Amanda "F*cking" Palmer, best known as singer and pianist of The Dresden Dolls has recently suffered harsh backlash from fans over her requests for fans to work as her backing musicians, free of charge.
On her blog, the singer-songwriter made a request for "professional-ish" horn and string players to join her, free of charge on her Grand Theft Orchestra tour. As for the non-monetary payment? She said on the matter,
"We will feed you beer, hug/high-five you; give you merch, and thank you mightily for adding to the big noise we are planning to make,"
However, as one fan pointed out, beer and hugs will not pay the bills. On her blog, one fan, Nick Yates, responded thusly.
"I'm a saxophone player with an honours degree in music performance. Playing and teaching is my livelihood, and unfortunately beer and hugs won't pay my rent... Being a musician is hard enough without being exploited by other musicians,"
Palmer's blog was peppered with similarly irate reactions. Producer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies) had several words to put in himself.
"I have no fundamental problem with either asking your fans to pay you to make your record or go on tour or play for free in your band or gather at a mud pit downstate and sell meth and blowjobs to each other. I wouldn't stoop to doing any of them myself, but horses for courses. The reason I don't appeal to other people in this manner is that all those things can easily pay for themselves, and I value self-sufficiency and independence, even (or especially) from an audience.
If your position is that you aren't able to figure out how to do that, that you are forced by your ignorance into pleading for donations and charity work, you are then publicly admitting you are an idiot, and demonstrably not as good at your profession as Jandek, Moondog, GG Allin, every band ever to go on tour without a slush fund or the kids who play on buckets downtown.
Pretty much everybody on earth has a threshold for how much to indulge an idiot who doesn't know how to conduct herself, and I think Ms Palmer has found her audience's threshold."
Click here for the full quote.
Palmer does not know what the fuss is about, quoted saying.
"it seems absurd... If my fans are happy and my audience is happy and the musicians on stage are happy, where's the problem?"
No word yet on how this will ultimately pan out. Feel free to state your opinions in the comments.