[interview]: Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione discuss November 2010 Dresden Dolls reunion


Break out the guyliner: the Dresden Dolls have announced a reunion, or a return from hiatus, or whatever the fuck you want to call it, to play two Boston shows on November 2nd and 3rd at the Wilbur Theater. They'll be playing their two studio albums in their entirety - the first night, The Dresden Dolls, and the second, Yes, Virginia.

This comes in the midst of Amanda Palmer's run as the Emcee in the American Repertory Theater's Cabaret, currently playing at the Oberon Theater in Harvard Square. There was no immediate word about whether the group would play additional shows after Palmer finishes her run - but if we had to guess, we'd bet that's a yes.

The reunion was confirmed by both band members last month, and they spoke to the Phoenix exclusively on the condition that we not spill the beans.

Asked to recall why they broke up back in 2008, Palmer cited the grueling performance schedule the band endured for a previous American Repertory Theater production, The Onion Cellar. But Viglione, reached at home in New York, doesn't see things in such black and white terms.

"This is a sticky place," he told me. "There's my truth, Amanda's truth and a lot of that is nobody's business but our own. [but] as far as I'm concerned, all of that is in the past."

Viglione says the Dolls' success is partly to blame for their frayed relationship. "In 2005 and 2006, things in the band were interpersonally at their worst," he said. "Amanda felt a complete detachment from being in control... [and] to be relegated to the role of just musician was, in a large way, unsatisfying to her. That created a tremendous amount of tension. Here I was, saying 'God, we just worked our asses off for six years! Now's the time to enjoy getting to play! Why do you feel so unhappy?' And she's like, 'I miss doing all of those things that I just spent the last six years doing.' Even though it was a lot of hard work, a lot of her identity was wrapped up in that."

In the two years since the Dresden Dolls broke up, Palmer released a solo record, worked on a high school musical based on In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, collaborated with Jason Webley (among others), starred in Cabaret, and got engaged to Neil Gaiman. Viglione moved to New York and busied himself by recording with NIN and a number of other bands. He's squeezing in the Dolls' reunion between the release his first solo effort and numerous shows in such far-flung locations as Germany and China.

Viglione is very optimistic for the reunion. "Amanda and I both have a lot going on outside of the Dresden Dolls," he said. "I'm hoping that will actually reinforce our passion for the band, rather than it be the singular focus that ends up being too much.Now, hopefully, we can really balance it and put the very best of what we have to offer into the Dresden Dolls, completely on our own terms."

"Now that we're back to square one and don't have a label or's a very enjoyable dynamic," he continued. "The two of us together, both musically and professionally, are a wonderful compliment to each other. It's nice to feel that we've gotten back to a fundamental place . We're both feeling very revitalized and I think excited to come back and really focus on just playing music together again, rather than on all the other factors that were causing stress."

Thankfully, their relationship was spared. Meeting Amanda Palmer remains one of Viglione's finest memories. "It was complete and utter soul-mate-union-where-have-you-been-all-my-life-this-is-what-we've-both-been-waiting-for," he said. "Just the complete, perfect counterpart for each other."

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