Amanda Palmer: “The Art of Asking” (Book Review)

Part memoir, part love story and all funny and inspiring. Amanda Palmer’s book, The Art of Asking, is like a long letter from a dear old friend.

The Dresden Dolls, The Brigade, The Rebellyon, Kickstarter…it’s quite a trip down memory lane for those of us who’ve been enamoured with Amanda’s music since the “A is for Accident” demo songs first popped up online.

The book is about much more than the music, however, as the ever open-book Amanda shares details about her background, her art, her beloved friend Anthony and her romance with author Neil Gaiman.

Amanda’s candid, “take the donut” to be a Living Statue mantra in The Art of Asking gave me courage to turn my for RAINN benefit album dream into a reality and reminded me of why The Dresden Dolls are my all-time favorite band. There’s never been anyone like Amanda Palmer and I doubt there ever will be.

Buy Book @ Amazon

Amanda Palmer on for RAINN Benefit Album

Amanda Palmer Official Site

Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove

Just finished and greatly enjoyed reading the enthusiastic musings about music in Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove. The Roots drummer/Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon bandleader loves music (and music reviews) as much as any of us music geeks do. Plus any book with anecdotes about Prince is automatically awesome.

I do wish the book had gone into more detail about the record label drama surrounding “You Got Me” from the Things Fall Apart album, particularly how Jill Scott reacted to being replaced on her own song by Erykah Badu. But I suppose Questlove didn’t feel that was his story to tell. I would also have liked to know more about the writing and recording of the song, which features not only The Roots and Erykah Badu but also rapping by a then relatively unknown Eve. “You Got Me” is not only one of my favorite songs of all time, it was one of my very first mp3 downloads and possibly my most frequently played mp3 since I’ve had it so long. Video below.

One of the many relatable and thought provoking portions of the unusual memoir is when Questlove ponders his role as a musical “tastemaker,” particularly what subconscious (or socially conscious) motives may influence his choice to like and/or promote certain artists. He asks himself whether he genuinely loves a band or if he embraces them simply for the critical cachet they carry – a question I’m certain every music fan, critic or not, has wrestled with at some point. I know I have.