Weird And Wonderful

11 September 2013 | 3:00 am | Ben Preece

"Even though there’s a bunch of super-cultural shit as there is in the States, as there is everywhere, a lot of women in Australia seem to have a healthy, empowered attitude about their bodies and their ownership of their bodies and their look and their style."

Entirely provocative, irreverent, controversial, wildly creative and utterly endearing; you really have to wonder what goes on inside Amanda Palmer's head. A quick glance at her CV certainly won't indicate otherwise – sometimes known as Amanda Fucking Palmer, she's one half of “Brechtian punk cabaret” duo The Dresden Dolls as well as a host of other projects. She's proudly-opinionated on the topic of feminism, won't blink an eyelid at appearing stark naked on stage in front of millions and throws one hell of a party wherever she goes. She's the “Social Media Queen of Rock 'n' Roll”, has caused an uproar or two in her time over various subjects (the latest of which being crowd-funding) and don't even get her started on her personal life – you'll be there all night.

She's currently kicking back in Los Angeles, glass of red in hand during back to back interviews, something she admits to really enjoying. It's only a week or so before she jumps on a plane to Australia where she'll unveil a critically-acclaimed theatre tour and appear at our own BIGSOUND conference.

“I'm not sure what I'm going to say yet,” she laughs. “I'll probably figure out all of that on the plane to Brisbane. What I've found with events like that is that if I plan them too far in advance, a lot of my thoughts are already outdated by the time I show. I try to think vaguely what I want to address and what I want to talk about, but then I usually let the moment and the week leading up to the event shape what I'm actually going to address – things change fast.”

Palmer's role in feminism is something that will undoubtedly be raised during her keynote, having spoken out on such issues before.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

“I've found Australia, in terms of feminism and in terms of women's views of themselves and just the general attitude, is really refreshing,” she explains. “Even though there's a bunch of super-cultural shit as there is in the States, as there is everywhere, a lot of women in Australia seem to have a healthy, empowered attitude about their bodies and their ownership of their bodies and their look and their style. That's something that's always attracted me to Australia – there's a good sisterhood. I don't know why that is, I am sure there's a reason and I'm sure it ties in directly with Australia's history and how and why women-folk have evolved in the way they have. I felt it immediately when I first started touring Australia – my attitude and my take on things and my particular style is particularly resonant with a lot of women. That was a wonderful feeling, to go to a country and feel really embraced and understood by other women, because I'm by no means a typical anything; a typical feminist, a typical activist. I'm such a weirdo.”

There's one subject that she can probably speak about for hours – her career. Unquestionably abounding with high tales and highlights, Palmer offers a giggle of pure evil when contemplating what she might divulge in front of a captive audience.

“Good lord – where do I start?” she cackles. “There are some good stories and I'd be amazed, when I write the rock bio, if something I did last week didn't make it in. I delivered seven Kickstarter house parties in the United States in eight days – different cities, flying every day. I played at Lincoln Centre in New York and the next night showed up in Virginia exhausted because I'd been hit in the head with a pole right before going onstage, sustaining an epic bump on my head. Anyway, I showed up at this house party in Virginia, exhausted after having travelled the whole day and I did something I've never done at a house party before. I decided I was going to individually encounter members of the party. So I played music for a couple of hours and then I took up residence on a futon in a walk-in costume closet and, one by one for two minutes each, I spent time with every member of the party. I called it the confessional closet – that's what will make it into my book. It wound up taking four hours and was actually way more exhausting than floating around a party talking to people.”

Palmer's also playing some theatres while she's here with her Grand Theft Orchestra, a band featuring just four people.

“This band is the line-up that's on [2012's Theatre Is Evil],” she reveals. “We'll play a lot of the new record and dip a little into covers and my back catalogue and some fun crazy stuff, but yeah, majority of it will be the new record.”