Living statues aren’t the first thing that come to mind when thinking of Women-Who-Rocktober, or rock music in general. To be honest, puppies, kittens, and My Little Pony probably come to mind in this context before living statues. Yet Amanda Palmer started out as The Eight Foot Bride before gaining fame in punk-cabaret duo, The Dresden Dolls. In 2012, with The Dresden Dolls being on hiatus, and after negative experiences working with record labels, Palmer successfully turned to crowd-funding in order to get the album, Theatre Is Evil with The Grand Theft Orchestra, off the ground.
Following the success of Palmer’s Kickstarter campaign, she gave a TED talk in February 2013 – a talk that went on to form the basis of her 2014 memoir, The Art of Asking, and has gone on to have over 8 million views online. At the start of 2014, a friend ended up with a spare ticket to Sydney Writers’ Festival event, and I ended up attending a talk/reading by Palmer. This event prompted me to read The Art of Asking, and I possibly wouldn’t be pursuing my current career direction if I hadn’t attended that talk and read that book.
Palmer has somewhat courted controversy with her ethos of crowd-sourcing funding, taking an approach of not paying support acts for her gigs, but encouraging them to go hat-in-hand into the crowds for payment. Regardless of how you feel about Palmer leaving support act payment in the hands of her audience, it does indicate a tendency to challenge the status quo and search for alternative, and collaborative, approaches to making the music and creative industries work for the artists. And shaking up the system is one of rock music’s tenets.