful area. It's one of the last un-touched neighborhoods in Boston. It's close to the Arboretum, and it's close to Central Square." Nevertheless, Brian and his Dresden Dolls partner-in-crime, Amanda Palmer, both belong on the road. It's there that their self-dubbed "punk cabaret" comes to life in Technicolor.

    The twosome have just released a collection of rarities and unreleased tracks entitled No Virginia. In fact, the songs are so good it makes one wonder why they didn't drop before. Nevertheless, they're out now, and Viglione couldn't be happier. "I'm glad that we waited to release some of these songs, because I feel like we perform much better then we did back when we wrote them." In particular, a recent Los Angeles show highlighted the band's increasing tightness, and Brian and Amanda's claws are only getting sharper. In between writing autographs at home, Brian talked to ARTISTdirect in this exclusive interview about Boston, the arts, drums and much more.

    After all the touring you've done, you must've gotten so much tighter than you were when you initially wrote No Virginia songs like "Dear Jenny" back in 2002.

    Definitely, during that stretch between 2004 and 2006, we played 400 shows. It was great. We went all over the world, and we met a bunch of great people. I think it's honed our skills as a band, in terms of playing together.

    Do you feel like those older songs evolved, since you guys had so much time to develop as writers?

    Oh yeah, I think Amanda's writing definitely shows a lot of maturity since she started writing songs like "Half Jack" and "Bad Habit" at the age of 18. It's work that we're really proud of. We're happy to get this record out to the people that are interested in it.

    You seem like you're constantly evolving and progressing.

    Yeah, I don't know if we're evolving in the same way that someone like Madonna, Bjork or Beck evolves. They have a new look, a new sound or a new concept for every album. I tend to think we're more along the lines of someone like Neil Young. We have something we do that's tried-and-true, but we try to become more refined, and more pure, in our approach at it. As we become better players, I feel like we become more sensitive musicians, and we're better able to interpret the music with more subtlety and nuance. However, we know when to give it the right kick in the ass, too.

    The music has always been a very natural expression of emotion. It feels like a lot of demons are being exorcised.

    Absolutely, I think catharsis is one of the primary musical elements that Amanda and I bond over. As kids, we both processed and worked through a lot of hard times. Music is great for that. It has that release, but we also get tremendous joy, sharing that excitement and release with other people. You feel a lot less alone.

    Boston is very stagnant in a lot of ways. It's inspiring to see bands and artists emerge from that area.

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