Paid for by patrons
the power of the power failure. (and the first song is....) {official thing}

(public post)

hallo my loves.

what a fascinating couple o' days, these last few days.

i spent the morning yesterday doing interviews with the german press, talking about the upcoming "there will be no intermission" tour, and talking a lot about the a;bum and it's connection with the patreon.

about how it's so difficult to describe how it isn't just a financial, commercial/money-driven enterprise, but how it's become a kind of community garden, from which i grow; that it's not just about me, it's about everybody. 

it's hard to explain.

i find myself, often, at a loss for words to clarify how this community is larger than just my songs, my ego, my album, my tour. 

i try.

there is something in all of this, espeically with a weird spontaneous project like this one.

something i can't quite explain, something about the give-and-take and call-and-response and i-do-and-then-you-do-and-then-i-do of humanity and our ability to make and share ideas and images and feels and art, it lives and breathes in these messy, dark, human-internet corridors.

i thought a lot about the comment that nathan ray posted, about this being an ethically questionable undertaking (i posted about that here).

"patronage" is always questionable. 

you are all giving me so much trust, so much unconditional support, that almost everything is ethically dubious. or, if you want to look at it a certain way: none of it is. 

none of it is because there is so much that you cannot measure, there is so much about art, time, attention, energy and money that is simply oblique.

this undertaking is one of those strange things. i leave it to you to do what i always ask you to do: to think deeply, to choose for yourself, and as always: to cap your patronage where you yourself feel comfortable. 

because it is, at the end of the day, not about what "art" and "time" is "worth". it's simpler than that. 

we know "art" isn't "worth" anything in a sense. and we also know it's worth everything. not the commodity, the artifact, but the process. the doing. 

and we know that there will never be a universe (thank christ) where an artist like amanda palmer gets put up on the scoreboard on wall street, where it is decided that she is worth $0.57 a share, or $500 an hour. 

that isn't the world we live in, nor should it ever be. 

if the dance between art, energy and time is going to remain an improvisational catastrophe of glee, you're just going to have to feel okay with giving me $3 a month and throwing your hands up saying: "i hope she has enough money to live, work, pay her staff, and make what she feels like making".

it's crass, it's honest, and it is what it is. 

sometimes money motivates. 

projects like this - created via patreon - are incredible. 

why? because i used to do projects like this, pay for them out of my own pocket, and just kiss my financial ass goodbye in order to have fun with and connect with my community in a way that didn't SELL anything. i would ask people to work for me for little money, because these sorts of projects were always non=profit. now that they are for-profit, i can offer my collaborators (in this case: the writer of the song, the engineers and the musicians that made it with me) a nice chunk of change for their time and energy. i think that's revolutionary.

it's about connecting, sharing. co-doing, co-making.

in the last few weeks, a lot of people made music who weren't planning to.

in my little world, in the last few days, a lot of people made music (and money from making music) that weren't planning to.

this is the way i love it, love life, love world. 

and i don't think you can put an exact price tag on that.

it isn't about "selling" over here on the patreon. and this song won't ever make any money on iTunes or spotify. it will make dozens of dollars. sandwich money. coffee money. not help-pay-rent money. unless things change just won't.

that is why you all take this leap of faith in me. you're here not just because you like my art, my book, my podcast, my blog, my glorious naked tit photos. you're here because you trust me to be a creative voice in the world following her own path. 

and for that, i can never thank you enough. 

it is what i always dreamed of, and i have found it.



thank you for coming to my TED talk.


ah fuck it.....

one more thing, because it's 12:48 pm and it's worth getting one more thing off my chest.

the biggest thing that's inspired me, impressed me, and moved me about this project is the bravery and the vulnerability of all of the participants.

it's hard, it's scary, and it's difficult to put your work out there. more than 300 of you!!!!!!


it can be the most uncomfortable place.

 to show, to share, to do what i call "the dance of the watercolor": we all know the feeling of being five and running to our parent or caretaker with The Watercolor, proudly waving our freshly-made work in the air......we hope that we will be met with love, with caring, with kindness, with sweetness, with a kind of considerate and soulful empathy that doesn't so much value the "work" -  the "work" is a bunch of blurred blue-green paint drying on a sheet of paper - as it values US, our personhood, our selves.

we all know what's really happening under the gesture of that hand waving the sheet of paper with the drying paint: we want to be loved, admired, appreciated, thought clever, thought of as worthy.....we want to be seen.

i watched neil go through a lot of this water-color pain - that giddy fear and hopeful anticipation - when he was making good omens, his last TV show, and a lot of these moments showed up in our marriage, in our home. he was always excited - yet scared - to show me, strangers, friends, pals/co-workers/family/whoever the very very rough cuts of his work. 

i learned, in a way i never had before, how to try to be truly considerate of his raw fragility, his feelings, his liminal tipsiness when giving him immediate feedback about what i had just seen. the two of us have been together long enough that we try to see the deeper and ongoing value in one anothers work even if we can't quite make out the pixles in the rough cut. we are often tasked - as housemates and handy-critics of one anothers work - to see the terrified and fragile water-color-wielding child that lurks within the celebrated and award-winning artist. 

tonight was weird because i had a collision of final cuts in my email is just like that. 

i had the final video cut for "drowning in the sound", and i had the final mix for this fast-art song. one took about six months to make and cost north of $75k, one took only a few days and cost only a few thousand dollars. 

to me, right now, they are both wet watercolors. i was excited to show neil the video and we watched it on our big TV. we also listened to the song on good speakers in my office.

what happened isn't the point; but perhaps you can imagine why i decided it was a worthwhile pursuit to stretch this release-post into such a philosophical tangent-ramble.

my dripping watercolors were waved all about the house, and i didn't necessarily get the loving embrace i was hoping for. it actually led to a sweet (but prickly) chat in the kitchen between me and neil. we talked about how sometimes, to be lover, friend or partner and also a critic means learning how to speak a new language, one that doesn't follow rules of standard rules-based etiquette but one that follows a deeper language of the compassionate heart: to protect the inner child who is waving the watercolor before (sorry to be so crass) simply  whipping out your art-critic dick. 

i've watched both me and neil get taken down by the crudest of critical arrows: flung from further afield...from the newspapers or twitter, from a co-worker, from an editor...and flung from inside the supposedly safe haven of our marriage. neil will probably never forget the time i told him one of his books bored me (i won't say which one) and i'll never forget the time he told me that he thought that one of my songs was tasteless (i won't say which one).

we survived. 

mostly, i think we survived because we keep making.

all this emotional fragility - mine, neil's, yours -  isn't unrelated to what i was just talking about, re: the patreon and the idea of art as something bigger than money, something bigger than selling, and in this sense, something deeper than impressing.

upshot, for this community, and for all partners in the journey of life: 

if our relationships with one another are based on a fear-based mutual sense of having to impress one another with our watercolors in order to maintain love and connection, our relationships are more or less shitty.

sorry, but they are. 

i know, because i spent a lifetime escaping a cultural paradigm where everything was based on impressing others to prove your worth, instead of things being based on a basic, mutual understanding that we are all in this together to unconditionally love and appreciate each other, to support one an other, to take care of one another. 

not to win. 

not to eat each other.

not to be in competition.

to be in love.

In Love. the opposite of In Competition.


the power of artistic failure, or the willingness to fail, is the power of love itself.

the power of artistic failure, or: the willingness we all just had to wave our watercolors in one another's faces (and if this chapter keeps going, which i hope it does, this willingness we will continue to have) is the power of love itself.

it's the power of love.... because huey lewis told us so.

it's the power of love because sharing art is not about anything but feeling more connected to one another, which is the point of life.

isn't it?


and it's why this patreon, and these posts, are not just songs, products, bits of artifact to be consumed in the marketplace. it's about THIS. it's about this post, this collision of life, art, community, co-reflection, pain and gradual discovery that doesn't really have a good name.

i think the thing that gave me the most pleasure from this whole song-contest-exercise, besides weeping at the cross-section of humanity - old men with ukuleles and young girls with braces ALL WRITING SONGS AHHHHHHGGHHHHHH - was delving into the youtube and soundcloud clips and seeing the mutual support that all of these writers and artists were giving to one another.

the spirit of generosity, the spirit of togetherness.

you guys get that, don't you?

we are winning.

this is the antidote to so much of what ails us.

i can only speak for myself.


with all that being said, 

the first winner of the power failure songwriting contest, 

from NORWAY......


Thomas Herlofsen!

here is his original soundcloud submission/demo, for guitar and voice:

give it a listen, it's fun to hear the call and response.

i would also like to point out that this demo of his doesn’t much resemble his main soundcloud output and MAN the rest of his music is beautiful. let it play...

if you want to go back to the original submission page, where there are over 300 submissions....

it's all here. and it will stay i said in my post earlier today, there are so many submissions - and so many of such high quality - that i am having a hell of a time making my way through everything, and i've decided to let this project roll bigger and have multiple winners.

i don't know what it says about me... that i have no faith? that i think all songwriters are secretly terrible?....that i thought there wouldn't be a ton of submissions to this and that even if there were....i just didn't think it would be hard to find (hopefully) to find ONE good one.

now i am fucked because so so so many of them are good. 

i am overwhelmed with your goodness and talent, so now my job is bigger and harder. OH WELL. this is a good problem to have, that my community is full of such amazing, kickass artists that i have to re-draw my plans. FINE.


out of the first hundred or so submissions that i've been able to listen to, this one - "later i
told you" stood out as a clear front-runner.....

the lyrics didn't just paint a simple picture, they painted a picture beyond the picture, o top of the picture.....and as soon as i heard the second verse, i was SOLD. (you'll see why, my god).


one thing also stood out to me, that i wanted to include now that i'm posting Deep Thoughts about the patreon, relationships and life.....

this is thomas' description of his track, on soundcloud, beneath the music:

Extremely rough demo for the right honourable Amanda F. Palmers songwriting competition. If I can post this, you can post anything.


as i was listening through a bunch of submissions this morning i also noticed that you guys (you writers, that is) followed a very strange ZEITGEIST MELODY/PROGRESSION VORTEX:

i sweat to fucking god at least 1 out of every 5 songs we listened to used the basic chord structure of "Five Years" by david bowie

don't believe me? go listen for yourself.

i seriously considered just recording a FOUR HOUR SONG merging-mashing all your songs together because there were so many instances of 

if you don't know the song....well....bowie's lyrics are amazing enough that they merit your poetic consideration:

FIVE YEARS  (David Bowie)

Pushing through the market square,
So many mothers sighing
News had just come over,
We had five years left to cry in
News guy wept and told us,
Earth was really dying

Cried so much his face was wet,
Then I knew he was not lying
I heard telephones, opera house, favorite melodies
I saw boys, toys, electric irons and T.V.'s
My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare
I had to cram so many things to store everything in there

And all the fat-skinny people, and all the tall-short people
And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people
I never thought I'd need so many people
A girl my age went off her head,
Hit some tiny children
If the black hadn't a-pulled her off,
I think she would have killed them

A soldier with a broken arm,
Fixed his stare to the wheels of a Cadillac
A cop knelt and kissed the feet of a priest,
And a queer threw up at the sight of that

I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlor,
Drinking milk shakes cold and long
Smiling and waving and looking so fine,
Don't think you knew you were in this song

And it was cold and it rained so I felt like an actor
And I thought of Ma and I wanted to get back there
Your face, your race, the way that you talk
I kiss you, you're beautiful, I want you to walk

We've got five years, stuck on my eyes
Five years, what a surprise
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that's all we've got

We've got five years, what a surprise
Five years, stuck on my eyes
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that's all we've got

We've got five years, stuck on my eyes
Five years, what a surprise
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that's all we've got

We've got five years, what a surprise
Five years, stuck on my eyes
We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that's all we've got

Five years
Five years
Five years
Five years

is it because that's what we think of when we think of humanity confronted in a city street with a power failure. i am only guess so.

but seriously:  G! Eminor! A! C over G! YOU GUYS. 



this one did it too. sorry, thomas. neil agreed. so bowie.


so when i hit the studio today armed with Thomas' song, having decided it was frontrunner/winner #1 (with more coming), i felt LIBERATED - this will be one of a few.

and i was thinking bowie, which meant band, which meant drums, which meant i was SERIOUSLY LUCKY that my pal marco benovento HAPPENED to be free to loan himself as a drummer in the studio, because.....I NEEDED HIM. 

he was free, and his studio was free.


then fate got weirder.

i decided it would be great to have a back-up voice that wasn't mine...somebody with a lilting, pretty, voice, and i thought about storey littleton, who i know through her work with the local rock academy and her local music forays (and her awesome mom, elizabeth mitchell, who's another little local music legend and mostly known for her amazing childrens' songs, incliding an amazing pete seeger collection called "little seed").

so i texted storey, to see if maybe she wasn't free to do some singing today.

and she said she was free for part of the afternoon and it turns out that she was actually due to be over at marco's house, next to the recording studio, giving a piano lesson to his daughter.  

are you following this? it doesn't matter.


we spent the day working on the song.

first, i decided to change the key. the original was in D minor but that's a rough key for me to sing in. i tried a few kets before landing on G minor, about as far as you can get from D minor. G is my ket. all my fucking songs are in G. most of "there will be no intermission" is in G.

sue me.

then we worked out the arangment. we started with just piano, but the piano sounded too grand - no pun intended. marco had this little pianet, and we gave that a try.

(if you're gear-nerdy, here's a pianet.)

IT WORKED. much better.

then i played piano and did the vocals.

then marco played the drums.

then i played the moog synth bass. 

(for you gear-nerds, i used a mini-moog voyager, and changed the filter knob while doing the take. )

then we decided to add a rhythm guitar, but.....we both suck at guitar.

so storey came over and played the guitar parts.

then storey added her beautiful back-up vocals.

and i, ladies and gentlemen, played the tambourine.

yes, i did....

i played the tambourine. so sorry i didn't get a picture of that, dammit.

then marco got to work on mixing the song, which was no small task.....

little reverbs and loves and sparklinesses had to be added.

(i kept asking for "MOAR DISCO BALL")


here is the GLORIOUS CAVE that is marco's recording studio.

fun fact, this is the little recording studio/room where i wrote "the ride" one fateful day a few years ago. 

clearly this place gives birth to magical things.

it must be the disco ball.

holy piano

thou art holy!!!!

here is a little video of me playing the holy piano :

here's marco and storey, after we decided that she kicked our collective asses in the guitar department.

it was quite a relief. 

someday, i promise. someday i will learn to play the guitar.

but not today.

here's my moog! (that's the deep, synthy bass sound you hear. story is off to the side playing guitar, marco is at the engineering desk:

i was lucky and found thomas online at one point (via soundcloud comments) and asked if he wouldn't mind me mangling some of his lyrics to make them flow better. i was granted permission. i found out he was from norway. 

i love him. 


here's me and storey littleton. i love this gal.

she's EIGHTEEN - and about to go to bennington college, and immensely talented. i can't wait to see what she does and where she goes from here. one of the truest hallmarks of a good, professional, hardcore musician is the ability to work fast and under pressure. 

she's clearly got the knack....

....she came in, killed it, and left us both gobsmacked and impressed. 

you can follow her HERE on instagram. 

one to watch, yo.


and here's us all together, three ninja-music musketeers. wait, can we be ninjas AND musketeers? sure why not.

more about marco, from wiki....

Marco Benevento (born July 22, 1977) is a pianist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer who has been a fixture of the New York experimental music rock and jazz scene since 1999. He is the founder and recording engineer of Fred Short, a recording studio in Upstate New York, and a member of the rock groups Benevento/Russo Duo and Joe Russo's Almost Dead, both of which feature his regular musical collaborator Joe Russo.

he was a fucking joy to work with.

i bet we will do more.

you can find marco on the web HERE & follow his insta HERE



da song recording.

i was pretty thrilled with the final result given we made this so FAST.

and i spent my last few minutes of today making ARTWORK. 

here it is, in all it s harpie glory:

i based it off this photograph of the chrysler building, when it was left in a blackout with only a single security light shining out of one of its windows....

(photo by jill waterman)


here are the final lyrics, you'll notice they're ever-so-slightly different from the original:


later you told me it was quite a story
a break from your daily routine
like the deer on the corner in mad dog and glory
i just mumbled "i know what you mean"...

i spent that night trapped in a dead elevator
because i was lost because i was alone
later you told me it was all kind of nice
and that you'd a beer by the light of your phone

it just went dark
but i wanted my brother
it just went darker than anyone could see
it just went dark
and the scary thing was
it just went dark and it was all the same to me

it just went dark any nobody saw me
it just went dark
in a box in the sky
it just went dark
and i wanted to hold you
it just went dark and i wanted to die
it just went dark and i wanted to die

you shrugged and you said that i’d never get it
that you had to have been there to take it all in
that i had no sense of the magic in life
and that i was as boring as i’d ever been

later you told me
that you’d gone down broadway
and hugged thomas jefferson and satine
but i missed it all and i miss you already
you never even asked me
where i had been

and it just went dark
like an epstein erection
it just went dark and quiet and deep
it just went dark
like the fucking election
like waking up on monday like going to sleep
like waking up on monday like going to sleep
like waking up on monday like going to sleep
like waking up on monday like going to sleep

it just went dark
and i just sat there and sat there
it just went dark
and i didn’t make a sound
it just went dark
and no-one came looking
and it just went dark
and it just went dark
and it just went dark….




the cover recording, on soundcloud. you can download it too.

ironic detail of screenshot: 

"this track could be monetized". 




"Later You Told Me" 

written by - Thomas Herlofsen
Amanda Palmer - piano, vocals, moog synth bass, tambourine
Storey Littleton - guitar, vocals
Marco Benevento - drums, mellotron, pianet
engineered & mixed by Marco Benevento


LOVE TO YOU IN NORWAY....i'm going to message you privately here on patreon to get you paid up and get your merch certificate. thank you for making your thing, for being so bold and brave and supportive of so many others....and for letting me mangle your lyrics. you're the bomb. also: come to any show in europe as my guest! i'll get you deets.

everybody else: THE POWER FAILURE CONTEST ROLLS ON!!!!! the submissions will stay closed (i am not that fucking crazy) but i'll pick another winner (or two?? or three? at least ONE) during the next month.  so stay tuned. 

but please feel free to peruse the submissions and keep leaving comments and's wonderful to see eevrybody finding each other there, on youtube, and on soundcloud. MORE COMMUNITY MUSIC MOMENTS PLEASE.

the winner is .....US, by the way.

looking at 300+ people picking up instruments and making music about life is WINNING.


i love you all so much, thank you for be-ing, do-ing, make-ing, share-ing everything-ing.

if I can post this, you can post anything.

get it tattooed across your forehead.

love and waving watercolors.....




1. if you’re a patron, please click through to comment on this post. at the very least, if you’ve read it, indicate that by using the heart symbol.

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UPCOMING TOUR DATES, all tickets and more info at:

Wed Sep 4 – Netherlands – Amsterdam – Meervaart

Fri Sep 6 – Germany – Berlin – Admiralspalast

Wed Sep 11 – Germany – Munich – Kongressaal

Fri Sep 13 – Germany – Offenbach – Capitol

Sat Sep 14 – Austria – Vienna – Konzerthaus

Sun Sep 15 – Austria – Graz – Stefaniensaal

Wed Sep 18 – Germany – Stuttgart – Theaterhaus

Thu Sep 19 – Germany – Essen – Colosseum

Fri Sep 20 – Belgium – Antwerp – De Roma

Tue Sep 24 – Germany – Hamburg – Laeiszhalle

We Sep 25 – Germany – Leipzig – Haus Auensee

Thu Sep 26 – Czech Republic – Prague – Hybernia

Fri Sep 27 – Luxembourg  – Luxembourg – Conservatoire

Sat Sep 28 – France – Paris – Bataclan

Fri Oct 11 – Denmark – Copenhagen – Bremen Teater

Sat Oct 12 – Sweden – Stockholm – Södra Teatern (SOLD OUT)

Wed Oct 16 – UK – Bexhill – De La Warr Pavilion

Sat Oct 19 – UK – Cardiff – St David's Hall

Sun Oct 20 – UK – Cambridge – Corn Exchange

Wed Oct 23 – Ireland – Cork – Opera House

Thu Oct 24 – Ireland – Dublin – National Concert Hall

Sat Oct 26 – Ireland – Belfast – Ulster Hall

Sun Oct 27 – Ireland – Limerick – Univeristy Hall

Frin Nov 1 – UK – Dunfermline – Carnegie Hall 

Sat Nov 2 – UK – Glasgow – City Halls

Sun Nov 3 – UK – Manchester – Albert Hall

Mon Nov 4 – UK – York – Opera House

Thu Nov 7 – UK – Newcastle – Tyne Theatre

Sun Nov 24 – Portugal – Braga – Theatro Circo

Thu Dec 5 – UK – London – Union Chapel (NEARLY SOLD OUT)

Fri Dec 6 – UK – London – Union Chapel (SOLD OUT)

Fri Dec 13th - UK - London Union Chapel (ALMOST SOLD OUT)

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Audio releases